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Resident Profiles

Vipan Nikore, MD PGY-3
dr nikore

Vipan Nikore, MD, MBA

Medical School: University of Illinois-Chicago
Business School: Yale University

As I approach the tail-end of my internal medicine residency, I cannot imagine a better place to train than Cleveland Clinic. Here’s why:

1) High volume hospital with extremely sick patients
Patients are transferred from all over the state, country, and world with complex cases. This is exemplified by our Medical ICU, often regarded as the highest acuity and volume MICU in the country (approx 60 beds). Hard work is required given this volume and acuity, but the reward is that by the end of residency you feel confident treating any patient in any situation.

2) An integral part of the decision making process from day 1:
Interns know the patients best, and are the heart and soul of the care team. My first week as an intern I recall a complex liver failure patient with endocarditis. Instead of just pushing paper, I found myself brainstorming ideas with a world-renowned infectious disease specialist, cardiologist, and gastroenterologist. These interactions occur daily, and before you know it you begin leading these discussions. You spend much of your day with some of the best doctors in the world, and gain incredible knowledge from them. Our program also provides plenty of autonomy to make decisions, yet a world-class support system.

3) Educational opportunities are endless:
Our academic half day gives us protected teaching time, in addition to endless lectures, case conferences, grand rounds, resident as teaching sessions, and board review sessions available to us. Ask to check out the comprehensive lecture schedule available to CCF residents, you’ll be blown away by how many opportunities there are.

4) A well designed program:
You manage patients on subspecialty wards, thus you learn cardiology from the best cardiologists in the world, nephrology from the best nephrologists, etc. You then bring that knowledge together on our general medicine rotations and night floats. This approach allows one to be a great internist at the cutting edge of medicine. Further, our newly designed primary care outpatient experience uniquely allows us to separate our inpatient and outpatient experiences and simulates working in a true medical home.

5) A diverse and knowledgeable cohort of co-residents
You will be in awe of their sheer knowledge and this will motivate and push you to learn more. Cleveland Clinic truly is a global hospital that recruits the smartest people in the world. Remarkably this group is collegial and always looks out for each other. You also learn from outstanding fellows whom you get to know well and are always open to answering questions.

6) The program supports you to pursue your unique goals within medicine:
Thanks to my program’s support, I’ve expanded my non-profit uFLOW from Chicago to Cleveland and San Francisco, take management and leadership classes at Cleveland Clinic Academy, write monthly blogs on two well known health websites, and worked in Peru and Nepal.

7) Research Opportunities:
Our research requirements exceed those required by ACGME, and you have tremendous opportunities and support to meet these expectations. I’ve had multiple attendings reach out to me after I simply expressed interest in a specific topic.

8) An efficient hospital means more time for learning and less scut work:
We have world leading technology, labs are usually back in time for rounds, and things get done overnight and generally move fast. There is a reason presidential candidates consistently sight us as the model for healthcare.

9) Cleveland! The ideal place to be a resident!
Having lived in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Toronto, I admit Cleveland initially worried me. My fears quickly faded. With three major sports teams, a world renowned arts & culture scene, outstanding restaurants, a vibrant nightlife, summer festivals, the worlds highest roller coaster park, and a vast amount of outdoor greenspace I’ve found more than enough to do to keep me entertained. And its great you can enjoy these activities as a resident because of the low cost of living.

If you want to learn from the best clinicians, become an outstanding clinician, and join one of the fastest growing hospitals at the forefront of medicine, then I strongly encourage you to consider Cleveland Clinic’s Internal Medicine Residency program. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with questions.

Lisa Shah, MD, PGY-3

Lisa Shah, MD

Medical School: Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

The decision of which program I would attend for residency did not come easily to me. It was a personal choice with many variables to consider. First and foremost, I wanted a program that would prepare me to give the best care to any patient, no matter the acuity or extent of disease. At the time I applied for residency, I was sure that I would pursue a subspecialty, which made reputation and fellowship placement a very important factor to consider. I also wanted to be a part of a training program that cared about me and my goals.

After interviewing at Cleveland Clinic, it became apparent that this program was both exceptional and unique. In addition to managing “bread and butter” conditions, residents at this institution have the opportunity to be involved in the care of patients with rare and complicated medical problems. This balance gives a depth and breadth of exposure which provides a comprehensive clinical experience.

Another reason I chose Cleveland Clinic is that education is the top priority here. Every person including the program director, the senior residents, and my fellow interns exhibit a dedication to education. That emphasis on learning provides an environment which truly cares about its residents and their success. Cleveland Clinic goes to great lengths to provide the support, training, experience, and resources needed to help the interns thrive and grow professionally.

Regardless of the institution, internship is a challenging time where increasing responsibility is both demanding and intimidating. The best advice I can give, as someone who has been in your situation, is choose a program in which you feel supported. When the time came to decide where I would continue my medical training, I chose the program that most aligned with my values and personal goals. This program has exceeded all of my expectations and it is now clear to me that I made the right decision.

Sharjeel Hooda, MS, MD, PGY-2

Sharjeel Hooda, MS,MD

Medical School: Emory University School of Medicine

Selecting a residency program after years of diligence and education can be a daunting task. After months of touring hospitals that start to blur together, most people approach their rank list with one of two perspectives: either a convoluted pro-con list that only you understand or a selection based on your “gut” feeling. I was fortunate enough to find a program that not only met all of my unique requirements but also where I felt I would be the happiest throughout my training.

The curriculum at Cleveland Clinic was a big draw for me. It serves as a great balance between empirically tested core requirements and a personalized pathway for each resident. Through the core rotations, everyone has an opportunity to learn from world-renowned experts in internal medicine and all of its various subspecialties. In addition, there are possibilities for a personalized curriculum through various tracks, research rotations, and local or international electives. Finally, I appreciate that the program leadership is always tweaking curricular requirements to ensure that resident education is a primary focus.

Another driving factor for me was the hospital environment, which was unsurpassed on the interview trail. The program here has a unique, collegial, Midwestern feel in the setting of a wonderfully diverse group of colleagues and patients. During a second look visit, I was able to witness a strong sense of camaraderie among residents as they cared for some of the sickest patients in the world. As an observer, I was awed by the varied pathology that I encountered during that brief time. Now, in my third rotation, I’ve started to become accustomed to caring for complex patients that I know will prepare me to practice anywhere in the world.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to dispel some of the myths you may encounter while researching residency programs online. Specific to Cleveland Clinic, rumors circulate about a program that is fellowship-driven and lacks resident autonomy. What I love about this program is that when I directly addressed these questions during my interview and second look, the leadership and residents were very forthcoming and appreciated my concerns. In my time here thus far, resident autonomy has never been a problem and I know that the program goes to great lengths to ensure that the environment is not only resident-friendly but also resident-focused.

Finally, I truly have fallen in love with the city of Cleveland. It has all of the culture, nightlife, and sporting activities of a major city packaged in a friendly, affordable, smaller town feel. I hope that if you come out for a visit, you have an opportunity to explore the city and all of its offerings.

Thanks for taking the time to read about my experience and I hope that this reflection helps you in your decision. Please remember to enjoy your fourth year and choose a residency program where you feel a strong connection. If you have any questions about our program or for your search in general, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

Nancy Nguyen, MD, PGY-2

Nancy Nguyen, MD

Medical School: University of Southern California, Los Angeles

“What in the world are you doing here?” has generally been the initial response I receive once people find out that I was born and raised in California and now will call Cleveland my new home. In retrospect, on Match Day my feelings were extremely conflicted when I opened my envelope to reveal my fate for the next three years. I had received my top choice at Cleveland Clinic, training at a residency program that offers world-class care, but I would have to leave my friends and family and venture into the unknown of the Midwest.

Reflecting on the application process and the decisions that lead up to the ultimate result, I realize that Cleveland Clinic was the obvious choice. When evaluating the different programs, I knew that I wanted the vigorous training upfront during my residency so that I would be prepared and confident to practice medicine for the rest of my career. Overall, I wanted a well-rounded program that focused on interests that aligned with my own. I envisioned training at an institution that emphasized patient care and diversity, while balanced with life long learning. Additionally, I knew I was interested in specializing, so searched for a program that excelled in offering networking and research opportunities that would prepare me to be a competitive candidate for fellowship.

Fast-forward to the first week of orientation, the idea of transitioning from medical student to resident was a frightening one. As interns, we started out unsure of ourselves, feeling unworthy of the long coats we wore throughout the halls. Now, just two months into residency, I have witnessed a transformation occur within our class. I’ve noticed that many of us have begun to develop the confidence and clinical skills to manage some of the sickest patients in the nation. We have become advocates for our patients, truly owning our roles as their physicians. I believe this change is attributed to having expert specialists in their fields that serve as our attendings while senior residents and fellows offer a supportive environment conducive to learning on the wards. Additionally, with the protected learning time on our academic half days, we are able to supplement our first hand experience learning from direct patient care with traditional lecture style learning to reinforce the concepts crucial in practicing medicine.

In terms of life outside the hospital walls, I have been pleasantly surprised and realized that Cleveland is quite possibly the most underrated city that exists. I can live downtown in my own apartment for the price that others living in New York or San Francisco pay to share a room quarter of its size. It offers a plethora of activities to help unwind from a stressful day at the hospital including extensive hiking and biking trails at the Cleveland Metroparks, enjoying a sports event at an Indians, Cavs or Browns game, catching a comedy show at Hilarities in East 4th St, relaxing with some music at the House of Blues or with the Cleveland Orchestra, or appreciating the arts at Cleveland Museum of Arts or with a Broadway show the Playhouse Square. And if you enjoy food like me, you’ll love the wide variety of cuisine available throughout the city ranging from fine dining at top rated restaurants such as Michael Symon’s Lola to stuffing your face at a hole in the wall joint serving authentic food, wondering if your stomach will have to pay for it later.

Overall, the program has exceeded all of my expectations as I see myself growing into a competent, well-rounded physician I aspire to become. My advice for the whole application process would be to choose a program that offers you the best fit in terms of your professional and personal interests. I could tell you not to stress about it but you naturally will, as the decision is a daunting one. In the end, trust your gut and it won’t let you down – it has definitely worked for me.

Donelle Cummings, MD, PGY-1

Donelle Cummings, MD

Medical School: Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University

Choosing to pursue residency training in Internal Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation was an extension of a phenomenal educational experience as a student at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. As an alumnus of the medical school, I was quite familiar with the Cleveland Clinic system and was absolutely thrilled at the opportunity to advance to a position within the residency program. As a medical student, I chose to come to the Cleveland Clinic for its renowned faculty, numerous research opportunities, and focus on patient-centered care. My educational experience was enriched by these factors, and they ultimately influenced my desire to seek residency training here.

Making a decision on where to pursue residency training is daunting, as this choice absolutely affects the trajectory of one's career as a physician. Selecting a program that fits your academic, professional and personal goals is a challenge. Bearing my experiences as medical student in mind, I knew that there were few institutions available that could provide a solid training experience in an environment with as many expert staff members, nationally-ranked subspecialties, and cutting-edge facilities. Furthermore, during my years as a medical student, I developed a real fondness for Cleveland, Ohio - its sense of community, its history, its world-class cultural and academic institutions, and even its professional sports teams. For these reasons, I felt that the residency program at the Cleveland Clinic was a very good fit for my educational, professional, and personal goals. I am very pleased to pursue residency training at the Cleveland Clinic and hopefully grow my career as a physician in Northeast Ohio.

Andrea Fialho, MD, PGY-1

Andrea Fialho, MD

Medical School: Universidade Federal do Ceara, Brazil

Choosing a residency program is a difficult decision. Your residency training will impact the way you practice medicine forever. Cleveland Clinic was one of the many hospitals I interviewed at and I was not mistaken when I ranked it on the top of my list.

Why did I choose to come to Cleveland Clinic? First of all, I wanted a program that would help me became the best clinician I can be. At the Cleveland Clinic you deal with very complex patients who are usually very sick. On top of that you have the most advanced resources only one click away, so you will always be learning and giving your patients the most up to date treatment. All this is combined with the brilliant minds you have as attendings and co-residents – the combination is simply a great learning experience.

I have dedicated a significant part of my life to research and I wanted a residency program that would allow me to continue to do research in whatever field I choose. The research opportunities here are simply innumerable in every field, no matter what subspecialty you are interested in. You may even choose to do a research track if this is your career choice.

I also wanted a residency program that would provide me with enough resources to pursue a fellowship. This is the 4th Best Hospital in the country, and all specialties in Internal Medicine are ranked among the best in the nation. You will always be learning from the best experts here.

I guess until now everything I said is very standard – everyone wants a residency program that provides great training, research opportunities and a good fellowship placement. This program has something else to it: the friendly atmosphere. And I have to say Cleveland Clinic exceeded my expectations in this point. This is a Top Hospital, so you would think that the environment is very competitive right? Well this is not the case. Residents have great camaraderie between them and also with the attendings. You actually like to go to work. Everyone here is willing to step aside from what they are doing to help you, even if it’s with directions in this huge institution. Aside from that, there are different tracks including the VA track and the Hospitalist track so that you can always shape your career in to what suits you best.

I also enjoy the fact that there is a multicultural and diverse population among patients and Cleveland Clinic employees. I myself am from Brazil and I have felt very welcome here along with my husband, who is also a first year resident. There are many international patients, residents and attendings and I think this adds to the friendliness of the environment, enriches the residency experience and makes Cleveland Clinic unique.

By now you have already noticed that I am very fond of this program and I really believe that it provides its residents with outstanding residency training. Come see for yourself if this program meets your needs. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Allison Winter, MD, PGY-1

Allison Winter, MD

Medical School: Wake Forest University School of Medicine, North Carolina

Applying for residency is overwhelming. How do you know what to look for in a program? How do you rank programs especially when most programs claim to have such similar attributes? Unfortunately, I can’t answer that for you. But I can tell you what mattered most to me. I wanted a program that would challenge me on a daily basis, where I would be pushed by my staff and even my peers. Because, if you think about it, three years is actually a pretty short period of time and then you are on your own making decisions without anyone looking over your shoulder. Since beginning residency at the Cleveland Clinic there has not been one day where I have not been challenged. I am consistently taking care of complex patients, both in terms of rare disorders as well as patients with “bread and butter” problems, but many of them co-existing and complicating the others. With these complex patients there is not always a straightforward right-or-wrong answer to their problems. These difficult clinical scenarios are learning opportunities that you could never get out of a book. I am confident that after three years of these opportunities, I will have the skill set to handle the difficult questions that arise in the future.

I was also attracted to this program because I am interested in pursuing a fellowship. At Cleveland Clinic you get a strong foundation in general medicine as well as a strong foundation in the subspecialties, often working with leaders in the fields. When applying I knew that I wanted a place where residents were not just encouraged to do research, but where opportunities were not difficult to find. That is certainly the case here. During my second month of residency I already had a staff member offer me a research opportunity without me even asking!

I have to admit, the idea of living in Cleveland made me a little nervous. But I honestly think it is an extremely under-rated city. The affordability is unparalleled. I have a whole house and backyard and enough left over to actually enjoy the city – festivals, sporting games, restaurants and more. And with a program as big as this one, you can always find someone not at the hospital to go enjoy it with. Our program is very diverse with great minds from all over the world - - great minds and great people. We work well together at the hospital and then have fun together outside of the hospital.