Ask Our Residents

Residents in our program are well-qualified to go anywhere for training.

So why do they come here?

Read below to see what attracted some of our residents to Anesthesia as a specialty, what compelled them to train at UCSF, and what they enjoy doing in this beautiful city.

Valeria has a diverse background. Born in Mexico City, Valeria moved to Santiago in Chile during Middle School, and finally moved to Washington State at the beginning of high school. She's moved quite a bit in the United States as well. She went to college at Cornell University in upstate New York where her love for science led her toward a path in medicine.

After her undergrad years, Valeria moved to California to do research at Stanford University. California has become her home, and she was very happy to stay at UCSF for medical school. Through walking the different specialties in medicine, and considering at one point becoming a hospitalist and another a surgeon, Valeria found that anesthesia was the best specialty for her. Valeria found anesthesia to be the right combination of being able to learn and become an expert in human physiology in health and disease, as well as be able to affect these through her expertise in pharmacology and the procedures anesthesiologists perform.

When she decided to apply to anesthesia, UCSF was her top choice. As a medical student at UCSF, Valeria experienced the commitment of faculty in the Anesthesia Department to teaching learners in all levels of training, to treat them like colleagues, and help them improve. In addition, UCSF trainees go to four major hospitals in San Francisco, all of which provide exceptional care to patients and give trainees a very diverse experience, from the procedures performed, the patients UCSF cares for, and the varied hospital systems at each location. Valeria did not want to give those away by leaving UCSF, and she felt fortunate to stay for her Anesthesia residency.

As a resident, she is amazed every day by the cases she gets to be part of, from major trauma resuscitation to heart-lung transplants, the diverse and complex patients she cares for, and the teachers she works with, many of whom are experts that have advanced the field of anesthesia in major ways.

Also very important, in her own words, Valeria thinks that "a happy doctor is a good doctor," and a happy doctor is able to do the things she likes outside of Anesthesia. San Francisco is a city with great restaurants, cultural events and museums, which she very much enjoys, but San Francisco is also surrounded by nature that she can easily access. Valeria has a love for the ocean and surfing, hiking and skiing in the wintertime; being in San Francisco she can do them all!

Ashley was born in San Francisco where she lived until she was four, when her family moved to Boston. After attending Deerfield Academy in Western Massachusetts, she completed her undergraduate studies and medical school at Georgetown University with a major in Biology of Global Health, a minor in French, and a certificate in African Studies. She returned to the West Coast in 2016, to complete her intern year in Los Angeles, before returning home to SF in June 2017.

When reflecting on her decision to pursue anesthesiology, she states, "As an athlete, I have always been drawn toward experiences grounded in collaboration and teamwork. The preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative areas are fast-paced, precisely organized and efficient, and the Anesthesiologist has a unique role in each setting. During my medical school rotations, I felt truly comfortable with, and inspired by, the Anesthesiologists: their attitude, their work ethic, their modesty, their curiosity, and their technical skills. It became immediately clear that the rooms I entered as part of the Anesthesia team were the ones in which I felt the most exhilarated and inspired; I knew that this was where I belonged!”

When asked about her residency selection process she stated: "High yield: UCSF has it all! The program offers a world-class experience in clinical training (across many diverse teaching hospitals), research, innovation, global health, quality improvement, and many other areas. UCSF is rich in Anesthesia history and continues to innovate and lead in the field. It is a privilege to train under many of the ‘giants’ in Anesthesiology, while also having the opportunity to pursue our individual interests and career paths. Beyond the hospital doors, San Francisco is not only one of the most visually stunning cities, but has some of the best food, cultural activities, and outdoor adventures in the country. There is a vivacity and fierce loyalty that is palpable upon arrival and, to quote Rudyard Kipling, “San Francisco has only one drawback – ‘tis hard to leave.”

In her free time, Ashley loves to be active and explore new places. She is an avid snowboarder and surfer and has travelled to many different areas to pursue these interests. She is a fierce Boston Sports Fan and loves live music. She enjoys indoor cycling and yoga, but also loves cliff jumping and rollercoasters.

With respect to her current experience, Ashley said, “It is a true honor to be here. There is no greater feeling than waking up each morning excited for the day ahead! I love the people (co-residents, faculty, mentors), the work, the education, the opportunities, the patients…the list goes on. I am really looking forward to everything that is in store for me over the next few years and would be more than happy to answer any and all questions that applicants may have about our program!”

 

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Gregory Chinn - Graduate (Resident 2013-2018)

Greg was born in San Francisco and grew up in Southern California. He went to college and then MD/PhD at UC Irvine. Greg’s research involved transcription factors and their role on cortical development in mice. He returned to San Francisco to complete anesthesia residency as part of the Research Scholars track.

Greg reflected on the selection process he went though: “I ranked UCSF at the top of my list after doing an away sub-I in Anesthesia here and seeing firsthand the program’s many strengths. Immediately, I appreciated the diversity of patients and types of cases that the different sites offer, from the veterans at the VA, to the trauma and underserved at SFGH, to the complex ‘zebras’ at Moffitt. Additionally, both the faculty and the residents were phenomenal teachers and I knew I wanted to be at that level one day. I also ranked the research tract highly given my interest in research and desire for a career in academics. UCSF Anesthesia is incredibly generous with support for research interests in any topic, and countless opportunities for projects.”

When Greg is not at the hospital, he enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter as they take advantage of all the Bay Area has to offer. They love the giraffes at the SF Zoo, the aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences, and the carousel in Golden Gate Park. There are so many outdoor activities to enjoy: hiking in the Marin headlands with breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge and SF, biking through Sausalito, and day trips to Napa.

When asked about his experience, Greg said, “Now that I get to practice anesthesia daily, I couldn’t be happier or feel more fulfilled. I love my co-residents; it feels like we’re family. We all are there to support each other, which makes the steep learning curve bearable. I feel so lucky be at this incredible institution with faculty, mentors, and co-residents that I truly admire and respect.”

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Marisa Hernandez-Morgan - Graduate, Chief Resident for 2016-2017

Marisa was born and raised in a small town in Southern California, but she later moved to the big city of Los Angeles. She completed undergraduate studies, medical school and a Master’s degree in Public Policy at UCLA. Marisa reflected on the fourth year of medical school: “when it came time to choose a residency program I knew what I was looking for, and I knew I would find it all at UCSF. I wanted a program that would give me the chance to work at several different training sites, one that emphasized compassionate care and provided the opportunity to work with a diverse patient population.”

When asked about her experience as a resident, she replied, “not only did the program provide the vigorous clinical training that I was looking for, but it also gave me the chance to work with leaders in the field who are patient, enthusiastic teachers. Everyday I worked with faculty who are dedicated to resident education; it is a real strength of the program.”

Marisa enjoyed being in one of the most unique cities in the world. In her free time she was usually out enjoying the San Francisco food scene, hiking or exploring the city via scooter. With so many street festivals, concerts and outdoor events here, she says it was impossible to be bored!

Marisa has now returned to Southern California for cardiac and critical care fellowships, but she left her heart in San Francisco!