Chief Resident's Message

  • Greetings from Galveston Island, TX!

 Jeffrey Cegelski MD, Shreya Aggarwal DO, Sommer Kirsch MD, Cory Smith DOThank you for your interest in the University of Texas Medical Branch department of Anesthesiology! Your choice of residency will not only affect the next four years, but will have a lasting impact on your future practice as an Anesthesiologist.

We are excited to share our overall experience thus far at UTMB and would like to highlight some amazing and unique aspects of this program. When choosing a residency, one of the most important things to consider is resident satisfaction and wellness. Our residents are genuinely satisfied with our program and the quality of clinical teaching. The faculty here enjoy teaching and it truly impacts our residents’ educational experience.

We provide anesthesia to a wide range of case variety, serving patients from all over the state of Texas. Consequently, we manage diverse and rare pathology and train at the Shriner's Burn Hospital, where we become proficient in the management of very difficult airways, both in the acute and chronic phases.

During your first month as an anesthesia resident, you are trained very well to prepare for early independence in the operating room. You complete an entire month of one-on-one mentorship with faculty and senior residents. In addition, you participate in multiple realistic scenarios in our department’s state-of-the-art simulation center.

For those interested in research, our program offers a specific track designed to accommodate this pursuit. You can take multiple months throughout residency dedicated to research in the area of your choice. UTMB Anesthesiology is involved in world renowned research and provides endless opportunities for residents to get involved. Our residents present at regional and national meetings every year. Many of our residents have won awards for their research and hold chair committee appointments in national anesthesia organizations. Of relevant importance, our chairman Dr. Don Prough has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Critical Care Medicine due to his contributions to critical care research. Many of our faculty members have also been appointed as Oral Board Examiners. 

Simulation is an integral component to our clinical education. UTMB is home to a brand new multi- million dollar health education center which is where the Anesthesia Simulation workshops will take place. Our simulation education includes extensive airway management, difficult airway training, advanced crisis management, and other specific patient scenarios.

One of the best aspects of our program are the people. The work atmosphere at UTMB is very communicative and welcoming. There is genuine respect and camaraderie between faculty members and residents. Our department is a close-knit family that consistently looks out for the well being of each resident. You will often find many of us enjoying lunch and breaks together in the department lounge. When someone has an emergency or needs assistance in a difficult clinical situation, help is accessible. We have many family-friendly departmental activities throughout the year such as spring softball, scuba diving trips, mentor dinners, and the annual crawfish boil.

If you are interested in moonlighting, this is the place for you. Our residents have incentives to earn extra money on a daily basis. After completing your intern year, residents are compensated an additional $50 per hour when working past 4:30pm. (Excludes residents on call)

The residential area around UTMB is one of the most affordable in the country. Living in Galveston provides proximity to the beach, year-round outdoor sports, and fantastic food! The island weather is typically very enjoyable. Many residents bike and/or walk to work on a daily basis.

The UTMB anesthesia department is truly committed to resident education. Our didactics include morning lectures, quarterly oral board exam review, and mock OSCE practice sessions. All residents receive a generous education allowance of $3000 over the course of residency. This money can be used for textbooks, annual anesthesia conferences, review courses, and more. In addition, the USMLE Step 3 exam and the ABA written board exam is paid for by the department. A generous meal allowance is provided to all UTMB house staff, in addition to the carry out dinner provided for anesthesia residents during every 24-hour call. This is funded by our own clinical faculty, giving us something to look forward to during even the busiest calls.

All residents at UTMB have health insurance and benefits paid for by the hospital. Free health insurance is a first-rate benefit. In addition, the retirement plan for UTMB employees provides up to 8.5% of contribution match.

Our residents are truly prepared, trained, and equipped for their future in anesthesia. Many of our residents begin fellowship training after their CA-3 year. We have a near perfect match rate for all subspecialties including Cardiothoracic, Pediatric, Chronic Pain, Critical Care, Acute Pain and Obstetric Anesthesia. In addition, the great reputation of UTMB anesthesia makes finding a job after residency a simple task.

As detailed above, there are many unique and impressive aspects of our program that make Galveston, TX a wonderful place to get your feet wet and complete residency. We are very proud of our department and highly recommend it! Feel free to contact us with any questions you might have. Best of luck during this interview season! 

We look forward to you joining our UTMB family! 🙂 


Shreya Aggarwal DO, Sommer Kirsch MD, Cory Smith DO, Jeffrey Cegelski MD

UTMB Anesthesia Chiefs