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Chief Resident's Message

  • Greetings from Galveston Island, TX!

 David Nash MD, Ashley Goordeen MD, Yuri Volvov MD, Michael Wen MDThank 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. At a recent meeting with partners of a large practice here in Texas, one of them shared with us why they love to recruit from UTMB - our graduates are clinically strong and capable. We are excited to share some of the experiences at UTMB that make our residents into such outstanding anesthesiologists and to highlight some of the unique aspects that make Galveston a fantastic place to train.

At UTMB we provide anesthesia for a wide range of cases, with experiences in all the subspecialties of anesthesiology. On our campus in Galveston, we not only serve patients from Southeast Texas, but we also serve patients from all over the world who need subspecialty care at Shriner’s Texas. During this unique experience, we become proficient in the management of critically ill pediatric patients, and management of very difficult airways for burned patients or those with craniofacial abnormalities. In addition, at UTMB we provide care to the prisoners in the Texas Department of Corrections, where we often see unique pathology that is rarely encountered elsewhere.

At UTMB, our residents are given the graduated autonomy needed to advance from a newly minted physician to an attending anesthesiologist. When an intern begins our program, they choose between two tracks. Many choose to complete the transitional year type program at St. Joseph’s hospital in Houston, while others elect to complete the “split-year” program in Galveston. The “split-year” is a unique opportunity to begin anesthesia rotations earlier than most programs by blending the intern year and CA1 year into a two-year program. During your first month as an anesthesia resident, you start out with a weeklong session at our brand-new simulation center. You learn to operate the anesthesia machine, administer an anesthetic, and manage crisis scenarios. The remainder of the month is spent in the OR with one-on-one mentorship, complemented by daily didactics and suggested reading topics.

As residents progress, we are granted progressive autonomy in the ORs and participate in more advanced simulator sessions. Protected didactic time begins as a CA1 with Basic Exam prep, later advancing to subspecialty lectures and oral board prep. We rotate to other campuses as well, including Methodist Hospital in Houston, where we provide anesthetics at one of the busiest cardiovascular surgical centers in the country. Some of our residents choose to rotate through Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi, where they care for complex pediatric surgical patients. Housing is provided for residents during these months if desired. As an upper-level resident at UTMB, you’ll begin taking on more attending level tasks such as assigning the OR schedule board, supervising junior residents and CRNAs, and managing the airway and code pager.

For those interested in academics, there are opportunities for research and education. Our senior residents often give lectures and mentor juniors. There is also the opportunity to take one or more months throughout residency to dedicate to research. UTMB has several productive research faculty members, some with multimillion dollar grants and significant laboratory space on campus. Our residents present at regional and national meetings every year. Many of our faculty and residents have won awards for their research and hold appointments in state and national anesthesiology organizations. Some of our faculty have also been appointed as Oral Board Examiners.

The reputation of the program at UTMB means that, often, the hardest part for our graduates is choosing which job offer to take. Many of our residents also pursue fellowship training, and we frequently have a perfect match rate for residents applying to all subspecialties. Aside from the robust clinical training, there is so much more that makes UTMB Galveston a fantastic place to train.

For instance, our CA1-CA3 residents have the chance to moonlight for $100 per hour, simply by working past 4:30pm on weekdays or covering extra shifts on the weekends. Our base pay is also very competitive relative to our cost of living. Additional financial benefits include a generous education allowance of $1000 per year, which can be used for textbooks, conferences, apps, study courses and materials, and more. In addition, the USMLE Step 3 exam and the ABA written board exam is paid for by the department. A meal allowance is provided to all UTMB house staff, in addition to the faculty provided dinners that anesthesia residents often enjoy during overnight calls. Another unique benefit to UTMB is that health insurance is provided free of charge to residents and their families. There is also a generous retirement program where the hospital contribution is more than resident contribution.

While Galveston is a tourist destination for the people of Southeast Texas, it remains a relatively affordable place to live. Living in Galveston provides proximity to the beach, year-round outdoor sports, and saltwater recreation activities! There is a small downtown and harbor front area with shopping, dining, and entertainment. The climate on the island is humid but temperate with temperatures almost never below freezing in the winter and rarely above 90 in the summertime. This makes it easy for our many residents who bike and/or walk to work.

Despite all these wonderful attributes, the best part of our program is the people. The work environment at UTMB is welcoming to all. Our residents and faculty come from all different backgrounds but often become lifelong friends after our years together at UTMB. There is genuine respect and camaraderie between faculty members and residents. Our department leaders listen to resident concerns and work hard to advocate for our education and wellness. We have many family-friendly departmental activities throughout the year such as spring softball, happy hours, mentor dinners, and the annual crawfish boil.

As detailed above, there are many unique and impressive aspects of our program that make UTMB Galveston a wonderful place to train. We are very proud of our department and highly recommend it! If you think our program might be a good fit for you, please reach out to us with any questions and join us for an interview and meet & greet.


Ashley Goordeen, David Nash, Michael Wen, Yuri Volnov
UTMB Anesthesiology Chiefs