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A Chat with the Program Director

Farmer, Lisa MDHello, I am happy you are interested in a career in anesthesiology and are looking at our program. I was born and raised in Galveston, completed medical school and residency here at UTMB, stayed on as faculty, served as our Associate Program Director for 14 years, and am now the UTMB Anesthesiology Program Director. The high-quality patient care, stimulating educational environment and comradery within our department keeps me excited to come to work every day.

As Program Director, my goal is to provide residents with innovative educational experiences while maintaining a supportive learning environment. We have a diverse group of faculty ready to share knowledge and provide mentorship to residents. UTMB Hospital Galveston ranked in the top 15 nationwide major teaching hospital in July 2020 highlighting our resiliency and perseverance even during the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At UTMB, resident education comes first. Our Chair, Dr. Donald Prough, is thoroughly committed to and engaged with the residency program. Besides being an internationally renowned expert in intensive care and cerebral circulation research, he is an outstanding clinician and teacher in both the ICU and OR settings. Our Vice-Chair for Education, Dr. Lynn Knox, is an outstanding clinician and Master Teacher. She remains very active in daily resident and student life. Our integrated patient care and didactic experiences allow our residents to achieve clinical excellence as perioperative physicians balanced with time off for study and social life.

Through the ERAS match, we offer positions in both a 4-year categorical training program and a 3-year clinical anesthesiology program. Our categorical program is unique in that we have two postgraduate year-1 tracks. One is a traditional internship based primarily at St. Joseph Medical Center in Houston. This is a private hospital with a diverse patient population and lots of direct faculty contact. Our second option spreads the traditional internship rotations over the first two years of training. This allows access to clinical anesthesia training during the first few months of internship. Our residents really like the opportunity to jump into the operating room and practice anesthesiology right out of medical school.

The UTMB clinical experience includes all the anesthesia subspecialties with rotations in pediatric, cardio-thoracic, neuro, vascular, OB, and regional anesthesia as well as the Intensive Care Unit, Pre-operative Consult Clinic and Pain Clinics. Our residents spend a minimum of four months in the busy adult intensive care unit, staffed by faculty members of the Department of Anesthesiology. Critical care training strengthens diagnostic and management skills over the entire spectrum of perioperative care including point of care ultrasound and professional team building. To ensure a breadth and variety of cases, our residents gain additional experience in neuro and cardiothoracic anesthesia at the Methodist Hospital in Houston and pediatric anesthesia at both Shriner’s Burn Hospital and Driscoll Children’s Hospital. These rotations also provide valuable insight into the private-practice environment. All training locations have dedicated faculty members providing operating room teaching and supervision to guide development of clinical skills. One-on-one mentoring in the first month progresses toward autonomy as your skills and judgment mature.

This residency provides one of the most extensive didactic programs found anywhere in the United States. Our faculty put an enormous amount of time and effort into providing educational conferences that covers content tested on the ABA BASIC, ADVANCED, and APPLIED exams. We use a variety of learning formats and interactive lectures including distant learning activities, case conferences, Morbidity and Mortality/ Quality Improvement Conferences, Visiting Professors, Journal Club, Problem Based Learning small group discussions, and Board Review sessions. We have Public Mock Oral Boards, Mock Oral Boards, Mock OSCE, and Difficult Conversation Workshops to mirror each part of the ABA exam. In addition to these departmental lectures, clinical subspecialty rotations have their own didactic opportunities. The ICU rotation, for example, has daily morning rounds followed by a daily staff lecture and self-paced online curriculum. Acute Pain, Chronic Pain and OB rotations have integrated didactics. An ECHO conference is an integral part of the CT rotation.

Our residents have the opportunity to train in our recently opened Health Education Center with our state of the art Human Patient Simulator with one of the pioneers in simulation-based anesthesia training, Dr. Ronald Levy. This is a great learning environment allowing residents to try new skills, practice clinical judgement, learn from mistakes without harm to patients, and take care of rare life-threatening scenarios, like malignant hyperthermia and oxygen supply failures.

I encourage you to look at our website for more details and please feel free to contact me. Good luck with your match! .