A Chat with the Program Director

Knox, Lynn MDHi, I’m Lynn Knox, the Anesthesiology Residency Program Director here at UTMB. I am delighted you are interested in an exciting and rewarding career in anesthesiology and are taking a look at our program. As Program Director, my goal is simple: to provide our residents with the highest quality educational experiences in an encouraging and stimulating environment. Fortunately, this departments’ committed, energetic and gifted faculty make this goal a reality.

We have a successful residency because resident education comes first. Starting at the top, our Chair, Dr. Donald Prough, is thoroughly committed to 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. Clinical and didactic experiences are planned to allow our residents to achieve clinical excellence as perioperative physicians balanced with time off for study and social life.

So how does our program work? First of all, we offer through the ERAS match positions in a 4 year categorical training program, as well as a limited number of CA-1 positions if you are already completing your intern year. Our categorical program is unique. We have two PGY-1 (clinical base) tracks. One is a traditional rotating internship which is 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. UTMB medical students rotate to St. Joseph and work with our interns. Our second popular option spreads the traditional internship or clinical base rotations over the first two years of training. This allows early access to the operating room for clinical anesthesia training during even your first months of internship. Our residents really like this opportunity to jump right into the clinical practice of anesthesiology—after all, that’s what they came for.

First, let’s talk about clinical opportunities. All the anesthesia subspecialties are practiced at UTMB and you will have 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, which is staffed by faculty members of the Department of Anesthesiology. This training will strengthen your ability to manage the entire spectrum of perioperative care in critically ill patients. To ensure a breadth and variety of cases and case management, our residents also 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 will also give you a valuable insight into the private-practice environment. In all these venues you’ll have dedicated faculty members providing operating room teaching and supervision to guide you in the development of clinical skills and judgment. One-on-one mentoring in the first month progresses toward autonomy as your skills and judgment mature.

Now for the didactics - 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 daily educational conferences that cover applied basic science and clinical anesthesia. We use a variety of learning formats, including a morning lecture series, case conferences, Morbidity and Mortality/ QI Conferences, Grand Rounds, Visiting Professors, Journal Club, Problem Based Learning small groups, Board Review and Mock Oral Board sessions. Most recently we have added Mock OSCE sessions to mirror the new ABA exam system. 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. Acute Pain, Chronic Pain and OB rotations have integrated didactics. An ECHO conference is an integral part of the CT rotation.

You will also have the opportunity to work with our state of the art Human Patient Simulator. This is a great learning environment where you can try things out, learn from mistakes without injury to patients and be exposed to scenarios, like malignant hyperthermia, that rarely occur but are life threatening when they do. Our program at UTMB will provide you with outstanding clinical and didactic opportunities in a supportive environment. I know I’m biased as I completed my anesthesiology residency here in 1998 and have never regretted making UTMB my first choice. In fact, about one-half of our faculty trained in the UTMB program. I think there can be no better recommendation for the working relationships and living environment than having residents choose to stay on as faculty. As the saying goes, we tend to vote with our feet!

I invite you to have a look at our website for more details or feel free to contact me. I wish you the best in your search for “that perfect match”.