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Meet 3 of Our New Residents

On July 1, UMass Medical School-Baystate welcomed 90 new residents  from 45 medical schools in 19 states (+ Puerto Rico) and 11 countries into its ten ACGME-accredited residency programs.

We interviewed three residents from different residency programs to get to know them a bit better.

Meet Tara, Tiago, and Lauren.

"Risky" Couples Match

Tara Formisano DO
PGY1 Resident, Obstetrics-Gynecology

Residency Couples Match: Tara Formisano and Adrianne Wurzl

Can you describe your decision-making process as a couple?

We (Tara's partner is Adrianne Wurzl DO, PGY1 Emergency Medicine) were unofficially a couples match—it's a lot more risky but less paperwork! It simplified the process, because to do it officially, we would each need to rank every possible combination.

Adrianne didn't do a Sub-Internship at Baystate, but she interviewed here.  We each made our independent rank lists, then compared them and discussed our choices.

Our top two choices were the same! Our #3s were very dissimilar, mine was in Massachusetts, hers was LA County.

Was it hard to agree on a training site?

Important factors for us were:

  • Geography—We both preferred the east coast to be close to family and friends.
  • The program—For me it was how they trained residents. Adrianne wanted a clinical-based model. And how we fit in with the residents and attendings was important to us, too.

Why did you want to train at Baystate?

The OB-Gyn program stood out, I liked the resident as teacher model. It's unique, I hadn't seen it elsewhere, and it fits my learning style.

I did a Sub-Internship here and loved it. I got along with the residents and loved the faculty. They were willing to teach and welcoming with open arms—I wanted to be part of it.

Impressions of the Ob-Gyn program so far?

It's mostly confirmed my impressions. Baystate is so big, sometimes I get lost. People see my "deer in the headlights" look, and everyone helps.

I made friends with residents during my Sub-I. They have a close knit team. I played softball my whole life and I missed that camaraderie—work hard on the field, friends off field, having each others' backs.

This is particularly true of my intern class. There are six of us, we started a group chat as soon as we matched, and as each of us moved here, we started to hang out. At orientation we saw each other every day in and out of hospital.

Impressions of western Mass so far? 

I grew up in Connecticut and went to college in Florida, then got my masters in Chicago. I went to med school in Maine and I knew I wanted to stay in New Eng;and for residency.

And I was already familiar with western MA through my softball summer travel league.

Do you have any advice for new residents?

It's ok to feel uncomfortable and awkward at first, that's expected and normal.

If you don't know, ask—people at Baystate are open and welcoming. I've never gotten push back or eye rolls. It made my transition easier and smoother. Its more conducive to learning. Everyone here makes it known they are here to help—nurses, people in Atwaters, janitors.

Do you have any advice for others considering a couples match?

First and foremost, you as an independent individual need to have your own rank list to make sure you ll be somewhere you'll be happy.

Local for Life

Tiago Martins, DO
PGY1 Resident, Internal Medicine

Resident Tiago Martins and His Mom

Why did you want to train at Baystate?

First off, Baystate is home. My sister was born here, some of my family members have passed here, and my mother works here—she's housekeeper on Daly 5.

When I was a junior in high school, I had two job shadows here—first in radiology and then in the old emergency department. The day I shadowed here, I knew I wanted to come back and work here. What stood out to me the most that day is what sticks out to me every day here at Baystate.

It's the teamwork that exists with one goal in mind—patient care. I watched nurses and doctors not only work as a team to treat patients, but to teach each other and their residents.

I'm not just here to learn, but to serve my community.

Impressions of the Internal Medicine residency your program so far?

The IM residency has surpassed my expectations. The amount of support that is provided to us interns is unheard of at any other institution. I know this because I've compared our orientation to that of my fellow graduates at our programs in Massachusetts and throughout the country.

Our program director, Dr. Shaaban put a significant amount of time and thought into organizing an orientation that not only makes us feel prepared, but supported.

Our program administrator, Marie Housey, from Match Day on has treated us like her own children, making sure we take care of all necessary documents, find housing, food, and transportation.

My advisor, Rachel Belforti, DO, has made herself available every step of the way. She has already met with me regarding my interest in hospital medicine and possible sub-specialties. Who better to learn from than the internist that cared for my grandfather and left a lasting impression with my family?

I feel as if I've found more than just a program to properly train me. I feel as if I have found another family.

Do you have any advice for new residents?

Go to a program that will check off many different boxes. I think that being in a program with a great teaching reputation (like Baystate) is important.

But I think what has made my experience so positive is the environment that surrounds the program. Everyone is open to help each other. The program isn't only looking out for the patients' best interests, but also for ours.

Roller Derby Alter Ego

Lauren Wagener, DO
PGY1 Resident, Medicine-Pediatrics

Med-Peds resident Lauren Wagener in the roller derby

Photo: Matt Mead Weddings

You say that your alter-ego “Snarko” can sometimes be found out on the roller derby track. How did you get started in the roller derby?

My older sister brought me to her friend’s roller derby game back in 2010, and it was amazing! I’ve had always leaned toward being shy and reserved, but roller derby encompassed something different—owning your space, shameless self expression, taking risks. I thought to myself, “that isn’t me...but I want it to be.”

I played for Pittsburgh Steel City Roller Derby from 2013 to 2017. For my last two years of medical school I went to Erie, PA where the Erie Roller Girls play, and I eventually became their head coach.

I’m working through a knee injury and sure that my orthopedic surgeon would hunt me down if I tried roller skating anytime soon! But I do hope to approach one of Western Mass’s leagues during my time here—if not to play, hopefully to teach new skaters again.

You also mentioned that you studied traumatic brain injury. Are these interests related in any way?

Being actively engaged in the topic of traumatic brain injury, especially in the context of sports, did make me very conscious about head protection when skating.

Why did you pick Med-Peds?

Simply put, I love the depth and diversity of training that Medicine-Pediatrics provides. There’s a running joke that Med-Peds is the specialty for indecisive people.

While I can definitely relate, there’s more to it than that. I don’t feel like I can’t choose between treating adults and children. I feel like I’ve made a confident choice to treat both adults and children.

Why did you want to train at Baystate?

How did I choose Baystate when there are so many excellent Med-Peds programs out there? One question from the interview trail that stuck with me was, “At the end of your training, what kind of person do you want to be?” Not just what kind of doctor.

When I came here last winter, Baystate’s environment felt welcoming, engaging, supportive, spirited, collaborative. And, that is exactly the type of person I seek to be. I left my interview day here with no doubts.

Impressions of your program so far?

The Med-Peds program is everything I hoped it would be.

Impressions of western Mass so far?

Wicked hot in the summer, but I'm really looking forward to the beautiful autumns I've heard so much about. And I’m learning to love roundabouts!

Do you have any advice for new residents?

Two steps forward, one step back. We’ll get there.