Camille Audette, DO
Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine
I grew up in Whitinsville, a small town in the Blackstone Valley in Central Massachusetts, with a younger brother, younger sister, and whatever pets we could convince our parents to have. I loved the ocean (still do!) and started my college career in Marine Biology. However, after a semester abroad in Florence, Italy, I realized that I was missing something in my life so I transferred colleges and majors and graduated from Gordon College in Wenham, MA, with a degree in pre-med Biology. I worked in a pediatric primary care office (with my former pediatrician!!) for a few years before getting my MS in biomedical sciences and starting medical school at Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine. I’m interested in primary care, here and on a global scale (I go on medical mission trips to the Dominican Republic), and appreciate the diversity I can see in a day.
I love being outside, particularly by the ocean, and enjoying all the seasons that New England has (yes, I even like the snow). I play the violin and soccer and did so throughout college and medical school. I also did my first triathlon last summer! I love gardening and anything related to plants and I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, cooking and pretending I’m a chef, doing puzzles, watching movies, reading, and being a kid at heart—have to keep up with my patient population! I love traveling all over the world (my mom is from the Philippines!), but with all my travels, I’m so happy to be back in the state I call home.
I chose Baystate because I loved it from the first day of my rotation during 4th year. I had that ‘gut feeling’ that this was a place where I could learn, grow, and become the best pediatrician I can be. I loved how Baystate organized their curriculum, had the resident boot camp, and their investment in the community, but most of all I loved the people!! Everyone I met was so happy and welcoming. Knowing that I would be in a place where I would continuously learn in a supportive environment was very important to me. Residency is a difficult part of any doctor’s training and I’m thrilled to be doing my pediatric training at a place where, even on the toughest day, I would be surrounded by people who care for me while I continue to care for others.
Marina Girgis, MD
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland School of Medicine
I am Canadian and grew up in Calgary, Alberta with two younger brothers. I flew across the Atlantic to pursue medical school at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Living in Dublin for the past six years has been an amazing experience learning about Irish culture and travelling all over Europe! I have been interested in pediatrics since I was young and this passion only grew throughout my time in medical school. Growing up so close to the Rocky Mountains, I love to ski and have been doing so since the age of five. I am looking forward to exploring new areas to ski during my time at Baystate. In my free time, I also enjoy playing basketball, skating, reading a good book, and baking delicious treats.
Between receiving a personalized interview invitation and witnessing the interactions between the residents and the attending’s on my interview day, it was clear to me that the staff at Baystate takes an interest in each resident. The residents seemed very happy and spoke very highly about the program and the support that they receive. This program felt like a family and is exactly what I am looking for in a residency.
Kelly Hess, DO
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
I was born and raised in Buffalo, NY, also known as “the City of Good Neighbors!” Following in the footsteps of my two sisters, I decided to continue the battle against lake effect snow, and completed my undergrad at Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA. I studied biology for 3 years and then began medical school down the street at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.
After growing up as the neighborhood babysitter and working at a daycare during college, it has been a lifelong dream to work with children. While on rotations, my interest in pediatrics and helping better the lives of little ones was confirmed! Outside of medicine, I love baking (there is nothing like a batch of warm brownies) and binge watching Netflix comedy series!
As a Buffalo Bills fan at heart, although a move to Patriots territory seemed daunting, I fell in love with Baystate for many reasons! I was initially impressed by the personalized interview invitation I received from the program director, Dr. Koenigs. With high expectations for interview day I was not disappointed! Everyone I met was so kind and the faculty seemed to be invested in the residents’ personal and professional lives. The dedication Baystate has to the Springfield community is admirable. On interview day it was requested that if applicants had any extra toiletries that they be brought in so they could be donated to a local shelter. This act only further exemplifies the community atmosphere of Baystate that I am excited to be a part of.
Filza Kaukab, DO
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
I grew up on a mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee where I hiked, biked, ran, and explored the great southern outdoors. My parents are both pediatricians from Pakistan who inspired my passion for working with kids and families. I went to undergrad at Emory University where I majored in Biology, met my best friends, worked as an EMT, and participated in research on vaccine development. My interest in vaccines drove me to get my master’s in Microbiology and Immunology at Tulane University, after which I had the exciting opportunity to continue to work in vaccine research at the CDC. During medical school at the Georgia campus of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, I got to meet and work with incredible classmates, medical professionals, and patients throughout my rotations and solidified my passion for medicine. On my off days, I can be found reading, running, listening to NPR podcasts, and practicing yoga.
The welcoming and warm residents and faculty that I met on my interview day left a lasting impression. I loved that Baystate is the main provider for Western Massachusetts and offers a variety of opportunities in both local community and global health. I’m also excited about the unique New England outdoor activities ranging from hiking to skiing and snowboarding.
Chad Surber, MD
University College Dublin School of Medicine
I was born and raised in sunny southern California (specifically in the area affectionately known as the O.C. thanks to television) as a middle child between two sisters, which probably explains my mellow demeanor. Eventually I decided I was ready to experience some actual weather and seasons, so I uprooted myself and moved to rainy Dublin, Ireland for medical school. My pediatric rotations reaffirmed the love for working with children that I discovered during Boy Scouts, so I knew that upon returning to the States I wanted to become a pediatrician. While in Ireland I developed a number of new passions, including traveling, cooking, cycling, and listening to as much new music as possible. I am always ready to try new things, so living on the East Coast is an exciting prospect.
I like to make most personal decisions with a healthy dose of gut feeling, so after the interview day at Baystate I knew I would fit in very well because it simply felt right. It certainly did not hurt that Baystate is committed to contributing to the community, and has a deep respect for patients and employees as people. As interview season continued on, I kept using Baystate as the baseline of excellence to compare to other programs, so I feel very fortunate to join Baystate.
Jeffrey Walbridge, DO
Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine
I grew up in Acton MA, about 30 miles from Boston. After high school I headed north to The University of Vermont where I received my degree in medical laboratory sciences. For three years after graduation, I worked in a pathology lab as a blood bank technologist while completing my remaining prerequisites for medical school. Medical school took me quite far from home, as I am soon to be graduating from Rocky Vista University in Denver Colorado. Both Vermont and Colorado allowed me access to some of the great passions in life: skiing, hiking and golf. I also thoroughly enjoy sci-fi (movies, books and shows), travelling and cooking when my schedule allows.
As my first interview, I wasn’t sure what to expect but Baystate’s interview day was a difficult experience to top. During my multiple interactions with the residents, I was left with the impression that they were genuinely happy here. The faculty all seemed excited for the next class of interns and I had multiple stimulating conversations during my structured interviews that left me feeling as though I would be an integral member of the team. On a somewhat related note, I am very close to my brother and sister, who live in Providence and Boston respectively, so being close to them is an added bonus of practicing in Springfield.
Mary Zabinski, MD
Creighton University School of Medicine
I grew up in Latham, NY and completed my undergraduate studies in biology at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. After spending two years conducting immunology research at Boston University School of Medicine, I decided I wanted to focus on clinical medicine. I believe medicine is a calling and I strongly identify with the Ignatian tenant of cura personalis (“care of the whole person”), so I decided to receive my medical education within the Jesuit tradition. This led me to move to Omaha, NE to attend Creighton University School of Medicine. There my passion for pediatrics flourished, and as I went through my third year rotations I realized that pediatrics was the place for me! I have loved my time in the Midwest (and met my future husband there!), but I am so excited to be returning back to the northeast for residency! I have missed my family, the mountains, and the ocean, so I’m thrilled to be close to them all again. In my spare time I love to be outdoors, do anything active or involving the ocean, play board games, complete escape rooms, and capture the stillness of our spinning world through photography.
I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to complete a fourth year sub-internship at Baystate and I immediately felt at home. I enjoyed coming to the hospital each day to work alongside Baystate nurses, residents, attendings, and staff while we all strove to provide patients and their families with the most skillful and compassionate care possible during inpatient stays. The tangible commitment to service at Baystate is one that I share, and I consistently felt challenged, supported, and inspired during my time here. When my grandfather passed away on the second day of my rotation, everyone at Baystate was so sincerely concerned with my wellbeing – it allowed me to really experience what it means to be a member of the Baystate pediatrics family. I finished my month at Baystate eager to return! I am thrilled to be starting my pediatrics training at Baystate and am looking forward to three challenging, memorable, wonderful years!
Yifeng Zhang, DO
Western University of Health Sciences/College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific
I was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona and grew up with my younger sister and older brother. Middle child alert! I went to the University of Arizona for undergraduate and majored in Molecular and Cellular Biology, but despite my science degree my favorite classes were the non-science classes I took like ballet or African dance! I didn’t move too far from home to attend medical school in California. During school, I was president of the pediatrics club where my board and I were heavily involved in the local community of children in need. It became important to me to focus on addressing children’s needs that aren’t just medical in nature. There are so many aspects of a child’s life that needs just as much focus! I’m excited to accomplish this and join the team of pediatricians at Baystate. Although I’m from the west coast my support system is now on the east coast. I’m looking forward to explore the outdoors of New England and experience real seasons, especially autumn.
While I was interviewing for residency I made it a priority to find a program that allowed their students to explore their interests in a supportive environment. From talking to the Baystate residents on my interview day I could immediately tell how proud they felt to work together for the benefit of the hospital and the surrounding community. They even addressed feeling supported in their mental and emotional health, which can be hard to find. I felt right at home.
Richard Zheng, DO
University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine
I was born in Manhattan, New York, but spent the majority of my life growing up in Chicopee, Massachusetts. I attended Chicopee Comprehensive High School where I found an interest in learning human anatomy and physiology in my senior year. I took this interest and started exploring a career in medicine by volunteering to shadow a pediatrician in the community as part of a program that was sponsored by Baystate Hospital. Then, I attended the University of Connecticut for undergraduate where I received a degree in Neurobiology, furthering my learning of neuroanatomy. I spent the summers in college volunteering at Baystate Hospital, learning from all of the wonderful staff on the Cardiac Failure Floor and continued shadowing pediatricians in the community. My interest in pediatrics has grown more and more throughout my medical school training and I am ecstatic to continue to learn and grow with my new family at Baystate Children’s Hospital.
I chose UMMS-Baystate because it has been the hospital that has fostered my interest in medicine and provided me opportunities from shadowing pediatricians in high school, volunteering in college, and performing research in radiology as well as clinical rotations in medical school. The physicians and staff at Baystate were all very kind, knowledgeable, and great teachers. It seemed only natural to continue my training at a place that has been helping me get this far in my medical journey.
Molly Cain, MD
University of Massachusetts Medical School
I grew up in Bedford, MA a small-town northeast of Boston. I graduated high school with most of the people I went to kindergarten with, so I wanted a big change when it came time to leave for college. I ended up at the University of Michigan, which was both a blessing and a curse. I had some unfortunate transition events including being placed in graduate level housing (isolating) and being hospitalized my first week. However, things got much better when I joined the dining hall where I found my close group of friends and eventually became student manager. I consider my college days a big transition point in my life as I learned a lot about myself and what I wanted out of life. I missed home and the culture of Massachusetts so I decided to come back for medical school at UMass. I’ve had an incredible experience over the last few years and am supremely excited to continue my education in the Commonwealth.
My interest in pediatrics has been growing since middle school. I really enjoy many of the social topics surrounding health with special interest in mental health and nutrition. When I’m not in the hospital, I love cooking, travel, exploring new places, puzzles, anything Disney, and crafts. I do a lot of knitting, sewing, painting, or puzzles while I binge watch various things on Netflix or Amazon. It helps me relax while still being slightly productive. I have a brother who lives in Seattle, my parents still live in Bedford, and an extremely large extended Irish family that lives all over the world. I really enjoy meeting new people and look forward to fun adventures both inside and outside of the pediatric world!
The reason I wanted to come to Baystate was it truly felt like a family. I know I will get great pediatric training at almost any program, but what set Baystate apart was their interest in residents as people. Everyone seemed truly happy to be there and that was the most important aspect of a residency program for me. I’m also looking forward to spontaneous trips to Six Flags.
Amara Danielczok, MD
I was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh (contrary to my Polish last name!) and raised in South Florida since the age of 5. For my undergraduate education, I attended the University of Florida where I majored in Health Education and Behavior and minored in Organizational Leadership. I was always passionate about advocating for children in underserved communities, but while developing various outreach initiatives locally and abroad, I realized my passion for public health and medicine. During this time, I also choreographed Bengali/Indian dance routines for Dancin’ Gators. I still enjoy dancing every chance I get!
My love for global health and travel eventually led me on a life-changing journey with my now husband (and co-resident!) to Krakow, Poland where we attended Jagiellonian University Medical College. I love experiencing different cultures and cuisines! When I’m not exploring the local art and restaurants with friends, you are likely to find me staying in with a good book or movie.
During interview season, I was looking for that “gut feeling” you hear about and finally understood what people meant when I got to Baystate. Everyone I met was kind, humble, and welcoming. The residents were genuinely happy and spoke highly of their program (i.e. the learner-manager-teacher model, simulation labs, camaraderie, high level of support from attendings). Additionally, we learned that Baystate has two fellowship options which are coincidentally in the fields my husband and I are interested in (Emergency Medicine and Endocrinology, respectively)! We both looked at each other in the middle of the interview day and said, in unison, “I love this place!” At the end of a follow-up email to all her interviewees, Dr. Koenigs wrote to “keep speaking for those who have no voices.” At that point, I knew with certainty that we found our home. We are incredibly honored to be training at Baystate!
Greg Danielczok, MD
I’m originally from Poland, but I grew up and spent the majority of my life in warm and sunny South Florida. I met my beautiful co-intern wife there during our senior year of high school. No, before you ask, we aren’t high school sweet hearts. I got my B.S. in Biology and Chemistry at FAU, followed by an M.S. in Biomedical Sciences at Barry University in Miami. Medical school took me back to my roots to Krakow, Poland where I attended Jagiellonian University Medical College. During my time there, I quickly fell in love with Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics. I hope to continue to pursue a PEM fellowship after these three years.
I love to travel and eat. Whenever we visit a new place, we generally plan our day around places to eat and visit places in between. A plus side of going to medical school in Poland was using spare weekends to explore Europe. Between the two of us, I think we are up to ~50 countries visited. My creative outlets are cooking, baking, and photography. I’m always making something new for people to try and keeping everyone in my life full.
My wife and I chose Baystate because it was, hands down, the best Pediatrics program we interviewed at. The faculty and residents were very warm and welcoming while the program was structured to be the most conducive to our learning. We especially loved the idea of their intern boot camp and learner-manager-teacher model. We were also really happy to see how eager they were to constantly incorporate resident feedback and try new things. Personally, I was super excited that Baystate had a level III NICU and the level I trauma center for Western Mass; it checked all of my EM and Critical Care boxes. My wife is very much into Endocrinology and their specialty clinic is unlike any other we’ve seen. As an added bonus for us, Baystate only offers 2 Pediatrics fellowships and they both happen to be in the specialties we’re interested in.
Shauna Ejtehadi, DO
Western University of Health Sciences
I was born and raised on the dirt roads and rolling hills of Colorado. I went to CSU in Fort Collins Colorado for my undergrad in Psychology and worked as an EMT in the ED before medical school, which was in Oregon. I absolutely love the outdoors and any activity that can be done outdoors. I recently bought a Kayak and am very much looking forward to taking it out on adventures in Mass. I also love hiking, camping, photography, soccer and going on walks. And I love my 2 cats, Ron Burgundy and Sabu. I am interested in rural medicine and would love to work in a rural outpatient clinic one day.
Also, people frequently ask about my last name. It is Persian, my father is from Iran! I know my last name looks terrifying, but I am told it's not so bad once you get used to it. Its spelled Ejtehadi, but pronounced H-teh-hottie. We can practice it together :)
I initially had my eye on Baystate because of my mother. She graduated from Baystate with her nursing degree over 30 years ago and I thought "wouldn't that be cool to graduate from residency where she graduated!" Then, I was lucky enough to be able to do a Sub-I in August, which is where I fell in love. I remember telling the residents "you are all so happy! I have never seen residents so happy before!" which spoke volumes to me about the quality of this program. I loved the residents, and I loved being able to participate in the resident boot camp. Knowing that it won't be sink or swim the beginning of my residency was important as well. Then there's the education. I did rotations all across the country 4th year and was essentially homeless and nowhere was the education nearly as comprehensive as Baystate. The block didactic schedule was a must for me, but the simulation labs were my favorite. I am truly honored to be a part of Baystate.
Emma Howard-Young, MD
Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University
I completed my BA in Spanish and Psychology at the University of Denver and will soon have my MD from Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University (previously Jefferson Medical College). During undergrad, I worked at a residential treatment facility for adolescent girls and spent time as a research assistant in a child psychology lab. I have known I wanted to be a pediatrician since middle school, and (fortunately) medical school only strengthened that desire! Being a pediatrician means providing children the best possible start to a healthy life. Prevention is medicine, and I plan to go into primary care with a focus on underserved care and working with communities to address disparities in health. I have an interest in advocacy, child psychology, and the unique challenges of adolescent medicine. That said, I don’t want to specialize, because I love seeing kids of all ages!
I grew up in Northern Colorado with my mom, dad, two younger sisters, and a seemingly endless cast of animals in varying degrees of domestication. I love the outdoors and have been skiing and snowboarding for most of my life. Recently, I've also been cross-country skiing and snowshoeing a lot more. I play soccer, run, paddle board, and rock climb in the warmer months whenever possible. Being environmentally conscious in my day-to-day life is also extremely important to me. I love reading fiction, fantasy, and science/medicine-related non-fiction, and am always trying to keep up my Spanish conversational skills. I met my husband Jordan in undergrad and we got married before entering medical school at Jefferson together. He will be a family medicine resident at the Family Health Center of Worcester and we plan to live in between Springfield and Worcester with our two cats.
I chose Baystate because of their belief that pediatricians are advocates for children and their families. I immediately felt at home with the residents and faculty I met and knew that I would be nurtured, supported, and challenged in this program. Given my strong interest in primary care, I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to spend more of my time in continuity clinic at a patient-centered medical home. I have an interest in global health and can't wait to get involved in the global health meetings, REACH curriculum, and travel opportunities. I also love the location – Massachusetts is a gorgeous state and I look forward to spending my free time exploring the hiking trails, lakes, and woods.
Cristina Miesch, MD
Ross University School of Medicine
I was born and raised in the sunny city of Orlando, a few steps away from Universal Studios and the Happiest Place on Earth, Disney World. After graduating from high school, I decided to make my way west for a whole new experience to the Lone Star State for college and attended Texas Christian University - Go Horned Frogs! I graduated with a degree in biology but still yearned for more adventure and decided to attend Ross University School of Medicine on the island of Dominica in the West Indies. While living in a developing country definitely had its challenges, I learned to love my island home. I met some of the most incredible people, both classmates and locals included. I even met my soon to be husband, Matt! He will be starting his family medicine residency down the road at the University of Connecticut.
It was almost fate that I landed at Baystate for my pediatric residency. I first learned of the program from my older brother, Danny, who is an emergency medicine resident here as well. He ranted and raved about the program for months and I was so excited to have received an interview shortly after application submission. My interview was scheduled for the exact same week as the “Bomb Cyclone.” Not really understanding the severity of the storm (Florida girl, here!) I was still able to make my interview and received the warmest welcome despite the blizzard conditions outside. I immediately fell in love with this program, the people, and entire atmosphere of Baystate. I am beyond thrilled to be in the northeast and learn how to be the best pediatrician possible in Dr. Seuss’ hometown!
Brienna Miller, MD
University of Queensland/ Ochsner
I am from a small town: La Porte in the northwest corner of Indiana near Chicago and lake Michigan. I went to Purdue University for college and straight to Roosevelt University in Chicago to get my MBA. After a going on a few medical mission trips to Haiti, I knew business wasn’t the right career for me. I decided to quit my job and move to Boston and entered Harvard’s pre-med program. During my studies, I learned about the University of Queensland/Ochsner Medical School where the first two years are in Australia and the second two in New Orleans, and I could not imagine a more perfect fit for my medical education.
In my free time, I enjoy reading; but I also enjoy binge watching the latest Netflix series I’ve discovered. I like to be outdoors as well, especially biking and hiking. I love to travel, whether it’s a weekend getaway or exploring a foreign city. With family and friends, I like trying new restaurants, particularly if the menu includes pizza. I also enjoy any live entertainment: musicals, concerts, and local bands.
When I received my invitation to interview at Baystate, I just had a gut feeling it was going to be my favorite, and I was right! But what sealed the deal was how extraordinary and how happy the residents and staff were. I felt the residents truly enjoyed each other’s company and treated each other like family. The fact that many of the residents have traveled to Haiti was definitely a plus for me. I was impressed with the programs commitment to serving under privileged children. I also appreciated the idea behind the resident’s boot camp program to prepare the residents for a smooth transition into residency. I could not be more thrilled to start my pediatric training at Baystate!
Renee Robilliard, DO
University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine
I grew up in China, Maine; a rural place where I played in the woods and swam in the freezing cold ocean with my two brothers. I went to undergrad at Smith College in Northampton, MA where I majored in Biology, but began to discover my true passion in health care through work study jobs and summer internships. I briefly became a phlebotomist before heading to medical school at University of New England on the coast of southern Maine. I love spending time outside in the sunshine, preferably at the beach! In my free time I also enjoy traveling, reading fiction novels, and baking pies!
I chose Baystate because during my sub-I I was happy here. The residents were friendly and had a sense of camaraderie that I hadn’t seen anywhere else. I was challenged to think and learn independently, while also feeling supported and taught by the faculty every day. After experiencing the instruction and organization at the academic half day I knew this would be a place that valued educating its residents and aimed to make them great teachers as well. Additionally (and maybe most importantly) I wanted to go to a residency program where I would laugh every day and after rotating at Baystate I knew I would find that in the Pediatrics program here.
Eddie Zitnik, DO
A.T. Still University of Osteopathic Medicine
I was born and raised in a small town in Ohio in a home bustling with three older sisters, a twin brother, but sadly no puppy (thanks mom). I graduated from Ohio State University where I studied Molecular Genetics and Slavic Studies. Outside of the classroom I volunteered with the Red Cross and Camp Kesem, began running marathons, and met my best friends. Medical school brought me to Arizona for one year and then Brooklyn, NY where I trained in a community medicine program partnered with the National Association of Community Health Centers. My nine other classmates and I worked with our community’s most vulnerable and financially disenfranchised populations with the guidance of wonderfully inspiring primary care physicians, showing us how to effectively administer care to those with limited social collateral while maintaining dignity and respect. I took on a special interest in contraception and sexual health education in adolescents, something I hope to continue in residency. On a cold rainy day you can find me baking Croatian breads and pastries or crocheting. I live with my older sister and she has a dog named Glen Coco. If you were worried about that dog-less boy in Ohio, rest assured. The pup keeps us both busy and shares my love of being outdoors, taking road trips, and accidentally bumping into things.
In a sea of reasons to love Baystate, the one that stands out the most is the social commitment to the Springfield community. On my interview day I expressed my strong interests in addressing food insecurity and alleviating the burdens of poverty through clinical work and advocacy. I was pleasantly overwhelmed to hear this was more than just a shared interest among colleagues, but a unified institutional mission. My faculty interviews were the most genuine and insightful of the entire interview trail, and the residents understood the great opportunity they had to serve others through a career in pediatrics. I left the following day feeling inspired, hopeful, and energized!
Elaine Fan, MD
University of New Mexico
I am truly blessed to grow up in two countries. I was born and raised in China, and moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico during high school. A lot of people asked me where New Mexico is, as it’s commonly considered as part of Mexico—well, yes and no, as it was Mexico’s land a long time ago, just like California and Arizona. Oh, well, enough geography lessons already :D
I studied three years of biology at New Mexico Tech, a great engineering school in the state, and got accepted to University of New Mexico School of Medicine right after undergrad. It wasn’t surprising that I was the youngest one in my class as I didn’t have extensive work experience like most of my classmates did. I love shopping, traveling, hiking, and exploring new things! I learned to play piano in two years, and occasionally lead worship service at my home church in Albuquerque. I am the only child in my family, but thankfully I do have a lot of cousins. I am super excited to move to New England, a new paradise for me to explore, plus I love snow!!!
I am very proud to say that Baystate was my number one ranked program! I was first impressed by Laura Koenigs, the program director, when she personally wrote an interview invitation letter to me. Also when I was going through the website like you are now, I sensed camaraderie and friendship. Interview was definitely a confirmation of how much residents, faculty members, and program coordinators love and treasure each other, and it truly felt like home! This program shares my vision that residency is not just about becoming competent physicians, but also how to grow, build characters, and become wholesome individuals ourselves.
Timothy Kita, MD
State University of New York - Downstate
I grew up in Arlington, MA with my parents, Chris and Linda, and my younger brother Greg. I come from a large, close-knit family—every year we do a big trip to Aruba and every weekend of the summer we spend at our shared summer home in Marshfield, MA. In high school, I was a baseball player and wrestler and helped coach after I graduated in 2006. I attended Boston College and graduated in 2010 with a B.S. in biology. Before medical school I took three years off to volunteer at Dana Farber cancer center and at a hospice, and I started my own tutoring company—Tutor Tim. I also did some traveling to Europe during this time.
For the last four years I have attended SUNY Downstate Medical School in Brooklyn, NY. New York has been exciting and the nightlife is fun, but I will always be a Boston guy. When I have free time I am in the gym lifting weights, playing pickup basketball, watching the Boston sports teams, hanging out with friends and family, trying new restaurants, and going out for drinks. Here are some fun facts about me:
- in 2013 I was on three episodes of a reality tv show on A&E produced by Mark Wahlberg as a tutor/mentor
- I went to this year's Super Bowl in Houston and got to watch the Patriots win maybe the best Super Bowl ever
- I have a Christmas rivalry with my little cousin, Ashley, and each year we try to one-up each other with a joke gift. Past gifts have included autographed pictures, cardboard cutouts, and even an "Elf from the North Pole."
The three things that I looked for in a residency program were the location, the people, and the education. Although I have enjoyed my time in New York, my dream has always been to do residency and eventually practice medicine in Massachusetts. I am excited to be near my family and to be back with other Red Sox and Patriots fans. Springfield itself is very affordable and I am looking forward to exploring everything the city has to offer. Baystate serves a diverse, underserved patient population and is the major hospital center in the western MA area. When I came to Baystate for my interview, I noticed how nice everyone was. I liked the supportive, collaborative environment, the emphasis on learning, and the patient-centered approach. I think that training at Baystate will make me the best physician that I can possibly be.
Laura Lee, DO
University of New England
I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA (don’t worry, I’m not into football), then headed to Goucher College in Baltimore, MD to study biology and play varsity field hockey and lacrosse. Their extensive study abroad program allowed me to spend a summer in Spain and my final year abroad in the UK. There I met my now husband, Chris, and spent a second year there getting a Master’s degree in environmental science.
Next we headed to Boston where I worked as a research assistant at Boston Children’s Hospital. I didn’t love city living, so was thrilled to move to Maine for medical school. My favorite part of medical school was volunteering for Maine Adaptive and teaching kids with disabilities how to ski. On my days off I love being outside, exploring new places, hiking, skiing, and pretending I’m artsy enough to make cool things I find on Pinterest.
I did a rotation at Baystate in the fall and immediately felt welcomed. Everyone was so nice and an absolute blast to work with. I was blown away by the amount of quality teaching that occurred during morning report, rounds, didactics and everywhere in between. On my days off I explored the quaint New England towns in western Mass and even headed up to Vermont to check out a few of the ski mountains and was quite pleased with my findings. I’m so excited to call this place home for the next 3+ years!
Marcus Neafsey, MD
I was born in Naples, Italy (a navy brat), and after moving around a lot as a kid I eventually settled in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I was the youngest of six boys, and decided to get out on my own and attended college at Boston University, where I double majored in Biology and Psychology. After college, I spent a year doing research on the pathophysiology of schizophrenia at UPenn.
I moved back to New England for medical school, where I was a member of the charter class at the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University. I have developed a passion for traveling, and so far have visited 19 countries. Hopefully I'll make it to 20 in the near future! While at home, I enjoy relaxing, trying new foods, playing board games, and Greco-Roman wrestling.
I fell in love with Baystate during my interview day. I knew I had found the place for me when residents told us that they had tried every restaurant in town (a future goal of mine!) and capped the night off with a trip to the ice cream shop. I was impressed by the faculty's passion and commitment towards individualizing each resident’s training, the extensive global health opportunities, and the robust continuity experience.
Samantha Haggerty Roberge, MD
University of Alabama
Hi! My name is Samantha Haggerty Roberge, I was born and raised in Alexander City, Alabama. I completed my undergraduate education at the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!) where I double majored in Marine Science and Biology. I started playing French horn and mellophone in 6th grade and played through college where I marched in the Million Dollar Band at Alabama. I’m a huge football fan!
I took time years off between undergraduate and medical school and worked at an adult pain medicine clinic. This experience taught me that I didn’t want to work with adults, or daily with something as subjective as pain. I attended medical school at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, where I luckily had lots of opportunities to work with under-served populations and realized my passion for advocacy, health fairs and increasing health literacy in under-served populations. I participated in two research projects in medical school. One on retrospective analysis of a sepsis pathway alert system and one working in a rural community increasing health literacy and accessing health status, via health fair and surveys. My hobbies include: traveling, bacon curing, beer brewing, attending sporting events, hiking, camping and pretty much anything outdoors! I am beyond excited to start residency at Baystate, meet all of my co-residents, and learn more about Western Massachusetts.
I chose Baystate because from the moment I received my email to interview I knew I would love the people! My interview email was so personal and seemed like the program had really read my application and cared about me more than just as another interviewee. My husband joined me to visit Springfield and we feel in love with both the city and the people we met.
Chandrika Sridharamurthy, MD
Albany Medical College
I was born and raised in the melting pot that is Queens, New York as an only child of Indian parents. During my childhood my family and I frequently visited India during summer vacations and I developed a passion for travel. I truly cherish the formal and informal education I received while navigating the city during my college years.
I attended the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education BS/MD program and continued my clinical education at Albany Medical College. During my time at Sophie Davis, I was a Teaching Assistant for the Health, Medicine, and Society course, which sparked my interest in teaching and academic medicine. I enjoy reading fiction and nonfiction, trying various (vegetarian) cuisines, and playing/watching tennis.
I chose Baystate because the culture of programs was a significant factor in my decision-making. I hoped to be at an excellent training program that fosters confidence in its residents while ensuring a diverse pathology. The residents and attendings I met during the interview process were kind, knowledgeable, and genuinely passionate about pediatrics.
Maria Townes, MD
Albany Medical College
Hi everyone! I was born in Boston, MA and raised in the town of Lexington. I grew up reading as many books as I could, becoming a major Star Wars nerd and making up dances with my sister and our neighbors. I earned a bachelor of arts in History of Science, History of Medicine at Yale University. While there, I became a huge fan of a cappella music. I also spent a lot of time in the lab, working in multiple labs ranging from genetics to fungal biology.
After graduating from Yale, I worked for a couple of years in a research institute. I love all aspects of science—the history behind it, the process of it, and the way it can help people in the moment—but decided that the application of it was most interesting to me. So, I graduated from a post-baccalaureate master’s program at Tufts School of Medicine. The master’s program helped me to matriculate at Albany Medical College, in New York. Albany, NY has been my home-away-from-home for the past handful of years and I have grown to love it. Upstate NY has so many gems that are overlooked by people because of NYC—if you have the opportunity to visit it, I suggest you do! I am very happy to be back in Massachusetts for residency—Springfield is close to my hometown and to my adorable nephews.
Growing up in Massachusetts, I have heard a great deal about Baystate. I grew up 25 minutes from Boston, but even still, I knew about Baystate. Shortly after undergraduate, one of my friends and classmates from college got into the pediatric residency program, and her stories made her life as a resident seem much more fun than what I had heard about other programs. She constantly talked about the friendliness of her co-residents, and the fun they had together. She smiled a lot, which defied the myths of the stress of residency that I had heard. When I applied to residency programs, Baystate was a program I looked forward to interviewing at. The night before my interview, I drove through an early winter storm, and worried that the weather was an omen. Boy, this was wrong - the interview day started with Jeopardy, which made my worry melt away. From that day forward, Baystate remained a favorite. I am so pleased that I matched to Baystate and have the privilege of being a pediatric resident here!
Daniel Winters, MD
University of South Carolina School of Medicine
I’m originally from Myrtle Beach, SC where I grew up with my mom, stepfather, grandparents, and four younger siblings. I went on to major in Biology at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC where I also completed a minor in Spanish and spent a semester abroad in Granada, Spain. After college, I attended the University of South Carolina School of Medicine where, during the last rotation of my third year, I finally found my home in pediatrics. So why Massachusetts? To be honest, since first watching two of my all-time favorite movies, Casper and Hocus Pocus, I have been secretly obsessed with the idea of moving to New England. This obsession was further bolstered after visiting my fiancé’s family in CT and falling in love with Baystate! I have a 5-year-old Golden Retriever that occupies a lot of my free time, but when I get the chance I love to go camping and hiking. As a kid, I caught the travel bug after tagging along for several cross-country RV trips around the U.S. and Canada with my grandparents and still love to travel any chance I get. The rest of my free time consists of reading, hanging out with friends, and pretending to be able to dance.
My interest was initially piqued by the location of the program. Having lived my whole life in the South, I was ready for a change! Despite being a bundle of nerves leading up to my interview, after meeting the residents and faculty I quickly began to feel like Baystate could be home. I really liked the size and family feel of the program. As the interview day went on, I could see myself thriving at Baystate more and more, and I can remember having a feeling as I left that this was the right place for me.
Rifat Zaman, MD
I am originally from Dhaka, Bangladesh and finished high school there before coming to Colgate University in Upstate New York in pursuit of a liberal arts education. After a degree in Chemistry, I spent an exciting year doing clinical immunology research at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. The next step of my journey took me to rural New Hampshire where I obtained a liberal arts flavored medical education at Dr. Seuss's Academy of Medicine aka. Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.
In medical school, I enjoyed working on research and mentoring fellow medical students. I also had the opportunity to work on a year-long community project where we revitalized a teen-center for underserved youth. I am getting married soon and am looking forward to starting residency with my future husband Abdullah. I love to dance, cook healthy and tasty meals (when life allows !) and have long philosophical conversations about life, and death and everything in between. I am excited to learn from my patients, work hard and begin my career in pediatrics at Baystate.
I loved Baystate because of the "gut-feeling" I obtained from personal interactions with everyone from residents to the program director here. An alumni of my medical school also glowingly recommended the program and the fact that Dr. Koenigs took so much time to read my application thoroughly showed me that no resident will be a face in the crowd in this program. Patient and staff diversity, proximity to Boston and NYC were added bonuses but the presence of an authentic Lebanese restaurant within 10 minutes from the hospital was the definite icing on my cake.