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Downstate Times

The Newsletter for SUNY Downstate
University Hospital of Brooklyn

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ISSUE 11 star JULY 2013


Why I Chose Downstate for My Medical Training

This month, when 262 new residents and fellows arrive to do their medical training at UHB, campus members may recognize some familiar faces: 39 of the residents are newly minted MDs who graduated from Downstate in May.

They have chosen to stay and provide critically needed medical services in this community. (This year, 70 percent of College of Medicine grads are staying in New York to practice, underscoring Downstate's importance in training New York State's healthcare workforce.)

Below three residents explain why Downstate is the best place to receive medical training. Two are recent Downstate grads who are beginning their residency this month; and one is a Medicine chief resident who has completed his training here and is saying farewell.


Rahul Chakraverty, MD – Class of 2013

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My decision to do my residency training at Downstate was initially a difficult one. One part of me wanted to stay here to help the underserved and gain as much clinical experience as possible. Another part of me wanted to leave, to possibly train at an institution with more name recognition. So before I submitted my rank list for residency, I had to re-evaluate what constitutes a "good physician."

To me, the recipe for becoming a good physician is to have a passion for the field you are going into and also the experience to fulfill your passion. I have the passion for internal medicine and serving those in need, but I really need the experience that this hospital can provide. At the end of the day, the patients at our hospital are really grateful for your help, your fellow residents are truly your friends, and the attending physicians, for the most part, are down to earth and value your opinion when it comes to managing the patient's care. It is actually very hard to find a residency program where your fellow residents are your friends and not competing against you, and the attendings respect your opinion, rather than dismiss it.

So at the end of the day it was a no-brainer. Downstate is a great place to be a resident. Yes, Downstate has problems, but find me an institution that does not have any problems. Residency is tough everywhere, but the main point of residency is to develop your skills and become a good physician.

As a medical student at Downstate, I always felt like I was a part of the team and everybody was approachable. I know I can always stop Dr. John Quale to discuss a difficult infectious disease case without formally requesting a consult. I can always go over to the Radiology Department to go over an unclear radiology study, and the cardiology fellows are willing to help me interpret difficult EKGs.

There are a lot of good people at Downstate, and they are always willing to help you. So choosing to continue my career at Downstate was the best choice. I know the institution very well and I know what I signed up for. Residency is going to be hard, but I am up for the challenge!


Annekay Forbes, MD – Class of 2013

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I chose SUNY Downstate for the next chapter of my medical training because the world renowned faculty of the Anesthesiology Department are the very people who inspired me to become an anesthesiologist.

My interactions with my professors have always been fruitful. They have always been very supportive of me and of other students' interest in the field.

There is no shortage of faculty members at Downstate who have done groundbreaking work in anesthesiology, as well as others who are currently working on new and innovative ideas for the future.

Finally, I enjoy the environment that Downstate creates for my training. The diverse community of colleagues here and the opportunity to serve an equally diverse and underserved population are important to me. I feel like Downstate brings the world within reach.


Ismet Lukolic, MD, Medicine Chief Resident (2012-2013)

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More than a century ago, Louis Pasteur said, "Chance favors only the prepared mind." By this he meant that sudden flashes of insight don't just happen— they are the product of careful preparation. As I reflect on the past eight years I have spent as a medical student, intern, resident, and chief resident, I view this statement with new meaning and understanding.

While we all begin our medical training as naïve and inexperienced beginners, before we become competent and confident physicians, the experiences we gain in the interim are what mold us. The most enriching experiences during this period are rarely arrived at by accident. Often, they require us to recognize the uniqueness and potential of the opportunity at hand, as well as the courage to act. We need to constantly ask ourselves, "What don't I know that I should at this level?" Hopefully, this type of self-reflection will enable us all to become better physicians. It should encourage us to learn more by questioning our assumptions, participating in research, reading more, and becoming better listeners. After all, our patients do tell us their complaints as well as their diagnosis; all we have to do is listen to their words and tie it all together.

Beginning the year as a chief resident was a feeling akin to entering as a brand new July intern. I was aware of how much I did not yet know and had yet to experience. Among the many hats I was expected to wear were conflict manager, leader, role model, scholar, teacher, and advocate. What was not apparent to me at the time was that these were the very roles I had been preparing for and refining throughout my previous medical training. Although I now had a new title, I was still advocating for patients and house staff, holding myself to the highest professional standards (since my colleagues and patients deserve nothing less), and devoting myself to learning and teaching the art of medicine.

As a graduate of one of the most recognized training programs in the country, I have always been proud to announce myself as a "Downstate resident." This pride rises up whenever there is a chance to offer lifesaving therapy in an emergency, be a patient's advocate, or further the pursuit of knowledge as a scholar. It is a reminder to me that we are the inheritors of a legacy built by those who came before us and the proprietors of a legacy we will one day pass to others.


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