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Residents and Fellows

Postgraduate Year Five (PGY-5)

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Ross Beckman

Hometown: West Hurley, New York
Medical School: Brown University
Surgical Interest:Pediatric Surgery
Researching: Pancreatic intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms, Pediatric solid tumors

Throughout my medical training, I've always strived to be the most complete, well rounded, and universally competent physician that I can be, which is what drew me to general surgery to begin with. No other field can provide the range of services for patients that we do, from acute life threatening trauma and critical care to the medical and surgical treatment of cancer, and working on every organ system from head to toe.

I came to Hopkins because of the level of experience I could gain across all aspects of general surgery. with its unmatched depth and breadth of training, with internationally renowned experts in every subspecialty standing across the table from you. What I didn't expect when starting as an intern, however, was the flexibility to tailor my training to fit my ever evolving goals while also maintaining a well balanced personal life outside the hospital. I started residency wanting to pursue surgical oncology and embarked on two years of research time after my third year. During this time I was able to further explore an interest in pediatric surgery that was piqued during my third year, and even add an additional year of research to pursue this goal further, despite the scheduling acrobatics this required. Ultimately I switched career paths into pediatric surgery with immense support and mentorship from faculty and fellows.

Throughout these past 7 years of rigorous training in this program, I have tried hard to maintain some semblance of balance with my personal life, raising a family, pursuing hobbies, traveling, and exploring this great city of Baltimore. I certainly didn't come to Hopkins for Baltimore, but it is one of the things I'll miss most as I head to fellowship at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston next year. I have truly found it to be an unexpectedly 'charming' city with a vibrant community that plays an integral part in shaping my experience living in Baltimore and training here at Hopkins. Above all, my co-residents have had the greatest impact on my experience over these years. This program attracts an incredibly diverse and fascinating group of people from all over the world, who I'm honored to work alongside and spend time with in and out of the hospital every day. Being a chief resident at Hopkins, to me, is the opportunity to look back at nearly a decade of experiences that I've grown from, try to impart what I've learned to the next generation of trainees, and look forward to how these experiences will shape my future career. Regardless of where I wind up years from now, I'll always be a Halsted surgeon at heart.

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Joanna Etra

Hometown: New Haven, CT
Medical School: Emory University School of Medicine
Surgical Interest: General surgery, critical care
Researching: Reconstructive transplantation, immunology and rejection

I am very honored and grateful to be in my final year of training in the Johns Hopkins Halsted Surgical Residency. I feel fortunate to have had the chance to train with and learn from many of the excellent surgeons who provide world-class care of very complex surgical diseases. As well, I have had the honor to work with residents from all over the world and from a plethora of backgrounds and life experiences, and working with so many people from all different walks of life has made me a better resident and person. The collegiality amongst our surgical residents is incredible. We are a team and a family, and I am proud to be associated with such an amazing and inspiring group of people. I am grateful for the training I have received at Hopkins, and I know it has prepared me extremely well for my future in surgery.

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Ryan B. Fransman

Hometown: Sydney, Australia/ Johannesburg, South Africa
Medical School: Medical University of the Americas
Surgical Interest: Trauma/ Cardio-Thoracic surgery and Surgical Critical Care
Researching: Soft Tissue Infections in the critically ill post trauma patient cohort. Advanced Trauma Life Support technical advancement in Surgery and Trauma

My goal of becoming a Surgeon came with incredible sacrifice, similar to many in this position. Leaving a loving family halfway across the world nearly 10 years ago to pursue my medical path was the hardest, yet best decision of my life. Being honored with matching into the Halsted Surgery legacy not only makes everything worthwhile, but is a privilege better than one could have dreamed. As I reflect on this experience, I find myself honoured, humbled and grateful. The complexity of the training that we are exposed to allows for an understanding and appreciation of Surgical pathology. The highest level of care is provided with a compassionate, well-trained hand, in an atmosphere which constantly motivates and drives those around us to be extraordinary.

From day zero in the "trenches," a bond is formed with your colleagues. This creates a team where the Hopkins dome embroidered on your chest instils a sense of pride and ownership. Our daily routine is established by tradition and a legacy that ingrains a certain mentality of finely balancing the surgical technique and scientific inquiry. Trauma Surgery and Critical Care have always been my passion, and the exposure as a halsted resident has allowed a unique experience intimately caring for those affected largely by violent crime in a community that has become my own over the last 6 years. I am honored to fall as a part of the history books of this program, alongside my co-chief residents, and feel blessed to get to wake up every morning living my dream.

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Charles D. Fraser

Hometown: Houston, TX
Medical School: University of Texas Medical School at Houston
Surgical Interest: Cardiac Surgery
Researching: Congenital Heart Disease; Neuroprotection and cerebrovascular physiology during cardiac surgery; heart and lung transplant outcomes

Training as a Halsted resident at Johns Hopkins has been an honor and privilege. We as residents are provided opportunities to grow in all realms of academic surgery and our experiences are unparalleled. As I reflect on my time as a surgical resident, I am humbled to have been given the opportunity to be a part of the surgical heritage of the Halsted residency. We are challenged each day to manage highly complex patients, to perform advanced surgical procedures and to advance our field through patient care, academic endeavors, and educating those following behind us. Much is expected of Halsted residents, but with those expectations comes opportunities to provide care to those in need. Personally, I have been given an immersive experience in cardiac surgery, thanks to the commitment to mentorship by our faculty led by Dr. Higgins. As I pursue a career in academic cardiac surgery, I am grateful for the opportunities we have here to explore the field, and I am confident that our training provides a strong foundation for future endeavors in academic surgery.

Modern surgical training was established at Hopkins by Dr. Halsted and those that followed him. Since then, generations of surgical leaders have trained here and have gone on to shape academic surgery. We as trainees are pushed to maintain to the standard of excellence set by those before us. I am honored to train with co-residents of the highest character, intelligence and ability. They push me to be better each day, and I am truly grateful for their friendship and support as we strive to uphold the standard of excellence expected of Halsted residents.

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Courtenay Holscher

Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Medical School: University of Colorado
Surgical Interest: Vascular Surgery
Researching: Outcomes and health services research

As I look back on years of training as a Halsted resident, it is clear that this is a special place because of the people. This starts with our patients. They come to us from surrounding neighborhoods and from around the world, and we take pride in providing the same care to all. Next are our phenomenal staff at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Bayview, and Howard County General Hospital. We are incredibly lucky to have nurses, therapists, phlebotomists, social workers, environmental service staff, nutrition staff--the list could go on and on--who are all as engaged in the care of our patients as we are. Our faculty entrust us in the care of their patients and show us how to live the pillars of academic medicine: patient care, research, education, leadership. Finally, and certainly most personally, our residents are the heart and soul of this program. I remember walking around Blalock 6 on my residency interview day and looking at years of photos of Halsted residents, many of whom I met as the leaders of other Departments of Surgery around the US. Now, I look at the most recent years of graduates as my chiefs, my friends, my colleagues, and I cannot wait to see what they will accomplish next. It will truly be my honor and privilege to join their ranks as a graduate of the Halsted Residency.

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James P. Taylor

Hometown: Newport, United Kingdom
Medical School: University of Cambridge
Surgical Interest: Colorectal Surgery
Researching: Clinical outcomes in colon and rectal cancer, innovations in surgical technology

Many of my family and friends thought that I was crazy to move from the United Kingdom to the United States to pursue my surgical education. I’d already completed four years of residency in the United Kingdom and having to start again as an intern was a daunting task. I am yet to experience a single moment of regret since the start of this incredible journey.

I feel truly honored to have been given the opportunity to train in General Surgery at Johns’ Hopkins. Throughout my time at this great institute, I have had the pleasure to interact with some remarkable people, from the security officers who say a friendly good morning every day, to the environmental services personnel who work diligently to keep the hospital clean, and the nursing staff who tirelessly care for our patients. Perhaps the most incredible thing about Johns Hopkins is the interaction between the residents and faculty. We are fortunate to train in a highly supportive and engaging environment, where we are encouraged to become the best versions of ourselves through increasing autonomy and responsibility. I have been privileged to work alongside a set of incredible co-residents, and I am sure that upon the completion of my training I will be prepared for whatever challenges await.

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Xun Zhou

Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina
Medical School: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Surgical Interest: Cardiac surgery
Researching: extracorporeal membrane oxygenation physiology, minimally invasive arrhythmia surgery

When I first came to Hopkins as a medical student, I was amazed by the unwavering commitment to teaching shared by faculty and residents alike. Everyone, from newly minted interns to departmental heads, seemed to have a genuine interest in my education. I will always remember learning about migratory thrombophlebitis and pancreatic cancer from the chief of medicine during bedside rounds. Over the past six years of residency, I have continued to benefit from this institution-wide dedication to education. I have learned so many lessons about medicine that I can tie to a specific experience or patient encounter where someone took the time to prioritize my education. I have been fortunate to work with and learn from word-class surgeons, scientists, physicians, and educators. They have taught me not only clinical judgment and technical operative skills, but also how to be a compassionate physician, how to lead a team, and the art of healing and caring for the sick.

I think it’s rare to find a place like Hopkins, which artfully balances both tradition and innovation. Walking down the hallowed halls of the Blalock building, it’s impossible to ignore the portraits of giants in the field of surgery who laid the groundwork for what we do today. At the same time, just a few steps away, surgeon-scientists are doing cutting edge research that will undoubtedly be the basis for surgery’s future. At Hopkins, the clinical practice of medicine remains nimble. As the field has innovated and advanced, we already are providing novel treatments and performing new operations that did not exist I began residency.

The real strength of Hopkins is in its people. I am grateful for the opportunity to care for patients alongside phenomenal nurses, advanced practitioners, therapists, and providers from other specialties. It may sound cliché, but I truly view the people that I have spent countless hours and sleepless nights in the hospital with as my family. I know that they are all always striving to provide the best possible care for our patients, which serves as a daily source of inspiration for me. I cannot envision a better environment for surgical training, and will forever be appreciative of my time and experiences as a Halsted resident.

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