Postgraduate Year Five (PGY-5)
Todd C. Crawford
Hometown: Leawood, Kansas
Medical School: University of Kansas Medical School
Surgical Interest: Cardiac Surgery
Researching: Neuroprotection during cardiac surgery, nanoparticle-conjucated therapy, myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury, heart/lung transplant outcomes, congenital aortic aneurysms
As a 26 year old who had never lived outside of the state of Kansas, the move to Baltimore to start General Surgery residency was admittedly intimidating. As I reflect on my last six years at Johns Hopkins, and I think about the incredible opportunities and mentorship I have been provided, I am deeply humbled. The Halsted Residency challenges residents to care for the most complex patients without sacrificing compassion, to learn new techniques and strategies for managing a variety of pathologies and to strive to improve patient outcomes, and to support our colleagues and propel them towards success.
Like any surgical training program deeply rooted in tradition, Halsted residents maintain a sense of pride. This pride stems from managing multitudes of complex hepatobiliary patients, running a busy trauma service, and facilitating a safe and efficient recuperation for our patients after surgery. Personally, I have also been grateful for the immersion into Cardiac Surgery through leaders in the field like Dr. Baumgartner and Dr. Higgins. Ultimately, it has been a unique privilege to learn my craft through caring for the citizens of Baltimore. I am so fortunate for the opportunities I have been given at Johns Hopkins. I am especially indebted to my co-residents, and am grateful for the friendships we have fostered over the last six years.
Sandra R. DiBrito
Hometown: Silverthorne, Colorado
Medical School: Boston University School of Medicine
Surgical Interest: Surgical oncology
Researching: Clinical outcomes of transplant recipients following general surgery; clinical investigations
The work of an academic surgeon does not begin or end in the operating room. It involves pouring over details of individual cases, following guidelines developed from years of collective clinical experience, and working as a part of a larger team to guarantee that patients are given the best chance possible to heal. It requires thinking on a larger scale, asking the questions that drive the science behind the algorithms, visiting and revisiting treatment modalities, and constantly wondering whether we could be doing something differently, something better. The interface between patient care and scientific inquiry makes academic surgery as intellectually stimulating as it is technically demanding, and that is what has brought me to Johns Hopkins for Surgery residency. The storied history of this training program began with Halsted himself bringing to bear all of these aspects of an academic surgeon – designing new surgical approaches, new treatment paradigms, and novel training pathways. This spirit is very much alive within our program. Nowhere else is able to push residents to learn and grow in so many ways at once, while providing the resources and foundation to make it happen. Being a surgeon requires diagnostic expertise, technical perfection, and empathy, and I firmly believe that our training program prepares us to be the best in all of these realms. The Halsted Surgical Residency teaches us to provide top-notch medical and surgical care as part of a multifaceted team, while training us to be the highest caliber of surgical technicians. Every day I am grateful for the experience I have had at Hopkins, and could not imagine moving forward as a surgical scientist having trained anywhere else.
Richard C. Gilmore
Hometown: Lynchburg, Virginia
Medical School: Emory University School of Medicine
Surgical Interest: Breast surgery
Researching: Adherence to quality metrics in breast surgery, leveraging surgical devices to improve OR efficiency, and comparative cost analyses among breast procedures at different sites within a single institution
I am truly blessed and honored to be able to train at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Surgery. It has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding times in my life. What makes Hopkins great is the extraordinary faculty and staff, who carry on the principles that William Stewart Halsted introduced a century ago. Not only does Hopkins offer a world-class clinical training, its abundant resources provide opportunities to make whatever goals you have become reality, whether they be in research, education, or otherwise. I went to medical school because I wanted to be able to learn how to care for every aspect of every patient – and my Hopkins training has taught me that in spades. Patients are at the center of everything we do. It’s a great testament to our training that Halsted Chiefs are considered to be the most capable and helpful residents in the hospital. I’m also incredibly grateful for my co-residents and mentors who continue to encourage me to be the very best in everything I do. I am honored to be a Halsted resident and I now look forward to the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills I have acquired from my Hopkins training in fellowship and beyond.
Victoria M. Kim
Hometown: West Hills, California
Medical School: Duke University School of Medicine
Surgical Interest: Surgical oncology
Researching: Immuno-oncology therapies for pancreatic and colorectal cancer (basic/translational research)
Hopkins was the last interview on the trail, and I didn't know what to expect. My sister lived in Washington, D.C. at that time and I figured I'd just swing by. I had heard that there was great training, but a mentor had told me that Baltimore wasn't that great a place. However, after my interview day, I walked away thinking, "THIS IS IT." This is the place where I'm supposed to be. Objectively, I knew there was excellent training, good people I clicked with, and fascinating cancer research opportunities, but, in the end, something in my gut told me this was the place I'm supposed to be for my next chapter of life. I talked with some folks and I remember hearing, "Some of the best fellows I have ever met are from Johns Hopkins." That kind of sealed the deal for me, and I believe this is true to this day. I wanted to be that kind of surgeon. You will work with and befriend people here who have a similar drive for excellence. Hopkins is a rigorous program; you will see many complex cases and carry large services. Much will be asked of you. But this was and is exciting and attractive to me. The residency will challenge you professionally and personally, but, if you seize the opportunity, I believe it is a place where diamonds emerge from the rough. You will grow; you will expand. What drew me to Hopkins as well is the city of Baltimore. It is a place that is both a place of great (quirky) charm and great need. I love large bodies of water and the Inner Harbor has one of the best skylines and waterfronts I've personally known. There's a lot of personality to this city -- beautiful and fun, heartbreaking and difficult. I remember when the riots of April 2015 hit the city, being challenged in my core to see beyond hospital walls and think of ways that the world beyond the hospital walls also need people who are willing to face the hard things and do something about it. There are surgeons here who are dreaming and doing just that in and outside of the hospital. If you believe that you have something good to offer to the world through surgical skills and leadership ability, this is a place for you.
Mitchell R. Ladd
Hometown: Kingsport, Tennessee
Medical School: Wake Forest University School of Medicine
Surgical Interest: Pediatric surgery
Researching: Tissue engineering, artificial intestine
It has truly been an honor and privilege to train in surgery at Johns Hopkins. I am forever grateful and humbled for the opportunity to be a part of Hopkins’ rich tradition and history. Besides learning from giants in the field, everyone is incredibly smart, humble, friendly, and compassionate. Our attending surgeons are not only excellent surgeons and leaders in their field, but they actually care about the residents. In addition, my co-residents are incredible and have become my family. Without their support, I would not have made it here today. This was especially evident during my second year when my wife was gravely ill in the ICU while I simultaneously had a newborn premature child in the NICU, and all of the residents and attendings rallied around my family and supported us.
I owe a deep gratitude to Dr. Lipsett who saw something in me and recruited me here. She is, in my estimation, the best program director in the country. I’ve been fortunate to have great mentors here, in particular Dr. Hackam and the rest of the pediatric surgery department. In addition, none of this would be possible without the tireless efforts and support of our nurses, clinic staff, professional affiliates (PAs and NPs), and operating room staff. Finally, and most importantly, we all owe a great debt of gratitude to our patients for whom we have the privilege to care. Each resident takes this responsibility seriously and we constantly strive to improve in order to be the best doctors and surgeons we can be. In conclusion, I think Hopkins is the best place to train for surgery and I am thankful that I get to wake up every day and come to work.
Ira L. Leeds
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
Medical School: Emory University School of Medicine
Surgical Interest: Colorectal surgery, critical care
Researching: Surgeon decision-making, preoperative optimization for colorectal cancer surgery, cost-effectiveness analyses
Being given the opportunity to train as a Halsted Surgical Resident has been one of the great privileges of my life. I realized how special of a place this was on the day I interviewed meeting exceptionally creative and thoughtful individuals after just walking down a hallway covered in Halsted alumni who now serve at the highest echelons of American surgery. Since arriving as an intern, what I have come to appreciate most about this program is that what it gives you is equally as important as what it brings out of you. Every day I am challenged to put everything I have into the art and craft of surgery through patient care and surgical scientific inquiry, and it is through these experiences and teachable moments that I have become a small part of the legacy that I first encountered here. I look forward to taking what I consider an exceptionally broad and deep training into the more focused realm of colorectal surgery next year.
M. Libby Weaver
Hometown: Portland, Indiana
Medical School: University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Surgical Interest: Vascular surgery
Researching: Team coordination and communication using human factors engineering, clinical outcomes in vascular surgery including hemodialysis access, thoracic outlet syndrome, diabetic foot wounds, aortoenteric fistulas, and venous reconstruction in oncology
It is an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to train as a Halsted general surgery resident. When looking for the program that would contribute in the most meaningful way to my growth and development as an academic surgeon, there were several aspects of training I considered. First and foremost, this residency allows me to care for a patient population that is as diverse and complex as any. Our unique exposure to the main Johns Hopkins Hospital campus as well as our Bayview Medical Center and Howard County Hospital make for a rich, robust and busy clinical and operative experience. At the time of this writing I am flipping through the last four weeks of my case logs, and just a sampling of the operations include the following: Open splenectomy, clamshell thoracotomy and right ventricle repair from penetrating trauma, VATS wedge resection, multiple endovascular procedures, emergent cricothyroidotomy, SMA thrombectomy and vein patch, hernia repairs, and multiple open abdominal procedures for various acute or traumatic pathologies, as well as several standard general surgery procedures such as appendectomies, arteriovenous fistulas, etc. In addition, the academic opportunities available at Hopkins are endless, and the resources available to me have allowed me to be very productive in terms of publications and presentations. I have also had several meaningful experiences working with underserved populations worldwide, including elective time at Indian Health Services and with a congenital cardiac surgeon in Ukraine.
Beyond all this, I was interested in working in an environment that values diversity. My co-residents come from all over the world and from a plethora of backgrounds and life experiences. Working with so many people from all different walks of life has made me a better resident and person. Finally, 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 general and vascular surgery.