Class of 2018

Basil Kahwash

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Undergrad: Kenyon College

Medical School: University of Toledo

Favorite to do in Indy: Drink a frozen lemonade from Fresco on the canal right after a jog, while watching the sunset from the top of the Indiana War Memorial.

Why IU: The word that caught my attention when I interviewed for residency at IU was “variety.” Here, I was told, you’ll see and treat a little of everything: from bizarre presentations of rare diseases at University, to more widespread ailments at the VA and Eskenazi (the county hospital).  I am delighted to say that my residency experience at IU has exceeded that promise, both at the professional and personal levels. I have found that variety at IU goes far beyond a diversity of clinical cases. At my continuity clinic, I get to work with an underserved, mostly Spanish-speaking community (my choice of clinic). The relationships I have built here have been just as rewarding, practicing medicine in the company of outstanding colleagues and faculty physicians with unique backgrounds. Learning from the myriad experiences of my friends and mentors, and undertaking similar responsibilities myself, has afforded me the confidence to narrow my personal career goals – just one of many advantages of the residency program at IU Internal Medicine.

Deema Alshawa

Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana

Undergrad: Butler University

Medical School: Indiana University

Favorite thing to do in Indy: Sporting events, restaurants, and museums.

Why IU: Residency at IU has been a great experience for me. Our program provides residents with so many opportunities. I am most grateful for the autonomy we are given in patient care, but at the same time we have very approachable faculty from whom we can seek advice when we need it. We are exposed to a variety of patient populations, clinical settings, and pathologies. I feel that we receive unparalleled training, and that by the end of our three years of training we become well-rounded physicians prepared to face any clinical scenario. I also love that though our program is large, there is a great sense of community and camaraderie. Indianapolis is also a wonderful place to live with plenty to do for anyone. If I were faced with the option of choosing any residency program again, I would not hesitate to choose IU!

Duane Allen

Hometown: Midland, Michigan

Undergrad: University of Michigan

Medical School: Ohio State University

Favorite thing to do in Indy: Trying new beers at the huge and growing list of breweries in town.

Why IU: My wife and I braved the couples match on our way to IU and have been thrilled with the results. Moving to a new city and leaving a group of close-knit friends was nerve-racking at first, but we couldn’t be happier with Indianapolis. We knew to expect great academic medical centers and excellent training, but also have been particularly impressed with everything else. Indianapolis has the amenities of a big city, but feels much smaller with great pockets of local charm in places like Mass Ave, Broad Ripple, and Fountain Square. Before intern year, I was nervous I wouldn’t have enough free time to enjoy life outside of the hospital but have been impressed with the program’s approach to work-life balance that allows us to tour the local breweries, attend Colts games, and travel. The training environment itself has been wonderful as well. We have the chance to work in a variety of training environments, all located on the same campus. Between the VA, the community care at Eskenazi (the county/safety-net hospital), the sub-specialized population of University, and the private setting at Methodist, we have the opportunity to see a wide range of disease processes and gain some perspective about what type of environment we may want to seek out once we’re finished with training. I am thrilled to be here, and would absolutely rank IU at the top again.

Sarah Russell

Hometown: Portland, Oregon

Undergrad: University of Michigan

Medical School: Wayne State University

Favorite thing to do in Indy: Attending sporting events (Indianapolis Indians, Colts, Big Ten Football Tournament, etc).

Why IU: I am originally from the West Coast but did my undergrad and medical school training in the Midwest. When deciding on a residency program, the biggest thing that caught my attention about IU was how family-oriented it was. There is an overwhelming feeling of acceptance, understanding and togetherness that is part of this program. We all work hard. I think that’s a reality of residency, but what makes it so gratifying is how much you realize you learn along the way. I have also always felt comfortable e-mailing a chief resident, program director or other staff member in the program about personal issues or any other difficulties. It is a very open program that welcomes feedback and tries to better not only our patients, but also allows us as residents to have personal lives and encourages healthy living in general. In addition, the city of Indianapolis has been everything my husband and I were looking for. We bought a home, enjoy going to various sporting events and just enjoy walking downtown in the summer time. Lastly, the four-hospital system that is available here at IU is one of a kind, and the variety of care – from  “bread and butter” to the very unusual – is something that I am exposed to everyday and keeps me interested and motivated to always learn more.

Tony Saliba

Hometown: Nahr-Ibrahim, Lebanon

Undergrad: American University of Beirut

Medical School: American University of Beirut

Favorite thing to do in Indy: Hanging out with friends at the city’s different bars (favorite is Tiki Bar) and restaurants (favorite is Mama Irma).

Why IU: : The IU Internal Medicine Residency feels like home to me. Moving for residency from Beirut to Indianapolis, I felt surrounded and supported by colleagues and faculty members on both professional and personal levels. With their incredible clinical skill set, their vast fund of knowledge, and their genuine dedication to patient care, my co-residents and teachers have continued to inspire me to be a better version of myself every day. I have also found – in the residency program and the medicine department – mentors who are interested in helping me clearly delineate my career goals and shape myself into the physician-educator I have always dreamed of becoming. Another important aspect of training at IU Internal Medicine is the diversity of the patients we serve at the four teaching hospitals: University Hospital is a quaternary referral center with complex and rare medical disease; Methodist is a large, previously private hospital that houses an outstanding cardiac care center; Eskenazi our safety-net, county hospital with a variety of common as well as advanced disease states; and the VA with its distinct veteran population providing important bread and butter. This has been a formative part of my training here and continues to be one of the unique assets of IU Internal Medicine. In a nutshell, if you are looking for a program where you go to work every day to be inspired by your colleagues and teachers to be a better physician (whether in clinical service, education, or research), I would encourage you to come and see what our program has for you. I won’t tell you about Indy here as I am looking forward to your visit when you will hear all about it and see for yourself!

Class of 2019

Arefin Chowdhury

Hometown: Munster, Indiana

Undergrad: Indiana University

Medical School: Indiana University School of Medicine

Favorite things to do in Indy: Biking the Monon, trying out local breweries and restaurants, hanging out on Mass Ave, hiking in Eagle Creek, walking on the Canal.

Why IU: I had a great experience as a medical student at IU, but coming into the interview season for residency I wasn’t sure I wanted to stay. I was worried that I would not get a well-rounded experience if I stayed in the same program too long. But no matter where I interviewed, I kept comparing the program to IU. I realized that no other program offered the set of qualities I was looking for in residency. Each of the four hospitals offers a unique learning experience, the medical campus is compact and easy to navigate, the residents seem happier here than almost any other program I visited, and there is an amazing culture of cooperative medicine here. The city offers plenty of fun and exciting activities to try, such as biking, hiking, touring breweries, walking the canal, or going to a variety of festivals and special events. Most importantly, the residents here look out for each other, and you never feel like you’re on your own. Now, over a year into my training, I’m sure I made the right choice. Every day I feel I am learning something new. I have an amazing network of co-residents and staff here. My work-life balance keeps me happy and functional, even on difficult rotations. And most importantly, I’m excited to go to work in the morning.

Bharathi Muthusamy

Hometown: Chesterton, Indiana

Undergrad: Case Western Reserve University

Medical School: Indiana University School of Medicine

Favorite thing to do in Indy: Checking out new restaurants.

Why IU: Since I went to medical school at IU, I got to see how the residency worked on the average day. This was the biggest pull for me to stay at IU. I knew the residents were happy and content outside of the interview day. I knew how supportive the faculty were of the house staff. When I picked IU, I felt confident that I would be getting the training needed to practice anywhere in any environment. Also, I already knew Indianapolis would be a good city to maintain a solid work-life balance. It’s a fun, laid-back city that I’ve grown to love!

Cynthia Wei

Hometown: Dallas, Texas

Undergrad: Cornell University

Medical School: University of Texas Southwestern

Favorite thing to do in Indy: Kayaking on Eagle Creek, enjoying the various local breweries in town, strolls with co-residents along the canal.

Why IU:  When I interviewed at IU, I knew that the program easily met the criteria on my checklist: a large variety of clinical settings in which to train (VA, county hospital, and private quaternary referral centers) and an academic teaching institution with great faculty with hands in both research and education. However, what struck me the most about the program was the collegiality and rapport between the residents and faculty alike. They say that you should follow your gut instinct when ranking programs, and IU felt like home.  Now, I feel blessed to be able to take care of our sickest, most indigent patients in one of the most beautiful county hospitals in the country, as well as learn about subspecialties such as Hepatology in one of the largest liver transplantation centers. I also enjoy the personal training sessions and nutrition classes scheduled during our ambulatory rotation, and taking a breather between busy clinical rotations to get back in the lab and learn about the molecular workings of cancer biology. The opportunities for growth are ample in this program, and there is much fun to be had while training to become a great physician here!

Jenny King

Hometown: Lafayette, Indiana

Undergrad: Purdue University

Medical School: Indiana University School of Medicine

Favorite thing to do in Indy: From making it downtown to a Colts or Pacers game to enjoying a new restaurant in Broad Ripple or Fountain Square, l love that Indy offers so many different options. My husband and I also live near Eagle Creek, and we love taking our dog out on the trails or out kayaking with us.

Why IU: I was able to get a glimpse into the residency program when I was a student at IU, but it wasn’t until I was out on the interview trail that I realized the unique opportunities training at IU would give me. The four hospital system is such an advantage to be exposed to a wide variety of patient populations and disease pathology in our training, and I really think it’s one of the strongest components of our program. I was also really impressed with the residents that I worked with during my training as a student here and those I met during the interview process. It was obvious that they were proud of the program and excited to share it with us. I’ve been more than happy with my experience at IU so far, and I’m confident it is providing me with the skills I need as I continue in my training.

Tony Wood

Hometown: Scottsdale, Arizona

Undergrad: Arizona State University

Medical School: Baylor College of Medicine

Favorite thing to do in Indy: Hiking/Kayaking/Zip Lining at Eagle Creek Park.

Why IU: I chose to place IU at the top of my rank list because I felt that this program equally promotes professional growth and preservation of a fulfilling personal life. Our four hospitals, which are conveniently located next to one another, give us the opportunity to engage in the practice of medicine in a county, VA, private, and University setting. As such, we not only grow as physicians by encountering a large spectrum of medical conditions and patient populations, but we also get to the test the waters to see what type of clinical environment gives us the greatest professional satisfaction. With these four hospitals comes a large faculty pool to pick from for mentorship and career guidance. I have encountered no resistance when seeking research projects as each faculty member I have talked to has been eager to be of assistance in the development of my career. I have been able to participate in poster presentations, case reports, clinical trials, and translational bench research with their help. Yet, while I have felt the residency burn at times (as you should in any strong residency program), I have never felt burned out. This may be in part due to our generous vacation schedule, personal day allowances, and guaranteed holiday protection. But I think it largely has to do with the fact that not a day goes by where I don’t smile and laugh with my colleagues. Our faculty and residents are good people. And because of them, work feels a little less like work.

Ziad Ghazzawi

Hometown: Beirut, Lebanon

Undergrad: American University of Beirut

Medical school: American University of Beirut

Favorite thing to do in Indy: Biking along the White River and the canal.

Why IU: Going into the Match, I knew that moving to a new country was going to be both the biggest and scariest step in my career. After interview season, I was certain that IU was where I wanted to end up. Aside from excellent training and unlimited learning opportunities that I knew would benefit me at a program that encompasses 4 different training environments, what drew me to IU was actually something else. It was the overwhelming feeling that I was joining a program that first and foremost supports its residents and vows to always listen to what they have to say. After a year at IU, I have seen firsthand how residents’ concerns and suggestions are brought to key stakeholders and acted on in a manner that persistently seeks to advance an already solid teaching atmosphere. As for the city itself, Indianapolis took a while to adjust to, but I have quickly come to appreciate the liveliness of a city that loves food, music and diversity while also offering a safe and easily accessible lifestyle. Regardless of career goals, Internal Medicine at IU has given me the confidence, personal and professional upbringing that I will need to keep pushing forward, and I would not have chosen any differently than being here.

Class of 2020

Audrey Hessong

Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana

Undergrad: Purdue University

Medical School: Indiana University School of Medicine

Favorite thing to do in Indy: Hiking, exploring new restaurants, and watching jeopardy with my 97 year old grandma.

Why IU: During my training as a medical student, I had the opportunity to spend quality time with IU residents. Their knowledge base and enthusiasm for the program was a major factor in my decision to choose IU. The four-hospital system, including the VA, is very unique and allows you to see a different patient population in each setting. As well, IU places a major emphasis on a quality clinic experience for their residents. The faculty preceptors are all very engaging and excellent educators. As a city, Indianapolis is home to several professional sports teams and features a vibrant array of social events. There are plenty of local hiking and cycling trails to enjoy the outdoors, too.  Indy has a low cost of living and is very easy to navigate. I am happy to call Indianapolis and the IU residency program home!

Laura Vater

Hometown: Hartford City, Indiana

Undergrad: University of Notre Dame

Medical School: Indiana University School of Medicine

Favorite thing to do in Indy: Hiking in Fort Harrison State Park / Indianapolis Zoo with my daughter.

Why IU: I am thrilled to have matched at my home institution IU! For me, the decision was clear early on. Matching at IU means having a diverse training experience unrivaled by other programs, along with ample opportunities for research and career mentorship. Perhaps most importantly, it means training in a supportive environment where residents are heard, respected, and valued. Medical training can be an arduous and isolating experience. Here at IU, there is a sense of community among program leadership, staff, and residents. I was drawn to this culture as a medical student, and have been grateful for this support as a resident. I’m so glad I chose IU.

Mahmoud Rahal

Hometown: Beirut, Lebanon

Undergrad: Bachelor of Science in Biology, American University of Beirut

Medical School: American University of Beirut School of Medicine

Favorite thing to do in Indy: Indianapolis is neither your typical big metropolitan busy city nor a quiet small city. It is somewhere in between and that’s what makes it special. Indianapolis is full of history and heritage which is evident through its monuments. What I really love about this city is its cultural districts. The canal offers a perfect walk or run especially at sunset. Mass Ave and fountain square have plenty of restaurants for a night gathering with friends, and it is all a walking distance from home.

Why IU: I was born in Brazil then raised in Lebanon. As an international medical graduate, deciding on a residency program was one of the most challenging decisions I had to make after graduating from medical school in Beirut. I sought out a program that balanced diverse clinical exposure, numerous research opportunities, and continuous mentorship between its residents and faculty. After a few months into my internship at Indiana University Internal Medicine Program, the complexity and scope of patients in the different hospitals, the patient-centered care, and the great caliber of the attendings that I have worked with have made it a great experience. The best part of my residency so far has been the welcoming and friendly atmosphere with my co-interns and senior residents that have helped me settle in well.

Miysha Shaw

Hometown: Okemos, Michigan (Right near East Lansing!)

Undergrad: Spelman College

Medical School: Weill Cornell

Favorite thing to do in Indianapolis: Eat! There are so many great places to eat here. I have a long bucket list of must-try restaurants, and I haven’t even reached the tip of the iceberg yet. I also really enjoy spending time outside. There are a lot of parks, and a long trail along the river that I find relaxing.

Why IU: The Indiana University program was highly recommended by my medical school advisor. When I made the choice to interview in the Midwest, I was told that IU was a place I absolutely must consider. The program is very large and serves an extensive group of patients from a wide demographic spectrum, a characteristic that was definitely appealing to me. Furthermore, the IU program graduates residents who are able to function in multiple healthcare settings as we are exposed to VA, county, university, and private hospital structures. Ultimately, I wanted to train at a place that would prepare me to practice in any field, and in any environment. Indiana U is that place. Furthermore, on my interview day, the residents were all very friendly and open about their experiences, and seemed to enjoy life both in and out of work.

Russell Purpura

Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas

Undergrad: Baylor University

Medical School: University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston

Favorite thing to do in Indy:  My wife and I love getting our road bikes out and riding across town.  Indy has a few major trails to either walk, run or bike. My two favorites include the Monon trail and Cultural trail. One goes through the heart of Indy, and the other is 24 miles long and it rides north of Indy in an awesome area called the Broad Ripple area, lined with pubs and restaurants to stop at along your way.  Also, I haven’t had the opportunity yet, but I can’t wait until the Indy 500!

Why IU: Moving to Indianapolis from Texas was a huge change, but that’s exactly what my wife and I wanted! We couples matched (IM and EM) and after many interviews across the country, we knew immediately that this was our perfect fit. First and most importantly, we wanted an environment that was going to continually push us to be our best every day, while also maintaining a friendly learning atmosphere. I can honestly say my attendings, upper levels, and even patients are constantly encouraging me to improve and keep learning daily. Second, I personally wanted a program that had multiple hospitals to maximize my exposure to a wide range of pathology, so I could become the best and most well rounded internist. Not only do we train at four different hospitals (Eskenaki, Methodist, VA and University), but we also are unopposed by any other large Universities or hospitals within a 3-4 hour radius (Chicago and Cincinnati). I’ve had patients travel across the entire state to be treated by an IU physician. To me this spoke very highly about IU’s program and its alumni. Finally, I wanted a large city that I could easily call home and that’s exactly what I got. Indy has a huge foodie and microbrewery scene. After a long shift or golden weekend, I know I can unwind with some great co-interns at a local pub or in downtown Indianapolis. You may not know, but Indy is home to the Colts football, Pacers basketball and the well-known Indy 500 race!

Sam Joshua

Hometown: Biu, Borno State, Nigeria

Undergrad: Missouri State University – Go Bears!

Medical School: Kansas City University

Favorite Thing to do in Indy: Running/walking by the canal!

Why IU: I interviewed at IU towards the end of the interview season, so I had a pretty good idea of what I was looking for in a residency program at that point. At the end of my interview, I left amazed by the emphasis placed on education/teaching, patient centered care, and research at IU. After interacting with the residents and program leaders, I came to the conclusion that the residency program offers a rigorous, challenging and supportive training environment for residents to succeed. Like some applicants, I was very skeptical about rotating at four different hospitals during my training. However, by the end of my interview day, the four-hospital system was definitely one of the top reasons why I wanted to train here and couldn’t be happier when I found out I matched at IU! This unique system provides a rare opportunity for residents to have exposure to diverse patient population and a variety of rotations in multiple hospital settings. It enriches the learning experience and adequately prepares residents to become well-rounded physicians of the future. Three months into my intern year, I have no doubt I made the right choice by choosing IU over the other programs I interviewed at. My co-interns and residents are absolutely a pleasure to work with, always willing to help whenever I reach out to them. Furthermore, the program leaders are invested in the program at every stage, receptive and swift in responding to feedbacks/changes to improve the quality of the program. In addition to ensuring quality training for each resident, they make resident health and well-being a priority to help us model a healthy lifestyle for our patients. I have enjoyed living in Indy and exploring the local food places, museums, sport venues, and running/biking trails throughout the city. I’m happy here and hoping/planning to stay here for fellowship after my residency training. Indy is my new home away from home and I love it!

Wes Anderson

Hometown: Kingsport, Tennessee

Undergrad: Vanderbilt University

Medical School: University of Virginia

Favorite thing to do in Indy: Attend sporting events and explore new restaurants with my wife.

Why IU: My wife and I chose IU together; she is pursuing a career in dentistry. We liked it here because it felt like home to us: we both grew up in East Tennessee, and the culture in Indy is very similar. I was raised on a farm, and I am a country boy at heart. However, after my undergraduate experiences in Nashville, I also enjoy the feel of a larger city. Indianapolis and the state of Indiana offer both. You can drive 20 minutes outside of the city and get that peaceful rural feel, or you can explore the city and all its amenities. The program here just “felt right” during my interview. The pre-interview experience was by far the best I had anywhere. All the people I encountered were helpful, approachable, and overall just fun to be around. The educational experience at IU is also wonderful. I love the level of autonomy we get, and the diverse experiences we get with the different hospitals. It really prepares us for everything. Finally, IU is a program that is constantly growing and improving in an array of facets such as patient care, research, education, and quality. Those are just a few of the many reasons that I am very thankful to be at IU.