Skip to Main Content

Fellow Focus in Four: Ysabel Ilagan-Ying, MD, Digestive Diseases

August 25, 2023
by Melanie Ho

What was your path to Yale?

I went to Yale for my undergraduate degree, which is where I met my now-husband Lee. He stayed at Yale in the MD/PhD program, and I went to University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) for a portion of medical school. During medical school, we realized how important family was for us, so he proposed to me. We invited friends from California and Connecticut—people from our undergrad and medical school chapters all met in New Haven at the wedding.

Afterward, I stayed at UCSF for another year before transferring to Yale for my clerkships. I was introduced to Tamar Taddei, MD, who is now the chief of Digestive Diseases at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System. She helped sponsor my summer research project that facilitated my transition from UCSF to Yale, and she has been my mentor ever since.

Can you describe your residency experience at the VA?

I provided primary care for a panel of veterans at the West Haven VA. Every six weeks I saw them and learned about their histories, their unique perspectives, and what they did to serve our country. I wanted to be their advocate and get them the care they needed and deserved.

I had a patient that I saw for my entire three years of residency, and he would consistently schedule to see me every four to six months. When he found out I was graduating from residency, he scheduled it to be my last clinic slot, so we could tie up all of his care and take a picture together.

Why did you choose Yale Department of Internal Medicine for your digestive diseases fellowship?

Yale’s Department of Internal Medicine has one of the leading gastrointestinal (GI) and liver programs nationally and globally. The program is supportive, innovative, and always strives to be at the forefront of medical education and training.

Yale is also extremely supportive of keeping families together. From letting me transfer as a medical student to our surgery and medicine residency programs coordinating with each other for us to match as a couple. Even for fellowship, both my GI/Liver and Lee's surgery mentors were very supportive of our goal to stay together for fellowship.

Perks of living in New Haven?

We have lived in New Haven for almost a decade now! The city continues to grow in art, food, and culture with easy walkability and a more affordable cost of living compared to the major cities nearby. The food and variety of nature activities is diverse. We enjoy taking our dog, Ollie, on beautiful scenic hikes up East Rock or around West Rock Lake, and regularly walk to pick up treats from local unique eateries like Zeneli's pizza, Arethusa's peach ice cream, Elena's soft serve of the day on Orange Street, and Hachi Roku's hand roll bar.

Editor’s Note: Ysabel Ilagan-Ying graduated from the Traditional Internal Medicine Residency Program in 2023. During the ceremony, she received the Stephen R. Shell Memorial Housestaff Award, Frederick L. Sachs Award, and VA Clinic Award (Firm B). Read more.

Submitted by Julie Parry on August 25, 2023