Farewell to the Chiefs
June is the most poignant month. As we gear up to celebrate graduation on Tuesday, the nostalgia builds. It’s been a spectacular year, and for that, let’s thank the Chiefs.
Collectively and individually, this year’s Chief Residents have graced us with inspired leadership, fueled by their love for our program, our community, and our trainees. They led captivating morning reports and their Grand Rounds were masterpieces. As new attendings, they role modeled clinical expertise, judgement, wisdom, and compassion.
A senior attending once told me that you know a program is thriving when the residents are laughing. This year we had as much laughing as I’ve ever seen. In a profound way, the Chiefs mastered an essential tenet of education: create joy and the learning will follow.
What I’ll remember most about this year’s Chiefs was their complete commitment to their residents. They created the most thoughtful schedule possible. They spent countless hours preparing for morning report. They implemented a highly successful noon conference curriculum. They mentored residents and interns through their first teaching conferences. They coached residents who needed skill building. They boosted confidence when boosting was called for. They were available when a confidante was needed, and for as long as necessary. They were candid with me and the rest of residency leadership when we needed their honest assessments. They were unflagging advocates. They always assumed the best. If a trainee was struggling, they would work tirelessly to understand the challenge. They always found a way to help.
To say we’ll miss them is an understatement. Merilyn Varghese is headed to the BI-Deaconess to start her cardiology fellowship, Fred Howard to the University of Chicago for hematology-oncology, Chris Sciria to Cornell for cardiology, and Brian Persaud to the BI-Deaconess to begin his career as a hospitalist and master educator. Thankfully, George Goshua is staying at Yale for hematology-oncology.
When I’ve introduced each of them for Grand Rounds this year, I’ve always said I expected them to come home to Yale to join faculty one day. The comment always drew a laugh. But I meant it.
Let’s also take this moment to acknowledge the outstanding contributions made this year by our specialized VA Chiefs, Victor Bilan and Priya Duggal. Victor has led the charge as our Chief Resident for Quality and Safety (CRQS), lifting our sophistication so we could give our veterans the exceptional care they deserve. Victor will be a hematology-oncology fellow at Thomas Jefferson next year. In the Center of Excellence (COE), Priya has pushed the envelope in primary care education. She will continue her efforts next year at the San Francisco VA, where she will focus on the use of telemedicine in primary care.
I know I speak for the entire residency community by saying that this was a year like no other. Thank you, Chiefs, for teaching us, for inspiring us, and for showing us the way. We are a better residency because of you, and we will benefit from your legacy for years to come. We’ll miss you all.
Enjoy your Sunday, everyone, and hope to see many of you Tuesday night,
PS As many of you know, our Muslim friends and colleagues will be celebrating Eid this week, to mark the close of Ramadan. To honor this occasion, I’ve asked Dr. Naseema Merchant to share a mini-lesson with us today (see the attached):