2022-2023 Chief Medical Residents2022-2023 Chief Medical Residents
Pictured L to R: Drs. Joseph Granade, Aditi Jani, Courtney Wagner, and John Locke

As chief residents, we remember what it was like being a resident before the COVID pandemic gripped the world. It affected nearly every aspect of our personal lives, work experiences, and medical education. It was during the second half of our intern year that we started seeing news articles about an atypical, pneumonia-like illness across the globe. Then, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, the hospital began canceling elective procedures, ambulatory clinics started closing, and residents were hastily recruited onto newly assembled COVID Surge Teams to address the rising number of patients streaming into the hospital.

Seth LandefeldSeth Landefeld, M.D., MACP, Professor and Chair, UAB Department of Medicine

It has been a spectacular fall in Birmingham and a wonderful period for our residency. Ryan Kraemar, M.D., has assumed the reins of Residency Program Director with a warm smile and the ease of a natural. Ryan has built a great team with Karla Williams, M.D., and Starr Steinhilber, M.D., MPH, joining Jason Morris, M.D., as Associate Program Directors. Lisa Willett, M.D., remains in the wings this year as Co-Program Director before stepping into a new role as the Department's Vice Chair for Education and Faculty Development next summer.

2021-2022 Chief Medical ResidentsDr. Alexander Yang, PGY-1by Dr. Alexander Yang, PGY-1

There was a strange quiet in the room as I asked, “Would you like some water?”

The elderly woman with end-stage mitral stenosis looked up, her once bright eyes, now glassy. Each breath, a battle even with the aid of the BiPAP machine. My focus was drawn to her lips as I awaited a response. They had become dry and cracked as the rhythmic jet of air from the BiPAP blew harshly, accompanied by a bellowing roar that shattered the quiet following my question. Unable to overcome the force of the machine, she mustered the strength to nod affirmatively to me. Speech therapy had confirmed days earlier that she could not swallow safely, but our palliative care colleagues suggested liberalization of diet as a comfort measure after long discussions with the patient and family.

2021-2022 Chief Medical ResidentsDr. Julie England, PGY-3by Dr. Julie England, PGY-3

In my free time, I find it therapeutic to reflect on my memorable patients, and sometimes I write them letters. I never send the letters. I never include lab results or appointment reminders. I simply include the thoughts and experiences my patient and I shared together. Usually, I write these letters for myself, but today I would like to share one of the letters with you.

2021-2022 Chief Medical ResidentsWilliam E. "Bill" Dismukes, M.D., MACPby Dr. Joseph Granade, CMR

As the sun set on a deflating bouncy castle and we stowed away the tug-of-war rope for next year, it struck me that it had been, without a doubt, the best Camp Dismukes of my residency. For the past few years, the COVID pandemic had cast a shadow over what was intended to be a fun day for residents to get together and enjoy being outside, far away from the buzzing pagers and beeping monitors of the hospital. As mask restrictions and social distancing recommendations relaxed, we were finally able to get together again this year. We spent the day pumpkin carving with our families, watching fellow residents tumble over each other in the sack race, and simply sitting around talking with friends. The day could not have been better.