Dr. Anjali Majumdar
I was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and was raised in Monmouth County (yes, it is close to where they filmed the television show “Jersey Shore” – I do not need to tan but I do go to the gym as feasible these days and do my laundry). My mother is an internist, previously trained as an obstetrician/gynecologist in India, and my father is a plant pathologist, so growing up my interests in the sciences were strongly encouraged, such as being a co-captain for my high school Science Olympiad team. I went through an accelerated pre-medical/medical school program between the Pennsylvania State University and Jefferson Medical College and then came back to my Jersey girl roots by matching at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital for internal medicine residency. I found my calling in infectious disease when I realized how much I enjoyed microbiology, potentially offering a cure for most patients suffering from infections, and still maintaining so much knowledge of the human body. I matched at the University of Maryland for infectious disease fellowship and it seems I continued to search for warmer weather when I was started working at MedStar Washington Hospital Center (MWHC) after graduation in summer 2016.
During fellowship, my main interest was to become a well-rounded infectious disease physician and one major aspect that drew me to working here at MWHC was the variety in terms of presenting conditions, diversity of patient backgrounds, and spectrum of health literacy – it was like the glove fit in that I could apply my skills and knowledge in a meaningful way. Currently, my research interests are centered around our HIV-positive patients in providing home and community-based services as well as reviewing interventions that can help our aging HIV-positive patients live with their comorbidities. I aspire to become a clinical educator and remain involved in teaching trainees as well as my patients to create a space for collaborative discussions to further patient care.
What I love about our residents: Hands down the enthusiasm and authenticity of our residents! Everyone comes into work with a can-do attitude, asking great questions during lectures and feedback through consultations, and are genuinely interested in having each other’s backs. The collegial environment is palpable, which begets positive interactions between residents, patients, attendings, nursing staff, and so on to promote patient care.
What I do on my time off: I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and creating new memories, mostly surrounding food and music. I am on a quest to baking the best pumpkin pie and trying to see more live music when it becomes more prevalent again.
What I love about Washington: So much to see and experience, even virtually during pandemic times. The museums are unique, the food is so diverse, and there is something to do for everyone.
Fun fact about myself: I rode in one of the DeLoreans used in the “Back to the Future” trilogy. I am also full of useless trivia, such as still remembering the birthdays for all the Backstreet Boys.
Favorite memory: Seeing an application of a concept learned by a friend or colleague, like when a co-resident performed a precordial thump literally within seconds of seeing developing ventricular fibrillation on telemetry while we were in the CCU. Of course, he is now a great cardiologist!
How I keep up with medical literature: I receive the table of contents primarily for CID and NEJM so I can get a capture of what is being published as well as listening to the Puscast by Mark Crislip. Also, given that our patients provide unique learning opportunities, I try to look up an article for each patient I see in consultation.
Advice to new residents: This is going to be one of the most unique experiences you will have in your life, unparalleled to other career paths but one where you will learn so much about yourself and the physician you want to become. You have a unique opportunity to help others while receiving hands-on education; though some days are challenging you will be rewarded with your experience. Don’t be afraid of change, allow yourself the chance to grow, take care of yourself and needs, and ask all those questions! To quote everyone’s favorite musical (“Hamilton”, obviously), “I am the one thing in life I can control.”
Dr. Patrick Bering
I was born in Harrisburg and spent most of my childhood in different towns and cities of Pennsylvania (Mt. Gretna, Philadelphia, Danville, and Williamsport). After high school, I spent a gap year in Mönchengladbach, Germany, where I played amateur soccer as a midfielder for Rheydter SV. I still follow the club Borussia Mönchengladbach very closely and read German soccer news every day. I attended college at Villanova University, where I studied biology, German literature, and philosophy. My younger sister and I were both third-generation medical students at Jefferson Medical College after our father and grandfather, and my dad is also a cardiologist. After graduating from Jefferson, I matched at University of Maryland Medical Center for internal medicine and lived with my older brother in Baltimore, MD. As an intern in the CCU, I consulted a smart, kind, and fun dietitian, whom I later married. I spent a year as a heart-failure hospitalist at UMMC and stayed there for my general cardiology fellowship; in all, I survived seven years in Baltimore! My wife and I were briefly in Pittsburgh, PA, where I did subspecialty training in cardiac MRI at UPMC and our daughter was born. We moved back to Maryland when I took a job in the MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute of MedStar Washington Hospital Center in 2018.
Since arriving here, I have spent a large part of my clinical time doing cardiac ultrasound, including structural, intraoperative, and diagnostic TEE, as well as cardiac MRI. I help with device research through the structural heart team and have an interest in valvular heart disease, cardiomyopathies and MINOCA. I attend on the 4NE cardiology wards rotation and became the clinical education director for the rotation in 2020. I have a strong compulsion to teach, and residents should not fear the Socratic method! Washington, D.C. has a challenging and diverse population, whom I am proud to serve as a clinical cardiologist. I have enjoyed this exciting start to my career and am pleased to work closely with the medicine residents and cardiology fellows as a clinician educator.
What I love about our residents: The residents have a hunger for learning but also show great capacity for compassion and empathy. I have witnessed many instances where residents have committed extra time and effort to make sure that patients and families are cared for spiritually and emotionally as well as physically. That healing combination is very special.
What I do on my time off: I love being with my wife and daughter, and I visit often with family when epidemiologically possible. My daughter is 2 years old and already a force of nature. I love being outdoors, working in my yard and garden and observing all kinds of critters. I enjoy cooking and am an amateur mixologist for craft cocktails.
What I love about Washington: I love the museums, the architecture, and the culinary diversity. There is a definite palpable energy to the city.
Fun fact about myself: I was the Villanova class poet of 2006 and still enjoy writing, but I do a lot more reading these days and am a Sci-Fi and Fantasy junky.
Favorite memory: Too many to chose from! These days, I typically enjoy laughing with my wife about our daughter’s quirks, foibles, and overall cuteness.
How I keep up with medical literature: I have a long commute out to my homestead, so I listen to a lot of podcasts on cardiology and internal medicine topics. I listen to Eagle’s Eye View (from Kim Eagle at the ACC), the JACC podcast (with Valentin Fuster), JAMA clinical reviews, This Week in Cardiology (John Mandrola), and the Heart podcast (James Rudd). I have dabbled a bit on social media, where colleagues may often post interesting studies or challenging cases. Other than that, I take inspiration from patients whom I see, read a review article on a condition they have and then use the reference section to delve into the primary literature on the topic.
Advice to new residents: It is a privilege to be in a role where we can care for people in vulnerable and disconcerting situations. There are challenges, frustrations, opportunity costs, and misfortunes along the way, but the experiences you encounter with the gifts of your time and thoughtfulness are worth it. Behind every success story is a trial that was surmounted. Remain humble but steadfast in your career and remember the “F-word” of the pandemic: flexibility! We are in a career that necessitates growth and creativity amid the ever-changing landscape of medical data and social structures.
Dr. Jennifer Tran
I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada to a business centric family. Although I enjoy business and finance, I knew my calling was medicine. I completed my Bachelor’s Degrees at the University of Calgary prior to attending St. George’s University where I was the first person to be started on a track to obtain a dual MD/MBA degree. I felt that my MBA has helped to understand all the aspects of medicine outside of direct patient care that we, as healthcare providers, are often left scrambling to learn on the fly. I came to Medstar Washington Hospital Center for my Internal Medicine residency, where I graduated not too long ago. I had found great support and mentorship here, and liked it so much that I decided to stay here as part of the primary care faculty. I get the privilege of seeing patients in both the outpatient and inpatient setting, which allows me to see patients in different portions of their health journey.
Throughout my life, I have enjoyed volunteering as a way to give back to the community, particularly working with disadvantaged members of society. I have volunteered both locally and abroad and currently my passion involves providing care for the immigrant population.
I am currently involved in research to improve cancer screenings in patients of lower socioeconomic status, as well as research on COVID-19 characteristics and outcomes.
What I love about our residents: The enthusiasm! I love coming into work and seeing the excitement and enthusiasm of the residents to makes a difference in the life of a patient.
What I do on my time off: I enjoy everything that has to do with food: visiting farmers’ markets to pick food, cooking food and of course eating delicious food. I also enjoy hiking with my dog and cat on my time off.
What I love about Washington: I love how DC is a big city, but still has a small city feel.
Fun fact about myself: I have my motorcycle license and have flown airplanes
Favorite memory: Watching a resident teach something that I have taught them in the past. Seeing someone teach a concept means that they truly understood the point that you were trying to get across.
How I keep up with medical literature: I read ACP and JAMA journal summaries and find interesting and relevant articles to delve into deeper. The residents also keep me up to date by bringing up interesting things they have recently read.
Advice to new residents: Residency is hard, but it is also incredibly rewarding. It’s a time when you can finally put your knowledge and education to practice. You’ll meet a lot of interesting people and will build friendships and bonds that will last a lifetime.
Dr. Chee Chan
I was born in Hong Kong but raised in New York City. My family immigrated when I was 3 years old. We first lived in Chinatown in New York City then moved to Queens (which many believe is not really part of New York City – unless you’re from Queens). I went through an accelerated medical school program at the City College of New York and landed at Albany Medical College for medical school. After graduating in 2001, I went to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey for internal medicine residency. It was nice to be closer to home but not too close (if you know what I mean). I then went to Rhode Island Hospital for Pulmonary & Critical Care fellowship. While I realized I had great training, I also realized I had to be back in a city – sorry Providence, not real. I started working at MedStar Washington Hospital Center immediately after finishing fellowship and have been here since.
MedStar Washington has given me the opportunity to grow and thrive. I was informed that I would be the Medical Director of the Medical Intermediate Care Unit. Just coming out of fellowship, I thought that would be a daunting task but with guidance and mentorship from my colleagues, it has been a very rewarding experience. And of course, working with residents has kept me on my toes.
I have been able to keep up with some research as well focusing on anticoagulation and bleeding disorders like Heparin Induced Thrombocytopenia.
What I love about our residents: The residents are always very open and eager to learn. They have great attitudes and have a can-do attitude. During COVID19, none of the residents said no. Everyone said “Yes, we will do this together.” There was never a moment of hesitation or resistance.
What I do on my time off: I spend time with my family. My girls are 6, 6 and 2 years old. They keep me busy but happy at home. I’m essentially a chauffeur, chef, and reader on my time off.
What I love about Washington: The diversity and culture are amazing. You can watch all sorts of sporting events at the Capital One building or walk into a free museum about art or history. So much to do and eat.
Fun fact about myself: My best friend and I went to a driving course where we drove 2 Lamborghinis, a Ferrari and a Rolls Royce around a race track.
Favorite memory: Watching the lightbulb turn on. For each resident who rotates through, there is a certain point in time when the resident gets it. They understand. They see what we’re trying to teach and the resident lights up. Watching that each time is my favorite.
How I keep up with medical literature: I prioritize NEJM and JAMA and get my CME through Medscape. Working with residents and fellows keeps me motivated.
Advice to new residents: This will be challenging but fun. On a day to day basis, you might not feel like you’re learning much but when you re-assess at the end of the year, you’ll realize the strides you have made. Take time for yourself and refresh!