Living & Working in Cincinnati

  • Life of a Clinician

    A Destination for Medical Education

    Meet a few of the clinicians who chose Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to continue their medical training. They found diverse patient populations, supportive and challenging faculty, a drive for excellence, teamwork and a close relationship with the field of medical research. Click on the links below to read their stories: 

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    + Large Program Means Access to Complex Cases

    When John Brewington chose the residency program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, the institution’s overall size played a big role in his decision.

    “For certain, the largest factor was the support you get with a large program,” he says.

    But one of Brewington’s favorite aspects here might be surprising – the camaraderie.

    “Because that energy is here, it draws a subset of people who are enthusiastic about what they do,” he says. “Since I’ve never been a resident anywhere else, I can’t directly say that we’re better in that aspect; it’s just one of my favorite things here.”

    He sees that energy come to life in the support residents receive from program leadership, as well as residents’ willingness to help each other balance work and life. Residents routinely cover shifts for each other, he explains, to ensure each team member gets personal time. And leadership with a strong open-door policy supports that type of teamwork, he adds.

    Brewington says he intends to enroll in a fellowship program after his residency. And though he’s still deciding what subspecialty to pursue, he says the opportunities in the residency program at Cincinnati Children’s will ensure he makes the right choice.

    “Being here has opened my eyes because of the diversity of pathologies we see,” he says. “Since we are the only admitting pediatric center for some distance, we cover all the primary peds and tertiary concerns. That means many complicated patients, but also many general peds problems, making for a great mix.

    “There’s incredible depth and opportunities available in a big center like this.”

    + Residency Delivers on Expectations for High Quality

    When Michael Johnson began searching for a residency program, he had high standards.

    “I had ultimately been inspired to train at what I consider a top-notch facility,” he says. “I wanted to go to a place where I’d be challenged.”

    Colleagues from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine suggested Johnson consider Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and from the first impression, he was interested.

    “I had heard it was a great place,” he says. “When I interviewed here, I just loved it. I felt like I really clicked with the people here.”

    Johnson says Cincinnati Children’s quickly went from a potential candidate to the top choice on his list.

    “I think Children’s is a top-notch facility because of the fantastic people that work here and the devotion to constantly improve the quality of care delivered,” he says. “It’s also awesome to be able to interact with many of the shakers and movers in the world of pediatrics.”

    Now that he’s been here, Johnson reports that Cincinnati Children’s has lived up to his expectations.

    “One thing that stands out the most is how incredibly supportive everyone is,” he says. Along with a truly open-door policy among chief residents and faculty, he says, the residents maintain a proud tradition of helping each other with paperwork, covering shifts and making sure the entire resident team succeeds.

    “We have a motto: ‘work as a team, not in a team,’ ” he says. “That motto does really translate in real life.”

    That support is complemented, he says, by another part of the culture at Cincinnati Children’s: a constant drive for excellence.

    “This is an impressive intellectual environment,” he says. “It’s not a competitive environment; it’s a situation where you want to stay up on your game. We’re constantly pushed to expand our knowledge base.”

    And that, he says, is making him a confident, effective clinician.

    “You start to see it most in your decision-making algorithms,” he says. “I feel like I could do anything and do a decent job at it.”

    + Supervisors, Colleagues Look Out for Residents

    Katie Meier didn’t need much persuasion to consider Cincinnati Children’s when looking for residency programs. Her time in medical school at the University of Cincinnati had exposed her to the pediatric institution and its reputation as a leader in child and adolescent medical care.

    “I had really loved the program,” she says, “and I really found it hard to find another program I liked as much.”

    That’s not to say Meier didn’t consider other hospitals. She says she held Cincinnati Children’s to the same criteria as her other options. And on one of those major points, she says, Cincinnati Children’s truly stood out.

    “I wanted a program that really takes care of its residents,” she says, adding that the hospital has delivered on that promise.

    “I think part of it’s the program directors,” she says, explaining that – while the residency is a lot of work – her supervisors and colleagues work together to make sure no resident shoulders an excessive burden or loses touch with work-life balance. Residents are ready to cover shifts for each other, she adds, and supervisors monitor residents’ schedules.

    Meier says she sees that sense of community support hospital-wide, from the swift translation of research to clinical tools to faculty members’ willingness to sit down with residents and talk about their own career paths.

    “I think it’s just a spirit of giving. It’s the way we work,” she says, adding, “I think for an institution of this size and prominence, that’s unusual.”

    + Neonatology Combines with Basic Science

    Kristin Melton, MD, has twice been a new face at Cincinnati Children’s. After completing a neonatology fellowship here in 2001, she left Cincinnati for a faculty position in her hometown of Kansas City, MO.

    But then she came back.

    “Here, there’s a closer connection between clinical and basic scientific research than anywhere else I’ve seen,” she says.

    Given her career path, that’s an extremely valuable asset. Melton is one of a number of neonatologists who work both as clinicians in the hospital’s Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and as researchers in the Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation’s extensive lab facilities.

    “In our division many people do both,” she says. “We all recognize that research is important, and is really the way we move our field forward.”

    Melton’s research focuses on developmental biology, with a focus on the causes of congenital defects. The lab work pays dividends for the 10 weeks per year she works in the NICU, she says. Her greater understanding of the molecular-level causes of congenital birth defects can help her better diagnose a newborn’s problems, and she says that knowledge can help the parents as well.

    “It helps us give families a cause if we understand the pathways of the problem,” she says. “That’s very helpful to them.”

    In addition, she says the opportunities at Cincinnati Children’s are significant for both faculty and student researchers.

    “I like the teaching aspect,” she says, noting that the hospital offers residents the chance to do research – something unheard of at other teaching hospitals. “Because of that close (clinical-research) relationship, it makes that possible.

    “It’s a very unique environment,” she continues. “I think there are places where you think they have some relationship, but the collaboration here between scientists and physicians is very unique.”