Grant Chambers, M.D.
We understand how important it is to choose a residency program that fits your personality and life goals. It can be a difficult decision especially without having the benefit of being able to visit in person.
I was among the last cohort of medical students who interviewed for residency in-person. For those of you who did not have the opportunity to participate in an away rotation here or who are not familiar with Little Rock, let me say, Little Rock is a perfect sized city and UAMS is an ideal health system in which to complete your residency. As the state’s tertiary referral center, we routinely see a wide variety of rare pathology and have a robust kidney and liver transplant program. Additionally, UAMS is conveniently located next to Hillcrest -a beautiful and safe historic neighborhood- so you can live within walking distance to the hospital and great dining and nightlife if you choose.
I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and attended the Ross University for medical school twelve years after graduating from Stanford University. Though my path to medicine was a protracted one, being a non-traditional resident has not left me out of place at UAMS. Residents come from all walks of life and I could not feel more supported as a resident with kids at home competing for my time. We have residents who take the path of Doogie Howser (I’m dating myself, but you can google it if you don’t get the reference) and those like me who made a career change to pursue medicine. And though we have different definitions of what constitutes classic rock, we enjoy the diverse perspective and experiences each team member brings to the OR.
Residents in this program develop strong bonds with each other right from the start of intern year. Frequent social activities organized by our Wellness Committee as well as a class float trip down the Buffalo River before the start of CA-1 year are highlights of my residency social experience. I’ve maintained friendships with my senior residents who have gone on to attending roles and fellowships despite the geographic distance now between us.
We have both a culturally and clinically diverse faculty with a unique range of experiences and skill sets. Attendings and residents at UAMS develop a great rapport with each other and that relationship lends itself to trust within the operating room as well as friendship outside of it. CA-1s are all assigned a faculty mentor at the start of the year and are free to seek out a different mentor if they find their interests better align with a faculty member specializing in another area.
Although you will meet your minimum ACGME case numbers at any anesthesia residency, you will absolutely exceed your case numbers at UAMS easily and early on. The benefit of not having to worry about our case numbers is that we are subsequently able to choose the cases we want to do based on our preference and not out of necessity and can also step into the supervisory role of an attending anesthesiologist during our CA-3 year. As I’ve interviewed for positions next year prospective employers have been impressed with the breadth of the UAMS clinical experience and the quality of our training.
We hope we can provide some insight into the experience you might have as a future Anesthesia Resident at the UAMS and encourage you to use us as a resource to help guide your decision making. We look forward to talking with you and hope you will choose UAMS for your Anesthesia training.
Ashley Elser, M.D.
Welcome to the UAMS Anesthesiology Residency Program! Thank you for taking the time to learn more about who we are and what we have to offer you. I am originally from Little Rock, and being at UAMS has been a great experience for me. I completed medical school at UAMS, and even after interviewing at other programs, UAMS had exactly what I was looking for – exceptional clinical experience, fantastic faculty, and a plethora of educational resources. Plus, living in Little Rock is actually a hidden gem.
The clinical opportunities at UAMS are unparalleled. Being the only Level 1 trauma center in the state of Arkansas, we have almost 3,000 trauma admissions each year, approximately 19,000 surgical cases, and a multi-state catchment area. Additionally, UAMS is the main high-risk obstetrics center in Arkansas, and in 2020 the Division of Obstetric Anesthesia was designated a Center of Excellence by the Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology (SOAP). This status is awarded to institutions who demonstrate excellence in obstetric care, setting benchmarks for optimal care to improve standards nationally. Arkansas Children’s Hospital is our free-standing Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center offering 18,000 anesthetics per year, giving you a wide complement of cases within pediatrics. Recently, we have partnered with the Arkansas Heart Hospital to expand our cardiac case experience and master our transesophageal echocardiogram skills. All this to say you will be introduced to complex surgical patients with multiple comorbidities early in your CA-1 year and consequently far exceed ACGME case minimums in all areas. Whether you decide to do general anesthesiology or pursue a fellowship, our residents perform exceptionally and match nationally at competitive fellowship programs.
In addition to our clinical experience, UAMS is dedicated to residents’ education. Our didactics consist of 3-hour sessions every week, and we have 24/7 access to our state-of-the-art simulation center, which is also one of the nationwide MOCA (Maintenance of Certification in Anesthesiology) centers. There are plenty of leadership opportunities to join including partaking in resident council, teaching medical students or co-residents, and volunteering for events. We also have ongoing research opportunities within obstetrics, regional, chronic pain, and neuroanesthesia – just to name a few.
The city of Little Rock offers an incredible food and brewery scene as well as a multitude of festivals (such as Harvest Fest, the Main Street Food Truck Festival, the World Cheese Dip Championship, and more). Being the “Natural State,” we have endless outdoor activities including hiking Pinnacle Mountain, camping in the Petit Jean Mountain area, floating the Buffalo River, and exploring the scenic trails both in Little Rock and in Northwest Arkansas. Living here is extremely affordable on a resident salary, with about half of our residents becoming homeowners during their four years. Little Rock is also both family-oriented and pet friendly, and there’s even a bar downtown dedicated to the pups called “Bark Bar.” Little Rock has a bit of everything all within about a 20-minute driving distance, which is quite convenient for our early mornings!
Most importantly, our residents are like a family, and our support staff and coordinators are always here for us at any time. In addition, our faculty serve as mentors and become life-long friends. While our clinical experience and training are unmatched, I think it’s the people that have made my time at UAMS worthwhile. In fact, I have decided to continue on as an attending anesthesiologist at UAMS following residency, and I am thrilled to grow more in my career with my UAMS family. Thank you again for considering our outstanding program, and we look forward to meeting you this interview season!