Letter From the Chief

Lucas Meuchel

Hello, and thank you for your interest in OHSU!

As an interviewing medical student, I asked patients in the waiting area at OHSU if they felt confident in the hospital to take care of their loved ones, and the response heavily influenced my decision to come to Portland for medical school. Fast forward three years to my pursuit of a residency training program when several of my mentors asked what I was looking for: “I want to be able to do any anesthetic, be able to learn and grow throughout training, and be prepared for any clinical scenario that comes through the OR.” Nearly every opinion I sought listed OHSU among the programs to apply to and after four years training here, I can testify that our program absolutely offers this preparation and so much more!

The Residents
One of the most noteworthy aspects of the program at OHSU are the residents themselves. We come from all over the US and beyond, and we have a strong sense of community. The people around you significantly impact your training environment, and I can positively say I’m proud to be a colleague with each and every resident and fellow. We have residents who have completed PhDs, are heavily involved in promoting Diversity and Inclusion at OHSU, serve on national committees, and who are completing scholarly work to be presented at national meetings. Outside of the hospital, now that we have begun to (more) safely socialize again, we are already organizing BBQs, picnics, and downtown Portland cycling activities – more are on the way this year! Our community of residents reaches beyond training as well; there is a wide net of OHSU graduates in both private and academic practice throughout the US.

The Clinical setting
The training at OHSU spans the gamut of anesthesia practice, both over the course of the clinical years as well as within any given rotation. Our day-to-day experience includes our main operating rooms on Marquam Hill, our outpatient surgery center at the waterfront, and extends across the campus to our Veteran’s and Children’s hospitals. The cases cover the most basic of pathology to the most complex neuroendocrine tumors in patients with significant comorbidities. We are lucky in that all of our core sites are connected by aerial tram or skybridge walkway, which allows less time spent traveling and more focus on education and training, or enjoying the outdoors when off-duty. The experience here is truly first rate – a recent addition to our growing faculty stated “As residents at OHSU, you all are extremely well prepared for the next phase, having multiple trauma cases and then jumping right into a liver transplant later in the same day was not part of my training.”

Multiple factors contribute to this: our wide catchment region (extending to Alaska, Montana, and California), Level I trauma center status, specialty ICUs (Cardiac, Surgical, and Neuroscience), outstanding faculty, and dedicated rotations in various anesthesiology sub-specialties. During training at OHSU, you will work with attending physicians on both general OR and specialty rotations – but many times our residents find themselves in a non-specialty case working with an attending trained in Critical Care, Cardiac, or Regional Anesthesia. This is a huge advantage and highly educational, as in addition to the basics of any particular case, both our patients and residents benefit from the advanced training so many of our attendings have completed.

The Education
Starting with our intern year, trainees attend dedicated half-day didactic sessions. Initially, these are in combination with our surgical intern colleagues, then transition to more focused, Anesthesiology specific content that culminates with a month of OR Anesthesiology prior to starting CA1 year. Our commitment to education remains, though the clinical years, with dedicated half-day didactic sessions every week (Resident Academic Half day, RAH). During these sessions, in addition to traditional didactic lectures, residents present ABA keywords, undergo oral board preparation with real world board examiners, and learn from resident presentations of interesting and challenging cases. Our residents are highly involved in our own education as we all learn from each other!

More Opportunities
Outside of fantastic training in Anesthesiology, OHSU offers more areas to get involved and gain additional experience. Our Oregon Scholars Program (OSP) offers combined Anesthesiology Residency and Fellowship in Critical Care or Research. Residents are also able to tailor their learning experience by engaging in the Extracurricular Education & Leadership (ExCEL) program that offers additional lectures in acupuncture, global health, research, education and training, career and financial planning, and advocacy at the state and local level. Elective rotations include transesophageal echocardiography, Pediatric Cardiac anesthesia, Pediatric Non-OR anesthesia, and Research to name a few.

Portland is a unique and diverse city at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, and offers a variety of attractions and activities for all ages - farmer’s markets, arts festivals, concerts, an opera house, and a theater that hosts traveling Broadway shows. It offers one of the trendiest restaurants and food cart scenes in the nation, countless craft breweries and independent coffee roasters throughout the metro area. Portland is also home to many major and minor league sports teams, including the Trail Blazers (men’s basketball), Timbers (men’s soccer), Thorns (women’s soccer), Winterhawks (men’s hockey), and Pickles (men’s baseball). During free time, our residents often get out of the city to take advantage of the multitude of Pacific Northwest opportunities, including exploring the coast, skiing the slopes of Mt. Hood and Mt. Bachelor, enjoying some wine tasting in the Willamette Valley, or hiking along the Columbia River Gorge – all within a few hours’ drive from the city we call home!

The field of Anesthesiology is always advancing, meeting new challenges, and adapting to ever changing practice settings. At OHSU we care for patients of all ages and with an extensive array of medical problems. Hopefully you are interested in the program after reading this - I can assure you the entire breadth of our program hasn’t been captured here so I encourage you to join one of our virtual open houses, apply to the program, and come visit Portland – and hopefully consider us for the next phase of your training!


Lucas Meuchel
Chief Resident, 2022-2023