Letter From the Chief

Eric Zhang
Dr. Eric Zhang, MD.
Kara Paul
Dr. Kara Paul, MD.
Sam Papke
Dr. Samuel Papke, MD

Hi! Thank you for your interest in OHSU’s Anesthesiology training program!

Here we have a LOT to offer for our residents and we would like to share with you why we think coming to OHSU for residency was one of the best decisions we have ever made. We all came from very different places and have different backgrounds, but we each discovered OHSU to be a gem of a program. Here are the things that make OHSU shine as a training program for anesthesiology and that made it worth packing our bags and coming to Portland.

Our Residents
A residency program can only be as strong as its residents. We’re proud to get to work with our brilliant co-residents here. Among our ranks you will find a wholesome community of people who take care of each other like family. Our interests truly run the gamut. Many of us take advantage of all the outdoor beauty the Northwest has to offer, like paddle boarding on the Willamette River or great skiing on Mount Hood. Others like to go out to eat, go dancing at night, or attend concerts and shows. Most importantly, we love doing it together and we create our community, both through institutional events that the department regularly plans for us, as well as through our own will to bond with one another. You will meet colleagues at OHSU but you will also make lifelong friendships with other residents, with faculty, anesthesia techs, and many more people inside and outside of the hospital setting.

Clinical Experience
The training at OHSU will prepare you for just about anything anesthesia-related you can imagine. We are a well-respected department in the hospital with excellent relationships with our surgical colleagues. We do cases in a wide range of locations, including our main hospital operating rooms, our ambulatory surgery center at the South Waterfront, the Portland VA, our children’s hospital, and more. Our hospital has a notably high case-mix index - in other words, we take care of the sickest of the sick. We get patients from not only Oregon but frequently from neighboring states in the Mountain West and Northwest. You will take care of heart and liver transplants, blunt and penetrating traumas, complex neuroendocrine tumor resections, bedside exploratory laparotomies, and much more - all with the support of fantastic faculty. You will learn from some internationally renowned clinical experts on both the surgical and anesthetic side of the drapes. You will rotate through subspecialties early on, during your CA-1 year, to help you decide on future training and to make you a versatile clinician able to assist your patients and peers wherever needed. It comes as no surprise that our residency graduates consistently end up at top fellowship programs and land desirable jobs, as this program prepares us well for independent practice.

The Education
Education is a top priority for our residents and the department. Teaching happens not only at the bedside or in the operating room, but also must happen in a lower-stress environment to foster more discussion and learning from one another. This is why, for years, we have been providing our residents with a weekly half-day of protected didactic learning time called Resident Academic Half-Day (RAH). This starts during intern year and continues throughout all clinical anesthesia training years. Each session features large-group mock oral board exam sessions, preparing us for that future exam from the very first day. RAH is also a great time to check in with leadership, present journal clubs and keyword presentations to each other, eat snacks, study for board exams, participate in simulation, and find camaraderie during training. Our program is proud to have created the Anesthesia Toolbox, a widely-used resource for anesthesia residencies containing great review lectures, board review questions, interactive videos, case management guides, and more. A faculty member in our department also helped to optimize an iOS/Android feedback app that we use to give and receive feedback about procedural skills and clinical management, which helps to track progress over time. Most importantly, we constantly incorporate resident feedback into finding new and more effective ways to learn.

Perks, Highlights, and More Opportunities
For those interested, we offer two combined Anesthesiology residency and fellowship programs via our Oregon Scholars Program (OSP) in Critical Care and Research. Click to learn more!

Our residents participate in a wide range of electives from POCUS to transesophageal echocardiography to pediatric cardiac anesthesia. Our residents take on big roles in advocacy as well - each year we have a strong representation at the ASA conference, not only scientifically, but also legislatively. Our residents are closely involved with the Oregon Society of Anesthesiologists to represent our specialty at state and local government levels. Each year we send residents to participate at the ASA Legislative Conference as well as the ASA House of Delegates meeting with voting privileges there to affect change on a national level.

Our academic support staff is delightful and immensely helpful. They will be happy to befriend you, help you plan work around life events, and help you through hard times. For example, our residents get access to OHSU’s Resident and Faculty Wellness Center, a free, confidential service that provides counseling and other support from a psychiatrist or other licensed mental health practitioner. This program is so successful that it has served as a model for other academic medical centers. Appointments made for mental health are blocked off as essential time for our residents so that they can take care of themselves as needed.

Portland, Oregon
Portland is a fun-filled city with something for everybody. If you like the great outdoors, a short drive in any direction gets you somewhere beautiful. You can visit the majestic Oregon Coast, the winding Columbia Gorge, or beautiful snow-capped Mount Hood. Portland is frequently rated one of the top foodie cities in the country, sporting a wide variety of ethnic cuisines, dive bars, food carts, breweries, and fine dining. It’s easy to get around town, too, with a robust public transportation system consisting of light rails, streetcars, and buses. Parking is both cheap and accessible throughout the city. Bike lanes are everywhere, making it easy to pedal or scoot around. If you’re into sports, we’re home to the Blazers, the Thorns, the Timbers, Pickles, and more. If enjoy shows and concerts, we’re home to a fantastic Oregon Symphony that brings fabulous guest soloists from all over the world, as well as both indoor and outdoor music venues. Portland is also a kid-friendly city filled with parks, a great zoo, and many easily walkable streets.

Thanks so much for your interest in our program. We have so much more we want to share that we can’t fit in this letter. If you are interested in learning more, please consider joining one of our upcoming Virtual Open Houses once recruitment season begins (dates and links to be posted to the website). We hope you consider us and we hope to see you join us here in Portland!


Drs. Eric Zhang, Kara Paul, Samuel Papke
Co-chief Residents, 2023 - 2024