Surgery Residents Candid Profiles

  PGY 5

Kyle Bess, MD
Kyle Bess, MD
Hometown: Dothan, Alabama
Undergrad: Brigham Young University
Medical School: University of Alabama - Birmingham

Dr. Heath Brashear

Heath Brashear, DO
Hometown: Viper, Kentucky
Undergrad: Pikeville College
Medical School: Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine
Area of Interest/Research: General Surgery

Dr. Wayne Chang

Wayne Chang, MD
Hometown: Ellicott City, MD
Undergrad: University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Medical School: Virginia Tech Carilion
Areas of Interest/Research: Surgical Education, Minimally Invasive Surgery, Patient Outcomes.
Why UK?: I had a good feeling about the UK surgery residency after I interviewed. My subsequent interactions with the residents and administration confirmed my initial impressions. The faculty are top-notch and they give the right amount of guidance and autonomy that a surgical resident seeks.

Dr. Tong GanTong Gan, MD
Hometown: Dublin, Ohio & Shijazhaung China
Undergrad: The Ohio State University
Medical School: The Ohio State University
Areas of Interest/Research: Surgical Oncology. 
Why UK? Every year, UK chief residents leave the program adept enough to begin a professional surgical practice. They are excellent decision makers.

Brent Hillard, MD

Brent Hillard, MD
Hometown: Elizabethtown, Kentucky
Undergrad: University of Louisville
Medical School: University of Kentucky

Nick Jackson, MDNick Jackson, MD
Hometown: Louisville, KY
Undergrad: University of Kentucky 
Medical School: University of Kentucky
Area of Interest/Research: Colorectal Surgery
Why UK?:I knew the high quality of training at UK since I was a student here. I also love the city of Lexington.

Heather Frohman-SinnerHeather Sinner, MD
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Undergrad:Davidson College
Medical School:University of South Florida
Areas of Interest/Research:Hepatobiliary, Surgical Oncology
Why UK?: It is rare to train at a program where residents and faculty care for one another like family. UK graduates surgeons who can confidently operate on the most complex cases, while simultaneously providing a supportive environment for residents. I feel lucky to be training at UK.


Roberto Aru, MD

Roberto Aru, MD
Hometown: Ridgeland, MS and Cagliari, Italy
Undergrad: Furman University
Medical School: University of Mississippi School of Medicine
Areas of Interest/Research: Endocrine and Colorectal Surgery
Why UK?:An environment that takes resident education seriously is important to me. The caliber of the General Surgery training, the people, and the leadership are what make University of Kentucky's General Surgery program great. Residents graduate from Kentucky well trained and able to go in any direction with their surgical careers. I am thrilled to be a part of this program.

Travis Hughes, MD

Travis Hughes, MD
Hometown(s): Houston, TX
Undergrad: The University of Texas at Austin
Medical School: UT Houston McGovern Medical School 
Areas of Interest/Research: Colorectal Surgery, Minimally Invasive Surgery.
Outside of Surgery: Soccer, Reading, Programming
Why UK?: UK is a high volume program with challenging pathology and a fantastic training culture.

 Dr. Rob King
Rob King, MD
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Undergrad: University of San Diego
Medical School: Ross University
Why UK?: I wouldn't want to complete a residency program if the difficulty was set on 'easy'. UK has an amazing group of residents and faculty, a diverse patient population, and some of the most complex pathologies in the country.

Katie Kraft, MD

Katie Kraft, MD
Hometown: Modesto, CA
Undergrad: University of Notre Dame
Medical School: University of Kentucky College of Medicine
Why UK?: I knew I wanted to stay at UK after attending medical school here.  I love the family atmosphere and the work ethic. There is no better place for surgical training and I am ecstatic to have matched at my first choice program, UK.

Amy Tefft, MDAmy Tefft, MD
Hometown: Northfield, VT
Undergrad: University of California - San Diego
Medical School: University of Vermont
Areas of Interest/Research: Rural General Surgery / Public Health.
Why UK?: It was obvious from my interview that residents at UK receive excellent training and are a great group of people. UK gives me the choice to pursue a competitive fellowship or enter career in general surgery right after residency, UK seemed like the perfect fit.

Sam Walling, MDSam Walling, MD
Hometown(s): Louisville, KY
Undergrad: Vanderbilt University
Medical School: University of Louisville
Areas of Interest/Research: Healthcare disparities and health services research.
Why UK?: When I interviewed at UK, I was impressed with the well-roundedness of the training program and the camaraderie among the residents. I knew I could become the physician I aspire to be by training in Lexington.

Jingkun Wang, MDJingkun Wang, MD
Hometown: Wuhan, China
Undergrad: University of Kentucky
Medical School: University of Kentucky
Why UK?: UK has a track record of matching their residents into amazing fellowships. The residents get the volume and autonomy to prepare them to go straight into practice. After sitting in on many M&M's and conferences on the interview trail, I found UK residents the most qualified.


Erika Almodovar, MD
Erika Almodovar, MD
Hometown(s): Sugar Land, TX
Undergrad: University of Texas at Austin
Medical School: Ross University
Interests outside of UK : Exploring Lexington restaurants and bars, hiking Raven Run, babysitting Quinn Tefft.
Why UK?: The patients, my co-residents, the faculty - UK is incredible! I realized that training at UK would turn me into a strong and competent general surgeon with the ability to pursue a competitive fellowship. It is a place that I'm proud to call home.

Dr. Robert Bautista
Robert-Marlo Bautista, MD, MS
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Undergrad: University of Southern California
Medical School: Ross University
Areas of Interest/Research: Pediatric Surgery
Why UK? Approachable attendings and a strong emphasis on learning. A high case load and strong camaraderie.

Jennifer Castle, MD
Jennifer Castle, MD
Hometown(s): Pickerington, OH
Undergrad: Northern Kentucky University
Medical School: University of Kentucky
Interests Outside of UK: Hiking, camping, fishing ... basically anything outdoors. Craft beers, New adventures.
Why UK?: It was with this program - the residents and faculty - that I fell in love with surgery. Treating this patient population prepares residents to be competent surgeons. As for Lexington, it is the perfect size. There are plenty of activities for the family to do and enjoy. The city is also within a short drive to multiple hiking locations that present a variety of challenges. I've loved this place for the past four years and look forward to many more.

Michael Cournoyer, MDMichael Cournoyer, MD
Hometown(s): Indianapolis, IN
Undergrad: Indiana University
Medical School: Indiana University

Vashisht Madabhushi, MDVashisht Madabhushi, MD
Hometown: San Jose, California
Undergrad:University of California, San Diego
Medical School:Ross University

Paul Salazar, MD
Hometown: Miami, Florida
Medical School: Indiana University School of Medicine

Dr. Tori WagonerVictoria "Tori" Wagner, MD
Hometown(s): The Woodlands, TX
Undergrad: Texas A&M University
Medical School: Texas A&M Health Science Center
Areas of Interest/Research: Colorectal and MIS/Bariatric Surgery.
Why UK?: I loved the camaraderie between residents and faculty.

Matthew Wright, MBBS
Hometown: The Woodlands, TX
Medical School: The University of Queensland School of Medicine


Alexandra Cocca
Alexandra Cocca, MD
Hometown: Johns Creek, Georgia
Undergrad: Clemson University
Medical School: Medical University of South Carolina
Areas of Interest/Research: Trauma Surgery, Colorectal Surgery
Outside of Surgery: Hiking, Running, Traveling, Kayaking
Why UK?: I was looking for a program that trained well-rounded surgeons and also invested in the personal development of their residents. It was clear at the dinner and interview that the residents and faculty were a family. They supported one another through the ups and downs of residency and life. I knew UK was the perfect fit and I'm very grateful to be part of the UK family.

Satya Dalavayi, MDSatya "Sai" Dalavayi, MD
Hometown: Novi, Michigan
Undergrad: Wayne State University
Medical School: Western Michigan University
Areas of Interest/Research: General Surgery
Outside of Surgery: Learning about technology, television and movies, exercising

Brittany Levy, MD
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Undergrad: Indiana University
Medical School: University of Cincinnati
Areas of Interest/Research: General Surgery
Outside of Surgery: Knitting, crochet, yoga, and lacrosse.

Hannah McDonald, MDHannah McDonald, MD
Hometown: Longview, Texas
Undergrad: The University of Texas at Austin
Medical School: UT Houston McGovern Medical School
Areas of Interest/Research: Surgical Oncology
Outside of Surgery: Running, hiking, reading, going to the arboretum with my husband and our dogs.
Why UK?: I was drawn to UK's high volume of very sick patients, extensive operative experience, welcoming atmosphere, and attractive research in surgical oncology.

Kyle Murphy, MDKyle Murphy, MD
Hometown: Casper, Wyoming
Undergrad: University of Notre Dame
Medical School: University of Kentucky
Areas of Interest/Research: General Surgery
Why UK?: As a medical student, I enjoyed working with the residents and faculty at UK, and it was clear that the level of training was excellent. In addition, Lexington is a great place to live.

Gustavo Ortega, MD casualGustavo Ortega, MD
Hometown: Miami, Florida
Undergrad: Florida International University
Medical School: Virginia Commonwealth University
Areas of Interest/Research: General Surgery
Outside of Surgery: Weightlifting, gaming, Baltimore Ravens and Miami Hurricanes football, spending time with my fiance and our pup, Hooch.
Why UK?: UK, with its high volume and unique pathology, provides a unique learning environment that I thought would be conducive to shaping successful surgeons. After completing an externship at the University of Kentucky, I was impressed by the level of surgical and clinical competency of the residents and teaching staff. Frankly, I loved being a part of this program as a student, and could not be more excited to join the team.

Wesley Wilt, MDWesley Wilt, MD
Hometown: Lexington, Kentucky
Undergrad: Wake Forest University
Medical School: University of Kentucky
Areas of Interest/Research: General Surgery
Outside of Surgery: Hiking, crossfit, playing with my dog, and finding the best food in Lexington
Why UK?: UK residency provides high volume, patients presenting multiple pathologies, and plenty of OR experience. At the end of five years, residents are well prepared for any fellowship or professional practice. After interviewing around the country, I was unable to find a supportive training environment the equal of what UK provides. Additionally, Lexington is incredible. It has much of what most big cities offer with outdoor activities nearby (and much less traffic!)

Categorical Interns

Madeline AndersonMadeline Anderson, DO
Hometown: Onalaska, WI
Undergrad: University of Minnesota
Medical School: Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine
Interests outside of Surgery: hiking, cooking, drawing, yoga
Why UK?: In addition to providing everything that a university program has to offer, UK maintains a supportive, community-like environment. After witnessing the quality of training and the confidence of the senior residents as a medical student, as well as the excellence of the entire medical team, I feel honored to be completing my residency at UK.

Amber James, MD
Hometown: Meridian, MS
Interests Outside of Surgery: Reading (Nonfiction), Listening to Podcasts, Playing basketball

Katie McClain, MDKatie McClain, MD
Hometown: Canton, Ohio
Medical School:West Virginia University 
Interests outside of Surgery: running, yoga, traveling, sports, hanging out with my family, friends, and pets
Why UK?: On my interview day, I could tell that the residents had a great family-like relationship, and the attendings knew them well and supported their personal and professional goals. UK has great opportunities for learning and research, and I knew it would be a great place to begin my career. I'm really excited to be part of the UK family!

Anna Reagan, MDAnna Reagan, MD
Hometown: Ames, IA
Medical School: University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Interests outside of surgery: Reading, baking, cross-country skiing

Reagan StaffordReagan Stafford, MD
Hometown: Iaeger, WV 
Medical School: Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine 
Interests outside of surgery: I enjoy spending my free time outdoors with my dog Lilah! I also love to host friends and family in my home for dinner and coffee. I am a lifelong Indianapolis Colts fan! 
Why UK: Residents at my medical school rotate though the UK Transplant service and speak very highly of the program, so I decided to do an away rotation. During that month I feel in love with the residents, hospital, staff, and the community. I found the environment to be uniquely encouraging while challenging. I knew from my time rotating as a student I would get an excellent surgical training at UK. 

Will Witt, MD

Will Witt, MD
Hometown: Lexington, Kentucky
Medical School: University of Kentucky
Why UK: As a native of Lexington, I wanted a training program that would best prepare me to care for the patients in my community. Kentucky is home to some of the most complicated pathology in the country, and UK is on the front line of caring for these patients. To me, it only made sense that this is where the best training would be. 

Daniel Yackzan, MD
Hometown: Lexington, KY
Medical School: University of Kentucky College of Medicine
Interests outside of Surgery: Quality time with friends and family, lifting, running, NFL, fantasy football, podcasts, reading, soccer.
Why UK?: Wonderful training, wide fellowship access after graduating, great workplace community, & top notch research opportunities near my family and friends. 

Research year

Dr. Charles CampbellCharles Campbell, DO
Hometown(s): Winchester, KY
Undergrad: University of Kentucky
Medical School: Pikeville College School of Medicine
Areas of Interest/Research: General Surgery

Meg Harper, MD

Meg Harper, MD
Hometown: Vista, California
Undergrad:University of California, San Diego
Medical School:University of Cincinnati