Surgery Residents Candid Profiles


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 BautistaRobert-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.

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: Salisbury, North Carolina
Undergrad: Campbell University
Grad School: University of Illinois at Chicago
Medical School: The University of Queensland School of Medicine


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

Alexandra CoccaAlexandra 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

Erin McAtee, DOErin McAtee, DO
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Undergrad: University of Texas at Austin
Medical School: Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine
Areas of Interest: Colon and rectal surgery, surgical palliative care, healthcare disparities
Outside of Surgery: Walking my dog, Texas football, afternoon naps
Why UK?: The faculty are engaged in teaching clinical patient care as well as skills in the OR. My colleagues are support my career goals and help when able at work and outside the hospital. At UK, the infrastructure allows me pursue a future in private practice or fellowship -- lots of great options!

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!)


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.

Elizabeth Bittner, MDElizabeth Bittner, MD
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Medical School: University of Kentucky College of Medicine
Interests Outside of Surgery: National and International Travel, Running, Outdoor activities, Reading, Cooking
Why UK?: 
UK provides a well-rounded surgical experience while fostering a supportive environment

Amber James, MDAmber James, MD
Hometown: Meridian, Mississippi
Medical School: University of Mississippi College of Medicine
Interests Outside of Surgery: Reading (Nonfiction), Listening to Podcasts, Playing basketball

Jeremy Llaniguez, MDJeremy Llaniguez, MD
Hometown: San Diego, California
Undergrad: University of California at Berkeley
Graduate School: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Medical School: Wayne State University School of Medicine
Interests Outside of Surgery: Biking, Running, Motorsports, Video Games/Technology

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. 

Categorical Interns

Carly CelebrezzeCarly Celebrezze, MD
Hometown: Moscow, Idaho
Undergrad: University of Oregon
Graduate School: University College London
Medical School: Washington State University Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
Interests Outside of Surgery: Traveling, Anything outdoors, Activities venturing outside of her comfort zone, such as bungee jumping, paragliding, skydiving, spending time with family.
Why UK?: I chose UK because it keeps all fellowship doors open. I appreciate that UK allows residents to pause clinical responsibilities for research, but does not require it. I knew the training would be unparalleled given the caseload and high acuity of care.

AlleaBelle Gongola, MDAlleaBelle Gongola, MD
Hometown: Plainview, Arkansas
Undergrad: Ouachita Baptist University
Medical School: University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Interests in Surgery: Academic acute care surgery, trauma systems, international health systems, injury control and prevention.
Why UK?: UK Surgery has a great reputation for clinical training, alongside a growing focus on academics and global surgery. There are so many opportunities and resources for research with mentorship from great faculty, especially in trauma surgery.

Mackenzie Humphrey, MDMackenzie Humphrey, MD
Hometown: Richmond, Kentucky
Undergrad: University of Kentucky
Medical School: University of Kentucky College of Medicine
Interests in Surgery: General Surgery
Why UK?: I’m a lifelong Kentucky girl. Having worked with the expert faculty and exceptional residents in this program as a medical student, I knew I would receive the best training here. You take care of the sickest patients in the country alongside the coolest people you’ll ever meet. That experience is invaluable to me. 

Kyle Ridlen, MD
Hometown: Carmel, Indiana
Undergrad: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne
Medical School: Indiana University School of Medicine

Marina Robson Chase, MDMarina Robson Chase, MD
Hometown: Frankfort, Kentucky
Undergrad: University of Southern California
Medical School: University of Virginia
Why UK?: I was looking for a robust training program with faculty and residents that cared about their patients and each other. I am very excited to be joining the UK General Surgery family! 

Morgan Sindall, MDMorgan Sindall, MD
Hometown: New Holland, Pennsylvania
Undergrad: University of Kentucky
Medical School: University of Kentucky College of Medicine
Why UK?: I loved rotating at UK as a medical student. The large volume and high patient acuity allows residents to become confident, well-rounded and competitive for either fellowship or practice. The residents and faculty are obviously invested in helping each other succeed. The high quality training combined with such a supportive environment is what made UK my first choice!

Andrew Whipkey, MD
Hometown: Ravenna, Ohio
Undergrad: Youngstown State University
Medical School: Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED)
Area of Interest?: Surgical ethics

Omar Zaki, MDOmar Zaki, MD
Hometown: Burr Ridge, Illinois
Undergrad: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne
Medical School: The Ohio State University College of Medicine
Area of Interest: Abdominal wall reconstruction, Vascular surgery
Why UK?: UK has a history of training very competent and capable surgeons, and an incredibly large referral area with complex and diverse pathology.

Research year

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.

Meg Harper, MD

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

Brittany Levy, MDBrittany 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.