Why Loma Linda
Don’t just take our word for it. Look at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital Pediatric Residency Program through the eyes of our residents and see why we were a perfect match for them.
Lauren Caradonna, MD, PGY-1
Some of my biggest interests include volunteering and working with under-served populations, providing education for at-risk children, global health opportunities and developing new programs and ideas that can meet the needs of local communities. Those are passions that I've held long before I wanted to become a doctor. Therefore, when it came time to pick a place to complete my Pediatrics residency I wanted to be at a place where all of those things (and more) were emphasized and encouraged. As I went off to complete interviews I was amazed at how much was being done in the world of pediatrics. So many programs were starting new global health opportunities, providing services for under-served populations and overall, seemingly fulfilling my "residency checklist". There were places that stuck out to me though and Loma Linda was one of them. I noticed that a lot of global health programs were just developing at other programs and I knew Loma Linda to have an extremely large and well-developed global health program that would be easy to navigate should I want to go abroad during my residency. In addition, I know San Bernardino to be one of the poorest counties in the entire country; it doesn't get much more under-served than that. In addition, the changes and ideas that you can implement in a place like that can truly make a difference. Practically speaking, the outreach programs at Loma Linda are second-to-none and I know that from personal experience.
So after traipsing across the country and going on over 20 interviews in over 10 states, I found myself picking Loma Linda at the end of the day for all of those reasons and more. Now here I am, 4 months into my intern year and I have no regrets. I have been at Loma Linda's new outpatient clinic for continuity clinic where I have offered families our resources so that they would have food to eat for the week and have signed up to participate in an Advocacy elective next month with one of my "pediatrician heroes" who does so much for the community, where I'm told we will be designing a project that will focus on the local community and will realistically be implemented within the month. I hear the seniors talk about the electives and rotations they got to participate in and it makes me look forward to all of the other unique experiences that I will continue to have here at Loma Linda. For those reasons (and many others), I'm so thankful to be at Loma Linda Children's Hospital for my Pediatrics residency.
Keri Genstler, MD, PGY-1
Loma Linda's vision to continue the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ was the most compelling reason that brought me to this program. To be able to see an attending physician take time with a grief stricken family, pray for them, and the deep emotional impact that makes is amazing. There's an opportunity here to learn to care for patients not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. If a program that begins its events with prayer is appealing to you, this is the place to be!
Jordan Aney, MD, PGY-3
"The Pediatric Residency Program at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital (LLUCH) provides the perfect balance of a challenging yet supportive training environment. Faculty encourage autonomy, but at the same time make themselves readily available. I have ample opportunity to hone diagnostic and procedural skills, but fellows are available in the areas where additional support is appreciated (in the PICU, NICU, and ED). There are myriad reasons why I love training at Loma Linda: whether ‘earning my wings’ on the medical transport flight crew, mastering insulin management at diabetes camp, or seeing patients in continuity clinic in the heart of the medically-underserved city of San Bernardino. As a Level 1 Trauma Center that serves a large geographical area, LLUCH draws an extensive range of fascinating pathology. Despite all the experiences that Loma Linda has to offer, the best thing about residency here is being surrounded by humble and hard-working colleagues… that and the delicious food provided at noon conference!!"
Brandon Henry, MD Graduated 2016
When I started the whole match process, I knew that coming home was the most important factor, especially for my family. So when I learned that I matched at Loma Linda, at first I didn’t know how to feel. I was excited to be coming home but I was unsure of what my future held. After being here in the first week, I knew that I was in the place that I needed and wanted to be. Matching at Loma Linda was an absolute blessing! The people here are nothing short of amazing and are just a joy to be around. Everybody here truly believes in the idea of family and truly care about each other. The residents here are a fun bunch of folks to be around. Our chief residents, yeah they are the bomb! The attendings are great to work with and do an amazing job at taking the time to teach and make sure that you are learning. Dr.Riesen is an awesome program director. She definitely cares about every resident and our program and she shows it every time you see her and speak to her. She only wants the best for each and every one of us. Ever since starting here, I have felt a sense of peace. I am so incredibly happy to be here and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I mean, who wouldn’t want to spend the majority of their time with super smart, fun-loving, happy, energetic and just all around good people!
Alex Lion, MD Graduated 2015
I was drawn to LLUCH because of their mission to continue the healing work of Jesus Christ. During my interview, I learned that I could pray with patients, attendings, and other residents. As I am in the beginning of my second year, I can already see myself growing into the kind of doctor I want to become - one who addresses not only the physical aspects of health, sickness, and healing, but also the very important spiritual aspect. I pray regularly with my patients and co-workers. I do not know of any other pediatric program that provides this kind of environment.
Jesse Lee, MD Graduated 2014
When people ask me where I’m from and I tell them Loma Linda, they joke around by calling me a “lifer.” However, what people don’t know is that the words “Loma Linda Lifer” means so much more.
Johnny was a 4 week old brought to the pediatric intensive care unit, while I was on call, because of feeding intolerance and respiratory distress later found to have Tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia after a suspicious chest x-ray obtained by his pediatrician 4 hours away. I paused, as I was about to walk into the room to do the admission because I could sense an unease and uncertainty with the mother. Images from my past started coming to mind. I was a pink Tetralogy of Fallot discovered at birth at Loma Linda. I remembered my mom recalling the day when I was born and how I was immediately taken from her arms to later find out her baby probably had a congenital heart defect. She told me how frightened the situation made her and that it was the reassurance of the medical and surgical teams that helped her through it. I had my complete repair at the age of 2 years based on the recommendation of Dr. Leonard Bailey and I remembered my mom telling me that my parents had thanked God for the gift of life from the past 2 years, but felt helpless not knowing what the outcome of the surgery was going to be. I thought back to all the photos in my baby album of myself after surgery and the scars on my chest that constantly remind me that if it wasn’t for the field of pediatric cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery, that my life would not be the same today. I remember the joy and charm that my cardiologist, Dr. Larsen, always had when she entered the room, and the ease she put my mother through as she examined me and looked through my echocardiograms. I couldn’t help but be drawn to the family. I could empathize with the mother. As we talked about Johnny’s condition, I was able to share with her my story, reassuring her that she was with people who understood and cared. This is something that can’t be taught in the classroom. This is what being a “Loma Linda Lifer” really means to me.
Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital is a place that gave me life. Beyond the physical, this place and program has helped me develop my knowledge, clinical skills, and more importantly compassion toward patients and their families. Every day I have the pleasure of working with attendings that strive to excel in their fields and are willing to teach residents and students by hands on learning. I am surrounded by colleagues that genuinely care and help you out when you feel like you are battling in the trenches during residency. The ancillary staff and nurses work as a team to provide the best care possible for the patients. The mentorship has allowed me to explore different areas that I may want to incorporate into my career and has ultimately helped me match to my fellowship of choice, which is of course pediatric cardiology.
I feel as though I have been given the gift to relate to this population of children and their families, and that this is my calling in how I can give back to society. Loma Linda University has allowed and helped me to reach my goals and I’m proud to be called a “Lifer.”