Housestaff Wellness

Alison Cesarz, MD Alison Cesarz, MD (1 Posts)

Resident Physician Contributing Writer

University of California San Diego School of Medicine


Alison (Al) Cesarz is finishing her intern year in psychiatry at the University of California San Diego. Her clinical interests include early childhood trauma, the adolescent and young adult age group, mental health in the Latino population and psychotherapy. Another passion of hers is the mental health and well being of medical students and residents. She is open and accessible to sharing her own treatment journey, collaborating on methods for improvement, and working to break mental health stigma within the walls of medicine. In her free time, she enjoys reading fiction/nonfiction, writing, trail running, cooking and exploring the natural wonders of her new home city.




Shining a Light on Medical Student and Resident Depression

During my fourth year of medical school, I was completely unaware that I was suffering from clinical depression. Even now as I write this, I struggle to put my finger on how it all started. Was my appetite the first thing to go? Or the loss of enjoyment in socializing and sex? Maybe it was all three at once. It is truly too hard to tell.

Mismatch Repair: My Journey from Pediatrics to Pathology

On St. Patrick’s Day 2014, New York’s coldest in a decade, I was a grass snake banished from the fair isle of pediatrics. In the National Residency Matching Program, just half of one percent of approximately 2,500 pediatrics slots across 194 programs remained unmatched, something like four total positions nationwide.

Handshakes and Shaking Doubt: Reflecting on Being a Woman in Medicine

In the 1950s, my grandmother wanted to be a doctor. She asked her father for her dowry money, wanting to use it instead to get her medical degree to become the first female doctor in her hometown. She married another doctor and practiced from an office below her home, accepting vegetables and dry-cleaning services as pay.

A Primer on Loan Repayment and Finance Options for Residents & Fellows

Career and specialty choice aside, the debt accrued for physicians is very real. Obtaining accessible and accurate advice on what to do with that debt is, at best, disappointing. My goal for this article is to educate, provide adequate resources that can help alleviate stress, set you — the reader and colleague — up to be financially successful, and hopefully make you “money wise” when it comes to your early career.

Battling Burnout and Our Quest for Perfection

Two months ago, I woke up one morning at 5:30 a.m., as usual. I played my gym motivation playlist in the shower, ate oatmeal for breakfast, and headed out the door, as usual. I swore at the car that swerved into the lane in front of me without signaling, as usual. An hour later, I pre-rounded on one of my favorite patients, a man with wide, childlike eyes who had a great deal of difficulty expressing his feelings.

Resident Wellness is a Lie (Part 2 of 3)

My partner Evan’s third year of residency completed his trajectory toward what is commonly called “burnout.” Two out of the 10 residents in his class left the program. In an already understaffed department, the remaining residents picked up the slack, taking extra call and working longer days. The general misery index among his cohort skyrocketed.

February is the Hardest Month

Overwhelmed and exhausted, a resident recently came to me to ask, “Can we do something about call?” Defeat and despair had taken over his psyche. He felt unable to cope with the tasks of residency, including the seemingly never-ending demands of fielding consults, pages and patient needs. He imagined that the problem could be solved by taking less overnight call.

Lara K. Ronan, MD Lara K. Ronan, MD (5 Posts)

Attending Physician Guest Writer

Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth


Dr. Ronan is an associate professor of neurology and medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine and is the program director of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Neurology Residency.

Practical Wellness: Perspectives from a Program Director

A program director's perspectives on practical wellness in residency and how graduate medical education leadership can facilitate housestaff resiliency and self-advocacy.