Trauma Surgeon Recalls Her Path to First-Choice Residency, Fellowship
From the perspective of Tanya Egodage, MD, every physician is a lifelong student—and teacher. A trauma and critical care fellow at Cook County Health & Hospitals System in Chicago, she believes passing on your knowledge isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s vital to the profession.
“I love working with residents and medical students,” said Dr. Egodage, a Class of 2010 AUC grad. “I think part of the job for any physician—especially in trauma and critical care—is to impart your knowledge, skills, and experience to younger generations. Trauma surgery isn’t something you can learn just by reading a book.”
Dr. Egodage can still remember her first day in the operating room. She was a third-year medical student, completing her clinical rotations at Nassau University Medical Center (NUMC) in East Meadow, NY. There, she had been following a particular medical patient for nearly a month and had gotten to know the consulting attending surgeon very well. One day, that patient had to go to the OR for a simple procedure, so Dr. Egodage asked the attending if she could join.
“When I scrubbed in with them, I knew that was what I wanted to do,” said Dr. Egodage. “Seeing how much poise and patience the whole team had was a life-changing experience, and I really appreciated that they allowed me to be involved.”
It was a momentous beginning to her career in surgery. After graduating from AUC, Dr. Egodage matched into a categorical general surgery residency at NUMC—her first choice. Being able to complete all of her core rotations at NUMC was a big plus in securing the position, since she had already built relationships with physicians there.
“I spent a significant amount of time with the attendings as a medical student, which was so valuable,” said Dr. Egodage. “The fact that I had worked with people at NUMC who knew my skills and my work ethic definitely helped in their decision.”
Zero to Sixty
Dr. Egodage grew up in Seal Beach, California. After graduating from the University of California-Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in microbiology, she applied to several medical schools in California, but didn’t get in. Then, an uncle who had been affiliated with AUC and given lectures at the school suggested she look into AUC. The rest is history.
“I wouldn’t give up my AUC experience for anything,” said Dr. Egodage. “I developed lifelong friendships, and it gave me the opportunity to do exactly what I wanted to do.”
Residency was tough, but rewarding. “Just being in the OR could make a bad week into a great week. I knew that was the place for me,” said Dr. Egodage. “Residency definitely wasn’t an easy experience, but it’s not supposed to be. Trauma surgery is zero to sixty in one second. You have to get the patients through in the safest manner, while teaching junior residents and medical students how to do it, too. But I love it.”
She credits her mentor in residency, a trauma and critical care surgeon, as a significant source of inspiration and learning.
“I really wanted to emulate him and the way he cared about his patients,” said Dr. Egodage. “You could tell he felt it was his responsibility to do his very best in every situation.”
It’s clear that Dr. Egodage brings that same passion and integrity to her own work.
“Always keep your ultimate goal in mind, practice with the utmost empathy and strongest work ethic, and study as hard as you can,” said Dr. Egodage. “At the end of the day, you will be rewarded.”