Meet The Chiefs!
Drs. Yusra Cheema, Nick Furiasse, Mike Kriss, and Farzad Moazed come from different backgrounds, have different clinical and research interests, but share a common role for this upcoming year: they will serve and liaisons between the residents and the Internal Medicine Residency Program leadership team.
Let’s get to know them!
Why did you want to be a Chief Medical Resident?
Yusra: I have truly enjoyed my residency at Northwestern and have benefited from having some great teachers and leaders. I was excited about the prospect of being able to contribute to that commitment to education and excellence. I'm thrilled to be able to spend time teaching and learning from the residents and provide any support that they may need.
Farzad: I wanted to be a CMR to help continue the outstanding tradition of teaching and excellence in our residency program, while also working with our administration to continue looking for ways to make our program one of the most innovative and best in the country.
Mike: My initial interest in the CMR position was grounded in my passion for teaching. The opportunity to develop and hone my skills as an educator and peer mentor was a great motivator in my decision to apply for the CMR position. Furthermore, with plans for a career in academic medicine, I look forward to the opportunity to work with department leadership in an administrative capacity to develop leadership skills and develop a deeper understand of the administrative underpinnings of a nationally recognized academic medical center. Lastly, my education and development as a physician has relied on the incredible dedication of precedent CMR's, and the chance to work toward the shared academic mission of our department was yet another factor in my decision to apply.
Nick: Throughout my childhood and my educational training, I have enjoyed the opportunity to coach and teach. My desire to become a chief medical resident is rooted in my passion for education. I consider the position an important responsibility, as the chief medical residents are central educators during your training. I also value the prospect for collaboration with the residents to enact change in the curriculum. It will be a great year and I anticipate that I will learn a great deal from all of you as well!
What do you think is the main responsibility of your specific CMR role is?
Farzad: As the VA Chief, my main role is to help residents navigate the sometimes tricky aspects of the VA system, while also working closely with our colleagues at UIC to optimize the VA experience as much as possible. Along with the UIC chief, I help with our daily morning reports and educational noon conferences. I also work closely with VA administrators to ensure that clinical rotations run smoothly and deliver both great educational experiences and fantastic patient care.
Farzad Moazed, MD:
Hometown: Boston, MA
Undergraduate: Duke University
Medical School: Northwestern University
CMR role: VA Chief
Mike: As the Medical Ground Rounds chief, my specific role as CMR is to schedule and host visiting lecturers for our weekly department wide Grand Rounds. This honor comes with the responsibility of scheduling a comprehensive program of the current leaders in medical research and investigation while hosting these esteemed lecturers as they are introduced to our exceptional faculty and facilities. I am lucky to have the ongoing support of our Chief of Medicine, Dr. Douglas Vaughan, and the leadership of our subspecialty departments, in creating a line-up that is both clinically relevant and cutting edge.
Nick: My primary responsibility next year as CMR will be aiding the organization and enhancement of the resident curriculum. It is an opportunity to work closely with both the program directors and the residents to respond to challenges in the constantly evolving culture of medical education. I will also serve as a medicine representative on a myriad of hospital committees designated to improve patient safety, care, and satisfaction. We are all excited for our primary responsibility to ensure top caliber educational experiences throughout the year.
Yusra: In my specific CMR role, I will be responsible for creating the rotation and day-to-day schedule to all residents within the program. The program has created great solutions in response to changes in national scheduling requirements and I hope to aid in implementing these changes as seamlessly as possible. Although it may not take up the majority of my time, the most exciting aspect of my position next year will be the opportunity to teach both during daily conferences and on the teaching service along with my co-chiefs.
After 3 years at Northwestern, how would you describe the program?
Mike: I was drawn to NU for the exceptional training, but ultimately chose the program after meeting the people. I could not be happier with my decision. The clinical training I received is comprehensive—from standard outpatient care at my VA clinic to highly specialized care at a large regional tertiary care referral center. My training as a both a clinician investigator and educator—both a focus of our program—through formal instruction including graduate course work and informally in the mentoring and role modeling provided by attending physicians in all specialties has been outstanding. Lastly, living in Chicago, a world-class city, is an added perk.
Michael Kriss, MD:
Hometown: Born in Buffalo, NY (Grew up in Rockville, MD & Jackson, MS)
Undergraduate: Washington University in St. Louis
Medical School: Tufts University School of Medicine
CMR role: Medical Grand Rounds Chief
Nick: Northwestern is a placed shaped by its leadership and the community that it serves. It is vital to health care delivery in the city of Chicago. I find Northwestern to be a place that reflects its Midwest values--friendly, hard working and humble. There is a commitment to practice the best medicine in the world and advance the field through research and education. However, the quality that separates Northwestern from most top academic centers is the people. The faculty and resident are top caliber physicians, but even greater people and mentors. Northwestern is an academic center that achieves excellence in all aspects of medicine. There is a culture of collegiality among all of the departments that makes Northwestern such a special environment for training. The residents strive to be the best physician, best teacher, best researcher and best person that they can be. A quiet and non-intimidating motivation exists that inspires you to develop personally and professionally. I am very proud of the quality of patient care, education, and research at Northwestern. However, I am honored to call my co-workers colleague and friend.
After chief residency, I will…
Yusra: ... begin my fellowship in Nephrology. Ultimately following fellowship, I see myself remaining in an academic medical setting as a clinical nephrologist. Although I hope to continue research that I've started during residency as well as hone my clinical skills, having the opportunity to teach medical students, residents, and fellows is perhaps the most exciting aspect of my future career.
Yusra Cheema, MD:
Hometown: Kenosha, WI
Undergraduate: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Medical School: University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
CMR role: Scheduling chief
Nick: … further train in Cardiovascular medicine. During my residency, I have been fortunate to work with many great research mentors in the department of cardiology. My research has focused on risk assessment with both traditional and novel cardiovascular risk factors. I plan to pursue a fellowship in cardiology as a I continue on my career in academic medicine.
Mike: … begin my Gastroenterology fellowship with plans to complete transplant hepatology training and become a hepatologist at an academic center. In addition to my role as a clinician-investigator, I aspire to be actively involved in medical education as well as serving an administrative role in shaping the curriculum of physicians in training.
Farzad: … pursue a career in academic pulmonary/critical care medicine with a focus on basic science / translational research. Currently my interests include the mechanisms of ARDS & sepsis and how these can impact care at the bedside.
What advice do you have for Internal Medicine Residency applicants?
Nick: The search for "the right" program seems intimidating and at times anxiety provoking. You will find that it is the quality of the people that truly distinguishes a program. Spend time with the housestaff to get a sense if you would like to work closely with that group of people. As you travel from program to program, remember that you are trying to determine if it is good fit for you based on your personal and professional goals.
Hometown: Naperville, IL
Undergraduate: College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA)
Medical School: Georgetown University School of Medicine (Washington, DC)
CMR Role: Curriculum Development & Hospital Committee Representative
Mike: My advice for interviewing is simple. Be yourself. Remember that your interview serves two purposes; for the program to evaluate you as an applicant, but also for you as an applicant to evaluate the program. Be sure to formulate questions specific to your role within that program and to your life in general over the ensuing three years. Your career is important and exceptional training is a prerequisite, but keep in mind, happiness and success, both professionally and personally, rely on a healthy balance between the two.
Farzad: Keep an open mind when you’re out on the interview trail. Take the time not only to learn about the educational and training opportunities at each program, but also about the spirit. Ultimately, your happiness at a program will greatly enhance your clinical training and research pursuits.
Yusra: Stay positive and enjoy the process, no matter how busy and nerve-wracking the interview trail becomes. If you are not enjoying yourself, that will come across to the program and will be seen as a reflection of your interest in that particular program.
The logistical differences between programs are often not that significant: look for camaraderie between the residents and ask yourself whether you could envision yourself working with that group of people.