Erin Toto, MD
- PGY3 resident
- Presented her research at 2010 Digestive Diseases Week
- Lifelong Philly sports fan
- Click here to view pdf
How did you decide on your specialty? What are your current clinical interests?
I'm planning a career in Gastroenterology, applying for fellowship this fall. The field of gastroenterology is fascinating to me – the unique physiology and pathophysiology of multiple organs, the use of procedures and imaging to diagnose and treat patients, and the potential to truly help patients improve their quality of life. My current research is primarily focused on Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE); I am privileged to work with Dr. Ikuo Hirano in the Department of Gastroenterology. I presented a poster at this past year's Digestive Disease Week conference regarding a correlation found between the duration & severity of dysphagia symptoms in patients with EoE. I also work closely with Dr. Darren Brenner & am interested in functional GI issues, especially among women. I'd like to be able to incorporate Women's Health into my future GI career.
You’re a PGY3 now. How would you describe your residency training so far?
My training has flown! Intern year was very busy - and frankly, quite a blur. I learned a lot and became much more efficient as the year went on. I never realized how much I had learned until I became a PGY-2, and was suddenly in charge of a team. Unbeknownst to me, my intern training had prepared me extremely well to become a senior resident. I felt confident in my abilities to make hard medical decisions as well as handle the interpersonal dynamic of a medical team. Now, as a PGY-3, I'm looking forward to the task of being a role model to fellow residents and always being available for them. During my training I realized that Northwestern's main strength is in the people.
Did you ever consider a non-medical career?
As a kid I wanted to be an interior decorator. I was always more interested in setting up my dolls' houses than actually playing with them... In middle school, I became more aware of what other people do for a living. My father and both grandfathers were physicians, and I was impressed by their careers. It wasn't until high school, when I took a year-long hospital medicine immersion course that I decided I wanted to be a physician. I loved the science of medicine, the human body never ceased to fascinate me, & the potential to have a personal, significant impact on people's lives was very appealing to me. I wanted to make a difference, even in some small way. My career in medicine has not let me down.
University programs are the hubs of medical activity and cutting edge research - I want to be a part of that. In the future I will make sure to stay connected with medical education and have residents and medical students work with me, so I can teach them and they can teach me.
Where can we find Dr. Toto after hours?
Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my husband Joe and our friends from our program and his MBA program. We love to eat - my husband is an excellent cook - and have been trying to explore the food this town has to offer. Chicago is such a large city ‐ I feel like I still have only seen a fraction of it! Try Sweets & Savories on Fullerton or Kith & Kin on Webster! We also frequent our local hangouts, particularly Flounder's on Clybourn (a Penn State bar!) and Local Option. We also love how Chicago's festivals and concerts are so accessible to the public. Hopefully I'll get to check out a few this summer!