Carolinas HealthCare System
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Abena Obenewaa Akomeah Abena Obenewaa Akomeah
Hometown: Ghana, and Silver Spring Maryland
College: George Washington University
Medical school: George Washington University

Why you chose CMC: I was blown away by how competent and smart the residents were during my away rotation here as a medical student. They were able to handle a very busy emergency department as well as have time to bond and relax. They really acted like a family unit. The attendings were nice and approachable and loved to teach! There was no doubt that I will be extremely well trained here at CMC. So, I found myself asking the question, "where do I want to go if I am going through a difficult time and need a group of people that I would be able to call family?"  The answer for me was CMC

What you love about living in Charlotte: It is beautiful! Coming from Washington DC it is a lot quieter but still has all the amenities of a city.

What you see yourself doing in 10 years: International Emergency medicine fellowship has always been an interest of mine. But other potential competing interests include Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Critical care fellowships.  Going straight to practice is always an option. I guess my options are limitless but either way I know I will be saving lives as a well-trained EM physician.

Elias Awad Elias Awad
Hometown: Stanley, NY
College: Oberlin College, OH
Medical school: SUNY Upstate Medical University, NY

Why you chose CMC: Out of all the interviews I went on, the residents here were the happiest, tightest-knit bunch I ran into. Everyone seemed to love the program, and now that I'm here I completely understand why. This place has everything I was looking for: A high-volume adult and pediatric trauma center with a huge catchment area, a nationally-active group of faculty with a reputation for training great physicians and, most importantly, a group of people who will treat you like family from the moment you arrive. Also they feed you. Every day. For free. Seriously. 

What you love about living in Charlotte: As a medium-sized city there's a good mix of urban amenities such as bars, restaurants, and concert venues, but with so much room for activities, plus the mountains and the beach are only a morning's drive away. Additionally, the best fried chicken I've ever eaten is sold at a place I can see from my apartment, and a squadron of food trucks pulls up in an empty lot across the street every Friday and Saturday for my dining convenience. Also, the fact that I never have to shovel snow again. Ever. 

What you see yourself doing in 10 years: Celebrating the 10th year anniversary of me filling out this form, hopefully on a porch, somewhere warm. 

Mohamed El Kara Mohamed El Kara
Hometown: Beirut, Lebanon/Charlotte, NC
College: North Carolina State University
Medical School: UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine

Why you chose CMC: I did an AI at CMC the beginning of my fourth year and was hooked from then. The first impression I got was how confident and smart the residents were while still being incredibly friendly and sociable. The faculty are all leaders in their subspecialties and are always willing to teach. The patient mix and acuity is incredible. You will treat anyone from a homeless patient to a CEO of a fortune 500 company. Most importantly, everyone takes care of each other and helps you succeed. If you want a program that treats you like family while pushing you to be the best physician you can be, this is the place.

What you love about living in Charlotte: I am a Charlotte native (I refuse to say Charlottean) and still discovering new things to do on a daily basis. There are plenty of restaurants and bars to explore. You get to watch the Charlotte Knights play in their brand new stadium for dirt cheap tickets. We reclaimed the Charlotte Hornet and the name change will undoubtedly get us back in the playoffs. And of course my personal favorite activity, watching Cam Newton and the Panthers tear it up on Sunday afternoons. If sports aren’t your thing, there are plenty of parks, bike trails and museums to visit. Simply, you will never be bored.

What you see yourself doing in 10 years: I can barely figure out what I’m doing tomorrow…. If I had to guess I would say splitting time between the ICU and ED in a larger community hospital. Given my history, I would say it would be somewhere in North Carolina….

Andrea Goode Andrea Goode
Hometown: Grapevine, Texas
College: The University of Texas at Austin
Medical school: The University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio

Why you chose CMC: I did an away rotation at CMC during Aug/Sept of my fourth year of medical school. Being a born and raised Texan that had never lived outside of the state, I didn’t know how I would handle it. I expected to have a positive experience based on this program’s reputation, but what I did not expect was that by the end of the month, I truly felt at home. Everyone was awesome. The residents and faculty are so willing to teach and help you in any way they can. The 3rd year residents that I watched run the major traumas and resuscitations were so solid, I had no doubt that this is the best EM program in the country.  It is an extremely inclusive, social, casual group and very much a family feel. Leaving Texas was not an easy decision for me, but CMC made it totally worth it and I am very happy here.

What you love about living in Charlotte: It really has it all…each “neighborhood” has its own character and are full of amazing restaurants, bars, nightlife, outdoor activities….all within 15 minutes of CMC. Nearby lakes, mountains, day trip locations, beaches.

What you see yourself doing in 10 years: Not sure, but most likely Academics and hopefully something Global Health-related.
Andrew Johnson Andrew Johnson
Hometown: Florence, MT
College: Brigham Young University
Medical School: Ohio State University

Why you chose CMC: This is going to sound like a cliche greatest hits list, but I loved it for the people, the program (which sounded phenomenal and is) and the general vibe. My wife and I are expecting twins in October and everyone has been fantastic about supporting us in terms of accommodating us for scheduling for the year, getting us set up with doctors in the area and just general life advice (which was solicited for the record).

CMC is a busy place. Always patients to see but the throughput (for the most part) is phenomenal. In spite of the craziness that comes with working in most large urban ED's though, I have always felt very well supported, both by the faculty and the upper levels. They've gone out of their way multiple times when they are clearly super busy to help me.

Finally two things: one, people are happy. They love it here and it shows. Two, the cafeteria is phenomenal. I sometimes choose to eat there even when I'm not working which I think says a lot.

What you love about living in Charlotte: Number one, the outdoors. Coming from Montana, Ohio sometimes felt like I was in exile. Charlotte has mountain biking within the city (I've got nine miles of trails less than ten minutes from my house) hiking and climbing within 30 minutes and the blue ridge mountains about two hours away. Throw in the three beautiful lakes right around the city the ocean about three hours away and the national whitewater center and you've got some options.

It's also got some of the best barbecue I've ever had. Multiple farmers markets with great selection and multiple trader joes if that's your thing.

What you see yourself doing in 10 years: It's affordable and big but not too big. Traffic is typically only a problem on the outer belt, but most of us live close enough to the hospital that it's not a problem. NBA and NFL teams right in the city as well as a minor league baseball team with a gorgeous new downtown stadium.
Blake Johnson Blake Johnson
Hometown: Friendswood, TX
College: Texas A&M University
Medical school: UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX

Why you chose CMC: In short, the people!  This was definitely the most memorable group of residents/faculty I met on the interview trail, and an overwhelming family atmosphere was evident.  Combine that with the unmatched national reputation, alumni all over the country, and a GME office and residency leadership team that supports their residents to a degree not seen elsewhere.  Carolinas Healthcare System is also one of the most efficient and well-run large hospital systems in the country.  And in the nation's changing healthcare environment, there's tremendous value in learning within a system at the cutting edge of integrated healthcare delivery.

What you love about living in Charlotte: The weather is incredible.  The beach is close, and the mountains closer (all within 2-3 hours).  It's a big city that feels like a small city, and it's super easy to get around.  Safe, no traffic, affordable housing, amazing restaurants, pro sports teams, and SEC football only an hour and a half away.  There are trees literally everywhere!

What you see yourself doing in 10 years:No idea. Surely the next 3 years will help me figure that out.

Tim Kallgren Tim Kallgren
Hometown: Columbia, SC
College: University of South Carolina
Medical school: Medical University of South Carolina

Why you chose CMC: There were three main factors that were important to me as I formed my rank list: I wanted the best training I could get, a program that took care of its residents, and a location where my wife and I would enjoy living for the next three years. I interviewed at a lot of great programs, but CMC seemed to me to be the best program in each of those areas. Also the CMC main cafeteria has the best beverage selection of any of the hospitals that I toured during my interviews.

What you love about living in Charlotte: There are a lot of great things about Charlotte, but I especially appreciate that people in Charlotte tend to care about fitness and be relatively active (hence more Crossfit locations than McDonald's). That means there is always something going on and are lots of people to run/bike/work out with. Also while Charlotte is by far the biggest city I have ever lived in, but I was surprised to find how manageable it is. I never have to deal with traffic where I live, and I am just over an hour away from Gamecock football.

What you see yourself doing in 10 years: Probably working in a small community hospital, and riding around on a tractor or burning yard trash on my days off.

Charlotte Lawson Charlotte Lawson
Hometown: Washington, D.C.
College: University of Pennsylvania
Medical school: University of Pennsylvania

Why you chose CMC:

  • Most cohesive group of residents I met on the trail
  • Work hard, play hard mentality
  • Large hospital with lots of very sick patients and relatively few learners - many opportunities to learn by doing
  • Program leadership that I "clicked" with on interview day and knew I would feel supported by throughout residency

What you love about living in Charlotte: A few highlights from my first month here:

  • U.S. National Whitewater Center: 25 minute drive; climbing, rafting, biking, ropes courses, beer garden, super dog friendly and twice weekly FREE outdoor concerts in the summer
  • Food truck Fridays: basically a huge outdoor picnic in South End with 15+ of the city’s best food trucks all in one place.
  • NoDa brewery run: weekly gathering of a couple hundred runners and beer drinkers at the North Davidson (NoDa brewery)
  • $2 retro movie night on Wednesdays at the Epicentre (in June they showed Dirty Dancing, enough said).
  • Boating on Lake Norman, outdoor climbing at Crowder's Mountain, peach picking just across the border in Fort Mill, Charlotte Knights AAA baseball...
What you see yourself doing in 10 years: I find myself torn between medical education and wilderness medicine. Either way, I know that I will be teaching, practicing EM and spending my free time doing something outside with my husband, our puppy and, who knows, maybe a few kids. 
Ashley Lessmeier Ashley Lessmeier
Hometown: Spokane, WA
College: University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Medical school: Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI

Why you chose CMC: CMC has a great reputation.  But it wasn't until my interview that I fell in love with the people and overall the program.  The residents and faculty are hardworking, dedicated, and phenomenal at what they do. There are challenges and high expectations, however the supportive and collaborative environment is beyond anything I experienced at another interview.   The people are simply amazing.  It is hard to describe how happy, supportive, yet hardworking and intelligent everyone here is.  It is a great place to be a part of!

What you love about living in Charlotte: The weather doesn't hurt, especially after coming from Wisconsin's winters. But really, overall Charlotte is a great city. You have the big city attractions, but you're still able to get to the mountains or beach in 2 hours. There are so many things to do, you'll wish you had more free time!  And the people in Charlotte are some of the most friendly, down to earth people I've met.  It's a wonderful place to live.

What you see yourself doing in 10 years: Honestly, I'm not quite sure.  Probably either staying in North Carolina or moving back to the northwest.  I'm hoping to work in a community hospital but incorporate teaching either residents or medical students. I'm still figuring this one out.

Cate Lounsbury Cate Lounsbury
Hometown: Duluth, MN
College: University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Medical School: Medical College of Wisconsin

Why you chose CMC: This residency program has it all. The biggest strength of CMC is the people! The residents, faculty, and staff are so welcoming and all incredibly passionate about teaching. The faculty are some of the most brilliant people you will ever meet but are also people that you can grab a beer with on your days off. The practice environment is unparalleled with huge patient volumes, high acuity presentations, and excellent pediatrics opportunities- all in one hospital. I was also incredibly impressed with the cutting-edge medical education that takes place here, including ultrasound training, advanced airway management training, and simulation. Overall, CMC is a place I knew I would get great training, have a family in my co-residents and faculty, and have a ton of fun.

What you love about living in Charlotte: Charlotte is an incredible city! It's a place that has everything that you want- unique neighborhoods, friendly people, great night life, awesome food all with reasonable cost of living and manageable traffic. All of this and it's within a few hours to the some of the most incredible outdoor opportunities including the Whitewater Center, mountains, and beach!

What you see yourself doing in 10 years: It's up in the air at this point but I will be a well-trained EM physician. I'm hoping for a practice in a community setting that has elements of academic practice including teaching.

Phillip Lunsford Phillip Lunsford
Hometown: Hiram, GA
College: Kennesaw State University
Medical School: Mercer University School of Medicine

Why you chose CMC: This was one of the interviews that I left and thought, I could really see myself there.  The program is excellent, the faculty are great, the reputation is unmatched, but the people that I work with are the best.  I enjoy coming to work.  We work hard in a high acuity, high volume ER, but you will learn tons and make great friends.

What do you love about Charlotte: Being from the Atlanta area, I find Charlotte to be a great balance between big city amenities and less people.  You will never be bored here – from nightlife to recreational activities, Charlotte has it all.

What you see yourself doing in 10 years: Probably a mid-sized city in a trauma and academic center.  Fellowship in EMS is likely, but exploring other options.  When I am not working, enjoying my house on the lake.
Michael Mollo Michael Mollo
Hometown: Sarasota, Florida
College: University of Central Florida (Go Knights!)
Medical school: University of Vermont

Why you chose CMC: Carolinas is the bomb. It's really easy to work here because the attendings/residents/staff are AWESOME, the benefits are amazing (free coffee/food/MUSCLE MILK) and the resident bonding is great. We hang out all the time and are always doing fun things like wakeboarding/boating, going out, climbing/biking, adventuring and having dance parties. We find time to work too though. The hospital is BUSY and the patients are really sick. The education has been amazing so far! Conferences are interactive, engaging and well-attended.

What you love about living in Charlotte: You can get pretty much anywhere in the city in under 10 minutes from the hospital. Most people live within a couple miles of the hospital so it's really easy to get together. As a group, we get together at least once a week to hang out. I've lived by water by whole life, so I thought being 'landlocked' in Charlotte would be a hard adjustment, but there's tons of lakes close (Lake Norman!) for boating/wakesurfing/etc.

What you see yourself doing in 10 years: Probably spending my income on things like catapults, huge lake floats, wakeboard ramps and a mini skatepark instead of paying my loans off.

Andrew Puciaty Andrew Puciaty
Hometown: Woodstock, GA
College: College of Charleston
Medical school: University of South Carolina

Why you chose CMC: I rotated here and loved it! I knew the moment I left CMC at the end of the month that I had to be back. The residents here are the most cohesive I have encountered. I shouldn’t have to mention that the training is top notch. That said - people here work hard and play hard. Everyone has a healthy life outside of the hospital without sacrificing performance when it counts. And did I mention the food?

What you love about living in Charlotte: This is a great city… From the US National Whitewater Center to the new Charlotte Knight’s stadium you can find something to new and fun to do any day of the week. 

What you see yourself doing in 10 years: Great question - I’ll get back to you in 10 years. 

Nell Rose Steed Nell Rose Steed
Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
College: Washington University in St. Louis
Medical school: Emory University

Why you chose CMC: The people! As soon as I visited I knew that I had found MY people (or my "tribe" as I like to call it). 

What you love about living in Charlotte: I love living in an urban area with access to the great outdoors. The whitewater center was a big draw for me as I am addicted to whitewater kayaking.

What you see yourself doing in 10 years: Working in a small mountain town in western North Carolina.