Leadership Message: Training the Next Generation of Physicians and Scientists to Improve Healthcare

This May, we celebrated our superb graduating medical students and all they have accomplished to earn their medical degrees. A group of extraordinarily talented physicians and physician-scientists, the MD Class of 2017 set the bar high for classes to come.

But of course, the journey is far from over for these new doctors, who now take on the challenge of residency. It’s a challenge we know they’ll face head on and with success. After all, this year 64 percent of our graduating medical students matched at a top 25 school — an all-time high for Feinberg. Northwestern is one of those top schools, and we are happy to welcome back 26 percent of our graduating students as residents at the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University.

Eric G. Neilson, MD, and Dean M. Harrison.

The McGaw Medical Center, a consortium of hospitals that includes all of our clinical affiliates, currently serves more than 1,100 residents and fellows. Not only do these trainees have access to some of the best hospitals and mentors in the nation, they can also participate in our Resident Physician-Scientist Training Program. This program provides residents and fellows with time, space, equipment and even datasets; it also connects them to resources to help them learn best practices in research, how to attain funding and how to publish their findings. Today, our trainees are exploring questions that span across specialties and the translational research spectrum, from basic science to clinical implementation.

For instance, cardiovascular disease fellow Matt Feinstein, ‘11 MD, is studying the cardiovascular complications of HIV and chronic inflammatory diseases. Reproductive endocrinology and infertility fellow Ijeoma Okeigwe, MD, MPH, investigates the basic mechanisms that make fibroids grow in hopes of identifies new therapies for women. Internal medicine resident Josh Waitzman, ’15 MD, ’13 PhD, hopes to create a treatment to help those with kidney disease maintain or regenerate kidney function instead of going on dialysis. And general surgery resident Ravi Rajaram, MD, ’15 MSc, focuses on health services research and is exploring federal health policy and surgical outcomes.

All of these burgeoning physician-scientists have an important goal: They want to impact human health beyond individual patient care. This is, of course, a cornerstone of our mission at Northwestern Medicine, and we strive to provide all of our students and trainees with tools to impact the field of medicine. We’re proud of all that they have accomplished so far and eager to see the breakthrough discoveries they will inevitably uncover in the future.

Please join us in congratulating both our graduating medical students and our incoming residents!

With warm regards,

Eric G. Neilson, MD
Vice President for Medical Affairs
Lewis Landsberg Dean

Dean M. Harrison
President and CEO
Northwestern Memorial Healthcare

Our 219 new residents are an impressive cohort:


are top 25 medical school graduates


are Alpha Omega Alpha National Medical Honor Society members


are from underrepresented minority groups


are women