Why Choose WashU

Class of 2021 — Benjamin French, MD

Ben French, MD

I entered the couples match with my fiancé (applying into OBGYN) at the end of medical school after completing a year where we both gave all our savings to Delta in our hunt for the perfect residency. I was scared of ending up somewhere that would not expose me to every type of practice an anesthesiologist can have. I also wanted to go somewhere that had a significant number of CRNAs to help ensure that my time in residency was a mix of service and education rather than service alone. In short, I wanted a program that would make those four years as valuable as they could be. Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is that program.

The breadth of clinical exposure here truly cannot be beat. Many programs told me that during interviews, so I tried to focus on specific numbers to help differentiate. WashU’s affiliated teaching hospital, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, has more beds and more ORs than anywhere else I interviewed. We are an enormous regional medical center with a catchment area stretching hundreds of miles in every direction. We do every type of transplant, have a separate children’s hospital with its own set of ORs, have a large pain clinic that sees hundreds of patients a week, and are the largest trauma center in the region. When I interviewed other places, I was usually told something like “we do everything except ___”.

At WashU, I felt like I could see everything encompassed in the field of anesthesiology and graduate feeling comfortable no matter what I chose to specialize in.

I know we all have different criteria we use when evaluating a program, but I believe that many of us want to become great clinicians first and foremost. WashU excels at this, and it is why my fiancé and I wanted to come here. However, once we arrived we discovered that St. Louis is also one of the best places to live. We both went to medical school in New York and recently had some of our med school friends come out to visit us; they were floored by how easy it is to get around, how inexpensive a two bedroom apartment in the coolest neighborhood in the city is, and how easy it is to access things like Forest Park.

There is always a new restaurant to go to and something fun to do with my co-residents. We have fantastic professional sports teams (go Blues!) that are easy to go see. I have managed to train for and race in two marathons so far during residency and am planning on doing a few more before the end.

Whatever it is you like to do outside of work, this program balances quality of training with quality of life so that you can continue living the life you want.

I feel that becoming the best doctor possible is the most important thing to accomplish during residency. I would encourage applicants to be equally uncompromising with their education; if you do not learn how to do something in residency, you are unlikely to master it later on. At WashU you will see everything, do everything, and be the best trained anesthesiologist you can be, all while being surrounded by a supportive and fun group of people in a great city.

Benjamin Hargrave French, MD
BA, Harvard University ’11
MSc, Oxford University ’13
MD, Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons ’17