I first visited WashU in the spring of 2011 while touring college campuses during my senior year of high school. My counselors at the time told me to choose a school that would allow me to pursue my goal of becoming a physician while also celebrating diversity, innovation, inclusivity, and leadership. WashU not only “checked all the boxes” my counselors outlined for me, but also appealed to my eagerness to explore a new city after living in the Boston suburbs for nearly all of my childhood. Needless to say, I was ecstatic to call WashU home as an undergraduate.
Nearly a decade later, I faced a similar set of recommendations from my mentors in medical school as I interviewed at residency programs. However, the decision of where to train was much more nuanced as I also weighed academic rigor, research opportunities, breadth of training, faculty availability, and program culture. My wife, whom I met as a freshman in college, and I were also couples matching as incoming interns which placed an extra emphasis on the importance of collaboration between departments (because vacationing alone is not nearly as fun!).
Almost every program I interviewed with provided some form of guarantee they would fulfill those training needs but, during the pre-interview dinner and interview day at WashU, a few things stood out to me as unique from other programs. First, there was an incredible number of residents available throughout the interview process, all of whom were eager to share their experiences and individual reasons for choosing to train at WashU. Second, everyone I met in the department was genuinely interested in who I was as a person, not just what was on my application, with several reaching out afterward to discuss how they could help tailor my residency training to be as fulfilling as possible. Lastly, and likely most importantly, there was an undeniable sense of community between the residents, faculty, and staff that made everyone, including me, feel appreciated for their contribution toward patient care. Choosing WashU again for residency was a no-brainer.
Everyone I met in the department was genuinely interested in who I was as a person, not just what was on my application, with several reaching out afterward to discuss how they could help tailor my residency training to be as fulfilling as possible.
As a resident, I realized the experiences I had during my interview visit were only a small part of what makes WashU an exceptional place to train. Due to the low cost of living, my wife and I were able to purchase a home in the Central West End just a few minutes from the hospital, Forest Park, and an abundance of new restaurants and bars. Throughout the year, my co-residents and I have been able to take advantage of the flexible schedule and beautiful weather by hiking local trails, biking to various parks in the city, or going wine tasting at local vineyards. Thanks to the categorical PGY-1 year, I have had the opportunity to rotate through many departments, learning how the practice of anesthesia is integrated in the hospital and making a host of new friends along the way. And, in the generous amount of free time on various rotations, I have been able to take several weekend trips with friends and family.
When I chose anesthesiology as a career, I was immediately drawn to its nature as a fast-paced specialty that relies on communication, problem-solving skills, and interdisciplinary excellence. Throughout my training so far, I have seen how WashU helps its residents become leaders in the field of anesthesiology by developing each of those skills while also encouraging individuality and creativity. More importantly, I have seen how deeply it cares for each of its residents and their aspirations.
I am thrilled(!!) to be done with the residency application process and serve as a physician alongside incredibly talented colleagues and, if ever given the opportunity to go back and do it all over, there is no doubt I would choose WashU again 100 percent of the time.
Herman Luther, MD, MBA
AB: Washington University in St. Louis, 2015
MBA: University of Chicago – Booth School of Business, 2020
MD: University of Chicago – Pritzker School of Medicine, 2020