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Wildcat Peer Support Alliance

The Wildcat Peer Support Alliance is a network of trained residents who provide one on one peer support to residents within UKIMRP who work to foster safe, inclusive environments for residents, especially for those who are struggling with the pressures of residency, mental health and other chronic medical conditions, and personal or social challenges. 

Contacting a Peer

Below you will find a short bio from the advocates with their background, challenges and experiences they have undergone that have shaped them. Consider reaching out based on similar needs, interests or backgrounds!

WILDCATS

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Hunter Bechtold

MedPeds PGY2

281-734-1983

I am a nerd through and through! I spend a lot of time looking into articles, books, podcasts, and websites pertaining to learning about medicine. If you’re ever looking for educational/study resources then please let me know—I am enthused with these discussions! 😉 From a less clinically-focused perspective, I’m passionate about building and maintaining relationships in residency (be it parenthood, marriage, friendships, etc.). I started residency as a new father, and my wife and I moved here with our nearest family members around 1000 miles away (we are very happy and love this season!). 

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Claire
Collins

MedPsych PGY2

734-223-7219

I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in med school and still work to stay on top of it. It led me to create a peer support program during med school and was motivation to have one for our residency program. Reach out if you want to chat about being a resident with a chronic health (including mental health) condition. I am a great resource to talk to if you are interested in talking about how to make systemic/cultural changes in medical institutions.

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Margaret
Geertz

IM PGY1

315-719-4681

Hey! My name is Margaret and I’m from Upstate New York. I went to medical school at the University of Pikeville and am interested in Pulm/CC. When I’m not at the hospital you can probably find me outside hiking, running, or on (or under) the water somewhere. 

 

I know how hard it is being away from home and moving to a new place! I also have tried to develop some time management tips and tricks to keep my mental health in check by making time for wellness activities. Generally though, if you just need someone to vent to, I am all ears. :)  

Happy to meet for coffee break in the hospital, go on a walk, or grab a drink somewhere in Lex on a night off. 

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Misa
Ito

MedPeds PGY1

Reach out anytime!

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Brianna
Skaff

IM PGY1

304-550-3141

I am very big on maintaining wellness even during busy schedules. Some rotations it can be harder than others, but I have tips on how to stay active, healthy, and still find time for fun during busy months. I am always down for a social event too so if there is something someone is interested in doing, let me know and I’m happy to plan it! I can always find time to talk to someone if they need support, advice, or just to vent. I’m a text or call away! Residency is hard and shouldn’t be done alone. I always feel better when I talk to someone if I am stressed or feeling sad, so feel free to reach out to me if you’re feeling this way!

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DJ
Carter

IM PGY2

When starting a career in healthcare everyone talks about poor patient outcomes in terms or morbidity and mortality. Certainly, poor outcomes often come from ICUs or complications from surgeries or procedures. However, I think we quickly realize that what defines a poor outcome differs with each provider, each patient, and each case. Sometimes a poor outcome is a as simple as saying the wrong thing to a patient or family member. Whether it is a negative patient interaction, a poor prognosis, a missed diagnosis, or just a general bad day for work or personal reasons, I believe all poor outcomes deserve to be debriefed.

My wife is also a physician, which provides its own challenges and benefits. I regularly experience the benefits of having someone who I can talk to about the highs and lows of my job. I also can attest to the challenges of trying to “debrief” to someone who you know has had a worse day. Sometimes anonymity has its own benefits. I believe this program offers a unique opportunity to talk with someone familiar with the challenges we face in healthcare who is also eager to allow you the opportunity to unload a rough day.

Email me truly anytime, for anything, I want to hear about your victories and your challenges in your career or personal life. I am notoriously bad at responding to texts, but via email I will set us up with a time to text, talk on the phone, or meet up. I can also set you up with my amazing therapist, my three-year-old golden retriever, who would be happy to let you talk to her even if you don’t want to talk to me!

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Brant
Cornelius

MedPeds PGY3

606-548-0297

if you’re struggling with connecting with your patients or your team dynamic is stale, hit me up. I’m not a pro by any means, but if you’re interested in incorporating some POCUS into your diagnostic tool belt, would love to chat as well!

Why you are drawn to do this… medicine is not your identity and is not designed to be your whole life. Residency does have its tough moments but is supposed to be enjoyed. This can be done by making sure you have downtime outside of the field we love so much while simultaneously remembering why you’re here to begin with, developing healthy habits, and surrounding yourself with positivity on the job.  

Peers should call me when… you’re having a tough month and need someone to be a good listener. Or if you enjoy bourbon and need a good pour, appreciate playing golf and want to go score some bogeys, or want to catch any college basketball game!

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Dylan
Holland

IM PGY2

304-710-6097

Residency can be difficult and stressful at the most inopportune times. I have been fortunate to have colleagues by my side when I needed them most. If you had a hard day at work and need someone to vent to or someone to provide reassurance, reach out at any time! I’m always down to get meal or drinks at Agave and Rye, Goodfellas, (or my favorite, your local Arby’s). I also have navigated residency away from my fiancé over the past 18 months. I recognize how isolating and challenging that can be, and I am here if anyone needs to chat about tips to navigate life away from their significant other!

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Milin
Pandya

IM PGY2

937-241-8830

I moved down to Lexington without any connections to the area. From trying out different coffee shops to finding new hiking trails, exploring the city and surrounding area has been one of my favorite outlets outside of work. If you need a listening ear on a grueling inpatient month or just need a new outlet from work, reach out and I’m happy to help!

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