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Wellness Resources

Spotlight: Surgeon Wellness

As a surgeon, prioritizing wellness is critical to preventing burnout and relieving stress! The Wellness Committee has launched this project to highlight how ASTS members focus on self-care!

 

Dorry Segev, MD, PhD

Professor of Surgery and Population Health, Member, National Academy of Medicine, Vice Chair for Research, Department of Surgery, Director, Center for Surgical and Transplant Applied Research, NYU Langone Health

What media are you consuming?

segev6I am always listening to new music. There's so much amazing creativity out there.

 

What are you passionate about other than transplantation?

Dance, music, DJing, festivals, drone photography, rock climbing, hiking and mountain climbing, snow skiing, and water skiing.

 

How does this activity help you achieve balance and prevent burnout?

It allows me to stay creative and reset my mind by spending time not thinking about work.

 

What is your advice for people considering transplantation?

Solid organ transplantation is an amazing opportunity to radically change people's lives, both donors and donor families and recipients. It's also an incredibly scientifically exciting field that significantly changes every 5-10 years with incredible innovations. And let's not forget, the operations are super cool!

 

Balance might seem difficult to find, given the intimidating nature of jobs in the field, but it's actually easier to find balance insegev2transplant surgery than other surgical specialties because it's a team sport and when you're off, you're off. That's why there is so much amazing science being done by transplant surgeons, and why transplant surgeons have such creative lives outside of our field.

 

How does your passion help improve your professional abilities/life?

My creative hobbies help keep me creative in my science and keep me grounded and relatable in my patient care. I really love connecting with patients by finding music that we both like.

 

What do you to decompress after a busy week at work?

I dance, play music, rock climb, all of my hobbies!

 

Follow Dr. Segev on X @dorry_segev; and Instagram @dorrytheexplorer

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Keri Lunsford, MD, PhD

Director of Translational and Surgical Science, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Liver Transplant and HPB Surgeon, Member of theLunsford 3Center for Immunity and Inflammation, Rutgers, New Jersey Medical School

What media are you consuming?

I listen to Audible audio books during my commute and I read books. Mostly fiction in a very broad range of genres depending on my mood.

What are you passionate about other than transplant?

Lunsford 2Underwater photography, landscape photography, and scuba diving. I have an underwater photography side business, which allows me to take a few trips a year to exotic locations off the beaten path. I am also learning to kickbox, which is a great way to blow off steam.

How does this activity help you achieve balance and prevent burnout?

It is the best way to decompress.

What is your advice for people considering transplant as a career?

Transplant is an incredibly rewarding field where you can see the profound impact that you have onlunsford 1patients' lives, but those specialties with the greatest rewards also have the greatest risks. You must make your life choices based on what you find most personally rewarding as this is the only reason to make the challenge worthwhile.

How does your passion help improve your professional abilities/life?

Passion is the main reason to maintain your motivation and work hard.

What do you do to decompress after a busy week at work?

I sleep, hang out with friends, go to the gym, have a spa day, edit some photos or videos, or plan my next vacation.

Follow Dr. Lunsford on social media!

X @keri_lunsford

Meta @triphibious.photography

 

 

Jacqueline Garonzik Wang, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Surgery, Abdominal Organ Transplant Surgeon, Surgical Director of Kidney Transplantation, University of Wisconsin, Madison

What media are you consuming?

During my commute I listen to Audible books and podcasts to help me relearn conversational Spanish, or anything triathlon-related as I try and pick up the sport.

What are you passionate about other than transplant?

garonzik wang 1Family! I’m also taking on the challenge of trying to complete an ironman. My son and our newly adopted puppy have been doing short runs with me and it’s probably the highlight of my week.

How does this activity help you achieve balance and prevent burnout?

It keeps everything in perspective. In addition to bringing down my blood pressure and reducing stress, it also gives me time to disconnect from work and focus on things that bring me joy and make me whole.

What is your advice for people considering transplant as a career?

My job is awesome! It’s made even more awesome by the fantastic network of peers and mentors I’ve made along the way. That network is key not only to success, but also to happiness and satisfaction in the field.

 

How does your passion help improve your professional abilities/life?

All of the experiences I have outside of the hospital contribute to my abilities as a doctor - my family and outside pursuits teach megaronzik wang 3compassion, empathy, focus, organization, longitudinal planning and so much more.

 

What do you to decompress after a busy week at work?

garonzik wang 2I thrive on quality family time, but also need a small amount of personal time to reset. Family time is often unstructured fun time in the evening or weekends with some adventurous family vacations mixed in. Personal time is almost always spent running, biking or swimming. Sometimes I do this solo to just be alone in with my thoughts, but other times I do these with friends, colleagues, or teammates. It’s food for the soul!

 

Follow Dr. Garonzik Wang on X @jgaronzikwang!

Christopher Connelly, MD

Assistant Professor of Surgery, Abdominal Organ Transplant Surgery, Oregon Health and Science University

What media are you consuming?

NY Times, New Yorker Magazine, Outside Magazine

Podcasts:

  • 5-4 Prologue Project

TV:

  • Various bad series with my wifeconnelly 2
  • Bluey, Mickey Mouse Club House, Disney Channel with my kids
  • Global Cycling Network and Global Mountain Biking Network

What are you passionate about other than transplant?

connelly 1Family trips around the northwest, cycling, anything with mountains such as climbing, mountain biking, Nordic and alpine skiing, and ski touring, and surfing (poorly) when I can. 

How does this activity help you achieve balance and prevent burnout?

It's a way to connect with family and friends and disconnect from work-related stress.

What is your advice for people considering transplant as a career?

The path can be very taxing, but the end result is very rewarding. There is very little else you can do to impact the lives of patients so acutely.

How does your passion help improve your professional abilities?

Maintaining a balance in my life is key to my fulfillment. I do everything better when things are not too lopsided in any direction.

What do you do to decompress after a busy week at work?

Sleep, cook, and spend time with my family. I try to get outside by any means available. 

 

Alp Sener, MD, PhD

Professor of Surgery and Microbiology and Immunology, Kidney/Pancreas Transplant Surgeon, Chair/Chief of Urology, Surgeon-Scientist, Western University

What media are you consuming?

Twitter and LinkedIn, any and all movies, and news from a variety of sources.

What are you passionate about other than transplant?

sener 1When I’m not working I love spending time with family, travelling, and watching the Texas Longhorns. I am also a serial entrepreneur and an avid collector of watches and pens.

How do these activities help you achieve balance and prevent burnout?

Having interests outside of medicine/transplant allows me to have better focus and keeps my ideas fresh.

What is your advice for people considering transplant?

It is an awesome specialty with an amazing network of people who become your extended family. Work hours continue to improve so don't let that be a deterrent when choosing your career path. Go with what makes you smile every day.

How does your passion help you improve your professional abilities?

Without passion, we're just going through the motions...and that’s no fun!

What do you do to decompress after a busy week at work?

After a busy week, all I want to do is spend time with my family at the cottage and listen to music.

Follow Dr. Sener on X at @AlpSener2

Jeffrey Stern, MD

Abdominal Transplant Surgeon, NYU Langone Health

What media are you consuming?

My favorite podcasts are:

TV shows:

  • Whatever my wife is watching!

stern 1What are you passionate about other than transplant?

I am passionate about systems optimization, drawing, painting, and especially spending time with my family.

How do these activities help you achieve balance and prevent burnout?

It allows me to mentally decompress and distract my mind from a week of intense call. It allows me to recover so I can come back and do it again.

What is your advice for people considering transplant?

I have trouble imagining a field of medicine that can have as immediate an impact on a patient population as transplant and transplant stern 2surgery. Each patient and transplant can be the most rewarding event for all involved. Professionally, it is the most interdisciplinary field of medicine that allows a large group of people to work together to improve a patient’s care and life.

How does your passion help you improve your professional abilities?

I try to bring something from every aspect of my life to my professional practice. From technical skills to organizational abilities, I try to improve what I do and how I care for patients every day.

What do you do to decompress after a busy week at work?

After a busy call week, I try to go to the gym, hike, stretch, meditate, or get a massage to both physically and mentally relax.

Follow Dr. Stern on Instagram at @jms850 or on X at @jstern85

Sunil Geevarghese, MD, MSCI

Hepatobiliary and Liver Transplant Surgeon, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

ASTS Councilor-at-Large and TACC Councilor

geevargheseWhat are you passionate about besides transplant?

Besides transplant and hepatobiliary surgery, I am deeply passionate about educating and supporting the next generation of surgeons. My joy comes from family, travel, and horology (art and science of timekeeping).

How does this activity help you achieve balance and help prevent burnout?

Engaging in passions outside of surgery adds depth and joy to life. As my wife, Liby, often says, “Grab joy wherever you can!”

What is your advice for people considering transplant as a career?

Relish the many joys of transplant surgery even as you consider the challenges. It is a gift to witness the transformative power of transplant surgery. Remember your “why.”

What do you do to decompress after a busy week at work?

Reconnect with my family to find out what I missed while I was operating. And sleep! Taking time to rest is so important.

Follow Dr. Geevarghese on X at @skgeevarghese

Juliet Emamaullee, MD, PhD

Abdominal Transplant Surgeon-Scientist, USC/CHLA

What media are you consuming?

I enjoy listening to my favorite podcasts, including True Sunlight, Court Junkie, More Perfect, and Queen of the Con. My favorite books currently are Dare to Lead by Brene Brown, Wool by Hugh Howey, and Hail Mary by Andy Weir. When I’m not listening to podcasts or reading, I’ll be watching the tv shows Grantchester, or Hijack!

What are you passionate about other than transplant?

When I’m not in the OR, I love to walk my dog, travel, have weekend brunches with my family, and watch Alabama football.

How do these activities help you achieve balance and prevent burnout?

WW JE1I walk my dog nearly every day to clear my head, spend time outside, and enjoy his happiness. While I’m walking my dog I’ll listen to a podcast or audiobook or call my mom to catch up. It is good to have a mental break from work-related stress and start the day with a clean slate.

How does your passion help you improve your professional abilities?

I am a happier person in general when I am making time for my passions. This helps me be a better doctor, colleague, mentor, and leader.

What do you do to decompress after a busy week at work? WW JE2

On the weekend I’ll take longer walks with my dog, I spend time with my family, and soaking in the hot tub if there was a lot of operating.

What is your advice for people considering transplant?

Transplant surgery is one of the most rewarding careers. Some will say the highs are high, the lows are low. It is critical to have excellent mentorship and peers (locally or a phone call away) to provide support when you need it. Don't forget to stretch to maintain flexibility and wear compression socks!

Follow Dr. Emamaullee on X at @DrEmamaullee or on Instagram at @Jemamaullee

Nicholas Onaca, MD
Organ Procurement Surgeon, LifeGift

 

What media are you consuming?

My favorite publications are the Atlantic, Associated Press, and Reuters. I also like to listen to podcasts! Here are some of my favorites:

I also avidly watch Dancing with the Stars (I know a few of the pros!)

What are you passionate about other than transplant?

When I'm not in the OR, I'm usually trail or mountain running, dancing (show performance and social), or alpine skiing

 

How does this activity help you achieve balance and prevent burnout?

I have found my hobbies build grit, help me change my mindset, and release improper posture.

How does your passion help you improve your professional abilities?

I transfer the principles that I learn from these outside activities into my professional practice.

What do you do to decompress after a busy week at work?

I'll go running, dance, or do some floor work with an element of meditation.

Dennis Sonnier, MD
Abdominal Transplant Surgeon, Ochsner Health

Sonnier (1)What media are you consuming?

I like to listen to podcasts! My current favorites are:

I like to indulge in my favorite shows, including anything in the Star Wars universe and What We Do in the Shadows. 

What are you passionate about other than transplant?

I love anything related to Star Wars, especially the film props! It's something that I've beenSonnier_vader interested in my whole life, so it connects me to a time in my life when I wasn't a surgeon. 

What do you do to decompress after a busy week at work?

Spending time with my family, doing as much "dad stuff" as I can manage.

 

Peer Support Program

If you're struggling from stress, burnout, or just need some extra support, we offer a Peer Support Program where you can connect with a transplant professional trained in emotional first-aid.

Learn more!


 

Thank you to Sanofi for supporting our Wellness Efforts!

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Thank you to Veloxis for supporting our Peer Support Program!

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