When people look back on this year (or as they study our monochrome pictures hanging on the sixth floor wall), most will probably say “Oh, those were the COVID chiefs.” While they may be right, it’s a very dubious distinction to say the least. COVID-19 has certainly shaped our year in many ways, but we do not feel we let it define our year. To us, and to all of program leadership, it was even more important than ever that the education and wellness of our residents not get buried under the service demands the pandemic laid at our feet. While we may not always have been successful in this endeavor, the challenges the pandemic created forced us to think creatively and try new solutions. We didn’t want to merely survive the year. Like most chief residents, we wanted to leave our program better than the way we found it. We helped create a new, flexible system for delivering didactic material to our residents. We spearheaded a redesign of our schedule that will enhance our residents’ outpatient education in the coming years. We recruited an amazing (no really, y’all will love them) new intern class in our first, and hopefully last, all-virtual interview season.
Of course, we by no means did these things alone. One of the common reasons why each of us was eager to take on this role was the ability to work with the amazing team that makes up our program leadership. It was truly an incredible honor and privilege to work alongside each and every one of you. We are also incredibly grateful to Dr. Butler, Dr. Thigpen and all of the program leadership for this opportunity and for all of their support and wisdom throughout the year.
We would also be remiss not to recognize the achievements and growth of our residents. Much has been asked of them, with little or nothing in return, over the last year and a half, and they constantly and consistently have answered those calls for the betterment of their patients and this institution. Despite the demands of this unique year, we have had the privilege of watching our senior residents grow into their role as leaders of this program. We have seen our interns grow in their knowledge and confidence, going from newly-minted doctors to bona fide leaders of their peers.
Each of us has grown in ways we could not have imagined this time a year ago, and we are sincerely humbled and honored to have been your chief residents. We look forward to seeing the next set of chiefs build on what we leave behind and (without much of a doubt) surpass our achievements!
As Pascagoula native Jimmy Buffett loosely says, some of it was magic, some of it was tragic, but we had a good time all the way!
Dr. Becky Browning
Dr. Fowler Joiner
Dr. Lucas Buchanan
Dr. Meredith Sloan