Resident Spotlight: Dr. Elizabeth Picciola

Meet Dr. Elizabeth “Liz” Picciola, Louisiana native, PGY-2 internal medicine resident, twin, and reality TV devotee.

First things first. How do you pronounce your last name?  

“Peace-ee-o-la”. It always helps when I explain to patients that my last name is Italian.

Tell us about you.

I grew up in south Louisiana along the bayou and next to the Mississippi River. My family is Cajun French with deep Louisiana roots “down the bayou”. Growing up, I often enjoyed fishing and swimming with my siblings on a small island off the coast called Grand Isle. I have an identical twin sister who is currently a pediatric resident in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We both went to Louisiana State University for undergrad and medical school. Geaux Tigers! 

Why did you choose UMMC for residency?

I chose UMMC for residency because of the culture of the program and the people here. During my interview, I felt that I would fit in well with the people and I felt that this program would best prepare me to be the clinician that I want to be. Also, I must include that my husband Adam VanDenLangenberg (yes, I know his last name is long and no, I haven’t taken it as my own – at least not yet) is an ophthalmology resident here at UMMC. We both felt that UMMC and our respective programs were a good fit for what we were looking for in a training institution.

Tell us about a memorable experience from training.

My most memorable experience thus far at UMMC has to be this past August when I was on MICU. The experience this year was completely different from the experience I had during my intern year, which was also during the Covid Delta wave. The variety of diseases and pathology that we see at UMMC and especially in the MICU is incredible. I thoroughly enjoyed learning how to take care of the sickest and most complex patients with my co-residents and attendings. 

My most memorable patient was a patient who presented in hemorrhagic shock from a bleeding duodenal ulcer. We were able to acutely stabilize her and save her life. I will never forget her son’s gratitude towards our team, thanking me and calling me “their angel”. And explaining to me how grateful he was that his mother was going to live to be able to be at his upcoming wedding later this year because of our team.

What is one thing you would tell the incoming interns about what is to come?

Residency is tough, but at the same time, it can be so rewarding to see your progression from month to month, especially during intern year. There will be plenty of good days and plenty of tough days, but have patience with yourself and continue to push yourself to learn and to grow as a clinician. Surround yourself with a good support group.

What could you give a presentation on with absolutely no preparation? 

Bravo reality television shows, real housewives of …. insert any city.

How has COVID-19 changed the way you practice medicine?

It changed the way I approach and communicate with patient’s families. Seeing patient’s families be separated from their sick loved ones and vice versa reminded me how important family support is for our patients. It made me better at updating patient’s families on a day-to-day basis and realizing how important those phone calls were to patients and their loved ones.

What are some small things that make your day better?

Laughter. I’ve always believed laughter is the best medicine. I enjoy working with my co-residents on the wards or on consult services. We work hard, but we like to have fun while doing so.

Where could we find you when you are not at the hospital?

Honestly, probably at home watching a reality TV show. I do enjoy spending time with my husband when we both are off. We enjoy going on evening walks after work with our dog, Reese. Also, any opportunity we have during the Fall, we travel down to Baton Rouge to cheer on our beloved LSU Tigers in Death Valley.

What profession would you have chosen if you weren’t a physician?

I would have loved to be a movie or television producer. I love watching movies, documentaries, and television shows.

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