Thank a Resident Day: College of Medicine Spotlights Some of its Outstanding Residents

Our residents and fellows put in the time and effort each and every day. The Gold Humanism Honor Society’s “Thank a Resident Day,” falls on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, providing an opportunity to showcase some of their great work.

Our Office of Graduate Medical Education continuously receives nominations for “Resident of the Month.” For Thank a Resident Day, the office is spotlighting the exceptional work of some of our nominated residents at the UK College of Medicine. 

Hossam ElbelasiHossam Elbelasi, MD
Diagnostic Radiology, PGY-4

Dr. Elbelasi was recognized for his unparalleled and persistent focus on resident wellness and education. He also provides great mentorship for junior residents during their first months in radiology.

Q&A with Dr. Elbelasi:

  • Hometown: Mansoura, Egypt
  • Medical School: Mansoura University Medical School 
  • Why did you go into medicine? I have been always fascinated by science as a child. That developed into a passion during high school so inspired by my parents and driven by my desire to help people i chose to be a doctor. It has been a truly fulfilling and intellectually stimulating journey so far.
  • What advice do you have for medical students going into residency? I believe that residency is the most crucial step in our medical career. It’s when we develop our clinical judgement and build a strong foundation of knowledge and skills to guide us through our career. My advice to you is to be humble, self-motivated and actively learn as much as you can not just from your senior residents and attendings but all the members of the medical staff. You will be surprised how much they have to offer!

Nick FaheyNicholas Fahey, MD
Emergency Medicine, PGY-2

Dr. Fahey was recently recognized by his colleagues for being friendly, calm, and respectful of others during work. “I witnessed him genuinely thank every staff member in the room for their assistance and eagerness to help a patient,” his nomination reads. “This type of interaction galvanizes interprofessional relationships and improves care.”

Q&A with Dr. Fahey:

  • Hometown: Lexington, Ky.
  • Medical School: University of Louisville 
  • Why did you go into medicine? I’ve always loved solving problems, talking to people, and challenges. I’ve worked in sales, small scale music production, and research, but hadn’t found a career path that kept me interested and felt fulfilling. Medicine was the perfect choice; I love my job.
  • What advice do you have for medical students going into residency?
    Residency is incredibly hard, but you’re not alone. Make friends; don’t isolate yourself.

    Your consultants possess different skill sets, and are working hard in realms that may not be evident to you. Acknowledge this, and work to make the lives of your colleagues easier. Be the consultant you would want to consult. 

    A nurse with a question is a nurse who cares about a patient. 

    The patient’s day is worse than yours, consider perceived “neediness” in the appropriate context.

    You’re a doctor, seriously, but don’t be serious all the time.


Alexander HernandezAlexander Hernandez, MD
Internal Medicine/Pediatrics, PGY-3

Dr. Hernandez was nominated for being a selfless, compassionate physician and demonstrating a “calming presence and reassurance” for patients and families going through tough times. “He always goes above and beyond with his patients, and it was evident how deeply cared for them,” the nomination says. 

Q&A with Dr. Hernandez:

  • Hometown: Miami, Fla.
  • Medical School: Loyola University Chicago - Stritch School of Medicine
  • Why did you go into medicine? My seventh-grade science teacher made me fall in love with the science of the body, and I thought about learning more about the body and using that to help others. My goal is to be able to participate in mission trips to provide medical care to underserved communities in Latin America.
  • What advice do you have for medical students going into residency? Most importantly, enjoy your fourth year and relax before start of residency. Spend time with family and friends (safely in the middle of the pandemic). Do not stress out about having to know "everything" before residency. You will get orientation to go over basic stuff, and your co-interns will be on the same level as you. (Believe me, they will also not know everything.) Your upper levels will help. Also, reading around your patients once you start residency, but until then, relax and enjoy Match Day and graduation.


Kate July O'BrienKate July O’Brien, MD
Otolaryngology, Head, and Neck Surgery, PGY-4

Dr. July O’Brien is a surgical resident who goes above and beyond to learn from her patients. She also takes extra time each day to ensure all orders are appropriate. “She is very ‘checked in’ and will be a great up-and-coming senior resident,” her nomination reads. “As surgical residents, things can get hectic as we’re running around trying to get to long days in the operating room, but Dr. O’Brien always makes sure to put her patients first.”

Q&A with Dr. July O’Brien:

  • Hometown: Blue Springs, Mo.
  • Medical School: University of Missouri
  • Why did you go into medicine? I always wanted a vocation where I served others and could love people well. I started pursuing medicine in high school through volunteering at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, and my love of the human body and science just made sense to pursue medicine. I went into surgery because I love working with my hands and the creativity I can spur by doing that. I'm making a full circle back into pediatric otolaryngology as well!
  • What advice do you have for medical students going into residency? There's so much advice I feel I could share. First, every day is a day to learn, work hard, and be nice to people. In choosing a career, don't feel locked in by what specialties are supposed to be. Meaning, you can go into whatever specialty you want and still make it into the type of job and life you want. And finally, do something you are excited to do every day. If you can enjoy the top five things a specialty sees and let the rare cases really excite you, that's awesome! 


Fred OdagoFred Odago, MD
Neurology, PGY-4

For the patients his team saw every day on service, Dr. Odago was knowledgeable and a good team player in offering to help during tough situations. His nomination notes that it is clear he does his homework, and he completes an impressive amount of work. And through all that, “Dr. Odago is always smiling and spreads positive energy!”

Q&A with Dr. Odago:

  • Hometown: Kisumu, Kenya
  • Medical School: University of Kentucky College of Medicine
  • Why did you go into medicine? I went into medicine after several years involved in biomedical research. I decided to go to medical school since I believed clinical practice would complement my interest in research. My current field of neurology is a perfect example of the role of research in advancing development of novel therapeutics. It is rewarding to see new medications in neurological conditions such as migraines, multiple sclerosis, spinal muscular atrophy, and narcolepsy rapidly enter the pipeline, a testament to the interplay between medicine and research. It’s even more rewarding to see a meaningful clinical outcome in the patients receiving these medications.
  • What advice do you have for medical students going into residency? I would recommend that they focus on the importance of team work. We learn in medical school to maximize our individual knowledge fund and clinical skills which are all important, however being a great team player is essential to assure excellent patient care. Medicine is a collaborative effort with resident colleagues, attending physicians, physical/occupational therapists, nutritionists, respiratory therapists, and social workers. Thus, the avid team player will flourish in this setting. 

Emma ScottEmma Scott, MD
Internal Medicine/Pediatrics, PGY-4

Dr. Scott was recognized for being an excellent leader and setting a great example. She possesses a great attitude and completes her work calmly and cheerfully, creating an environment that is refreshing in a time of worry and uncertainty. “She is wonderful and a true gift to the Med/Peds residency program!”

Q&A with Dr. Scott:

  • Hometown: Floyds Knobs, Ind.
  • Medical School: University of Kentucky College of Medicine
  • Why did you go into medicine? At the time, I wanted a challenging career that could adapt easily to underserved/international work for me to help those around me. In retrospect, medicine was a great fit for me because I get to be curious, learn something new every day/nerd out and all of that studying directly changes people's lives and their medical care. That's the ultimate study time pay-off
  • What advice do you have for medical students going into residency? Get excited! Intern year is the year you learn the most - about medicine, about yourself, about the human experience - and you meet a resident family that you bond with faster than you think is possible. Also, prep your self-care healthy habits before you start so you're prepared for the tough days that come along the way - set up your work-out routine, your cheer-me-up coffee shop, your support network and even therapist! It's so nice to have a plan ready and to feel prepared for anything so that you're ready to go. Enjoy the ride!

Alex WadeAlex Wade, MD
Family Medicine, PGY-2

Dr. Wade was nominated for going above and beyond on his off-service rotation while on Labor and Delivery. When the group was having issues with speculum lights not being able to charge, he went out of his way to hand-make charging stations for them. His ingenuity helped the workflow tremendously and allowed UK to give high-quality and expedient service to pregnant patients.

Q&A with Dr. Wade:

  • Hometown: Lexington, Ky.
  • Medical School: University of Kentucky College of Medicine
  • Why did you go into medicine? Medicine was a passion for me since I was in high school. I was first introduced to medicine by my uncle who works with an orthopedic surgeon. I was captured by how he could impact patients on a daily basis and improve their quality of life. In college, I completed a degree in bio engineering with the intent of going to medical school. Going through medical school and residency has only increased my passion for medicine because of how deeply we can invest in patients’ lives.  Family medicine has been and especially great fit for me because of the continuity with each patient and the multi-generational impact on families. I've really enjoy working in the outpatient and inpatient setting and using clinical skills, emerging science, and problem solving to treat disease pathology and to improve long-term outcomes for patients.
  • What advice do you have for medical students going into residency? As much as you are able, try to be present with each patient interaction. Each patient is an opportunity to serve another person and to build your clinical acumen such that the impact on your future patients will be exponential. Residency is so difficult that it is easy to dread the volume of work that awaits you each day. Every time that you feel this, seek out the aspects of medicine that drew you to the field years ago and cherish the opportunity to directly serve others in a way that no other occupation can do. 


Peter YargerPeter Yarger, MD
Anesthesiology, PGY-3

Dr. Yarger is an anesthesiology resident who worked in UK HealthCare’s post-anesthesia care unit in December 2020. During this time, he assisted in the recovery room, providing calm, professional care when needed. He was recognized for his abundance of medical knowledge and his ability to seamlessly coordinate patient care.

Q&A with Dr. Yarger:

  • Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colo.
  • Medical School: University of Colorado School of Medicine
  • Why did you go into medicine? I have always been a “nerd,” being very curious with a love of learning. I enjoy complex problem-solving while also working hard with my hands. I found medicine to be a compelling combination of science, problem solving, and a profound human connection with patients. Medicine provides a stimulating outlet for my curiosity and passionate interest in the life sciences in a way that benefits other people in impactful ways. Medicine provides a deeply profound perspective and role in the human condition. Doctors are often intimately involved in difficult, vulnerable, and raw situations in patients’ lives. I found the intellectual aspects of medicine combined with the poignant human connections to be very fulfilling and exhilarating! 
  • What advice do you have for medical students going into residency? Residency is "where the rubber meets the road.” The time in your training when you actually BECOME a physician. Medical school builds the foundation and prepares you to embody the role of a doctor. It is in residency that this metamorphosis unfolds and solidifies. It is exhilarating as much as it is challenging. You will work very hard. You will be stretched and grow more than you could imagine. My main advice would be to embrace the process! Embrace the long hours, sleepless nights, and march up the mountain while not losing yourself. The growth is in the journey, not the destination. Take time to reflect often, and connect with your own heart and soul throughout the process. You WILL become a physician in residency, and this process is both challenging and profoundly rewarding. Don’t forget your support system(s), and remember to draw strength and inspiration from those who lift you up. You will also gain new friends and support in your colleagues along the way. It’s a wild ride, enjoy it!