Ijeoma A. Azodo, M.D.

What attracted you to surgery?

The cadence of a general surgery practice, patient interactions, spectrum of diseases, operative procedures, and worst-case scenarios fit my temperament. I used to play competitive soccer, which was a wonderful test of emotional and physical fitness, skill and execution, and critical thinking and insight. Preparing for an operation, from the first moment you meet the patient, to scrubbing for the case, through the recovery period, reproduces the same sense of purpose and accomplishment with the added awesome responsibility of caring for another's well-being. I also found great mentors, who are excellent surgeons, to help me grow in my training.

What attracted you to Mayo Clinic for residency training?

The multiple and varied support systems (allied health, physician assistants, computer and technology, and diagnostic and therapeutic resources) allow consultants to focus on taking care of patients, and the residents to learn how to take care of patients. This support allows me to focus on the specifics of my training in general surgery. I experienced firsthand how the ready availability of professionals across multiple disciplines facilitates timely assessment and management of patient concerns … from diagnosis of a problem, to pre-op evaluation, to the procedure through discharge.

What makes the Mayo Clinic General Surgery Residency unique?

The Mayo Clinic apprenticeship system in general surgery is the best attribute of my training program and an excellent system for training general surgeons. We learn in a focused manner the evaluation, treatment, operative technique, and post-operative care for a defined set of patients’ conditions/diseases. Each year of progression toward the chief year is met with graduated patient care responsibilities - increasing patient complexity and more operative independence. The rotations that comprise our surgical residency teach sound adherence to the principles and practice of excellent surgery and train us as safe, competent surgeons with a large repertoire of skills to achieve excellent patient outcomes.

Anything surprise you about Mayo's program?

I am always surprised when calling other specialty services for a consult on our surgical patients. How was it possible that the operator had the expert on my patient’s problem on speed-dial in the middle of the night? And that they would so quickly take my call? This is all a bit surreal. I have always been impressed at how experts in different fields are so accessible and come together to take care of patients at Mayo Clinic.

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