Kellie L. Mathis, M.D.

What attracted you to surgery?
I was attracted to the medical profession at a young age, but did not decide to pursue surgery until my third-year rotation in medical school. I was impressed that the surgeons were not the mere technicians that I surmised them to be, but rather intellectuals capable of caring for the whole patient. I enjoy the diversity of surgery; treating patients of all ages with acute and chronic conditions; and practicing in the clinic, hospital, OR, ICU, and emergency department.

What attracted you to Mayo Clinic for residency training?
Mayo Clinic's balance of service, education, and research stood out among other training programs. The Mayo mission is "the needs of the patient come first," so service is always the primary focus of the residents. However, education and research are also an integral part of the training process. Didactic teaching occurs at the bedside, in the outpatient clinic, in the operating suite, and at countless general surgical and subspecialty conferences. Research is encouraged and supported by the department and the institution. Graduates of this program obtain prestigious academic and private practice jobs.

What makes the Mayo Clinic General Surgery Residency unique?
One element unique to Mayo is the apprenticeship model of surgical education. Throughout the majority of the five-year training program, a single resident is paired with a staff surgeon and works side-by-side with the surgeon for 6 to 12 weeks at a time in the clinic, operating suite, and on the ward. In addition to the obvious benefits of working alongside expert surgeons, this program offers continuity of patient care that is unmatched in other residency programs.

Anything surprise you about Mayo's program?
I was surprised by the tremendous resources and support for resident/fellow research at Mayo. I have been fortunate to present my research at multiple national and international conferences with the help of my mentors. I was also surprised by the efficiency of the surgical practice. This is really a "destination hospital," where it is possible for a patient to travel to Rochester on Sunday, meet the surgeon, undergo the pre-operative work-up on Monday, and be in the operating suite for a major abdominal procedure on Tuesday.

What is living in Rochester like for you?
I grew up in a small town and have lived in a big city ... Rochester offers a nice balance of the two. The low cost-of-living makes housing affordable; the excellent schools and community activities make it a great place for raising my family; and Minneapolis and St. Paul are accessible for dining, shopping, sporting events, the arts, etc.

What does your future look like right now?
I am currently applying for fellowship training in Colon and Rectal Surgery and plan to pursue an academic surgical career.

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