Slice of Resident Life - Ben Alencherry, MD

slice_of_life_-_ben_alencherry

Name: Ben Alencherry, MD
Hometown: Hagerstown, MD
Medical School: The George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Professional Interest: Cardiology, International Health

RESIDENCY PROGRAM EXPERIENCE
What is the most important thing you learnt during residency? I am still learning…but as of today it is that you should be as confident as you are humble as a physician…and vice versa!
What is the key to being a good patient advocate? The key is simple yet quite difficult at the same time. If you view the patient as a human being, even when you are at the end of a long shift, you will always be the best advocate for the patient.
Residents have a unique culture here. Do you remember a time when you had to rely on somebody at work? How did things work out? I have had countless situations where I have had to rely on a fellow resident and they helped me out. A particular situation is when my mother was scheduled to go for surgery with a two-days notice, and multiple residents covered my shifts to allow me to go home and be with my family.
What is the best way to find a good mentor? I think the ideal way is to find someone who has the same interest as you… but this can be difficult in your first year of residency, when you may not know exactly what your interest is. For those who are undifferentiated, what may be better is to thoroughly investigate what the faculty are doing here at UH/CWRU. So many attendings are successful researchers who are open to mentoring a genuine, interested resident.
What should new interns look forward to when starting the program? This program is definitely a hard working program. I think most people come to UH for that reason. But among the long hours and challenging medicine, you should look forward to learning a lot about the field. There is a lot of guidance at first when starting the program, but then after this initiation period the autonomy and independence is refreshing. So, new interns can look forward to a steep learning curve and a program that is supportive and will ultimately prepare them well for life after residency.
The biggest misconception about the intern year is the expectations. We do not expect interns to know everything…but hard work, dedication, and patient care should be the norm.
The one thing you absolutely should do during your intern year is find your comfort food at Mitchell’s…sometimes the variety is overwhelming but it is key that early in the year you get your go-to selection.
The one thing you should avoid during your intern year is eating too often at Mitchell’s, can increase your 10-year ASCVD risk profile.
Favorite residency event? End of year retreat
What’s the best advice you have been given? Ball is Life.

A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE AREA
How would you describe Cleveland to somebody who has never been here? Medium sized city with a suburban touch.
What neighborhood do you live in? Cleveland Heights
What are some of the spots that capture the essence of Cleveland? Shaker Lake, the Q, Bottlehouse, East 4th (and I am still learning)
Your favorite spot for a coffee: Gimme Java Coffee
A quick bite around the hospital: Chinois salad at Wolfgang
Brunch: Original Pancake House
To impress a date: Fire, Shaker Square (try to split that check though!) 
A night on the town: wherever your wife chooses to go

HOW TOS
Recover after a long call: Exercise
Stay on top of discharge summaries: Don’t leave the hospital without doing them, much quicker on the day off!
Avoid burnout: Make your vacations and golden weekends awesome
Get on the Chief Residents good sides: Work hard and be honest

TOSS UP
UH or VA: UH
East Side or West Side: East Side
Staying in or going out: Staying in with Mario Kart
Grand Rounds or M&M: M&M
Sushi or Tacos: Sushi in a state with a coast line
Scrubs or White Coat: Scrubs
Lease or buy a car in Cleveland: Lease
Own or rent a house in Cleveland: Own

PERSONAL
On my bucket list: El Camino de Santiago in Spain
I can’t live without basketball
Fun fact most people don’t know about me is…I learned it is possible to forget how to swim