Ross Buerlein, IM Chief Resident


Ross, with a very large fish. (He says it is a brown trout that he caught while fly fishing in Montana.)

I grew up in Richmond and I have spent much of my life in Virginia. I graduated from James Madison University where I majored in biology and history, then moved to Washington, D.C., where I worked at an NIH research lab for two years. I completed my MD at Eastern Virginia Medical School.

I have loved living in Charlottesville. In my free time I like to be outdoors — fly fishing, hunting, golfing, or hiking with my wife, Katelyn, and our chocolate lab, Tyson. We also enjoy the amazing local restaurants (some of our favorites are Tavola, Brookville, and Ace Biscuit and Barbeque), along with the region’s breweries, wineries, and outdoor festivals. 

Katelyn and I welcomed a baby boy, Brooks, this past January.

Why medicine? Why UVA?

UVA was an easy choice for me. Charlottesville was a huge draw, and the program had everything I was looking for: great resident camaraderie, rigorous clinical training, a focus on resident education, and an outstanding gastroenterology program.

Ross, far left, with fellow 2016-17 IM chiefs Eric McLoughlin, Annie Smith and Peter Liu.

Words of advice for new residents?

  1. If you sleep while on night shift, always set an alarm and make sure your pager is not on vibrate.
  2. The grill will make you a breakfast sandwich on Texas Toast if you ask nicely.
  3. Always have a clean white coat downstairs in the laundry waiting for you. You never know when something is going to spray, drip, squirt or spill on you.

What’s one thing you always have in your fridge?

La Croix (flavored sparkling water) and apples.

Brooks Buerlein

What about you would surprise us?

After getting accepted to medical school, I completed my projects at the NIH and then moved to Costa Rica for five months. I lived in a small town with a local family there; they did not speak any English, and I only spoke a little Spanish at the time — but we made it work.

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

Play the piano. I’m not at all musically gifted (in fact, quite the opposite). My father, uncle, and cousin are all talented musicians, but that must have skipped a generation with me. I took guitar lessons about 15 years ago, and I was hopeless.

Words to live by?

Throughout my life, my father has sent me inspirational quotes from time to time. Some have stuck in my mind more than others — but one by JFK actually changed the way I approached things: “We choose to go to the moon… and do other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

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