Samir Panvelker, MD

Internal Medicine Chief Resident, 2017-18

Samir and a group of fellow residents, playing in a semiannual curling league at the Charlottesville ice rink.

I grew up in Florence, South Carolina, and majored in anthropology at the University of South Carolina. I moved to Virginia in 2010 to attend medical school at UVA and have lived in Charlottesville ever since. Residency passed by (too) quickly, and I’m excited to stay around for an extra year as chief resident.

Why medicine? Why UVA?

Caring for patients allows you to interact with people at their most vulnerable, when unexpected changes in health have affected their ability to spend time with family, work at their jobs, or simply live life as they would wish. It’s a tremendous honor to help restore patients’ lives as best as possible.

Internal medicine is the most encompassing field, and, when I was a medical student, the IM residents here seemed so smart, caring, and cooperative. I’m happy to say life as a resident has lived up to everything I hoped it’d be.

What opportunities and challenges do you see in the year ahead as a chief resident?

I’m confident in my ability to take care of patients, but I’ve never been in a managerial role before. I think there will be some trying times, but I’m excited to develop my skills in handling adversity, teamwork, and teaching.

Sossusvlei sand dunes in Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia

Words of advice for new residents?

Medicine is a rapidly expanding field and you’re never going to know everything. Residency is as much about developing reasoning skills as it is about learning facts. Don’t accept things at face value; try to understand pathology and treatments on a deeper level.

Proudest achievement outside the professional realm?

Some friends and I drove 2,500 miles in four days on a road trip from Cape Town, South Africa, to the Sossusvlei sand dunes in Namibia. We made it back just in time for the start of the 2010 World Cup. It was one of the best weeks of my life.

Samir with his faithful (or is it nervous?) dog Berry, on Humpback Rock in Shenandoah National Park.

What are you usually doing in your spare time?

I love live music and go to one or two concerts a month at our great local venues. Shenandoah National Park is nearby and has some amazing hikes. I’m most often hanging out at Charlottesville’s restaurants and breweries; we have some really creative individuals in the area, and I like exploring the local food scene to find new go-to spots.

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

I eat an absurd amount of eggs.

Where did you go on your last vacation?

A fellow resident and I spent a week in Nashville this past May. The city was buzzing from their hockey team’s success in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and their food and music scenes are incredible.

What about you would surprise us?

I had a research project in high school that essentially ended up with me working as a beekeeper for a summer in Clemson, SC. It was an incredibly hot summer and I got stung a decent amount, but it was such a unique experience — I think it was one of the best summers of my life.

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

As much as I enjoy listening to music, creating it was never my forte and I dropped efforts to learn piano and trumpet as a kid. I’ve chalked this up to instrument incompatibility, and think I’d enjoy guitar a lot. Hopefully I can give it a shot in the coming years.

Words to live by?

“You shouldn’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out alive.”
– The critically acclaimed feature film “Van Wilder”