Deena Abdelhalim, DO
Medical School: Touro University- New York
Undergrad: University of California Berkeley
Hometown: Moorpark, CA
Activities/Hobbies: Exploring new hiking trails, picnics, trying to keep plants alive, coffee shop hopping
Why McGovern: UT Houston stood out to me during my audition rotation where I immediately felt included and supported as a student. The faculty and residents valued my learning goals and went out of their way to hunt down procedures I could learn from. I wanted a comprehensive training that included both academic and county sites, such as Memorial Hermann and LBJ, and also treated a diverse population! UT Houston combined the best EM training, most compassionate faculty, and brightest residents and I am very excited to be part of this program!
Interests Within EM: Pain Management, Global Health, Social EM
Fun Fact: I went to Iceland and chased down the Northern Lights through a combination of radar technology and twitter
Christina Anderson, MD
Medical School: Saint Louis University School of Medicine
Undergrad: Washington University in St. Louis
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri
Activities/Hobbies: Baking, crocheting, trying new restaurants, traveling (especially to places with beaches), brunch, watching romcoms
Why McGovern: The more I learned about McGovern, the more I knew it was the program for me. On my interview day and my in-person visit to the campus, each of the residents and faculty that I interacted with were SO welcoming and knowledgeable and very down to earth. I felt like this would be a program where I would be pushed to be my very best while being in a supportive learning environment. The unparalleled clinical opportunities, and the opportunity to work at THE largest medical center and busiest trauma center in North America solidified my decision. I am SO excited to be joining this program and I can’t wait to serve the diverse and resilient patients in this community and live in one of the best cities in America.
Interests Within EM: Disaster medicine, EMS, Health Equity, and mentorship
Fun Fact: I hope one day to be able to start a baking business as a side gig and sell cupcakes, pastries, cookies, and mini-cakes
Dale Boardman, DO
Medical School: Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine – UNTHSC
Undergrad: Rhodes College
Hometown: Aberdeen, Scotland / Houston, TX
Activities/Hobbies: Weight lifting, Running, Boxing, Board Games, Video Games, being outdoors
Why McGovern: The combination of a great program in my hometown with a community that, once I met them, I immediately felt a part of.
Interests Within EM: Ultrasound, Critical Care
Fun Fact: When I was 14 I got to meet Stan Lee
Libby Collyer, DO
Medical School: Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine
Undergrad: Loyola University New Orleans
Hometown: Oakville, Ontario
Activities/Hobbies: Traveling, Peloton, cooking, reading mysteries/thrillers, playing with my cat (Quinn), beach days, and hanging out with friends and family!
Why McGovern: To me, UT Houston is the perfect combination of training, diverse patient population, and location. The depth of opportunity created by the dual-training sites is a huge advantage in getting the most out of residency. I’m excited to be challenged every day while surrounded by an awesome team and eat all the BBQ and Tex-Mex I can get my hands on.
Interests Within EM: Sports Medicine, EMS, Global Health
Fun Fact: I went to university on a basketball scholarship and ended up walking onto the women’s volleyball team my junior year without previous experience. The perks of being 6’3!
Altamish Daredia, MD
Medical School: University of Alabama at Birmingham Heersink School of Medicine
Undergrad: University of Alabama at Birmingham
Hometown: Hoover, AL
Activities/Hobbies: Hiking, Reading, Exploring new restaurants and coffee shops, Travel, Watch collecting and restoration
Why McGovern: I chose UT Houston for a number of reasons. I was really impressed by the clinical curriculum and the opportunity to train at a multi-site program which includes the busiest level 1 trauma center in the country as well as a county hospital that would allow me to work with underserved populations. I also really liked the city of Houston in all aspects, the food, the individuals, and the culture. And last and most importantly the people! Everyone at the program seemed to genuinely love both being there and the people they work with. This was evident during both my interview and during the second look weekend. I’m so glad I picked UT Houston and I can’t wait to spend the next three years here!
Interests Within EM: Critical Care, Trauma, EMS, Medical Education
Fun Fact: I’m learning how to restore vintage wristwatches in my free time!
Luke Gjondla, DO
Medical School: Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Undergrad: Lehigh University and The Pennsylvania State University
Hometown: Whitehall, Pennsylvania and Jawornik Polski, Poland
Activities/Hobbies: Bodybuilding, Attending Electronic Music Festivals, Traveling, Anime, and Crafting Healthy Takes on Popular Food/Recipes
Why McGovern: I wanted to be a part of a program that served a patient population that resembled my upbringing and prepared me to become a leader in both emergency medicine and critical care medicine. My interactions with the faculty and residents during interview day exceeded my expectations. I felt like I had met old friends again, who wanted to build me into the best version of myself both as a person and a physician. After attending a second look, I felt like I had found a program where I would be pushed to be the best version of myself amongst people I could call my family.
Interests Within EM: Critical Care and Medical Education
Fun Fact: I lived in Poland prior to coming to the U.S. and went pro in the OCB in Men’s Classic Physique during Medical School!
Alex Goay, MD
Medical School: University of Maryland School of Medicine
Undergrad: Washington University in St. Louis
Hometown: Baton Rouge, LA and Houston, TX
Activities/Hobbies: Playing with my dog, traveling, nature/outdoors, trying new restaurants/breweries, board games
Why McGovern: After completing my away rotation at UT Houston, I knew the program would be a great fit! Everyone I met during the rotation was very supportive and genuinely invested in my learning and success. With dual training locations, high acuity, incredible faculty and residents, and a diverse patient population, the program is second to none. Lastly my family and partner live in Houston, so coming back home was the obvious choice!
Interests Within EM: Healthcare Management/Administration, Sports Medicine, Social EM
Fun Fact: I grew up swimming competitively and then played water polo in college.
Jonathan “Jay” Harrell II, MD
Medical School: University of Connecticut School of Medicine
Undergrad: Oakwood University
Hometown: Altamonte Springs, FL
Activities/Hobbies: Lifting, following my sports teams (Dolphins, Heat, Manchester United to name a few), spending time with my INCREDIBLE WIFE, visiting family, traveling, playing my violin/viola, keeping up with Marvel and other comic book TV/Movies, and reading.
Why McGovern: The opportunity to serve a diverse group of patients across Houston and to be a part of a program that values the community they’re in is incredible. Furthermore, I knew here I would be in a space that valued me for who I am. It is a space where all people can grow as we have so many incredible faculty and staff.
Interests Within EM: Administration, Sports Medicine, Health Equity
Fun Fact: I was a lifeguard growing up in FL!
Tomas Hernandez, MD
Medical School: McGovern Medical School
Hometown: Elsa, TX
Activities/Hobbies: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Watching Movies, Hiking, and Golf
Why McGovern: Diverse patient population and work culture.
Interests Within EM: EMS and Wilderness Medicine
Fun Fact: I’ve watched over 1000 films in the past 7 years.
Ryan Johnson, MD
Medical School: The Medical College of Georgia
Undergrad: Savannah State University
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
Activities/Hobbies: Traveling, Watching professional sports (MMA, Basketball, Football, Baseball), reading and watching documentaries on World History, cooking/learning new recipes and watching competitive cooking competitions
Why McGovern: I fell in love with UT Houston during my time as a visiting medical student during my 4th year of medical school. I learned so much while I was here. I figured if I learned so much in 4 weeks, imagine what I will learn in 3 years :). All of the residents and attendings supported my learning during my time here. It was my best experience of medical school. Additionally, the uniqueness of being able to train at a busy academic and county hospital will prepare me to practice EM in any setting. With MHH being the busiest level 1 trauma center in the US and LBJ having the largest volume of any ED in Houston, the training here at McGovern is unparalleled. Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the United States with tons of great activities, exceptional people and fantastic food.
Interests Within EM: Critical Care, Ultrasound, Health Disparities in Emergency Medicine
Fun Fact: I was a manager at a popular shoe store and movie theatre during undergrad.
Gigi Jolly, MD
Medical School: Texas A&M University College of Medicine
Undergrad: Baylor University
Hometown: Madison, Mississippi
Activities/Hobbies: I love to travel internationally, being involved with my church, hanging with friends, going to concerts, going out to eat, want to start exercising (lol), becoming a plant mom
Why McGovern: This program has a great balance of being academic with lots of specialties and trauma at MH and county with limited resources at LBJ, both of which super valuable learning environments for EM. I did a rotation my 4th and got to learn a ton, practice a lot of procedures, and thought all of the residents and attendings were really down-to-earth and smart. It was also really important for my husband/family to be in Houston, and we absolutely love Houston! Loads of coffee shops, concerts and entertainment, and obviously incredible food!
Interests Within EM: I enjoy learning about ECGs and want to work in disaster/refugee/global health in the future
Fun Fact: I saw Prince Harry on a layover in London one time!
Sam Long, MD
Medical School: McGovern Medical School
Undergrad: UT Dallas
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Activities/Hobbies: Hanging with my wife and dog, camping, video games
Why McGovern: I went here for medical school because I loved the community and environment of McGovern. When rotating here, I felt the same energy with the emergency medicine program. The residents and attendings were awesome and really down to earth. The training here is also amazing! There is a great mix between Hermann and LBJ, and the acuity is unmatched. I have full confidence anyone training here would be a phenomenal physician. There are plenty of opportunities for fellowship and research if those interests arrive.
Interests Within EM: EMS, US
Fun Fact: I have an identical twin!
Yoseph Mahmoud, DO
Medical School: University of North Texas Health Science Center
Undergrad: University of Texas at Austin
Hometown: Corpus Christi, TX
Activities/Hobbies: Running, soccer, learning how to cook
Why McGovern: I chose UT Houston because of the prestige of being a trainee in the Texas Medical Center. Having grown up in south Texas, I was always perplexed about how many patients were being referred to Houston for their complex care. The assortment of its providers, and those to whom the care is being provided, is matched by nowhere else in the world.
Interests Within EM: Critical Care, improving encounters with non-English speaking patients
Fun Fact: I own a tan Texas longhorn cap that I have been wearing every day since my first day of undergrad. I lost it for over a month not too long ago, and ever since, have slept with it by my side.
Shazia Malik, DO
Medical School: Lincoln Memorial University DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine
Undergrad: Xavier University
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Activities/Hobbies: Hiking, traveling, exploring the food and dessert scene
Why McGovern: McGovern met what I was looking for in a residency program. I wanted a program that would challenge me, where the people were down-to-earth and supportive, plus a diverse patient population. I also admired the emphasis on wellness and a work/life balance. Let’s not forget the Houston food scene is great!
Interests Within EM: Global health, Social EM
Fun Fact: I skydived in Switzerland. Onto my next bucket list item!
Serena Meng, DO
Medical School: Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences
Undergrad: Willamette University
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Activities/Hobbies: Working out at the gym or taking my favorite Pilates class, traveling, and spending time with friends, family and my dog.
Why McGovern: My interview went so great that I flew down to Houston the following weeks and was so impressed by the people and hospital. I could tell I would get top tier training here.
Interests Within EM: Physician wellness, Education, and Procedures.
Fun Fact: I’ve gone free diving with sharks in Hawaii!
Cait Minutella, MD
Medical School: Medical College of Wisconsin
Undergrad: University of California, Los Angeles
Hometown: Foothill Ranch, CA
Activities/Hobbies: Hiking, climbing, running, snowboarding, reading, good food & brews
Why McGovern: I knew the diversity, volume, and high acuity of the patient population in the ED here would provide with me with amazing training. Also — all of the residents and faculty that I met on both my interview day and at second look were incredible!!
Interests Within EM: EMS, Global Health
Fun Fact: In high school, a friend ran me over (accidentally!!) with their car and I walked away completely unscathed… except for my ego… that one hurt.
Amara Ogoke, MD
Medical School: Tulane University School of Medicine
Undergrad: SUNY Binghamton
Hometown: All around the northeast! (NY, CT, MA)
Activities/Hobbies: Playing with my dog, foodie, staying active, board and card games, traveling, and finding the closest beach
Why McGovern: I looked back at the notes I took during my interview and saw that I had written “the vibes are immaculate,” which pretty much sums it up! I valued the assortment of people I saw among the residents and faculty, and felt very at home. Meeting compassionate, encouraging, and supportive residents and faculty whom I connected with really made me feel welcome and confident in my decision.
Interests Within EM: Social EM, Health Policy and Advocacy
Fun Fact: I picked up skateboarding during med school!
Ngozi Pierce, MD
Medical School: Pritzker School of Medicine
Undergrad: Emory University
Hometown: St. Francisville, Louisiana
Activities/Hobbies: Escape rooms, Jogging, Uno
Why McGovern: The patient population is SO diverse; I am excited to learn from them. The residents/faculty were so accommodating and invested in me, starting right from interview day. I felt really welcomed and had a great gut feeling!
Interests Within EM: Social EM, Women’s Health
Fun Fact: I think I buried my hamster alive in the 7th grade–in retrospect he was probably hibernating!!
Ravi Soni, DO
Medical School: PCOM
Undergrad: Pensacola Christian College
Hometown: Ocala, FL
Activities/Hobbies: Rock climbing, hiking, free diving, Spartan races, cooking, baking, craft beers, anime
Why McGovern: The hybrid academic/county training model, high acuity, patient population and volume, and fellowship opportunities were only some of the things that attracted me to UT Houston. What really sold this program to me was the genuine interest the faculty showed during my interview. UT truly felt like home to me, and I am excited to spend the next three years with them as I learn all about the world of Emergency Medicine from them. Plus, I am looking forward to exploring the endless food options Houston has to offer.
Interests Within EM: Global Health, Ultrasound
Fun Fact: I make the best chocolate chip espresso cookies!
Alaina Sturkie, DO
Medical School: Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine
Undergrad: University of South Carolina
Hometown: Columbia, SC
Activities/Hobbies: Hiking, reading, cooking, and anything that involves my dog (very original, I know).
Why McGovern: I did an audition rotation here as a medical student and immediately felt at home! I grew greatly in knowledge and confidence during my month so I knew my growth as a physician here would be 10-fold! The volume, acuity, and leadership are second-to-none.
Interests Within EM: EMS, Hospital Administration
Fun Fact: I started a baking business during college!
Dan Walter, MD
Medical School: McGovern Medical School
Undergrad: Texas A&M University – Petroleum Engineering
Hometown: Tomball, TX
Activities/Hobbies: Hiking, Backpacking, Skiing, Smoking Meats, and Traveling the World
Why McGovern: I thought that UT Houston had everything I wanted access to during residency. The residents were all very strong, good friends and really seemed to enjoy coming to work. Additionally, UTH has great EMS/prehospital training opportunities which which is ultimately what I want to do in the future.
Interests Within EM: EMS
Fun Fact: I have two Australian Shepherds, Sadie and Koa