Meet Jacob Aaron, MD

Name: Jacob Aaron, MD
Hometown: Newton, MA
Medical School: Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science
Professional Interest: Med-Peds GI

Residency Program Experience

What was the most inspirational thing you witnessed while working at the hospital? I cared for a patient in the Medical ICU who had a full cardiac arrest in her home, and her family made the decision to withdraw care. During her final moments, her mother and sister wanted to hold my hand as she passed as they felt I had taken such good care of her. They were suffering because of the loss of the loved one, but they allowed me to join in their grieving be a part of their family and experience the loss with them, which was a great honor.

What is the biggest sacrifice you have made in your medical training so far? It's been hard to spend time away from my family; I love being around them and wish I had just the teensiest bit more time to travel so we could spend more time together.

What trait do you most admire in talented physicians? The most talented physicians are never afraid to admit when they don't know something. Our attendings are incredible, intelligent and capable and most of all they are dogged in their pursuit of knowledge.

What was the most difficult thing during your intern year? Managing time! Intern year challenges the balance between your personal life and your professional life more than any other part of your life, and you have to think carefully about how to budget your time outside of work.

One thing I wish I knew before starting the Med-Peds Residency Program is switching between internal medicine and pediatrics is hard at first, but it gets easier!

At work I always remember to take a five-minute break after rounds to decompress, usually with a bag of fruit snacks.

At work I never stop talking. I'm chatty. I occasionally will move to one of our call rooms to get work done because I like my fellow residents so much that I can't help but distract them by asking about their vacations, babies and social lives.

What is the key to making the best of this Med-Peds Residency Program? Recognizing the difference in culture between internal medicine and pediatrics and integrating components of each into your practice can allow you to be a great provider. While internal medicine physicians are experts at bargaining and negotiating with patients themselves, pediatricians tend to have greater skills in addressing the needs of families and caregivers. To be a great Med-Peds provider, you have to be able to do both, often simultaneously. Our Med-Peds Consult service allows us to lend our skills to our colleagues, and residents on less rigorous blocks should take advantage of this wonderful learning opportunity.

What is the one item somebody starting residency should absolutely invest into? A Roth IRA. Retirement accounts are important sources of income later in life, but they won't grow if you don't put money into them early. Max out your Roth IRA.

What's the best advice you've been given? Initially, I was chagrined by the increased length of training Med-Peds requires, particularly for fellowship if you wish to do two subspecialties (one in medicine, one in peds), especially as someone interested in Med-Peds GI. However, one of my mentors, when I mentioned my trepidation, said: "Do the training you need to do the job that you want." The rigorous training required to treat both adults and children feels fulfilling and worthwhile to me, and my perspective has shifted thanks to this wise mentor.

A Few Words About Cleveland, Ohio

How would you describe Cleveland to somebody who has never been here? Cleveland is diverse and has great food.

What neighborhood do you live in? I live in Cleveland Heights, about a 10-minute walk from the hospital. It is a small subdivision of Cleveland in which many of the residents live.

What are some of the spots to go to fall in love with Cleveland? My favorite spot to visit is the Flats, a downtown area that has recently been built up and has great restaurants and a fantastic view of the Cuyahoga River.

Best kept secret about Cleveland is the price. Even in the nicer areas of Cleveland, housing is very affordable, even on a resident's salary.

Your favorite spot for a quick bite around the hospital: Kenko Sushi.

A good taco: the Fairmount, about a mile away from the hospital, has fantastic Ahi tuna tacos.

Dinner with friends: Barrio (coincidentally, right next door to the Fairmount) on the East Side has a fantastic happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, with $1 off (already cheap) tacos, and I get together with residents there several times a month for dinner.

Great patio: Luna (coincidentally, right next door to Barrio), is a coffee/breakfast shop that has a fantastic patio.

A night on the town: On my favorite night thus far, my partner (he's a pediatrics resident) and I spent a night downtown and on the west side. We first visited Nanobrewery, a pub and brewery for dinner, and we subsequently headed over to Twist, one of Cleveland's gay bars, with some of our fellow residents.

How-Tos

Cope with sleep deprivation: This one was troubling at the beginning of the year, but once I got into the swing of things, my internal clock forced me to be in bed at 11 p.m. at the latest. The most important thing for me was to live close to the hospital so that my commute didn't eat into sleeping time.

Get to conferences on time: Two things: triage less important tasks for after conference (that antibiotic that you're switching that's due at 9 p.m. doesn't need to go in the EMR right away), and ask your seniors to take over a patient's orders if there are simply too many tasks to complete before conference.

Avoid burn out: recognize when a task frustrates you and ask for help! One resident cannot do every job.

It's a Toss-Up

East Side or West Side: East Side

Staying in or going out: Delighted to go out when the weather is good, but if it's snowing, I'm staying in.

UH or VA: UH

CICU or MICU: MICU. Our MICU attendings are just stellar.

Pizza or tacos: Pizza

Lease or buy a car in Cleveland: Buy. Leasing a car is always a waste of money. Just ask Suze Orman.

Own or rent a house in Cleveland: Own.

Getting Personal

On my bucket list: learn Japanese

I can't live without: Board games. I am positively obsessed.

Bad habit: biting my fingernails

If you were given 3 additional hours a day, what would you do with them? Bake pizzas.

A fact most people don't know about me is I have cystic fibrosis, and my personal struggle with it has fueled my desire to take care of patients with chronic diseases, specifically inflammatory bowel disease.

When I'm not on call you will find me overfeeding my cat.

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