Meet Alyssa Drosdak, MD

Name: Alyssa Drosdak, MD
Hometown: Frederick, MD
Medical School: The Ohio State University College of Medicine
Professional Interest: Gastroenterology

Residency Program Experience:

What was the most inspirational thing you witnessed while working at the hospital? Countless times I've witnessed our residents coming together to support one another during codes, transitions of care and hectic days. The camaraderie and true sense of family in this program cannot be overstated. I was struck by it on interview day, and the feeling has only continued to grow since first meeting my class at orientation. There is no other group of people I would rather be working alongside.

What is the biggest sacrifice you have made in your medical training so far? Being far from my family and close friends on the East Coast for both medical school and residency.

What trait do you most admire in talented physicians? Their ability to remain poised in any situation, whether it be a difficult conversation with a patient's family, caring for a critically ill patient or giving a talk.

One thing I wish I knew before starting the residency program? Not only will you grow close to your fellow categorical interns, but also the prelim interns. The great part is, most of them stay to continue their residencies. It always makes my day when calling a consult and a former co-intern answers.

What was the most difficult thing during your intern year? Taking care of two post-cardiac arrest patients in the ICU last spring was by far my most challenging experience. Caring for the patients was just as important as caring for their families who were surrogate decision makers. One of the patients had a 17-year old daughter as her health care power of attorney. Helping her in the decision to continue aggressive medical care versus comfort care was incredibly challenging, but important in my development as a young physician. It's in these moments that we can do incredible good. We use our knowledge to educate loved ones and support them in their decision making. I relied on the support of an incredible MICU nurse, Mike (and his wife's baking), my team, my family and my faith.

At work I never… Go a day without a co-resident cracking me up.

What is the key to making the best of this residency program? Get to know not only your co-residents, but residents in other programs, your nurses (especially the ICU nurses; they have so much knowledge to share), fellows and attendings. We are fortunate to be led by some of the kindest clinicians and most passionate teachers.

What is the one item somebody starting residency should absolutely invest in? A mattress you really love (gotta make those zzz's count.)

What's the best advice you've been given? (Courtesy of my Dad): Just because you're smart, doesn't mean you're right.

A Few Words About Cleveland

How would you describe Cleveland to somebody who has never been here? Plenty of culture: whether in the many different neighborhoods, museums in University Circle, shows in Playhouse Square, variety of cuisines or plethora of outdoor activities.

What neighborhood do you live in? Cleveland Heights

What are some of the spots to go to fall in love with Cleveland? West Side Market, The Holden Arboretum, The Tremont 'Cleveland Sign', The Arcade

Best kept secret about Cleveland is… Playhouse Square. It's the nation's second biggest theatre district next to NYC.

Your favorite spot for a quick bite around the hospital: In the hospital: the soup station

Near the hospital: Kenko (For a Poke bowl and bubble tea.)

A good burger: Washington Place or Swenson's

Dinner with friends: Barrocco

Great patio: NanoBrew

A night on the town: Bar Cento


Cope with sleep deprivation: Caffeine fuel (or your energizing equivalent) plus an afternoon snack or quick work break to beat the mid-afternoon slump.

Avoid burn out: Call your people. Be they your parents, significant other, childhood friends or medical school friends - lean on them. They'll remind you how amazing you are, inside and outside of medicine.

It's a Toss-Up

East Side or West Side: East Side

Staying in or going out: Staying in (with friends)

UH or VA: Both fun places to work. One of the major draws of the program was having the opportunity to work in a VA. Training in two different systems makes you more adaptable. I also feel that the experience helps you to reflect on the values of health care organizations, and pushes you to identify which of those will be most important in your continued career.


Sushi or tacos: Tacos

Lease or buy a car in Cleveland: Buy

Own or rent a house in Cleveland: Rent. I (very affordably) rent a single-family home. I wouldn't trade my outdoor space and garage for anything.

Getting Personal

On my bucket list: Get dive certified and dive Belize or The Great Barrier Reef, hold a Red Panda, dine at Alinea in Chicago.

I can't live without: My Spotify playlists (jamming out while I work on H&P's and discharge planning)

Bad habit: Doing laundry and leaving it in the dryer for over a week

If you were given three additional hours a day, what would you do with them? Eat a healthy breakfast, get outside/be active every day, read (novels or medical journals) for an hour a day

Fun fact most people don't know about me is: My last name is apparently Ukranian. (It translates to a songbird that's indigenous to Eastern Europe.)

When I'm not on call you will find me: Exploring Cleveland. There's so much to do here, and it's all affordable and accessible.

What I want to do/see before 2020: kayak the Cuyahoga River, go wine tasting in Geneva and tour Tremont holiday lights on Lolly the Trolley.