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Meet Matt Messana, MD

Name: Matt Messana
Hometown: Milford, MI
Medical School: University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
Professional Interest: General Internal Medicine, Hospital Medicine

Residency Program Experience

What was the most inspirational thing you witnessed while working at the hospital? Honestly, working with some of my patients at the Douglas Moore Clinic has been extremely inspiring. I had an 89-year-old female who was extremely depressed during COVID. Her son brought her in and we all developed rapport very quickly. After talking I eventually found out she had been on an anti-depressant in the past which had worked. I found the medicine and we restarted it. Several visits later, she was feeling better and both the patient and her son are always ecstatic to see me when they come to clinic. And, I have to admit, it is great seeing them in clinic too. Knowing I was able to make a profound difference in someone’s life is extremely fulfilling and inspirational.

What is the biggest sacrifice you have made in your medical training so far? All the time spent away from family and friends. Whether it be for holidays, vacations, or simply hanging out, the resident schedule is demanding. Even when I do have time off sometimes all I want to do is sleep. Most times, I need whatever time I have off to get the essentials done such as grocery shopping and laundry.

What trait do you most admire in talented physicians? Compassion. And the way I mean compassion is critical thinking with the patient in mind. I admire the physicians I have seen who truly think about what is in the best interest of the patient, taking into account every aspect of their social, economic, and medical situation. Truly compassionate care in my mind takes time, effort and thought. The best physicians I have seen are the ones who are compassionate both at the bedside and with the plans they create for their patients.

What was the most difficult thing during your intern year? Developing efficiency. It took me a LONG time to not only figure out what to do but how to do it quickly so that I didn’t have to stay in the hospital so late. Thank goodness for remote access!

One thing I wish I knew before starting the Internal Medicine Residency Program is That you definitely should take STEP III as soon as you can! I had to delay mine due to the Covid 19 pandemic and I absolutely should have taken it during my first elective intern year!

At work, I always remember to Remind the interns to get lunch at some point during the day. No matter what is going on.

At work, I never Leave the hospital until I am confident that my patients are safe for the team to sign out to night float.

What is the key to making the best of this Medicine Residency Program? I think the key is to put yourself out there. I think my co-residents who made connections with fellows and attendings early were able to get research opportunities and learn about career choices which put them in a better position to achieve whatever their career goals were. That and relying on your awesome residents to help you out when you are stressed or overwhelmed. The people make this program!

What is the one item somebody starting residency should absolutely invest into? A water bottle. I have a hydroflask that has been a lifesaver. I may not always have time to eat lunch (or dinner on long calls) but staying hydrated has helped me get through many a shift. I guarantee if you fill yours up and bring it to work every day you won't regret it.

What's the best advice you've been given? “Do it right or go home.” – my grandfather.

A Few Words About Cleveland, Ohio

How would you describe Cleveland to somebody who has never been here? A big city with multiple smaller neighborhoods each with its own unique charm.

What neighborhood do you live in? University Circle

What are some of the spots to go to fall in love with Cleveland? Cleveland Botanical Garden, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall, West Side Market, Playhouse Square, Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland Metro parks

Best kept secret about Cleveland is Hungarian Garden at Rockefeller Park

Your favorite spot for a quick bite around the hospital: Wolfgang Puck

A good taco: Barrio

Dinner with friends: Rood Food and Pie (lunch would be at Larder Delicatessen and Bakery)

Great patio: Nano Brew

A night on the town: A stroll through the Cleveland Botanical Gardens followed by dinner at L’Albatros capped off by a symphony performed by the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall. Mitchell’s ice cream is optional but highly recommended.


Cope with sleep deprivation: Get as much sleep as you can, whenever you can.

Get to conferences on time: Commit to going no matter what. When the clock hits noon, just finish up what you’re doing and go.

Avoid burnout: Enjoy all of your time away from work and DON’T FEEL GUILTY. You deserve it!

It's a Toss-Up

East Side or West Side: East Side (I’m not hipster enough to be a West Sider)

Staying in or going out: Staying in (although the pandemic has probably biased me)

UH or VA: UH

CICU or MICU: This is tough. I’m gonna go CICU but it’s a real close call.

Pizza or tacos: Pizza. 100%. There is no other correct answer.

Lease or buy a car in Cleveland: Up to you

Own or rent a house in Cleveland: Buying is pretty cheap. Honestly wish I would have found a place to buy myself

Getting Personal

On my bucket list: I literally have about 20 restaurants I have not yet visited. The horrors of the pandemic know no bounds!

I can't live without: My music. No matter how bad a day I’m having, throwing in the air pods and putting on my music can usually get me through it.

Bad habit: Hitting the snooze on my alarm. I always have delusions of grandeur about when I’m going to wake up. A few snoozes later and suddenly I know I’m going to just make it to the hospital on time

If you were given 3 additional hours a day, what would you do with them? Probably work out more consistently. And play more video games with my friends.

A fact most people don't know about me is I donated bone marrow twice during 3rd year of medical school to an unrelated recipient! I randomly matched through Be The Match and it was one of the best things I have ever done! I strongly encourage everyone to register if they get a chance!

When I'm not on call you will find me With my fiancée. Either at my apartment or in Michigan. After doing long distance for 6 years, we make sure to find time to be together. Especially with the wedding planning!