Kelsey Barter, MD

Kelsey Barter, MD

Where I am from: I was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, and moved to St. Louis for college at WashU, where I studied neurobiology. I spent a gap year in Chicago, then moved to Nashville for medical school at Vanderbilt. I entered medical school planning to pursue adult neurology but discovered during my clerkship year that I love working with pediatric patients.

Where I am going: I am interested in neuroimmunology, as well as general pediatric neurology. I am also passionate about health equity and plan to incorporate advocacy into my career as a child neurologist.

Why I am here: My husband and I met as undergrads at WashU, so coming back to St. Louis feels like home for us. We love our neighborhood in South City, the low cost of living, being able to bike to work, and the good food here! I was looking for a large pediatric neurology program with a strong representation of subspecialties and many research opportunities. In addition to that, I have found that both our program and the broader pediatrics program have a supportive culture and strong sense of community among residents, which has made my transition much more enjoyable!

Haley Botteron, MD

Haley Botteron, MD

Where I am from: I was born and raised in St. Louis. I stayed for here college and went to WashU, where I majored in Environmental Biology and German. I finally left St. Louis for medical school, where I attended the University of Kansas School of Medicine.

Where I am going: I am currently most interested brain injury and recovery. Whether that may mean neurocritical care and working with TBIs, or neonatal neurology with more focus on hypoxic injury, I love being in the hospital inpatient setting. I am also very interested in concussion, return-to-play protocols and headache treatment. I have really enjoyed my experience with clinical research and hope to be able to continue some aspect of clinical research in my future!

Why I am here: I love the city of St. Louis and knew that I wanted to return back to spend time with my family. St. Louis has a truly underrated food scene as well as incredible parks and green spaces, like Forest Park, where I love to spend a lot of my time. I met so many incredible people at WashU and St. Louis Children’s during my time in clinical research as well as volunteering in undergrad that I knew it was the place I wanted to train at after graduation. I had previously worked in the pediatric neurosurgery department in between college and medical school and it was my first exposure to child neurology. The incredible mentors and research opportunities, as well as a big NICU and PICU, were definitely strong factors in my decision to come to WashU.

Catherine Evers Smith, MD

Catherine Evers Smith, MD

Where I am from: I grew up in Morrow, OH which is a rural area near Cincinnati.  I majored in chemistry at Wright State University in Dayton, OH and continued there for medical school at Boonshoft School of Medicine.

Where I am going: I’m interested in a lot of the peds neuro fields including epilepsy, neuromuscular, fetal, and movement.  I am very excited explore the various options during residency! I’m also interested in med-ed and will likely pursue a career in academic medicine that includes working closely with residents/medical students.

Why I am here:  I really wanted to be at a program like WashU that had exposure to the full spectrum of child neurology and had great faculty in the various fellowship areas especially since I’m still exploring and deciding where exactly within child neuro I want to end up. I also find that I learn better by seeing patients than just reading so I wanted to be at a program with a large patient population.  During my interviews WashU seemed like the program that best balanced having a large patient population with also supporting its residents so that they still had time to actually learn from the patients they saw.  I also felt like the residents were happier here than at some of the other programs I interviewed with.  I have really enjoyed my time in the program and love how kind and supportive the faculty is and how friendly all the other residents are.  The city is really nice with lots of green space and the cost of living in the Midwest is definitely a win.  Plus, it’s relatively close to my family which was important to me.

Taylor Hanson, MD

Taylor Hanson, MD

Where I am from: I grew up about 45 minutes outside the City of Saint Louis in Lake Saint Louis! I am a Saint Louisian through and through. I love toasted ravioli, Cardinals, Blues, and our beautiful Forest Park. I attended Saint Louis University (Go Billikens!) for college and majored in Neuroscience. This was the beginning of my love for neurology! I attended University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou) for medical school, where I participated in ECHO Autism. I enjoyed my research on the difference between presenting clinical features for girls and boys during autism evaluation.

Where I am going: I am so excited to experience the various neurological specialties Washu has to offer. Currently, I am interested in many different areas and hope to dwindle this list down over the next five years. My top interests are general child neurology (because I love being able to see everything), neurodevelopment, neuroimmunology, and neurogenetics.

Why I am here: I wanted to be able to stay here in Saint Louis close to my family and friends for residency. Washu offered everything I was looking for in a child neurology program. They are highly regarded for clinical skills and research. During my pediatric years, I was able to opt into a neurology track for my continuity clinic, which will allow me to near down my subspeciality interest early on in residency while also honing my skills. The adult neurology training is intermixed with the three years of child neurology, which, based on the literature, has been shown to reduce burnout amongst child neurology residents and improve retention for neurology boards. Lastly, I was given an amazing tour by Ezra Pehlivan, PGY-5, who was incredibly welcoming and made me feel at home immediately. I am so excited to grow as a clinician within this program!

Loza Kebret, MD

Loza Kebret, MD

Where I am from: I grew up in the Kansas City metropolitan area with my younger sister and parents. For undergrad I attended Stanford University and studied Human Biology with a concentration in global health disparities. I returned home for medical school and attended the University of Kansas School of Medicine. This is where I realized pediatric neurology was the career path I wanted to pursue. I deeply appreciate the vulnerability of children and want to be every child’s biggest advocate – that combined with my academic interest in the brain/spine made pediatric neurology a no-brained choice.

Where I am going: As an intern, I cannot say that I’m sure where I’ll end up. I’m passionate about outpatient medicine and long-term care of my patients. Many fields within neurology allow for this deep connection between the provider and patient, and I find many topics to be fastening. That is why I chose this program – I feel supported in any choice I make.

Why I am here: WashU provided the most welcoming opportunities to “do what you please”. I was drawn to the idea that resources could be found for anything I was passionate about including, advocacy, community service, scholarship, and feedback. I appreciated that the program allows for each resident to explore what they’re individually interested in. I’m so happy to be a part of such a collaborative and supportive group!


Vihas  Abraham, MD

Vihas Abraham, MD

Where I am from: I grew up in South Africa and moved to Chicago when I was 12. I majored in Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry and Natural Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. Afterwards, I obtained a Masters in Pharmacology from Tulane University before completing my medical training at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I fell in love with the unique and diverse pathologies of pediatric neurology late in my third year of medical school and the field continues to intrigue!

Where I am going: I am interested in several fields currently, including neurocritical care, neuroimmunology, neuromuscular diseases and epilepsy! All of these fields are rapidly expanding with novel developments in therapies and imaging, and I hope to be part of it going forward.

Why I am here: The support. The passion. The camaraderie. My interviews were over Zoom, and the enthusiasm that the residents and faculty had for the field was still so obvious! We have already had opportunities to meet with and get to know several attendings in the first few months. There are also constant opportunities to get involved in research. In addition, all the residents that I have met have been kind, down to earth, and so welcoming!  Finally, the city of St. Louis is charming! We are close to Forest Park, which offers tons of activities, from biking, golfing, and tennis to the art museum and theatre and even holds the St. Louis Zoo! There are also several trendy restaurants and shops nearby, with the opportunity to explore distinct neighborhoods just a few miles away!

Natasha  Mehta, MD

Natasha Mehta, MD

Where I am from: Houston, TX, Baylor College of Medicine for medical school. Undergraduate at Rice University.

Where I am going:  Neurocritical care and neurodevelopmental outcomes research

Why I am here: Pediatric neurology subspecialties are well-represented, low cost of living, lots of greenery, great research support

Asia  Payne, MD

Asia Payne, MD

Where I am from: I grew up in the suburbs of Memphis, TN. I then attended the illustrious Spelman College in Atlanta, GA where I majored in Biology and completed a dual BS/MS Masters in Neuroscience program through Morehouse School of Medicine. I then received my MD from Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine where I was involved in pediatric headache research and intellectual and developmental disability advocacy.

Where I am going: I have lots of interests right now, but I find epilepsy, neurogenetics, neuroimmunology and neonatal neurology interesting. I’m hoping to chart a career that allows me time to complete clinical research and teach at an academic hospital.

Why I am here: I have always admired St. Louis Children’s Hospital and WashU for its cutting edge research and commitment to clinical excellence. I knew I found a home with this program when I realized that this program gave me everything I wanted in a program: opportunities for cutting-edge research, a supportive clinical learning environment, a mid-sized city with lots of culture and a hospital culture that cultivates leaders.

Laura  Perez-Arnold, MD

Laura Perez-Arnold, MD

Where I am from: I was born here in St. Louis, but I’ve bounced back and forth between STL and Texas all my life. My love for neurology originally grew out of 15+ years working with the Epilepsy Foundation while I lived in Texas. I came home to STL to do my undergraduate at WashU, majoring in psychological and brain sciences. Then it was back to Texas for Medical School at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, where I did ventriculoperitoneal shunt research. In between undergrad and medical school I spent a year and a half doing ABA therapy for children with Autism.

Where am I going: I have a special place in my heart for Epilepsy and have enjoyed learning about EEG. In addition to epilepsy, I think the most exciting things in neurology are happening in neurogenetics and neuroimmunology. The research happening in those fields are going to completely change what’s possible for our patients in the future, so I am excited to explore that during residency. I also love pulmonology, so I think I would like to learn more about neuromusclular medicine too. I’m excited to see where residency takes me!

Why am I here: I knew I wanted a medium sized city with a strong, collaborative, medical community, a comprehensive pediatrics program, and pediatric neurologists who could offer advanced training supported by influential research. Early in the interview process I could already tell that the pediatric neuro residents were energized about what they were doing and that they were genuinely excited to share it amongst themselves and with applicants. WashU and St. Louis attract collaborative and compassionate people who have a passion for teaching and service, and I wanted to be a part of that community. Ultimately, St. Louis is my home, and I just didn’t feel done here yet. Plus it’s pretty hard to beat Forest Park, Cardinals baseball, and toasted ravioli!

Casey  Vickstrom, MD, PhD

Casey Vickstrom, MD, PhD

Where I am from: I grew up about an hour outside of Chicago in Algonquin, Illinois. I went to Northwestern University for undergrad where I majored in biological sciences with a concentration in neurobiology. After graduation I moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where I did a combined MD/PhD program at the Medical College of Wisconsin. During my PhD, I studied the role of endocannabinoid signaling in specific neural circuits in regulating anxiety and depressive-like behaviors in rodents.

Where I am going: I did a lot of electrophysiology during my PhD, and I am currently most interested in epilepsy. But I am also drawn to neuroimmunology and neurogenetics, so I will see where residency takes me! I plan to pursue a significant basic science/translational research career and would like to study rare neurological disorders with the goal of developing new, innovative treatments.

Why I am here: St. Louis Children’s Hospital and WashU are premier clinical and research institutions that will allow me to receive excellent clinical training while pursuing my research interests. Although I have only been in St. Louis for a few months, it has been a great place to live so far! I love that it is a medium-sized city with great food (especially BBQ) and fun things to do but is also close to great outdoor activities like hiking and mountain biking. And Forest Park is pretty amazing.


Afaf Ahmed, MBBS

Afaf Ahmed, MBBS

Where I am from: Originally from Sudan and raised in Dubai, I returned to Sudan for medical school, where I enrolled at the University of Khartoum.

Where am I going: My passion lies in neurology, particularly neonatal neurology, and I am dedicated to addressing complex medical challenges and delivering healthcare to underserved communities. My ultimate goal is to contribute positively to healthcare and pediatric neurology in Sudan.

Why am I here: I selected WashU because it perfectly aligns with my educational and career objectives. I was drawn to the close-knit community of residents and the strong support system the faculty offers. St. Louis, with its rich cultural diversity and picturesque parks, was another bonus!

Amanda Clorfeine, MD

Amanda Clorfeine, MD

Where I am from: I’m originally from Frisco, TX (a suburb of Dallas). I went to college at the University of Texas at Austin and medical school at McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Where am I going: Currently, I am interested in neurodevelopment and neonatal neurology but am excited to see where residency takes me! I hope to pursue a career in academic child neurology with special interests in medical education and advocacy.

Why am I here: I couples matched here with my boyfriend, who is currently an internal medicine resident. We were so excited to match at WashU for the academic opportunities both programs offered us! Specifically for me, I loved that WashU has exceptional clinical opportunities in all aspects of the residency program, pediatrics, child neurology and adult neurology, as well as great mentorship and the ability to pursue my other interests in advocacy and medical education. I also loved to see on the virtual interview the camaraderie among the residents and the welcoming faculty. St. Louis is a lovely city with great food, beautiful parks and a lot of things to do. My favorite so far has been seeing musicals at the MUNY and walking around Forest Park. I also love that the hospital is embedded in a fun area, Central West End. I live within walking distance of the hospital, right by great restaurants and many of my co-residents.

Monica Lim, MD

Monica Lim, MD

Where I am from: My family is originally from Korea, and my parents moved to East Texas, where my sisters and I spent most of our lives. By chance, an advisor introduced me to a program at WashU, and what was once a road trip stop for the Gateway Arch became my home for the last 9 years (WashU lifer)!

Where I am going: I am interested in many aspects of pediatric neurology and have difficulty choosing! Part of the reason may be there are many mentors here who love to teach their field. I am most interested in neurocritical care at this time, though I plan on exploring as much as possible during the next several years.

Why I am here: My journey to pediatric neurology has been a roundabout one. While I my undergraduate major was in neuroscience, I entered medical school never imagining I would specialize in neurology, but instead, had an interest in primary care. Pediatrics was a fairly simple choice, as I found a lot of joy in seeing patients (and their families) over the course of days to months to years. I initially applied into the pediatrics residency program at St. Louis Children’s but found myself waking up and thinking about the stories of patients I met on the neurology floor or in the ICU. In this field and at WashU, I found the opportunity to provide complex, longitudinal care for patients and learn from mentors here who have been so kind in nurturing my idealism and interest in medicine.

Chloe Super, MD

Chloe Super, MD

Where I am from: I’m originally from Atlanta but have lived up and down the East Coast, from Vermont to Boston to Rome, Georgia.

Where am I going: Somewhere in pediatric neurology! I’m excited to see where the field will take me.

Why am I here: I love exploring new cities and places. I’ve also been thoroughly impressed by the culture at WashU, which seems to be an ideal combination of support and challenges.

Keri Wallace, MD

Keri Wallace, MD

Where I am from: I am originally from Lexington, South Carolina. I attended Davidson College in NC for undergrad, followed by medical school at Duke.

Where am I going: I am interested in either general pediatric neurology.

Why am I here: Since being here in St. Louis, I have loved getting to know the wonderful members of the WashU peds neurology department. I also enjoy all of the green space in St. Louis. It feels like the perfect balance of big city and outdoorsy space. There’s also so many cultural experiences available — from the art and history museum, to musicals at the MUNY and Shakespeare in the Park during summers at Forest Park.


Tanner Hoke, MD

Tanner Hoke, MD

Where I am from: I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. I attended Claremont McKenna College in Southern California for college and Northwestern University Feinberg SOM for medical school.

Where I am going: While I am continuing to explore all fields within child neurology, I am currently interested in pursuing a fellowship in either neuro-critical care or neonatal neurology. I would also like to incorporate palliative care into my future career.

Why I am here: Washington University is a phenomenal institution and has such a rich history with regard to the field of child neurology. I knew that this program had so much to offer from an academic and research perspective. I knew that I would work with and be mentored by some of the most renowned pediatric neurologists in the country. While all of those things were reinforced throughout my interview days, what stuck with me most about my interview experience was the pre-interview dinner that I attended at Dr. Gurnett’s home. The environment was so welcoming, and the camaraderie between residents and attendings was evident. My Pediatric Neurology family has made St. Louis feel like a home away from home!

Karolina Kata, DO

Karolina Kata, DO

Where I am from:  I was born and raised in Poland and moved to the U.S. with my family when I was a teenager. I continued to move about to work and study in Illinois and more recently in Texas. I’m glad to be in the center of it all now, and I look forward to experiencing the seasons again!

Where I am going:  I really enjoy topics of neurodevelopment and neuro-oncology. I’m very excited at the prospect of continuing research and creating evidence- based improvement in care and quality of services for those patient populations.

Why I am here:  I remember the strong and undeniable feeling of belonging on the day of my interview. The generous and genuine hospitality and warm welcome from everyone in the child neurology program was unrivaled and left a profound impression on me. It remained unchanged after my departure and only strengthened in follow-up communications. I felt calm and confident that I would find a sense of family and strong mentorship in this community and that I would enter a supportive environment where I could evolve and grow as a clinician and scientist. I was unsure of what my transition to St. Louis would be like given very unique global circumstances. I quickly discovered that the city and surrounding areas have so much to offer, even amidst a pandemic. There is ample green space, be it in the city or in the many beautiful state parks. Hiking, outdoor yoga, foraging for wild mushrooms and archery are some of my favorite adventures, so far!

Aimee Morris, MD, PhD

Aimee Morris, MD, PhD

Where I am from: I am from Albany, NY, with a brief stint in northern Michigan where I attended an arts boarding school. I received my Bachelor of Music degree at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, studying French horn performance. I stayed in Rochester for medical school at the University of Rochester where I was part of the Medical Education Pathway and Academic Research Track. A few months into my research year-out, I decided to pursue a PhD and joined the Rochester MSTP. During my PhD, I studied the mechanisms underlying musician dystonia and related movement disorders using functional MRI to examine brain network architecture.

Where I am going: I plan to pursue a fellowship in movement disorders and am interested in a career in academic medicine as a physician scientist.

Why I am here: WashU is a vibrant, rigorous program with a rich history of leadership in child neurology and both clinical and academic excellence. The residents and faculty have a rich diversity in backgrounds and interests. The faculty are incredibly supportive, and I am confident they would move mountains to support our wellness and ambitions. Even though moving cities and starting residency in the time of COVID-19 is hard, the neuro family here has made me feel welcome and supported in the transition. I am loving residency so far and am thrilled to be here for the next five years. On a personal level, I can’t wait for the social dance scene in St. Louis to open back up when safe as the abundance of live music and fun, free social dancing opportunities here are super impressive. In the meantime, I enjoy going for hikes, playing my horn and hanging with friends in my free time.

Anna  Scholz, MD

Anna Scholz, MD

Where I am from: I grew up in a small town called Worthington in rural Minnesota. I got my bachelor’s degree with double major in biochemistry and math from a small liberal arts college called Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD. I then went to medical school at Rosalind Franklin University in the Chicago suburbs. 

Where I am going: I am most interested in neuro-critical care and/or epilepsy. I love learning about continuous EEG in the PICU, especially in cases of traumatic brain injuries, post-arrest, and status epilepticus. It is also an honor to be able to support families through extremely challenging times and decisions. Something I love about the program is that we are exposed to all areas of neurology but are also allowed plenty of time to explore our unique interests. I am excited to continue exploring and seeing which area of neurology I choose!

Why I am here: I took a somewhat roundabout path into pediatric neurology. I actually initially matched into the categorical peds program at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. I didn’t have much exposure to pediatric neurology in medical school but was attracted to the peds program for the volume and diversity of pathology, the supportive co-resident culture, and for the mid-sized, affordable city with lots to offer. While rotating on the pediatric neurology floor during my first year, I found myself reading articles at home every night after long days at the hospital, and I realized that neurology really encompassed everything I loved about medicine, and truly had the most interesting patients! The things that initially drew me to the categorical peds program are even more true about pediatric neurology. We see so many interesting and unique cases, have every opportunity to be involved with research and are allowed increasing autonomy as the years progress to set us up for success after graduation. Not only are the other residents extremely supportive, but the faculty go above and beyond to welcome residents and are always excited about teaching. I have never hesitated to call an attending, or just stop by their office to chat about a patient. It is also an incredible opportunity to train with a strong adult neurology program.  I feel so lucky to have been able to transfer into the pediatric neurology program for PGY-3 year to continue my training!

Saif Sharaya, MD

Saif Sharaya, MD

Where am I from: Born and raised in Amman, the capital of Jordan. I completed medical school at the Hashemite University, which is in a different city, Al-Zarqa.

Where I am going: Originally, I was thinking about pursing a fellowship in either epilepsy or neuroimmunology, but I realized that I’d rather explore all my options during residency before deciding on what I want to do next.

Why am I here: I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to St. Louis. It is diverse, welcoming and has a lot to offer. I was also impressed with the program on many levels. It has all the components of an excellent residency: a large patient population, state of the art facilities, tremendous learning and teaching opportunities, great mentorship and most importantly a collegial and supportive environment.


Nicholas  W.  DeKorver, MD, PhD

Nicholas W. DeKorver, MD, PhD

2023-2024 Education & Wellness Chief

Where I am from: I was born and raised just outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan. I went to Central Michigan University for undergrad and studied biomedical science and neuroscience. During my undergraduate education, I developed a passion for basic science and worked in a neuroscience lab focused on stem cell therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. After college, I completed a research year at the National Institutes of Health studying mechanisms of stem cell mediated neuroprotection in glaucoma models. I then moved to Omaha, Nebraska for my medical degree and doctorate in neuroscience at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. My graduate work focused on investigating the roles of immune proteins in synaptic regulation and functional deficits associated with aging. I met my wife in graduate school (also a neuroscientist), and we moved to St. Louis to complete the next steps in our careers.

Where I am going: It is my career goal to be active in both clinical pediatric neurology and in basic science. My clinical and research interests are focused on epilepsy, neurogenetics, and neurodevelopment. Following residency, I will be staying at Washington University for a fellowship in pediatric epilepsy.

Why I am here: My wife and I were looking for a program close to family and with a strong basic science and clinical track record. I was fortunate to be able to come to Washington University in St. Louis for an away rotation in pediatric neurology. I really enjoyed the rotation and my interactions with faculty, fellows, and residents. The program has a strong track record of producing pediatric neurologists successful in both clinical practice and basic science.

One of the great things about St. Louis is the affordability. We purchased a house in the South Hampton area. We are able to walk to a number of restaurants (Mexican, Afghani, Greek, Nicaraguan, BBQ, Italian, Chinese, American, etc.). There are several parks nearby and it’s an easy drive to the medical campus (10-15 minutes). For recreation, I enjoy fishing and you can find both small mouth and trout streams within 1-2 hours. Many state parks around also have great hiking, biking, and camping opportunities. Overall, we love living in St. Louis and our experience.

Michelle  Lee, MD

Michelle Lee, MD

2023-2024 Administrative Chief

Where I am from: I grew up in Los Angeles and attended college in northern California at Berkeley before moving across the country to New York for work and eventually, medical school in Philadelphia.

Where I am going: I am really lucky to have had amazing mentors in the field of neuromuscular and neurogenetic disorders! I am eager to pursue training in these subspecialties after residency.

Why I am here: I knew I wanted to be at a residency program that offered me a diverse training experience in many subspecialties of pediatric neurology. But one of the biggest strengths of Wash U is also its emphasis on the importance of mentorship as part of your training experience early on. I feel very fortunate to have access to so many mentors across different fields of neurology! But most of all, my co-residents are wonderfully supportive and often look after my well-being. It really helps that Forest Park is so easily accessible for us to delve into in our spare time! I will also add that getting to know the city’s best cookies, croissants and donuts was a highlight of the past year. And while I do not yet have my own dog (ongoing search), it is very easy for me to get pet therapy.

Esra  Pehlivan, MD

Esra Pehlivan, MD

Where I am from: I was born and raised in Turkey. I completed my medical school training and pediatric residency at Istanbul University in Turkey.

Where I am going: I am interested in epilepsy  and sleep but I am still exploring all the field has to offer and am open to other possibilities.

Why I am here: During my residency interview, the warm welcome and friendly environment at Dr. Mar’s house struck me. I loved the camaraderie between fellows and attendings. As someone who is far away from loved ones, a strong family environment is really important to me.

Not only does WashU have caring faculty and residents, but it also stood out in terms of clinical and academic excellence. I wanted to be in a program that best supports me to pursue my career according to my interests and provide guidance and leadership skills.

In my spare time, I enjoy running in Forest Park, playing tennis as much as I can, hiking with my co-residents and hanging out with co-residents and discovering all St. Louis has to offer.

Grace  Tabatabai, MD

Grace Tabatabai, MD

2023-2024 Administrative Chief

Where I am from: I hail from Rochester, Minnesota. I attended both college (St. Olaf in Northfield) and medical school (University of Minnesota in Minneapolis) in the northern state before moving to St. Louis for residency.

Where I am going: I have interests in education, global outreach, neuro-muscle, and sleep neurology. However, I am still exploring various specialties and am keeping an open mind.

Why I am here: I found a kind, caring, and passionate group of residents and faculty to train with here at Washington University. Coming from a close knit medical school, I was looking for a group of colleagues that felt more like a second family in a home away from home – which I inevitably found. My fellow residents have become some of my closest friends. The faculty is also very eager to support research or outreach interests we would like to pursue. The community as a whole cares about our wellbeing and educational experience.

I live in the Forest Park area with my co-resident Esra and our new cat Olive!  I enjoy running in the park, knitting many a sweater, practicing hot yoga (in non-COVID times), baking, and guitar. I recently picked up ukulele which is easier to transport for sing-alongs with patients and friends. Saint Louis has much to offer in terms of museums, gardens, bakeries, and English-themed tea houses which are a favorite of mine.

Gazelle  Zerafati-Jahromi, MD

Gazelle Zerafati-Jahromi, MD

Where I am from: I grew up in Philly, went to Yale for undergrad, and came to Wash U for med school.

Where I am going: I will be applying for epilepsy fellowship this year. Effective epilepsy management can yield such significant improvements in a child’s development and quality of life with a wide array of opportunities to contribute to their care in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. Furthermore, advances in epilepsy genetics research have expanded our toolkit of evidence-based evaluations and treatments.

Why I am here: Our program has an incomparable combination of excellent training, wonderful teachers and colleagues, and high-quality lifestyle and cost of living. All of our rotations promote the residents as the leaders of the team and patient care starting in intern year. The training here fosters independence and confidence from the very beginning. Our attendings and fellows are passionate about teaching and do so in a constructive and approachable manner. The overall professional atmosphere is genuinely warm and friendly. Prioritization of a healthy work environment is extremely important to me, as it is a significant contributing factor to one’s overall quality of life. Finally, the lifestyle and cost of living here in St. Louis is simply not attainable in the vast majority of the country. St. Louis is not so big as to be obnoxious and unmanageable and not so small as to be boring. We have abundant restaurant options, museums and outdoor activities. The Central West End, the neighborhood immediately surrounding the hospitals, is safe, family-friendly and easily walkable. And the rent here is literally a fraction of what other major cities tend to run and will buy you a much bigger and nicer space within walking distance of work. Overall, our program is unique because it offers both an excellent training experience and living experience, both of which are equally important.