July 22nd, 2016

Resident Spotlight

By Justin Fiala, M.D.

Brandler_Justin_G_15JU-16235886-Native FileResident Spotlight

with Dr. Justin Brandler, PGY-2


Tell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Justin Brandler and I hail from the great Pacific Northwest, specifically Washington state.  I was born and raised there and graduated from the University of Washington for medical school.  This is actually my first time living outside of Washington state, and I have enjoyed the Midwest hospitality.  My beautiful wife is a brilliant psychiatric nurse practitioner and an equally phenomenal baker and hostess.  I enjoy staying active at the gym and having friends over for dinner. I’m also an avid superhero fan with the Superman cufflinks to prove it.    


Why did you choose to pursue Internal Medicine residency training here at Mayo?
Mayo was my ideal program for a variety of reasons.  First, I love my colleagues here and could tell from interview day that quality people train here, not just because of what is on their CV, but more importantly who they are as people.  While many are pursuing rigorous fellowships and specialties, everyone is supportive of one another in a "gunner-free" environment.  Second, Mayo provides both a breadth and depth of education I did not find anywhere else. From the extensive subspecialty exposure in both the inpatient and outpatient settings to the various educational conferences, the education is top-notch.  Finally, there are very few prestigious programs like Mayo that offer the incredible cost and ease of suburban living that Rochester provides.  


In your opinion, what are the program’s strengths?
I believe the strengths of Mayo's IM residency include its vast clinical exposure across numerous specialty realms.  However, we not only see the zebras, but also wrestle with difficult management of common problems as well, which forces us to know both standard of care as well as 3rd line treatments and beyond.  We have tremendous leadership as well, with staff that I feel go above and beyond advocating for our work-life balance and career aspirations.  Furthermore, the opportunities for research and conference attendance are unbelievable, further strengthening our resumes as we move forward in our careers.   


What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in residency thus far?
I think the biggest challenge has been adjusting to the concept of caring for patients when you do not have a textbook answer (like you do in medical school) and must learn how to navigate in the realm of uncertainty, all while still needing to make decisions about the patient's care in a timely manner. 


What is your favorite thing to do in Rochester?
My wife and I love Thursday's on First, Social Ice, and attempting to cross country ski at Quarry Hill.  We also enjoy the life-altering experience of brunch at Pescara and ordering as much French toast as humanly possible.


What are your plans after residency?
My plans are to apply for gastroenterology fellowship after residency, while continuing to pursue my interest in medical education.  I also previously have worked with medical missions, and hope to be able to further use my training to serve others both in the U.S. and abroad.   

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