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3rd year residents - Class of 2014



Bio Pic Final Beck

Keli Beck, M.D.
Budapest, Hungary
 Wake Forest University
  School of Medicine 

My name is Keli and I am so excited to be a part of this awesome family of 30 amazing residents that I consider to be some of my best friends!  I grew up overseas in Poland and Hungary for most of my life.  I moved back to the USA when it came time to start college at a small school in Tennessee: Carson-Newman College. After finishing 4 years there, I then moved to the thriving metropolis that is Winston-Salem to go to medical school here at Wake Forest.  Family Medicine was a great fit for me because I love working with individuals in a partnership for their care.  Where else do you get to empower people to change and watch the results while never being bored since the diversity in our patient population is so great? I also have a large interest in international medicine and in adolescent care which both are readily accessible through family medicine and this residency in particular.

When it came time to apply for residency, I was pretty much convinced of two things: that I wanted a change and that I wanted to move out west.    Amazingly though, I found my interview journey to be more about self-discovery into my own goals and passions than I did anything else.  I also found that there are a whole lot of great schools out there that academically would have prepared me well.  When it came time for my Wake interview though, I had a huge change of heart as to how strong my two previous convictions were.  Academically, Wake was equal to the other great schools I visited, but absolutely nowhere did I mesh as well with the residents and faculty as I did here.  Everyone cares not just for your development as a physician, but also wants to help develop you into/encourage you to be a well-rounded individual.  And so, because of these things, I now have committed to living in Winston-Salem longer than I have ever lived anywhere in my entire life….gulp!  But that has its perks.

When I'm not in the hospital, you can find me somewhere exploring the great outdoors- with hiking, camping, skiing, snowshoeing etc- or working with my dog Kahlua and visiting local nursing homes as a therapy team.  I can't wait to meet each of you as you come this way the check out your potential future home!


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Rachel Bixler, M.D.
Port St. Joe, FL
Florida State University
College of Medicine


Hi! Welcome to Wake! I'm from a small town in the panhandle of Florida called Port St. Joe. When I finish residency, I plan to return there to practice. I went to Florida State University for both undergraduate and medical school. When I wasn't studying hard to become a doctor, I volunteered with a variety of organizations including Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key International Honor Society, Christian Medical Association, and American Medical Women's Association. I was a Founding Mother and served as the first president to Delta Alpha Chi, FSU's first Christian sorority. I was also Miss Florida State University 2006. I am a true Seminole who bleeds garnet and gold. Besides science and medicine, I enjoy reading mystery novels, geocaching, and scrapbooking. Also, I was trained in classical ballet for 15 years and piano for 10, so I enjoy soaking up the arts when I get the chance. I have two very fluffy Maine Coon cats named Jesse James and Lexi and an energetic Italian greyhound named Lily. I also love spending time with my husband, Josh James, who is a third year ER resident at Wake. We also enjoy our local church.

We couples matched our programs. We were drawn to Wake for a variety of reasons. I chose Wake because I have the opportunity to learn more about what I love in family medicine. We have numerous opportunities to pursue sports medicine by working with high school teams. We are also given training in a variety of procedures we will be able to perform in both the office and the hospital. I have also been able to foster my love for women's health. The ultimate factor that drew me to Wake was the people. After meeting both the residents, faculty, and the support staff, I was certain this was the place I could call home for the next three years. 

Please email me if you have any questions! Come visit us and fall in love with Wake!   


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Garrett Hurst, M.D.
West Columbia, SC
   Medical University of South Carolina 
College of Medicine


Hi there! I am Garrett and I grew up in Columbia, SC after moving from Greenville, SC as a fetus. I did my undergraduate work in Health Sciences at Clemson University then moved back to Columbia to work as a health educator. After spending some time in a few private practices, I decided that family medicine offered the perfect blend of health education, management of chronic and acute problems, and just generally nice people. I attended medical school at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, where the beach was only a few minutes away.

In choosing a residency, I let my wife (a peds 3rd year here at Wake) worry about charts and spreadsheets and numbers, and I based my preferences only on the people I met and my perception of the strength of resident education. Wake easily topped the list in both of these categories and so many more. I simply couldn’t be happier with my group of fellow classmates, any of whom I’m glad to spend time with away from work. Each of the residents is amazing to work with and learn from, and never do I feel belittled. It’s the best residency environment I could imagine. I'll be pursuing palliative care fellowship after graduation next year. My wife and I have 3 cats and 2 guinea pigs, and besides taking care of them, we love to spend time outside. I love cars in every aspect, particularly autocrossing (Wikipedia it). If you want to talk about cars, I’m your guy. Winston‐Salem is great and definitely worth checking out!


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  Christina Jepson, M.D.
Columbus, OH
   University of Michigan
Medical School 


Thanks for checking out our program!  I am so excited to be part of this incredible program and to be back in my old stompin' grounds… North Carolina. My husband, Tim, and I both graduated from Duke (Go Blue Devils!) and have desperately missed the warm weather, sweet tea, and southern hospitality. I’m originally from Columbus, Ohio - born and raised.

Prior to coming to WFBMC, I studied Biology at Duke University where I met my husband and then moved north to attend the University of Michigan Medical School (but remained a loyal Buckeye). While at Michigan, I was very involved with MPower, an organization dedicated to the evaluation and treatment of obese kids and adolescents. I also thoroughly enjoyed my time volunteering for Girls On The Run, where I was able to work with and encourage pre-teen girls to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles through running. My participation in these two programs, in addition to my love for sports and experience with medical mission trips to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Tanzania have all played a role in my decision to pursue a career in Family Medicine. Given the wide diversity of patients and pathology within primary care and the continuity of our patient-physician relationships, I feel family medicine will allow me the best opportunity to empower others to establish sustainable, healthy lifestyle habits.

Outside of the hospital, I enjoy spending time with my husband and 1 year old daughter, running marathons, traveling and exploring new cities, being active in our church, game night with friends and watching college football. I remember when I was in your shoes and residents told me about their “hobbies” during small talk, but I was drawn to this program because Wake residents were actually walking the walk. After being here for a couple of years, I am still blown away by how supportive everyone is in helping me to maintain balance and pursue my interests outside of medicine! I couldn’t be happier with my choice of residency programs. It a great community feel, yet well respected within the larger academic hospital. Best of all, my colleagues and supporting staff in Family Medicine department are AMAZING (including my nurse, Rachel, who I get to work with all 3 years)!!! Winston-Salem is everything my husband and I hoped it would be! 


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Erik Linn, M.D.
Pocatello, ID
University of Utah
  School of Medicine


Greetings from Winston-Salem!  My name is Erik and I am a third year resident here at Wake.  I was born and raised in Idaho and completed my bachelor's degree at Boise State University (go Broncos!).  I attended medical school at the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, which is also where I met my beautiful wife Amy.  We are happily settled in North Carolina and have found Winston-Salem to be a wonderful place to live with numerous social and recreational opportunities throughout the year.

The first two years of residency here has been a great experience.  The faculty, staff, and residents that make up this program were the factors that made Wake distinct from every other program.  A sense of community combined with an attitude of excellence not only meets the personal and professional goals of each resident, but also produces physicians equipped to provide compassionate, evidence-based care for all patients.  Additionally, this program offers broad-spectrum training to a diverse patient population and opportunities to tailor your education towards specific interests (sports medicine, geriatrics, obstetrics, etc.).I encourage you to come to Winston-Salem and visit our program!  The rapidly changing healthcare landscape requires physicians skilled in both traditional and contemporary methods, as well as an eye for ongoing innovation.  I think you'll find that Wake Forest has the people, facilities, and resources necessary for you to become the physician you want to be, and that our patients desire!  


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       Samantha Miller, M.D.
      Albany, NY
     Wake Forest University
       School of Medicine


Hi! My name is Samantha Miller and I am currently in the third year of our program and still loving every bit of residency. I grew up in Upstate New York and completed my undergraduate studies at Siena College in Loudonville, NY. I came to Wake Forest for medical school right out of college. A lot of people ask how I ended up in NC and although it truly was by chance, I knew it was where I belonged and honestly who wouldn't want to be here? But I am also fortunate that my sister and her family live down the road in Raleigh and my parents are retiring outside of Wilmington. Not only are you a couple hours from the ocean, but the mountains are even closer for a weekend of camping or a day of hiking! I have two amazing rescue dogs, Cinnamon and Pepper, who love walks around Ardmore and doggy play dates!

I can't say enough great things about this program! I truly feel that the people who are involved with this Family Medicine Program, both for medical students and residents, had a great influence on my decision not only in choosing Family Medicine as my specialty but also on my strong desire to stay at Wake and become part of this amazing family! This program is wonderful to their residents, staff and students. Everyone works to create a huge support network for each other and are always open to talk whether it is associated with medicine or not. I feel that they honestly go out of their way to be sure you're happy and are enjoying your time here. They have great opportunities for their residents depending on our personal interests. I love adolescent medicine and Women's Health and feel that I will be very successful in gaining a lot of experience in those areas and many more as I strive to become a well rounded physician. I interviewed all over (from the East Coast to the Midwest and Northeast) but found myself comparing every program to Wake as it set such a high standard. It really came down to the people though and where I felt at home and most comfortable. I couldn't be happier with my choice to stay at Wake! 


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        Haley Neal, M.D.
       Greensboro, NC
       Wake Forest University
       School of Medicine


Hi, my name is Haley Neal, and I'm a very excited member of the third year class.  I'm originally from Greensboro (right down the road) and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill (go Heels!) with a BA in psychology.  Eventually, I found my way to Wake Forest School of Medicine, here in Winston-Salem, where I met my husband.  We married at the end of third year and then began the terrifying process of couples matching.  With a little luck and a little grace, we have found ourselves exactly where we want to be: in a beautiful place we love calling "home," gearing up to work alongside physicians so wonderful that it is truly humbling to have been given a place among them.

When I started medical school, I had no idea that I would pursue family medicine.  After spending time with the department during my third year rotations, it became quite obvious to me that it was the qualities of the family medicine attendings and residents that I daily sought to emulate, no matter what service I was on.  It always seemed to me that medicine, as it is practiced by the family docs I have come to know and admire, has managed to preserve a greater degree of personal connection, which I believe is absolutely vital to medicine.  And I don't think there is a better program out there for a person who seeks not just the knowledge piece, but the art piece of medicine, as well.

And as for my days off?  You might find me in a yoga class, hiking Stone Mountain, trying out a new recipe (or watching someone on food network trying one out!), digging in the dirt, checking out some live music (esp if there's a fiddle player) or spending time with family and friends.  Oh, and some days, naps are pretty good, too.        


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     Blake Perry, M.D.
     Andalusia, AL
     University of Alabama
       School of Medicine


  Hey all!  I am Blake Perry, one of the third year residents.  I grew up in Daphne, Alabama, not far from the Gulf Coast and then attended Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, where I majored in Biochemistry.  I stayed in Birmingham and explored the working world for a year before I attended University of Alabama - Birmingham School of Medicine.  I spent most of my clinical years at a branch campus in Tuscaloosa, where the University of Alabama undergraduate campus is, and watched the Crimson Tide roll to a national football championship during my third year (Roll Tide! and yes we say this all the time just like the commercial).  As much as I loved growing up and living in Alabama, I decided residency would be a great time to explore a new area even if still in the south.  I looked broadly across the southeast and was fortunate to find and match at Wake Forest.

My time here has proven to be great.  It really is a supportive environment that feels like family. The outpatient practice has everything you want from a community-feel standpoint while having the backing of a large academic institution.  My wife, Emily, and I have enjoyed the Winston-Salem area.  It is big enough that there is plenty to do but never overwhelming or too busy, and it's nicely located in between the mountains and the beach, whether you enjoy one, the other, or both.  We have spent time at both and determined ourselves to be beach bums, though hiking in the mountains in the fall is amazing as well.  Personally, I enjoy everything sports, whether spectating or competing, spending time outdoors, hanging out with friends and family, traveling when possible, and going to movies.  I hope you will come to Winston-Salem and check out all that Wake Forest Family Medicine has to offer! 


Bio Pic_Spence 2013 229x271     Isaac Spence, D.O.
  Christiansburg, VA
  Edward Via Virginia
     College of Osteopathic Medicine


 How's it going? My name is Isaac Spence, and I would like to explain why residency has been the best time of my life! I am originally from Floyd, Virginia, which is a rural farming community in the Blue Ridge Mountains. As a child, I spent most of my time developing keen interests in hiking, fishing, camping, canoeing, and sports. Following my childhood, I decided to study Biology at Virginia Tech (Go Hokies!). It was there that I met my beautiful wife, Chris. After dating throughout college, we decided to get married just before I started medical school at the Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine. I consider myself the luckiest man in the world because she patiently and lovingly supported me through medical school, and continues to do so through residency. It was at the end of my intern year that we decided to expand our family. We had our daughter, Natalee, during my second year of residency and our lives have never been happier! In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family (including my boxer, Romo), watching and playing sports, watching movies, participating in anything involving the outdoors, woodworking, reading, and rescuing abandoned dogs. In the future, I aspire to practice Family and Geriatric medicine in a medically underserved area. I also hope to become active in international medical missions.

When I began searching for residency programs, I continued to hear great things about Wake Forest. As a result, I decided to rotate here during my fourth year. As someone who had only rotated in small community hospitals, I had several preconceived perceptions of university-based, family medicine programs. Overall, I felt that family medicine residents were not respected at university programs. From my initial and continued experiences at Wake Forest, my stereotypes could not have been more wrong. As a family medicine resident, I have been given the same experiences as other residents, and I have never been supplanted for procedures or interesting cases. I have been fortunate to learn from the nation's leading experts in one of the nation's top teaching hospitals, while also receiving a community-based experience through our outpatient clinic that is separate from the university hospital. 

If you are looking for top tier training alongside fellow residents who are committed to excellence, services, and having fun, then look no further. I can honestly say that my fellow residents are the most impressive group I have been a part of, and I consider each of them a part of my extended family. Additionally, our faculty and staff are incredibly supportive and caring, and are the reasons our department is so close-knit.

In closing, if you have any questions regarding the program, please feel free to contact me. I wish you the best of luck throughout the Match process, and I hope you find the program that is best suited for your personality, lifestyle, and professional goals. Take care!


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   Craig Yarbrough, M.D.
  Atlanta, GA
  Wake Forest University
    School of Medicine


Hey Everyone! My name is Craig and I am one of the third year residents.  I am extremely excited to be a part of Wake Forest Family Medicine.  A few things about myself, I am originally from Atlanta, Georgia.  I went to undergrad in Athens at the University of Georgia, GO DAWGS!!!  I then came to Winston-Salem for medical school.

Throughout school I had a great deal of contact and interaction with many of the Family Medicine Faculty.  The Department is very involved in the medical school and the teaching of medical students.  I was very impressed with not only the faculty but also all of the residents I worked with, they were always extremely helpful and made the medical students feel very much a part of the team.  This was one of the major reasons why I picked this program, it was obvious that everyone felt like they were part of team.  I also wanted a program that was strong in Sports Medicine, and since Wake Forest has an outstanding Sports Medicine Fellowship, we as residents get hands on experience throughout residency.

I am so grateful because while in school I met the love of my life Sarah, and we married last fall.  We recently adopted an extremely loving dog named Maizey, who keeps us busy.  There are so many fun things to do in Winston-Salem.  We especially enjoy going to the minor league baseball games, our team is the DASH.  Downtown always seems to have something going on, but for those who like something different, the Fine Arts council of NC was founded in Winston-Salem, so there is always some neat play/performance/Art show or musical act coming through!  I personally like going to see the Winston-Salem Symphony, playing golf, ultimate frisbee, and hiking.  Here ACC basketball is king, and is the typical topic of sports conversation, but for me I am much more of a college football guy.  I hope this has been helpful and if you are interested in a great learning environment, great staff and faculty, and of course a nice place to live for 3 years, then Wake Forest Family Medicine is the right place for you! 

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Last Updated: 10-02-2013
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