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Susan Martinelli, MD
Susan Martinelli, MD
Susan Martinelli, MD is an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology at the UNC School of Medicine.  She has a BS (1999) and an MD (2003) from the University of Wisconsin, did her residency in Anesthesiology at the University of North Carolina Hospitals (2007), and did her fellowship in Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology at Duke University Medical Center (2008).

In addition to Dr. Martinelli’s role as Associate Professor, she also serves as the Associate Residency Program Director for her department.  Outside of Anesthesiology, she currently serves as a member of the inaugural Leadership Council for the Academy of Educators within the School of Medicine. Within the Council, she chairs the Scholarship Committee and works to increase scholarly output of the membership. She is also the Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology’s Wellness Committee and a member of the UNC School of Medicine Wellness Committee.

Outside of the office, Dr. Martinelli spends time with her husband and 7 year old twins, Samantha and Cooper. They also have a rescue dog, Blu.


What made you decide to call UNC your home?
“I grew up and went to school in Wisconsin. I moved down here for residency. I met my husband here in North Carolina, and he had no interest in moving back to Wisconsin. We love the area, especially its proximity to the beach.”

Do you have any hobbies?
“I love to exercise. In the past few years, I have gotten hooked on Orange Theory Fitness. I also enjoy running outside. I love to read, although I don’t have much time for that at the moment. We also enjoy traveling. Our most recent trips were an Alaskan cruise and a visit to Turks and Caicos. When we travel, we love to see new cultures but mostly we like to relax on the beach.”

What made you want to become a doctor?

“My father is also a physician and I used to go on rounds with him when I was younger. I would have the opportunity to see post-op patients with him. Originally, I wanted to be a veterinarian, but somewhere along the line that changed to being a physician. I just knew I wanted to help people.”

What are your clinical interests?  

“I am a cardiothoracic anesthesiologist but also do adult general anesthesia. In addition, I am certified in transesophageal echocardiography. I serve as the Associate Residency Program Director and love working with our residents.”

How did you choose your specialty?

“I thought I was going to do otolaryngology because of my exposure to that field through my dad, but when I did my required third year anesthesiology rotation, it felt like the perfect fit for me.”

What are your education scholarship interests?
“Most of my past research has been in the utilization of the flipped classroom educational method. I have changed gears and am now doing work in the area of wellness, particularly in our new wellness initiative, The Family Anesthesia Experience.”

What is your favorite part of teaching?
“Working with my residents is one of my favorite parts of my job.  I love watching them learn and grow from new CA-1s who are getting oriented to the operating room to senior residents who don’t need me anymore. It is remarkable that this transition can happen in 3 short years. Along the way, I get to know them as the amazing individuals they are and support them through the wonderful and difficult times along the way.”

What have you found to be most valuable about the Academy of Educators?
“The AOE has provided a forum for me to network and learn from other educators in our institution. I have had the opportunity to hear a number of great speakers from within and outside of our institution. The AOE also provided financial support through the education grants for one of my research projects.”

What would you want people to know about you before they walk in your door?

“I hope others find me approachable and caring. I want people to feel comfortable coming to me with any issues and knowing I will do my best to help them. I consider myself a hard worker and hold others to the same high expectations that I hold myself to.”

Is there anything else you would like to share with the community?

“I love my job. Although I worked hard to get where I am today, I also think I was in the right place at the right time and things just sort of fell into place for me. I work hard to maintain balance in my life so I can be a good mom, wife, and physician. I am lucky to have a supportive husband who also encourages me to maintain this balance.”