First Year Fellows

paul-guido
Paul Guido, MD

Paul Guido, MD

Medical School: Thomas Jefferson University

Residency: University of North Carolina

Describe your path to finding medicine as a career?

I was born in Pittsburgh, PA, and slowly worked my way east across the state during my education. I studied biochemistry at Penn State and had a wonderful MD-PhD mentor during a summer internship that helped me to see what a fascinating and rewarding field medicine could be. I learned that each time you meet a new patient, you are faced with a unique opportunity to artfully apply scientific knowledge and improve lives. It seemed like the best career forward and led me to medical school in Philadelphia, PA.

What were your reasons for choosing UNC for your training in endocrinology?

The faculty are all brilliant and world class, yet down to earth and humble. They have the skill to treat patients with the most complicated endocrine disorders in the country and never hesitate to explain all of the details to the people training at UNC. The research opportunities here are unparalleled, and any faculty would be glad to mentor the fellows. I knew from my internal medicine residency at UNC that it is such a well-rounded and complete academic medical center in one of the best areas of the country. I couldn’t see myself moving anywhere else to complete my training.

What is your favorite hormone and why?
Thyroid hormone: it affects how almost every cell in the body functions!

What kind of research projects/scholarly work are you involved in?

Right now I am researching how the new class of checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy cancer treatments affect the endocrine system. The thyroid and pituitary are frequently involved when side effects occur, and it is not fully understood why some patients are affected and others are not.

Now that you are here as a fellow, what is the top selling point you would tell someone considering fellowship at UNC?

Endocrinology fellows at UNC have their own patient panel. This means patients see you as their endocrinologist, not the attending. It reinforces all of the learning points so much faster and you become a colleague in the department instead of just a trainee.


klara-klein
Klara Klein, MD, PhD

Klara Klein, MD, PhD

Medical School: University of North Carolina

Graduate School: University of North Carolina

Residency: University of North Carolina

Describe your path prior to arriving at UNC.  How did you choose medicine?
I was born and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, where I spent several summers working at the laboratory bench. I loved the challenges of bench research, but having grown up around physicians, knew from an early age that patient care was integral to my career path. I explored other research areas during undergrad at Stanford, where I worked in organic synthesis and drug discovery, but I continued to want to have a true connection with patients. I therefore decided to pursue an MD/PhD program with the goal of having a truly translational career. I was lucky enough to join UNC’s MSTP program and fell in love with the mission at UNC and the collaborative nature of the university. I haven’t looked back since!

What were your reasons for choosing UNC  for your training in endocrinology?

I chose to stay at UNC for many reasons. Most importantly, the culture of collaboration across departments, schools and university make UNC an ideal place to do research. It also underscores the type of people who are drawn to UNC: kind, intellectual people who are interested in helping others solve problems and treat patients. We also have some of the premier diabetes clinical trialists in the world.

What is your favorite hormone and why?

Clearly, my favorite hormone is insulin because you cannot live without it, and its physiology is so complex. There is so much more to learn about how to regulate insulin and the potential to make discoveries that could impact so many people.

Why do you like living in the Triangle?

The triangle provides such an intellectual community that allows our work to remain incredibly interesting, but more importantly it is a great place to live. It has a continuously growing foodie vibe, wonderful places to hike, easy access to mountains and the beach and such good people. It’s also a truly great place to raise a family.

 

chinelo-okigbo
Chinelo Okigbo, MD, PhD

 

Chinelo Okigbo, MD, PhD

Graduate School: University of North Carolina

Medical School:  Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria

Residency:  AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center

Describe your path to finding medicine as a career?

A sequential series of life events while growing up in Nigeria influenced my decision to study medicine. In the early years of my practice, I quickly realized that I needed more training in public health as the prevalence of and mortality due to easily preventable diseases were skyrocketing. This led me to UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health where I got a masters and a doctoral degree in Public Health focusing on women’s health. I then decided to focus my clinical and research careers on preventing poor outcomes among women with chronic diseases, especially diabetes.

What were your reasons for choosing UNC for your training in endocrinology?

Having experienced excellent training in Public Health here at UNC, the UNC Endocrinology Fellowship was one of the top places I wanted to train for fellowship. My interactions with the faculty and fellows during my interview solidified my decision to come back to UNC for my training. I also consider Chapel Hill my home away from home as I have a ton of friends here who are like family.

What is your favorite hormone and why?

It is a tussle between oxytocin and cortisol. Oxytocin just makes life worth living! Cortisol, on the other hand, gets such a bad rep but you cannot survive without it. You may act like you don’t like cortisol, but if it is not there when you need it….who is in trouble now?!

Now that you are here as a fellow, what is the top selling point you would tell someone considering fellowship at UNC?

I believe it is the collegial relationship between faculty, fellows, residents and staff. With the common goal of doing the best for the patient, everyone has a very important role. It is like the perfect jigsaw puzzle–every piece is important. The fellowship places a great emphasis on building strong team relationships. This keeps me motivated to keep improving my skills so that I will always bring my best to the table.

Why do you like living in the Triangle?

North Carolina has the best outdoors! The Triangle area has an amazing blend of people from different walks of life and with different interests. So as you can imagine, there is always an array of events going on and you will always find your crowd. There are nearby classes to help you develop new interests–photography, cooking, sewing, brewing, dance classes…anything! I absolutely love this community.

Second Year Fellows

donald-caraccio
Donald Caraccio, MD

Donald Caraccio, MD

Medical School:  University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Residency: University of North Carolina

Describe your path to finding medicine as a career?

I was born in South Florida. My desire to help others and growing up with a grandmother living with Type 1 Diabetes helped guide my career choice. I had a “non traditional” path to medical school, spending for first two years out of college as a middle school science teacher. My first job taught me a great deal about patience and learning styles, that I carry with me today.

What is your favorite hormone and why?
Cortisol; because people feel much better when its replaced.

What are your research interests? What projects are you working on?
I am currently working on a quality improvement project to improve care of patients after hip fractures. I am also participating in the UNC Teaching Scholars Program to build my skills in medical education.

Why do you like living in the Triangle?

We have many of the benefits of a bigger city (diversity, culture etc), without as much congestion or high cost of living. The weather is nice too!

How do you spend your free time?

I enjoy trying new restaurants, watching movies, and cooking.


saida-ejaz
Sadia Ejaz, MD

Sadia Ejaz, MD

Medical School:  King Edward Medical University

Residency: Saint Luke’s Hospital

What were your reasons for choosing UNC for your training in endocrinology?

The fellowship program at UNC offers the best mentorship and supervision of highly-qualified endocrinologists. My fellowship program has provided me with great opportunities to not only excel in clinical knowledge but to obtain research experience in my areas of interest.

What areas of endocrinology are you most interested in?

I love all areas of endocrinology but my specific area of interest is thyroid pathology, including thyroid cancer.

What are your research interests? What type of project (s) are you working on?

My research interest is thyroid cancer and osteoporosis. I am currently working on the “Discovery of Optimal Dietary Intervention Sequence for Skeletal Health in the Advancing Care for Type 1 Diabetes and Obesity Network (ACT1ON)” trial. I am also a member of the ACGME Milestones committee and working on drafting Milestones for endocrinology fellowship programs.

Now that you are here as a fellow, what is the top selling point you would tell someone considering fellowship at UNC?

UNC offers us our own continuity clinic, and all of our patients identify us as their providers. UNC faculty are very friendly. We are provided with opportunities to interact with Pediatric Endocrinology, Surgical Oncology and Neurosurgery teams on a frequent basis.

Why do you like living in the Triangle?

The Triangle area offers the best of everything, including good schools, affordable living and great food.