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Residents & Fellows Spotlight: Matthew Santos, MD

Matthew Santos, MD

(Third Year Resident)

What are your future plans?

Sticking around as the Chief of Ophthalmic Trauma for 2022-2023

Why did you choose Ophthalmology/WashU?

My interview at WashU was my first ever trip to St. Louis. Having no prior connection to the city or university, what drew me to the program was the people and the tremendous opportunities for learning and growth. The program delivered on its promises of offering a family feel while giving the room, resources, mentors to strive for excellence.

What advice would you give to the new residents?

Believe in yourself. You’ve made it this far for a reason. Keep working to try and make yourself and those around you the best versions of yourself.

Favorite memory of your residency?

There are many, many impactful patient-centric stories that come to mind.

But probably New Years Eve of 2018 being stuck working overnight – my four coresidents brought root beer and pizza to the VA internal medicine workroom to hang out, celebrate, and keep me/each other company. None of them were working that night, went very much out of their way to be there.

How did you survive quarantine?

Zoom hangouts, binge-watching Survivor seasons with my wife, and still having a job to go to!

How did you deal with the stress of your residency?

Spending time with family and co-residents. One of my seniors/retina fellow Bliss O’Bryhim gave me great advice: don’t force it. If you need to take time for yourself, take it.

Favorite thing about living in St. Louis?

Walking to work, runs in Forest Park, being able to bring our dog Ollie to almost every brewery in town.

Favorite service and why?

Cornea service – they bring a wealth of experience with hugely differing opinions and are always excited to teach. You’re given a tremendous opportunity to contribute to the team on a daily basis both in the clinic and the OR.

Favorite teacher and why?

Dr. Shepherd – he’s been ubiquitous in my residency experience: intern year during which my class spent four months each at the VA (knowing nothing) to our final rotations as a senior doing strabismus surgery (sometimes still feeling like we know nothing with the complex things he sees!) He’s been a wonderful mentor and educator throughout these four years.

What did you learn in your residency that impacted you the most?

Rely on people when they’re there for you and you need them. Be that person for others when you can be too.