Skip to main content

PGY-1 Resident Spotlight: Justin Zhang, MD

Dr. Zhang was an active boy growing up in sunny SoCal. He is a big tennis player—he played at UC San Diego—and loves doing things with his hands, so he knew that he wanted to explore a field that was both active and intellectually stimulating. Medical school and surgery seemed like the logical path to follow, and Justin specifically chose neurosurgery because he believes it is one specialty that is constantly setting itself apart by pushing boundaries and exploring uncharted territory. Justin also knew that he wanted research to be a significant part of his career, and he knew that, as one of the backbones of this subspecialty, there would be incredible opportunities for research within the field.

Dr. Justing Zhang

For Dr. Zhang, the U was an obvious choice. He was given excellent advice from his mentors during application season and learned that the four things he should look for in a residency program are the culture, clinical training, research infrastructure, and location. For Justin, there is no question that the U is the top in all four of these categories. The incredible surgeons here in the University of Utah’s neurosurgery program—who are some of the top providers in each of their subspecialties—are another part of what makes the program one of the best.

Dr. Zhang is loving residency! The past several months have been very difficult but also extremely rewarding. The early exposure, volume, and training in his first year (with 10 months on and 2 months off) have been superior, and he appreciates the level of autonomy he has as a first-year resident. He says that key to his experience are the phenomenal advanced practice clinicians here. Despite the tough hours, when he walks out of the hospital and sees the mountains, Justin knows that everything will be okay and he made the right choice in coming to the U.

Check out our Takeovers highlight on Instagram (starting on story 48) to see Justin's recent day-in-the-life of a neurosurgery resident.