Meet Our Chief Residents
Thank you for your interest in the Pediatric Residency Program at the University of Utah! We are honored to serve as the chief residents this year and are excited to embark on this journey with you. Primary Children’s Hospital is an extraordinary place with a unique location in the center of the Mountain West servicing children from the five surrounding states and beyond. This, along with the high standards for excellence in teaching and supportive learning environment has created an educational training experience that surpassed all of our expectations.
Our residency programs offer ample exposure to both common and rare pediatric disorders, incredible clinical teaching in both inpatient and outpatient settings, an innovative and personalized residency curriculum, and numerous research, academic, and advocacy opportunities. Graduates from our program are completely prepared to enter into a successful career in general pediatrics or continue their training in a fellowship program of their choice.
One of the most valuable aspects of our program is the relationships that the residents develop with each other. We are privileged to work with intelligent, hard working people who strive to get the most out of each and every patient encounter while still enjoying life outside of residency. The abundance of outdoor recreational activities that Salt Lake City has to offer is unparalleled. Residents enjoy a multitude of activities outside of work, including skiing, hiking, mountain biking, summer concerts in the park, festivals, sporting events, farmers markets and much more. Most importantly, we develop life-long friendships and become incredible pediatricians together.
Please feel free to contact us anytime as you go through the application process. We wish you the best of luck on the interview trail and can’t wait to meet you (virtually) in Salt Lake City!
Pediatric Chief Residents
Jack Burgeson, MD, Pediatrics
Hometown: Saint Louis Park, Minnesota
Undergraduate Institution: DePauw University, Greencastle Indiana (Biochemistry)
Medical School: Indiana University School of Medicine
I chose Primary Children’s based on the immediate sense of “community and camaraderie” that was apparent between the residents, staff, and faculty on my interview day. The program offered the ideal balance between a rigorous academic environment and a laid-back atmosphere that promoted resident education. The opportunity to train at a large academic center that serves as the main pediatric hospital for multiple states in the Intermountain West was a further appeal, providing incredible exposure to diverse patient presentations and acuity. Salt Lake still maintains a small town feel - I am constantly running into co-residents/attendings/nurses around town or out on the trails. In my free time, I love biking, trail running, backpacking with my puppy, and skiing/snowboarding in the nearby mountains; the access to the outdoors in SLC is tough to beat! I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve as one of the Chief Residents and can't wait to share more about our program!
Dana Tower, MD, Pediatrics
Hometown: Anchorage, Alaska
Undergrad Institution/Degree: Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, Middlebury College, Vermont
Medical School: University of Washington School of Medicine (Alaska WWAMI Program)
Utah is the Goldilocks program for me in terms of its size and as a "learn by doing" program. As a free-standing children's hospital, Primary Children's Hospital serves one of the largest catchment areas in the country. As someone interested in pursuing Pediatric Critical Care as a career, I wanted a program where patients could receive almost all their subspecialty care at the same hospital. During residency I have only had a few patients that went to other programs for specialized procedures. This program is incredibly collegial, and I felt immediately on my interview day that I would not only be joining strong pediatric program but also a family. My husband is a biomedical engineer and has settled well into his career here in Salt Lake City. We have unparalleled access to trails and mountains right outside of the hospital and take full advantage with yearlong activities such as hiking, biking, and skiing. Some of our favorite adventures here has been mountain biking the White Rim trail in Canyonlands National Park and slot canyoneering through Telephone & Spry Canyon's in Zion National Park.
Ben Drum, MD, Pediatrics
Hometown: Portland, OR
Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington
Medical School: University of Washington School of Medicine
I'm broadly interested in medical education and integrating research in my practice. I also have an interest in medical creative writing and poetry. When I interviewed programs, I loved the small class size of the program, the academic strength I saw in both medicine and pediatrics, the abundant mentorship opportunities for research and leadership, and the proximity to the mountains.
PGY-5 Triple Board Residents
Natashia Bottoms, MD, Pediatrics
Hometown: Springdale, Arkansas
Medical School: University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Like a lot of the other people in this program, I entered medical school with completely different plans. Coming from Arkansas, I had no idea that Triple Board existed or that there was a way to combine my repertoire of video game trivia with my enjoyment of diagnosing people with personality disorders. Thankfully, due to the enormous catchment area, robust birth rate, and amazing people and administration in this program, you can do everything you want and more at Utah from pediatrics to psychiatry and everything in between. Because of the location in comparison to the other Triple Board programs, I scheduled my interview for Utah for last and was exhausted by the time it finally rolled around. The second I actually saw the mountains and met the people here, however, I was rejuvenated and enthusiastic all over again. No matter what facility I find myself working in, I truly do feel like I am a valued and respected member of the team and have grown both as a physician and a person in ways I never expected. And I am living proof that you can be athletically challenged and still enjoy the natural wonders of Utah! Good luck out on the trail and hope to meet you soon!
Jordan Koncinsky, MD, Pediatrics
Hometown: McCall, idaho
Medical School: University of Utah School of Medicine
Growing up in the central mountains of Idaho and then living in Boise prior to moving to SLC, mountains and outdoor recreation were important to me. I describe myself as a small-town girl who tolerates cites so I was excited to come to the U for medical school. Given my master’s in breast cancer research, I thought I was going to go into adult Heme/Onc. However, psychiatry was my second rotation of third year, and I was lucky enough to complete 3 weeks working in child psychiatry and 3 weeks at our med/psych unit with severely mentally ill patients. I enjoyed it so much, I knew this was my calling. But then my next rotation was pediatrics. I enjoyed it so much, I knew this was my calling! Triple board was a perfect combination of both. However, deciding on triple board seemed like a big decision given the multiple transitions. I was lucky enough to be at an institution where I could talk with other triple board graduates. But it wasn’t until my rotation at UNI Home where I realized how Triple Board could be most beneficial for my career. This program is a medical home for children and adults with autism and developmental delays. It was the perfect combination of medically and psychiatrically complex patients! Working with this population holds a special place in my heart as my sister has developmental delays and I was excited to help families who experience similar triumphs and tribulations to my family. But I digress. Why Utah? The community is amazing! Everyone is supportive of a work-life balance. The people in the peds and psych programs are kind and excited to teach. While I felt this at other programs too, my main reason for staying is the outdoor community. I can work all day but still am able to hike, cross country ski or snowshoe with my dog after work. I continue to struggle with transitions between pediatrics and psychiatry, but I know this would be true of any program I would have attended. But the community of fellow residents and outdoor activities make these transitions not seem so bad. If I had to do it again, I would definitely choose Utah! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!