HumAnes of UCLA: Eric Van Baarsel, MD

Introducing Dr. Eric Van Baarsel, CA-1 Resident Physician

Dr. Eric Van Baarsel hiking

November 17, 2021

Note: This interview was conducted in November 2021, when Dr. Van Baarsel was a CA-1. Dr. Van Baarsel is in the UCLA DAPM Class of 2024.

Where are you originally from?
I grew up in Riverside, CA before moving to San Diego County for 7 years. I attended UC Riverside for medical school, Loma Linda University for internship, and now UCLA for residency. SoCal is home to me and I don’t plan on going anywhere else anytime soon!

Where do you live now? Why did you pick it?
I currently live in West Adams (just east of Culver City). My two best friends from medical school (whom I lived with for several years) are in residency in Los Angeles as well, so we decided to keep the streak going and rent a house together. It has been a great year so far!

How did you pick anesthesia?
My path to anesthesia has been a bit unorthodox. I went into medical school to become an orthopedic surgeon, ended up not matching, and can say I’m thankful how everything worked out. After going unmatched, I scrambled into a one-year general surgery internship at Loma Linda University. After spending a lot of time in the OR, I discovered how incredible the field of anesthesiology is. My favorite part about anesthesia is being able to apply my knowledge of physiology and anatomy in a hands-on and clinically relevant way on a daily basis.

Why did you pick UCLA?
I chose UCLA because it really checked all the boxes for me. The opportunity to receive excellent clinical training at a large academic institution with a great reputation, all while living in an amazing city close to family was like winning the lottery!

What are your interests within anesthesia?
What really excites me in anesthesia is being able to overcome challenging cases and situations. Whether it be a difficult airway or a case that feels out of my paygrade, I find a great deal of satisfaction getting the patient through safely despite the challenge. As far as fellowship interests, I am still undecided, but I look forward to gaining more experience in the different areas of anesthesiology to help me make that decision.

What are your interests outside of anesthesia/outside of work?
I consider myself to be a "hobby collector,” meaning I’ve enjoyed more hobbies than I can remember. Here are some things that have recently caught my interest: riding my E-bike, learning how to DJ, painting/drawing, and making cocktails (any tequila or mezcal fans?). Besides those hobbies, I enjoy staying active and being outside. Finally, I love watching sports and I am a big fan of the Padres, Lakers, and the Oklahoma Sooners.  

Where are you planning for your next vacation?
This December I will be going on a 10-day trip to Maui. The plan is to be lazy on the beach and spend plenty of time in the water. Please let me know if you have any recommendations for things to do or places to eat!

What might people not know about you?
Half of my family lives in the Netherlands and I have had the privilege of frequently visiting Europe as I grew up. Visiting my Dutch family has served as a great launching point for traveling elsewhere. In total, I have backpacked to ~15 countries throughout Europe and Southeast Asia and I look forward to being able to travel again in the future.