Introducing Ryan Bakhit, DO, MHS
October 26, 2023
Where did you grow up? Where did you complete your education and training, and how did you choose anesthesiology?
I grew up in La Verne, California, in the Inland Empire. My educational path took me through various fields. I received an undergraduate degree in philosophy from UCLA, followed by a master's degree in microbiology and immunology from Johns Hopkins University. My master's thesis focused on Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cells as a potential treatment for lung cancer. I pursued my medical education at Midwestern University in Glendale, Arizona, and my anesthesiology training at Virginia Mason Medical Center in downtown Seattle. Notably, our hospital cared for one of the first COVID-19 patients in the country at the start of the pandemic, and a co-resident of mine intubated one of the first few COVID patients in the country.
What was your childhood dream?
My childhood dream was either to work with Doctors Without Borders or establish a medical clinic in sub-Saharan Africa, akin to Partners in Health. While the arduous years of education and training have placed that dream on hold, I still hope to spend time practicing in underserved international communities at some point in my career.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Most of my free time is dedicated to exercise and reading, especially news and journal articles related to medical advancements outside of anesthesiology. I engage in activities like rock climbing, both at the gym and outdoors, and I make an effort to incorporate long runs into my routine. Surfing is the recent addition to my interests following our move to Santa Monica.
What is your favorite book, movie, or TV show, and why?
My favorite movie is unequivocally Pulp Fiction. Its segmented storytelling, stellar cast, visceral imagery, and Samuel Jackson's memorable monologue near the end make it a standout cinematic experience.
Do you have any pets?
I don't have any pets at the moment due to my wife being a pet-hater! I had a chihuahua growing up, but it recently passed away.
What has been your favorite vacation destination so far?
Our honeymoon in Switzerland during the past winter is a standout. We explored Zurich, visiting Kunsthaus Zürich, the country's largest museum featuring works by Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, and Claude Monet. We also enjoyed snowboarding and skiing beneath the iconic Matterhorn in Zermatt, all thanks to a recommendation from Sara Navab.
What do you enjoy the most about your job?
While anesthesiology often involves solo work, one of the most rewarding aspects of being a faculty member at UCLA is the collaborative experience with our dedicated residents. This includes foundational experiences like caring for critically ill patients undergoing emergent procedures, in which the team is challenged intellectually and tested emotionally. Acknowledging that being a clinician educator is no small feat, I've also relished the challenge of striking a balance between supervision, education, and fostering autonomy. It goes without saying that in my relatively brief time at UCLA, witnessing the remarkable growth and development of the residents I've had the privilege to work with has been incredibly gratifying.