HumAnes of UCLA: Ryan McWhirter, MD, MS

Introducing Dr. Ryan McWhirter, CA-1 Resident Physician

Ryan McWhirter and Moose

Note: This interview was conducted in January 2023, when Dr. McWhirter was a CA-1. Dr. McWhirter is in the UCLA DAPM Class of 2025

January 20, 2023

Where are you from? Where did you go for college and medical school?
I am originally from the Bay Area. I went to UC Davis for college and then moved to the East Coast to complete my masters at Tufts in Massachusetts. I stayed on the East Coast for medical school at Albany Medical College.

How has the transition from intern year to CA-1 been? What has surprised you about this year?
It has been really challenging, especially at the beginning of the year. I remember every night I would come home and fall asleep on the couch because I was mentally exhausted. I could still hear the pulse ox beeping in my ear. I have been surprised by how much more comfortable I feel in the OR now. Of course, I still need a lot of supervision as a CA-1, but I really am starting to make my own clinical decisions in the OR, which feels rewarding.

What has been your favorite rotation of the year so far?
I have done a lot of Main OR this year, so I haven’t had too many sub-specialties yet. I would say my favorite though was PACU. It was wonderful to meet so many different patients every day and observe patients as they recovered from surgery (a side of perioperative care the residents rarely get to see!). It’s really going to shape my practice in the OR now too (for example, titrating in dilaudid more slowly at the end of my cases). My favorite part of PACU was seeing all of my colleagues' faces daily and getting to meet so many new people.

Where do you live in the city and what do you like about it?
I live in West Hollywood. I really like it because of the amazing restaurants and the beautiful neighborhood. There is so much traffic in LA and I like that once I get home, I can walk to tons of great restaurants, shops, grocery store, and the gym. I really enjoy looking at all the cool architecture too.

Ryan McWhirter and his Thanksgiving feast

What are some of your favorite hobbies/activities outside of work?
I enjoy cooking and trying new restaurants. I try to cook as much as possible when I’m not at work, and my favorite cuisines to cook are Greek and Italian food. I also like traveling and going to the beach. I recently went to Spain, and touring through the multiple cities and their delicious foods and wines was one of my favorite parts of the trip.

What did you do for the holidays this year?
I hosted a small Thanksgiving feast locally here in LA. For the holidays, I was lucky enough to visit my family in the Bay Area where we celebrated Christmas with my extended family. On the way back, I was stuck in the Southwest cancellation fiasco, but made the most of it by renting a car and making multiple stops along the road in San Luis Obispo and one of my new favorite spots, Los Olivos.

Do you have any pets?
I have 2 dogs, Kylie and Moose (the above photo is me with Moose!). They are both German Shepherds. Unfortunately, they live up in the Bay Area with my parents, but I love to visit them and go for long walks.

What are your plans for your next vacation?
I think Italy and Croatia are next on my agenda. After finishing White Lotus, I absolutely have to go to Sicily and visit Taormina. I look forward to trying local cuisines and visiting the beautiful beachfront cities.