Introducing Thang Tran, MD, CA-1
September 10, 2023
First off, thank you so much for being willing to share your story. Where are you from originally? Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Orange County, California—home of the best Vietnamese cuisine and boba in the country. I completed my undergraduate degree here at UCLA and went to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, for medical school.
What made you choose to come to UCLA for your anesthesiology training?
Volunteering at Reagan as an undergrad was my first real experience in patient care and served as a blueprint for the type of culture that I was looking for in a training hospital. This was even more fleshed out when I learned about UCLA's anesthesiology program while on the interview trail. And after living four years away from home, I knew it was important to me to match in a region where I have a strong support system with a diverse population and eclectic food options, as well as great year-round weather and activities.
Where are you living in the city? Why did you pick it?
Traffic in LA is killer, and it was important to me to live in a location that minimizes my time behind the wheel while maximizing opportunities for recreation. A lot of my co-residents and I live in the Sawtelle/Brentwood area, and I've greatly enjoyed it! It's in close proximity to Reagan, Santa Monica, the VA, and the 405; has easy access to great food options, hikes, and the beach; and is quiet enough to get sleep after a 24-hour call!
How has the transition from intern year to CA-1 year been?
The transition from intern year to CA-1 is undoubtedly a steep learning curve, but I think UCLA does a great job of making it as smooth and seamless as possible. During my initial 2 weeks of my CA-0 anesthesia rotation, I was paired with Dr. Jane Moon and my co-resident, Dr. Jerry Lee, who were more than patient with being on the receiving end of my elementary questions. CA-0 forms an excellent foundation for what to expect during CA-1, and now a few months into this academic year, I can say that all the support from the attendings, co-residents, and OR staff make the hard days manageable and the good days great.
What are you most looking forward to during this first year of anesthesia training?
Being back in the OR after almost two years away from it has served as a great reminder of why I chose anesthesiology and also of the breadth and depth of knowledge I have yet to learn. Honestly for this year, I'm most looking forward to becoming familiar with and confident about the basics of anesthesia. The following two years will involve so much new material in the subspecialties and more complex cases, so this year I hope to get a strong grasp of the essentials so that I can dive self-assuredly into the remainder of residency.
Do you have any specific interests within anesthesia at this time?
I haven't had enough experience in any of the subspecialties to confidently say that I love any of them more than the others, so I'm very much an open book! I'm also looking forward to learning more about opportunities in medical education and how to approach the question of academic medicine vs. private practice.
What do you like to do outside of work? How do you de-stress?
One of the greatest benefits of living in LA is the sheer number and variety of activities that are available nearby. For me, a day off well-spent includes trying a new breakfast spot and coffee shop, biking along the Santa Monica boardwalk, taking a quick swim in the ocean, reading a book, catching dinner with some friends and family, then ending the night with a movie. Over the last year, my co-residents and I have visited a few bars, completed some local hikes, and played hours of volleyball—the options are limitless!
Do you own any pets?
Unfortunately no pets, but I do have a few houseplants that are doing all they can to survive my subpar care.
What are you doing for your next vacation?
My next big vacation is in December, and I'm tentatively planning a trip to Japan! My class is pretty well-traveled, and it's very easy to get travel recs from any of them. Also, CA-1 year has more golden weekends than intern year, which is perfect for some quick local trips. I'll be going on a camping trip with my family in September!