Skip to Content (Press Enter)
Residents weigh in on why they chose CHoR
October 15, 2020
Residents weigh in on why they chose CHoR

Training to become expert pediatricians: Residents weigh in on why they chose CHoR

It’s that season again! Along with changing leaves, pumpkins and warm apple cider, fall means residency recruitment time.

This time of year is when medical students interview at residency programs throughout the country in preparation for the next step in their training and, ultimately, their careers as physicians. This year will be unique as we look to complete the interview process wholly virtually. We are excited to use technology to be able to provide an intimate and thorough view of our program, the institution and the city of Richmond. 

“Our faculty is really passionate about teaching and helping to ensure that the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric sub-specialists will be top-notch at caring for kids and families,” said Dr. Suzanne Lavoie, director of our pediatric residency program. “When residents come here, they can expect a comprehensive experience, with many opportunities for personalized, hands-on learning to help them achieve their educational goals. Together, we work hard and enjoy each other’s company along the way.”

Meet a few of our current residents and find out why they chose CHoR.

Nadine Kibbi, MD (third year resident)

Kibbi, Nadine, MD

What is your hometown?

Beirut, Lebanon

Where did you go to undergrad?

American University of Beirut

Where did you go to medical school?

American University of Beirut

Why/when did you decide to pursue a career in medicine?

My passion lies in helping people and being in medicine allows me to altruistically help others. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a kid smiling because they feel better after we treat their illness. I decided to pursue a career in medicine when I was 7 years old because I was inspired by my grandfather who was also a pediatrician back home.  

What are your career goals?

I plan on pursuing a career in neonatology and I am currently applying for fellowships. I intend to continue in academic medicine so that I can not only work on the clinical aspect of medicine but also continue to teach others and do research.

What drew you to CHoR for residency?

The resident atmosphere at CHoR was very friendly and welcoming during my interview. I also noticed that this was an ever-growing program and never satisfied with remaining stagnant. I noticed a great deal of resident involvement in the community and in resident recruitment which showed how much the program cared about fostering good relations with each other. The program is well-rounded and has a diverse group of residents and faculty which makes it such a rich program.

What would you tell someone who is about to begin their residency?

Always be inquisitive and never take things at face value. Sometimes, the answers are at the tips of our keyboards with a quick internet search and at other times from your senior residents or faculty. Keep an open mind when you start and do not limit yourself to a subspecialty before you start. The sky's the limit with what you want to do with your life and residency will give you the tools and opportunities you need to grow.


Casey Freymiller, MD (second year resident)

Casey Freymiller, MD

What is your hometown?

I was born and raised in the very small town of Boscobel, WI.

Where did you go to undergrad?

I attended undergraduate in La Crosse, WI where I majored in biochemistry and minored in Spanish.

Where did you go to medical school?

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health – Go, Badgers!

Why/when did you decide to pursue a career in medicine?

I first knew that I wanted to go into medicine after my mother achieved remission from her breast cancer.

What are your career goals?

My career goals are to stay in academic medicine and hopefully work with students and residents in clinic and in a nursery. 

What drew you to CHoR for residency?

CHoR appealed to me because of the warm welcome I received on interview day, the two week rotations and the great city of Richmond.

What would you tell someone who is about to begin their residency?

I would tell anyone who is about to start their residency to take every day, every single opportunity, to learn something new and to not be afraid to be wrong if you learn something from it.


Ben Sandifer, MD (second year resident)

Sandifer, Benjamin (Ben), MD

What is your hometown?

Charleston, SC

Where did you go to undergrad?

Clemson University

Where did you go to medical school?

Medical University of South Carolina

Why/when did you decide to pursue a career in medicine?

I decided on medicine first because I have several family members in health care, but I stuck with it because I really enjoy taking care of people and it provides a ton of intellectual stimulation.

What are your career goals?

I plan on going into general pediatrics in private practice. I'd like to stick around the southeast, hopefully coastal South Carolina. I eventually want to own my own practice.

What drew you to CHoR for residency?

I really enjoyed my interview and found the faculty and residents to be very happy and helpful. I was very impressed with the CHoR building as well, and Richmond seemed like an exciting city to live in.

What would you tell someone who is about to begin their residency?

I have several pieces of advice. 1) Be humble. Accept that this is a learning process and be open to every opportunity to learn. 2) You are qualified to be here. Imposter syndrome is something that hits us all at some point, but you earned everything that got you to this point. 3) Be positive! Your outlook determines your outcome, and if you go into every situation with the goal of learning something or improving, you will.


Chris Ferrante, DO (first year resident)

Ferrante, Chris, DO

What is your hometown?

Greensboro, NC

Where did you go to undergrad?

Hampden-Sydney College

Where did you go to medical school?

Campbell University – Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine

Why/when did you decide to pursue a career in medicine?

I wanted to be involved in medicine since I was about 13 years old. My grandma had a difficult and long battle with cancer in which I saw examples of both good and bad doctors. The ones I thought were bad drove me to medicine more so that patients would not have to have the same experiences my family did.

What are your career goals?

I want to become a pediatric hematologist/oncologist.

What drew you to CHoR for residency?

I loved everything about this program when I interviewed. The location is wonderful with an awesome city for young adults with both the mountains and the beach an easy drive away. The 2+2 schedule was a big appeal as it truly allows for good work/life balance. The biggest factor, however, were the residents that were here. I saw how everyone interacted and it truly felt like one of the most tight-knit programs I interviewed at.

What would you tell someone who is about to begin their residency?

Take a deep breath and relax. You have so many people around you who are going to have your back. Your seniors are going to help make sure you will be successful and all your attendings want to help teach you. You won’t have all the answers and that is okay, no one expects you to.


Michael Terribile, DO (first year resident)

Terribile, Michael, DO

What is your hometown?

Ivy, VA (between Crozet and Charlottesville)

Where did you go to undergrad?

The College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio 

Where did you go to medical school?

Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine

Why/when did you decide to pursue a career in medicine?

Having been an EMT starting at 17, and continuing through college,medicine has been part of my vernacular for some time. As I matured, my comprehension of the stories of these patients, while learning the science along the way, it was kind of “this fits” rather than a sudden realization. With the passing of time, this question will I’m sure reveal its roots from having grown in a small community, and appreciating what a healthy space looks like, and trying to imprint that feeling on as diverse and large a population as I can.

What are your career goals?

Striking a balance in life to find happiness is of utmost importance. But first, finding a way to become integrated in whatever community I end up, and utilizing means to advocate for my patients and their families’ health. Additionally, developing a practice that addresses as much of our patients’ social-emotional and physical wellness. Doing this while balancing my love for music and relationships outside of medicine will be key. I hope to not only be defined by my work in medicine, but by the passion I put into life outside of it.

What drew you to CHoR for residency?

The initial draw was being close to home. I knew having the support of my parents and old friends would be important. Additionally, the community of Richmond offers a beautifully diverse space. Having a lush forest sandwiching the James River creates an easy nature escape, the presence of VCU and VMFA creates music and art as impactful as any mid-sized city on the east coast, and the plentiful amounts of inventive food and brewery options creates a mecca for social adventure. Also, with a traditionally underserved black, brown and Latinx population, CHoR sits in a prime space to create opportunity with its new children’s hospital, to help those who have been under-represented and ignored in our society. And most importantly for me, the people I met as residents and doctors were dedicated to creating a welcoming space for learning, and being the best advocates for their patients.

What would you tell someone who is about to begin their residency?

Keep an open mind and be mindful of your surroundings. This is not only a time for you to learn, practice and be a member of a medical team, but also a time to envision how your future will unfold. Having a balance outside of work, and seeing how your current rotations affect your happiness in other areas, is equally important to how you invest your energy moving forward. Doing this, while keeping an attention and presence to your patients and their stories will hopefully keep your initial motivations for choosing medicine at the forefront of your practice. 

Learn more about our comprehensive, stimulating, diverse and supportive pediatric residency program.

Subscribe to our blog

Sign Up