The Zach Highley Show podcast

#24 Dermatology Resident Interview - Lifestyle, Competition, and Lifestyle (again)

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Alex Valiga is the current chief resident physician in the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology here at Thomas Jefferson University. He grew up outside of Philadelphia in North Wales, Pennsylvania and attended nearby Drexel University where he earned a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering. It was during this time that Dr. Valiga developed his passion for cutaneous oncology by spending several years conducting basic science research at the world-renowned Wistar Institute. Given his achievements in academics and research, Dr. Valiga was elected to national honors societies for engineering (Tau Beta Pi) and biomedical engineering (Alpha Eta Mu Beta). After completing his undergraduate studies, Dr. Valiga then continued on to Drexel University College of Medicine. During this time he was honored to be elected co-president of his medical school class for four consecutive years and received the Joel Roslyn Award, an honor reserved for a single member of the graduating class in recognition of outstanding leadership while demonstrating a notable level of commitment and service to his fellow classmates. After graduation, Dr. Valiga then completed an internship in internal medicine at Lankenau Medical Center and is now halfway through his final year of dermatology residency at Thomas Jefferson where he is also serving as Chief Resident. With his academic interests in cutaneous oncology, Dr. Valiga will continue his training with a fellowship in micrographic surgery and dermatologic oncology after which he hopes to continue his career in academic medicine.


0:00 - Intro

1:18 - Statistics About Dermatology

4:14 - What Is Dermatology?

6:36 - Journey Into Dermatology

12:56 - 1st and 2nd Years of Dermatology Residency

17:55 - Monkeypox Case

22:49 - 3rd Year and Overall Residency Experience

32:11 - An Average Week of a Dermatology Resident

36:28 - Types of Fellowships

37:36 - What Fellowship Did You Pick and Why?

42:18 - Future of Your Career

43:56 - Dealing With Burnout and Keeping a Good Lifestyle

50:52 - Maximizing Competitiveness Going Into Derm Residency

59:25 - Best Thing About Being a Dermatologist

1:00:20 - Worst Thing About Being a Dermatologist

1:03:24 - If I Give You $100 Million, What Would You Do?

1:08:22 - Future of Dermatology

1:10:09 - Advice to People Entering Medicine

1:12:10 - Book Recommendations

1:15:32 - What Advice Would You Give Your 18-Year-Old Self?

1:18:53 - Closing Message for People Looking Into Dermatology

1:20:03 - What Makes the Best Dermatology Resident?

1:21:17 - Closing Message

1:24:41 - Outro



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Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl:


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Welcome to the Zach Highley Show, where we discuss personal growth and medicine to figure out how to improve our lives. My name is Zach a Resident Physician in Boston. Throughout these episodes, I’ll interview top performers from around the world in business, life, and medicine in hopes of extracting the resources and techniques they use to get to the top.

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