Chief Residents

Justin Heser, MD
Brant Rustwick, MD

Chief residents 2015-2016
Chief Residents Brant Rustwick, MD (left),
and Justin Heser, MD (right)

Welcome to the Department of Anesthesia at the University of Iowa!

The process of choosing a residency is not easy, and there are many programs that offer excellent clinical training.

As an Iowa anesthesia resident, you’ll be a member of a legacy that dates back to the beginning of our specialty. In 1923, Mary A. Ross, MD, the first American anesthesia resident, completed her training at Iowa.

In addition to being part of an impressive lineage, our residents have the opportunity to immerse themselves in cutting edge medicine at one of the nation’s top academic medical institutions. As a whole, our department aims to provide residents with a variety of experiences that will prepare them for life-long learning and dedication to the practice of anesthesia.

Iowa anesthesia graduates go on to earn spots in top fellowship programs across the country and become highly valued and sought-after members of academic departments and private practice groups throughout the nation. Our board certification rate far exceeds the national average year after year. Specifically, our residents have a 100% pass rate on the BASIC exam with six members of the class of 2016 scoring above the 90th percentile nationally. The class of 2015 and 2016 both achieved a class average greater than the 90th percentile (compared to all programs nationally at the same training level) on the most recent In-training Examination.

Clinical anesthesia training at the University of Iowa is excellent. Residents are exposed to an impressive array of unique and challenging cases beginning in their intern year. Most residents meet the number of minimum cases mandated by the ACGME by the 18th month of clinical anesthesia training.  Our intern year is tailored to maximize experiences across the entire spectrum of medicine which will complement the three following years of clinical anesthesia training. Intern year culminates in advanced clinical medicine which includes one month of simulations, lectures, workshops and problem-based learning and one month of operative experiences that prepare our interns to become superb CA-1’s.  

In addition to receiving solid experiences in every area of perioperative medicine, we receive extensive training in pain medicine, regional anesthesia, pediatric anesthesia, neuroanesthesia, obstetric anesthesia, and critical care medicine. Our Ambulatory Surgery Center provides opportunities to practice alternative anesthetic techniques that may better reflect a private practice setting.

Since 2002 residency training has been further augmented with the opportunity to learn anesthesia in more humble locales. Currently, three separate, fully funded trips to the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Colombia will provide six senior anesthesia residents the opportunity to practice abroad. The Guatemala mission trip is affiliated with the Miles of Smiles Team (MOST), where they perform cleft lip and palate repair surgeries.

There is no question that residency is very challenging. The journey is much easier and enjoyable if spent with people who you consider to be friends. If you were to ask our residents what makes this program truly unique and special, most would mention the family atmosphere and sense of camaraderie that surrounds the entire department. It would be difficult to find a more amiable, friendly, and welcoming group of residents. From the time that you arrive in Iowa City and attend the anesthesia department welcome picnic until the time of departure following graduation, you will be part of a close-knit community where you will develop professional and personal relationships which will last a lifetime.

So come have a look! We look forward to getting to know you and showing you the terrific opportunities that exist in our department and Iowa City.