Chief Residents

Hlavacek, Cindy, M.D.

Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Undergrad: Vanderbilt
Med School: UNC Chapel Hill
Career interest or chosen specialty: General or Trauma
Hobbies in residency: Running, traveling, cooking, concerts/festivals, scubadiving
Thoughts about our program: Coming from NC, I hadn’t heard of Baptist. My brother and sister-in-law had completed their residencies at UAB, so I had come to really like Birmingham as a city. My sister-in-law did part of her anesthesia training at Baptist. She got to know a lot of the surgery residents and saw first hand the level of training/autonomy we get. It truly is unparallelled. This will sound repetitive because we all say it, but there really is an amazing sense of close-knit community here. Plus we operate like crazy!

Kleinschmidt, Kane, M.D.

Hometown: Lexington, TX
Undergrad: Texas A&M
Med School: Texas A&M
Career interest or chosen specialty: Colorectal
Hobbies in residency: Golf, Estate sales, reading, outdoor activities
Thoughts about our program: Residency is going to be difficult no matter where you go; it’s the people you surround yourself with that make all the difference. We truly do love and support each other here. When a family emergency came up, I was able to fly home, and my classmates covered my call without hesitation. We operate a ton and are >99% in the country in many aspects, including hepatobiliary and robotic experience.  For myself, as I’m applying to colorectal fellowship, there are a handful of programs that are always excited to have us because they know exactly what they’re getting in a Baptist resident!

Mathews, Eleanor, M.D.

Hometown: Fort Payne, AL
Undergrad: Auburn University
Med School: University of Alabama at Birmingham
Career interest or chosen specialty: Community General Surgery
Hobbies in residency: Traveling (London, Greece, Iceland, Hawaii, and Italy since starting residency!), weight training, cooking/trying new restaurants, crafting, lake days with my family, hanging out with my husband and dog
Thoughts about our program: I visited Baptist as a 4th year medical student for a month and was immediately drawn to the atmosphere here. There were clearly high expectations, heavy case loads, and early responsibilities, complemented by a true resident family, extensive teaching inside and outside the OR, and impressive resident/attending autonomy. I also realized that multiple attendings and residents had an interest in fellowship and missions, which are near and dear to my heart. {Shameless plug: I lead a small group for women in medicine.} I felt at home here from day 1.

Novitski, Katie, M.D., M.P.H.

Hometown: Athens, AL
Undergrad: Samford University
Med School: UASOM
Career interest or chosen specialty: Bariatric and Foregut Surgery
Hobbies in residency: Everything Disney (except the new Aladdin), baking, lake time with family, and anything Auburn
Thoughts about our program: Starting residency, I had my own expectations of what residency would be like based on residencies I had seen in medical school. It was quickly evident that Baptist was not like my medical school. There was a family of residents that genuinely cared for each other. Additionally, the attendings were personable and truly care about our learning and well-being.

2020 - 2021 PGY-4

Antonetti, Jonathan, M.D.

Hometown: Chelsea, AL
Undergrad: University of Alabama
Med School: University of Alabama at Birmingham
Career interest or chosen specialty: Plastic Surgery
Hobbies in residency: Live Music, Naps, Boiled Peanuts, The Tide
Thoughts about our program: Baptist exposes you to the OR early and often, allowing you to become a competent and efficient surgeon without a fellowship. At the same time, many residents have gone on to complete fellowships, most recently with colorectal, vascular, trauma, plastics, and cardiothoracic programs. This, along with the growth and excitement surrounding Birmingham, provides the perfect combination for a surgical residency experience that is unmatched.

Frey, Andrew, D.O.

Hometown: Birmingham, AL
Undergrad: University of Mississippi
Med School: William Carey University
Career interest or chosen specialty: Undecided
Hobbies in residency: Outdoor activities, dogs, guitar, multiple great music venues in the area.  Also spending time with my wife, Victoria, our baby, Caroline, and our 2 dogs: Ella (devil sheltie) and Sasha (diabetic eskie).
Thoughts about our program: Our training produces well-rounded surgeons ready to care for any patient after five years. We have a very robust robotic experience as demonstrated by the volume of cases, variety of cases, and early time on console.

Henderson, Chase, M.D.

Hometown: Huntsville, Alabama
Undergrad: Auburn University
Med School: University of Alabama at Birmingham
Career interest or chosen specialty: Undecided
Hobbies in residency: Playing golf, taking my dog to the park/river/lake, breweries, live music, hunting, Auburn football and grilling.
Thoughts about our program: What attracted me to our program was the amount of attending interaction, operative experience, and resident comradery.  We have an excellent mix of personalities that make the long hours worth it.  We are the “line” service for the hospital 24/7, meaning you will be proficient at tubes and vascular access. We get a broad array of surgical experience including high-volume hepatobiliary service, as well as bariatrics and the “bread-and-butter” general surgery cases.  Attendings are always available and involved in care decisions that require oversight, while allowing residents to really take responsibility for the patients.

Scarsella, Jenny, M.D.

Hometown: Sugarland, TX
Undergrad: University of Texas
Med School: Texas Tech
Career interest or chosen specialty: Vascular Surgery 
Hobbies in residency: Biking, traveling, shopping, Netflix.  Also spending time with my husband, Aldo, and 4-year-old black lab mix, Duke.
Thoughts about our program: I was drawn to our program for the vast and early operating experiences. Our program is very close, and it really feels like family. There’s plenty of one-on-one time with attendings all five years, inside and out of the OR. Lastly, unique to a community program is the opportunity to learn about private practice and the business side of surgery if there’s an interest.

West, Lee, M.D.

Hometown: Mobile, AL
Undergrad: University of Mississippi
Med School: University of South Alabama
Career interest or chosen specialty: Undecided
Hobbies in residency: Fishing, Anything outdoors, sleep
Thoughts about our program: We have very early operative experience. There’s a great mixture of minimally invasive cases, and we have a large volume of open hepatobiliary cases. Also, the city of Birmingham has been a wonderful place to live.

2020 - 2021 PGY-3

Callahan, Bailey, D.O.

Hometown: Xenia, OH
Undergrad: University of Alabama
Med School: William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine
Career interest or chosen specialty: Undecided
Hobbies in residency: Sort of a foodie (cooking/restaurants), time with friends, pool/lake/ocean time, dog park, traveling whenever I get the chance
Thoughts about our program: When I say you get to operate, that is not a joke. You are thrown in from day one. By the end of residency here you will be prepared to go out on your own without a doubt. On a more personal level, these people are my family. You live and breathe surgery as a resident, but one fact remains that life still goes on. Life happens and having a great support group is absolutely necessary. Enduring residency without these people would be unfathomable.

Day, Josh, M.D.

Hometown: Birmingham, AL
Undergrad: Auburn University
Med School: University of Alabama at Birmingham
Career interest or chosen specialty:Undecided
Hobbies in residency: Hiking, basketball, golf
Thoughts about our program: I got to do an umbilical hernia repair my first day of residency. We have a great robotic experience with excellent broad exposure to general surgery cases. There is also great camaraderie and a non-malignant culture.

  Mazur, Olga, M.D.

Hometown: Kabardino-Balkaria, Russia
Undergrad: University of Virginia
Med School: University of Mississippi
Career interest or chosen specialty: Undecided
Hobbies in residency: Violin, theatre, museums, ballet, documentary films, hiking, the Capitals
Thoughts about our program: Good camaraderie among residents and faculty. Strong robotic surgery exposure.

Taylor, Garrett, M.D.

Hometown: Odenville, AL
Undergrad: University of Alabama
Med School: University of Alabama at Birmingham
Career interest or chosen specialty: Community based General Surgery
Hobbies in residency: Wrassle with my kids, swim in the pool, obsess over Alabama football
Thoughts about our program: Strengths of the program are great relationships with attendings and co-residents and the comfortable learning environment that comes with that and a high case load and diverse mix throughout. Steadily increasing vascular numbers, very strong pancreas and hepatobiliary exposure, extensive endoscopy experience, and second to none robot console time. There is a solid mix of all other general surgical procedures. Chiefs are expected to graduate prepared and confident to head straight into practice or hit the ground running in fellowship. Outside the OR, academics are, as always, what you make of them, and enthusiastic residents will find enthusiastic support from attendings regarding pursuing interests or developing research.

  Wheelis, Christopher, M.D.

Hometown: Pineville, LA
Undergrad: Southern Methodist University; Dallas, TX
Med School: Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center- Shreveport
Career interest or chosen specialty: Undecided
Hobbies in residency: Hiking with dogs, gardening, fishing/hunting
Thoughts about our program: This program feels like family. There is a genuine interest in the residents’ well-being expressed by the attendings. Despite being a community-based surgery residency, there is still an emphasis on teaching as well as evidence-based medicine. There is a wide range of operative exposure and a strong base in minimally invasive/robotic surgery. This program prepares you to be a competent and confident surgeon -- one who can either head out into practice after 5 years or obtain the fellowship of his/her choosing and excel in that specialty.

2020 - 2021 PGY-2

Boxberger, John, M.D.

Hometown: Austin, TX (with roots in Kansas)
Undergrad: Trinity University, San Antonio, TX
Med School: University of Texas School of Medicine - San Antonio
Career interest or chosen specialty: Open to anything
Hobbies in residency: Basketball, movies, skiing, kayaking, anything that gets me outside.  
Thoughts about our program: The two primary factors I looked for when evaluating programs were collegiality among the residents and strong foundations in General Surgery. I did not know much about the program prior to applying, but a peer of mine suggested I look into it. Just in my brief interactions with the residents during my interview, it was clear that the relationships built at this program were different from what I would find elsewhere. The residents were more than just colleagues. Once I saw the early surgical experience residents received combined with the overall numbers they achieved over 5 years, I was sold. From the moment I got here, expectations were clear, and I received every opportunity to participate in all levels of patient care. This is simply not something you will find at every program.

Harper, Claren, M.D.

Hometown: Jacksonville, FL
Undergrad: Florida State University
Med School: Florida State University College of Medicine
Career interest or chosen specialty: General Surgery/Vascular/Undecided
Hobbies in residency: Gardening, Crafting/Painting, Bargain Shopping, Sleeping, Harry Potter on repeat
Thoughts about our program: One year into residency, I’ve learned and done more than I ever would have imagined. I’ve had opportunities to perform cases in the OR start-to-finish, I’ve cared for many critically ill patients, I’ve placed 100+ CVLs/vascaths and arterial lines, and I spent one month (on surg onc) where I scrubbed into the OR literally every single day of the rotation. Things rarely slow down, but I’m learning every day and feel like I will be competent and confident to begin working as a surgeon at the end of my training. I enjoy spending time with my co-residents in and out of work, and I feel respected by the attendings and hospital staff. Also, the snacks.

Minton, Heather, M.D.

Hometown: Oxford, AL
Undergrad: University of Alabama, Finance;University of Alabama at Birmingham, Biology
Med School: University of Alabama School of Medicine
Career interest or chosen specialty: Undecided but interested in General Surgery and Colorectal
Hobbies in residency: Jogging, weight-lifting, decorating my new home, being outdoors especially hiking or spending time with my family at the lake
Thoughts about our program: BBH is an excellent training program because it offers the “best of both worlds.” We have the volume that a larger city offers, private specialty surgeons who are willing to teach, and ample opportunity to operate early in our careers.

Watlington, James, M.D.

Hometown: Shelbyville, TN
Undergrad: Middle Tennessee State University
Med School: University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Career interest or chosen specialty: General Surgery/Trauma
Hobbies in residency: Take the dog for a walk/run, watch Marvel movies, build plastic models (current one in progress is a 2.5ft WWII submarine), piano, video games
Thoughts about our program: We have a great training environment and plenty of operating cases/experience. It’s an awesome group of residents/attendings who are willing to help you succeed.

Watts, Steve, III., M.D.

Hometown: Valdosta, Ga
Undergrad: Valdosta State University
Med School: Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University
Career interest or chosen specialty: General Surgery/MIS/CTS
Hobbies in residency: Hiking and anything outdoors, golfing, exercising, taking my dog to park, eating great food, visiting all the great Birmingham breweries, spending time with friends/family.
Thoughts about our program: While my time in this program has been short thus far, I can say with confidence that you will not find a program that provides a better operative experience. In my first month as an intern, I scrubbed and assisted on over 30 cases, 6 of which were Whipples. This is a non-malignant learning atmosphere in which there is incredible intraoperative and bedside teaching with a great mix of didactic and hands-on learning. There is a level of camaraderie among residents and attendings that makes you feel like you are part of a big family. Birmingham is an incredible place to live with so many fun and exciting things to do. You will not regret choosing this program.

PGY-1 Categorical

Brock Daughtry, DO

Hometown: Perry, Georgia

Undergrad:  Auburn University

Med School: Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine

Career interest or chosen specialty: Undecided

Hobbies in residency: I love most anything outdoors and am a huge college sports fan.

What drew you to the program? I rotated through as a 4th year medical student and was blown away by the program. I felt right at home from day one. All of the residents seemed to get along really well, and the attendings do an excellent job of teaching. I saw a wide variety of patients and operations and saw that all of the residents were very skilled surgeons. I could not be happier to have matched here.

Trevor Fain, MD

Hometown: Wildwood, MO

Undergrad:  University of Alabama

Med School: University of Louisville School of Medicine

Career interest or chosen specialty: Undecided

Hobbies in residency: Movies, golfing, hiking, and trying new restaurants

What drew you to the program? The people. I got along great with everyone I interacted with at my interview, and the strength of the relationships among residents was evident at the pre-interview dinner. I wanted to go to a place where I would get along with my co-workers, and I am excited that is the case.

Kenneth Holt, MD

Hometown: McCalla, AL

Undergrad:  University of Alabama at Birmingham

Med School: University of Alabama School of Medicine

Career interest or chosen specialty: Undecided

Hobbies in residency: Reading, exercising, hiking, fishing, going to concerts, eating at any of the great restaurants in Birmingham

What drew you to the program? I really enjoyed working with the residents while I did a rotation during my 4th year. I was looking for a program where the residents were a tight-knit group and where I could also get a well-rounded general surgery experience, and this was the perfect place for both. I was also very impressed with the amount of OR experience the interns got while I was rotating here. I couldn’t have asked for a better program to match into, and I’m looking forward to the years to come!

Sara Nelson, DO

Hometown: Dothan, AL

Undergrad:  Troy University

Med School: Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine at Auburn

Career interest or chosen specialty: General Surgery/Undecided

Hobbies in residency: Running, soccer, playing with the dogs, hiking, trying new restaurants, traveling, Alabama football - Roll Tide!

What drew you to the program? The comradery in the program is undeniable. Great support from attendings and co-residents. Opportunities at two different hospitals allows for a wide variety and a large volume of cases. Looking forward to the years to come!

Will Ross, MD

Hometown: Brandon, MS

Undergrad:  University of Mississippi

Med School: University of Mississippi School of Medicine

Career interest or chosen specialty: Undecided

Hobbies in residency: Movies, trying new restaurants, reading, cooking

What drew you to the program? I liked how friendly and happy everyone is working here, and I wanted to be somewhere that I really enjoyed the people around me. I was also very impressed with how much procedural opportunity is available to residents early in training.

PGY-1 Preliminary

Kathleen Harris, MD

Hometown: Birmingham, AL

Undergrad: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Med School: University of Alabama School of Medicine

Career interest or chosen specialty: Undecided

Hobbies in residency: Running, gymnastics, hiking, just being outside and active, reading, traveling, watching college basketball

What drew you to the program? The hospital system and program have an excellent reputation for strength of training and for being a supportive and welcoming environment. Additionally, I am excited about the amount of surgical experience available early in training. I am glad to be able to train at a great program and have the opportunity to stay close to my friends and family in Birmingham!

Heather Russo, DO

Hometown: West Islip, NY

Undergrad: Boston University

Med School: William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine

Career interest or chosen specialty: OB/GYN and women’s health

Hobbies in residency: Music, gardening, crafting, yoga, anything ocean-related, and Orange Theory Fitness!  Also spending time with my boyfriend, Cody, who is a Navy Chief, and with my fur baby, Herbie. 

Thoughts about our program: The chance to work in a multi-hospital system with a variety of demographics and diverse cases. I’m excited to continue calling the South my home and for the surgical experience I will gain this year!

Jacob Switzer, MD

Hometown: Fairhope, AL

Undergrad: University of Alabama at Birmingham

Med School: University of Alabama School of Medicine

Career interest or chosen specialty: Undecided

Hobbies in residency: I enjoy fishing, hiking, and spending time outdoors. I play guitar and appreciate a wide range of musical genres.

What drew you to the program? The reputation of the hospital system and the training opportunities it offers are fantastic! I’ve fallen in love with the city of Birmingham over the past eight years, so it is a great blessing that I have the opportunity to continue to train at a premier institution in such a great place to live.

Chase Wiggins, MD

Hometown: Fosters, Alabama

Undergrad: The university of Alabama

Med School: South Alabama College of Medicine

Career interest or chosen specialty: Radiology

Hobbies in residency: Two dogs, cooking, reading and music

What drew you to the program? I was born and raised in Tuscaloosa and family is very important to me. I have also had colleagues who have gone through the program and was impressed with the quality training received. The chance to improve as a physician through top notch training while also being in close proximity to my family made it an easy decision