August 18, 2021

Meet Mitch Obey, MD
Orthopedic Surgery Resident, Class of 2022

Residents work hard for patients. Orthopedic surgery residents work least so it seems. Washington University's orthopedic surgery residents are some of the best and brightest in the country, and we're proud to have them on our team. Meet one of our chief residents for 2022, and learn his plans for fellowship and clinical practice.

Why did you go into medicine?

I did not come from a family of doctors, and when I decided to be a doctor, I never really quite understood what it meant. I couldn’t have possibly predicted the amazing highs of directly impacting someone’s life, or the deep lows when a patient did poorly or experienced a postoperative complication. Every day, it’s a gift to have the opportunity to care for patients during their most vulnerable times. Despite the stress, long hours, and missed time with friends and family, I could never imagine a different career. 

Why did you choose WashU ortho for your residency?

I chose Washington University Orthopaedics because I believed the program provided the perfect balance between academics and hands-on surgical training that I was seeking. When I rotated here as a fourth-year medical student, I was amazed by the surgical skill and clinical knowledge of the residents in the program. After spending that month with the department, I knew it was the training program I wanted to become a part of. 

What was the most interesting/challenging part of being a resident during COVID?

Surgical residency can be stressful at times, and I think as residents we rely a lot on each other for support and camaraderie, both in and out of the hospital environment. COVID certainly brought about a number of challenges, and I think one of the more difficult ones was trying to maintain the social relationships and support structure each of us had with each other amidst the shelter-in-place and social distancing orders.   

What are you looking forward to in practicing medicine?

I believe that we all need a real, visceral reason to get up in the morning, or an "Ikigai." I first stumbled upon this concept when reading the Blue Zones books. In short, it translates to "a reason for living" or "a reason to get up in the morning." It is the merger between who we are, how we can serve others, and what we love to do; and for me, orthopaedic surgery has become that. 

Where will you go for fellowship?

I have chosen orthopaedic trauma as a specialty, and will be completing fellowship in Houston, Texas next year at UT-Houston. 

What is the best advice you’ve received and who was it from?

"Find a mentor." Success leaves clues, and we can learn a lot from those who have gone before us. My college advisor stressed the absolute importance of identifying a mentor, someone who had the accomplishments and success I desired, and to learn everything I could from them.  

If you didn’t go into medicine, what might you have chosen as an occupation?

The Food Network was my favorite channel growing up, and it nearly steered me towards a career in the culinary arts. If I didn't go into medicine, I would've gone to culinary school to train to become a chef, and perhaps even open my own restaurant one day. My cooking used to involve anything baking and pastry, because it's detailed and specific. However, since medical school, the go-to is just whatever sounds good...with an emphasis on healthy and breakfast. 

How do you unwind after a busy day?

Music is my escape, and you will often find me with my headphones on, making new playlists on Spotify. Other hobbies include biking, snowboarding, hanging with friends in the parks around St. Louis, and spending time with family at the lake in northern Minnesota. 

Learn more about Washington University's Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program -- currently the #2 program in the country for orthoepdic residency.


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