Dr. Sarah Tevis with her family on a recent snowboarding trip in Colorado, where they now live.
What year did you graduate?
I finished my general surgery residency in 2017 and then completed a breast surgical oncology fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2018.
What was your area of surgical focus during your time here?
I was drawn to oncology as early as middle school when I developed an interest in genetics and immunology. During my surgical oncology rotation in my third clinical year of residency, I discovered my passion for breast cancer surgery. I enjoyed the robust interdisciplinary team discussions and how clinical practice and research are so deeply intertwined in the field. The large volume of evidence-based treatment recommendations drew me to the field and inspires me to contribute to the literature. Finally, getting to know the patients, trying to see the disease from their perspective, and helping them decide which treatment plans are in line with their preferences is what really solidified breast surgery as my career path.
Where do you work now?
I am currently a breast surgeon at the University of Colorado. In addition to my clinical duties, I am studying patient reported outcome measures in our breast cancer patients and am also evaluating processes of care and quality metrics through the continuum of care. My goal is to use what I learn to provide higher quality, more efficient, and more patient centered care.
Reflecting on your time here at UW Dept of Surgery, what do you believe helped you prepare for the surgical career you have now?
The amazing mentors I had as a medical student and surgical resident at UW helped me prepare for residency and fellowship and decide what career path was best for me. Multiple mentors from UW were also instrumental in me finding a faculty position that has the clinical, research, and teaching opportunities I was looking for. Not to mention the amazing lifestyle of being in Denver and near the mountains! I am in regular contact with many of my mentors from UW and anticipate they will continue to be influential throughout my career.
What is a fond or funny memory you have that brings a smile to your face when you think about your time at UW?
There are so many to choose from! While we worked hard as surgery residents, we also had so much fun together. A few of the many fond memories I have include: playing Just Dance at 2am on trauma nights, Thursday night pot lucks, April Fool’s jokes like the time my locker was toilet papered, all the weddings and new babies, holiday dinners in the cafeteria on call, and the time we won the boat parade competition. Luckily, I continue to have new adventures with my friends from residency and hope to have some visitors come to Denver!
How do you instill the values and lessons learned during your UW experience to a new generation of surgical trainees?
I try to emulate the great mentorship I had as a resident in the operating room, clinics, wards, and research. I would hope the residents I work with would say I teach in and out of the OR, not only about breast diseases, operative technique, and indications for surgery, but also about about how to navigate applying for fellowship and a first job. In my short time as faculty, I have been fortunate to recruit residents to my research projects. My goal is to use the lessons I learned at UW to give them the support and mentorship they need to be successful, while giving them the autonomy to pursue research questions and projects they find interesting.
Do you stay in touch with your co-residents and faculty from UW?
I stay in touch with many of my former co-residents and faculty and really enjoy meeting up with them at conferences throughout the year. The residents in my class and I continue to communicate via group text regarding clinical decisions, challenges as new faculty, sharing funny kid photos, and to support each other. A week doesn’t go by that I am not in touch with one of my colleagues from UW and I look forward to continuing these communications throughout my career.
What else have you been up to these days?
My husband Lucas and I still have our Labrador, Tato, who has been with us since my first year of medical school. Over the years, we have added to our family with Gunner (our second yellow Labrador), Will (our 6 year old son), and Sam (our 9 month old daughter). Our family has been enjoying all that Colorado has to offer including hiking, camping, and snowboarding.