College of Science

Biology Alumna Now Serving as an Emergency Medicine Resident Physician

Headshot of Dr. Katie Vuchkov

Dr. Katie Vuchkov was once a Biology major at CSUMB; where she enjoyed spending weekends in Big Sur, running the trails of Fort Ord National Monument, and searching for the infamous piano tree. Since receiving her bachelor's degree in 2013, she has gone onto obtain her Doctor of Medicine.

Katie now serves as an Emergency Medicine Resident Physician in Fresno, California. With the current circumstances surrounding the outbreak of COVID-19, we reached out to her to see how she is holding up. To read more about Dr. Vuchkov's experience as a Medical Doctor (MD), check out her interview below.

How has your job as a resident changed since the outbreak of Covid-19?

Overall, my job has not changed all that much. As an ER doctor, my training is all about being ready to take care of really sick patients with all types of problems, from all walks of life. Sometimes, there are multiple sick patients that need my attention at the same time. That is part of what drew me to emergency medicine as a profession.

The main difference now is that we are working with a disease process that is very contagious and is easy to transmit from person to person, so I have to take more precautions to protect myself when I work with patients.

What has been the hardest thing to deal with?

I have been taking a lot of extra precautions to make sure I don’t carry this illness outside of the hospital and into my community or back to my loved ones. It can definitely be stressful at times. I worry about my patients too. Fresno has a very underserved population, many of whom have multiple chronic medical conditions. I hope that they are protecting themselves by staying at home and staying safe.

Are there any specific skills that you gained while at CSUMB that have helped contribute to your current success?

If I had to pick one, I would say that my time spent as a chemistry tutor at ASAP (now known as the Cooperative Learning Center). I learned so much about teaching and communicating complex scientific ideas. Being a doctor is similar, in a way—you spend much of your time communicating these extremely complex topics to patients and medical students. I will always be grateful that I was given that opportunity.

What would you tell other students who want to follow in your footsteps?

Being a doctor is one of the best jobs in the world. There’s really nothing else like using your education to make a difference in people’s lives. One thing that helped me get to where I am today was finding amazing mentors at CSUMB who supported me in my journey. I am still forever grateful to these people—Dr. Sreenivasan, Dr. Anderson, and Dr. Kibak. They have helped make me who I am today.

How did your experience as a science student contribute to your current career?

Molecular biology was directly helpful in learning the content in medical school. One of the most helpful things was learning how to really read and interpret scientific literature, which is a large part of my career.

Anything else you want us to know, about healthcare, CSUMB, being a doctor, or anything at all:

Doctors are just one part of the giant healthcare team making a difference in today’s crisis. Don’t forget about the nurses, respiratory therapists, patient care assistants, environmental services technicians, and countless others who are out there every day helping patients. For those of you considering a career in healthcare, there are multiple ways to get involved!