Current Residents and Interns

Matthew Benage, MD

Matthew Benage

Ophthalmology Resident, 2017-2020

Why did you choose Iowa?

My goal in choosing a residency program was to join a team that would enable me to achieve my fullest potential in ophthalmology. I believe that University of Iowa is one of the best programs in the country to become an excellent ophthalmologist. The faculty, residents, and staff are incredible at Iowa. The entire team is dedicated to offering the highest quality of patient care while cultivating an atmosphere of a family–it is incredible. Add in the strong surgical numbers, great clinical exposure–starting very early due to our integrated internship–world class faculty, and premier teaching, Iowa is hard to beat! I am so happy to be here! I feel lucky every day.

Dr. Matthew Benage's academic profile


Anthony T. Chung, MD

Anthony Chung

Ophthalmology Resident, 2017-2020

Why did you choose Iowa?

I chose University of Iowa because it truly felt like home. As a student here, the residents and staff made every effort to include me as part of the team and I knew I wanted to join a program that emphasized this camaraderie at all levels. The department's dedication to residency education is second to none. This is evident in the amount of time devoted to teaching residents during lunch lectures, evening sub-specialty rounds, and daily department wide morning rounds. Most importantly, the world-class faculty supports the residents in all of their endeavors whether it be research, in clinic, or the surgical curriculum.

Dr. Anthony Chung's academic profile


Austin R. Fox, MD

Austin Fox, portrait

Ophthalmology Resident, 2017-2020

Why did you choose Iowa?

Iowa is an all-around great program with great people fully invested in resident education. While the faculty are comprised of highly accomplished individuals, they are all welcoming, down to earth, and have a great sense of humor. 

Iowa City appealed to me as a smaller, clean, safe city with a fantastic culture.

Dr. Austin Fox's academic profile


Ben J. Janson, MD

Benjamin Janson

Ophthalmology Resident, 2017-2020

Why did you choose Iowa?

I think University of Iowa is a very special place. There certainly is a reputation and tradition of the highest quality clinical training supported by well-known faculty, countless research opportunities, and great facilities. However, what really made Iowa stand out to me was the culture that surrounds this program. I’ve never experienced a place where the faculty, residents, staff, and patients are so committed and enthusiastic to resident training. The culture exhibits the friendliness, humility, and true collaboration that I believe is the foundation not only to great training, but also providing optimal patient care.

Dr. Ben Janson's academic profile


Heather A. Stiff, MD

Heather Stiff

Ophthalmology Resident, 2017-2020

Why did you choose Iowa?

I chose the University of Iowa for many reasons, but most importantly because of the genuine, kind, and supportive atmosphere here. All of the people here will tell you over and over again that they want you to succeed and will do anything to support you during your journey. This program also has incredible clinical/surgical training supported and organized by an incredibly dedicated program director. Lastly, I was also drawn here because of the integrated internship that allows you to be emerged in ophthalmology and the ophthalmology department for a good portion of your intern year–something that I think is very beneficial. 

Dr. Heather Stiff's academic profile


Christopher R. Fortenbach, MD, PhD

Christopher Fortenbach, PhD, MD

Ophthalmology Resident, 2018-2021

Why did you choose Iowa?

The University of Iowa has a remarkable program situated in a lovely town.  The department provides exceptional clinical/surgical training and research opportunities with outstanding faculty invested in resident education. The integrated internship gives the opportunity to work with a great internal medicine department while offering unparalleled ophthalmology exposure in the first year. Above all, the faculty, staff, and residents are among the most welcoming, friendly, and supportive I have ever known.

Dr. Christopher Fortenbach's academic profile


Lauren E. Hock, MD

Lauren E. Hock, MD

Ophthalmology Resident, 2018-2021

Why did you choose Iowa?

University of Iowa was the program at which I felt most at home. The faculty and residents are both exceptionally accomplished and welcoming. Iowa provides outstanding academic and surgical training while supporting you as a person. Also, as an integrated ophthalmology intern you become a member of the department from day one, so you have an extra year to develop your skills and get started on any project ideas.

Dr. Lauren Hock's academic profile


Tyler S. Quist, MD

Tyler S. Quist, MD

Ophthalmology Resident, 2018-2021

Why did you choose Iowa?

I came to Iowa because of the amazing faculty, super nice residents, and the opportunity to live in an incredible family-friendly area. In fact, I don’t think there is another city on earth where my family could be happier!

The faculty and staff at Iowa love what they do and their desire to teach is truly unparalleled. The culture here is one in which there is an emphasis on collegiality, relationships, hard work, and personal growth both within and outside of medicine.

I love the integrated internship offered at Iowa, which I feel prepared me well or my first year in ophthalmology.

Dr. Tyler Quist's academic profile


Alexis K. Warren, MD

Alexis K. Warren, MD

Ophthalmology Resident, 2018-2021

Why did you choose Iowa?

University of Iowa offered all I ever wanted and more; great staff, the nicest residents and a program that really cares. I knew an education here would prepare me for anything.

Dr. Alexis Warren's academic profile


Caroline W. Wilson, MD

Caroline W. Wilson, MD

Ophthalmology Resident, 2018-2021

Why did you choose Iowa?

There is something magical about the culture here at University of Iowa. I felt that magic the first time I came to interview, and the feeling hasn’t dissipated. The culture here is one of empowerment that promotes a certain mutualistic responsibility for learning and advancement. It’s the people that make this program and city what they are–these are some of the most candid, brilliant people I’ve had the privilege to meet. This is a place where people thrive, again and again. I feel lucky to be part of it!

Dr. Caroline Wilson's academic profile


Karam Alawa, MD

Karam Alawa, MD

Ophthalmology Resident, 2019-2022

Why did you choose Iowa?

Definitely the corn, no question. On a more serious note, when I interviewed here I really felt a sense of family and community. The faculty love to teach, the clinical and surgical training is among the best, and there are so many opportunities for research. I enjoyed this interview day the most because while I was nervous the whole day, I was also laughing and having great conversation the entire time. I felt like I could thrive at University of Iowa and enjoy my training, and I couldn't be happier to be here.

Dr. Alawa's academic profile


Justine Cheng, MD

Justine Cheng, MD

Ophthalmology Resident, 2019-2022

Why did you choose Iowa?

University of Iowa has great academic medicine and great training, but ultimately I chose Iowa because of the amazing faculty and residents who are always willing to teach and help.

Dr. Cheng's academic profile


Salma Dawoud, MD

Salma Dawoud, MD

Ophthalmology Resident, 2019-2022

Why did you choose Iowa?

It is difficult to answer this concisely, but I will do my best! I remember feeling so excited but a little intimidated when I got invited to interview at University of Iowa. I had heard over and over again how incredible the program was. Everything was top notch–the training, research opportunities, the clinical experience, the faculty and the list goes on. What I remember so distinctly from my interview was everyone I met, attendings, residents and staff were so approachable and kind! Any fear I had before the interview quickly dissolved. I felt comfortable being myself, which was a big sign to me that I was in the right place. Now that I am here I can confirm that my feelings were spot on. I am so happy that University of Iowa chose me too, and I look forward to these coming years.

Dr. Dawoud's academic profile


Ryan Diel, MD 

Ryan Diel, MD

Ophthalmology Resident, 2019-2022

Why did you choose Iowa?

After interviewing here, I knew there was nowhere else I’d rather train. University of Iowa provides its residents excellent surgical and clinical training, the faculty are experts in their fields, and everyone is dedicated to resident education and training. The support here is unparalleled and one of the most defining features of this program. The other thing that stood out most during my interview day was just how approachable and welcoming all of the faculty and residents were. It truly felt like a family. Now that I am here, I can confidently say that this is the culture of Iowa, and I feel privileged to be surrounded by such caring, intelligent, and humble individuals. The people here are the difference and make it all worth it.

Dr. Diel's academic profile


David Ramirez, MD

David Ramirez, MD

Ophthalmology Resident, 2019-2022

Why did you choose Iowa?

So many reasons. To me, this was the perfect program. I wanted to find the perfect balance between autonomy and hand-holding, and Iowa’s graduated responsibility model fit perfectly. They treat you like an adult and trust you will let them know when you’re ready to progress, but also push you to grow and mature in your clinical reasoning.

The integrated internship was a huge draw, because by the time you finish your PGY-1 year you have already had 5 full months of no-pressure, pure “learning for the sake of learning” time in ophthalmology so you feel as ready as you can for the PGY-2 year.

The faculty’s investment in our learning, however, was the clincher for me. Absolutely everyone wants to see you excel, and they go out of their way to make sure you achieve your goals in becoming an excellent ophthalmologist. People here genuinely care about your well-being not only as a trainee, but as a human being, which I found to be incredibly unique. These same compassionate, humble teachers are also at the top of their fields, which makes learning from them the highest quality training experience out there.

Dr. Ramirez's academic profile


Matthew G. Field, MD, PhD

Matthew G. Field, MD, PhD

Transitional Intern, 2019-2020; Ophthalmology Resident, 2020-2023

Why did you choose Iowa?

Iowa supports the residents in whatever they want to do in their careers. This recruits a diverse group of people with very different backgrounds who are interested in going into every type of career in ophthalmology, from private practice to academic research to teaching. This diversity coupled with incredible training and excellent faculty (who all are so knowledgeable and love to teach) provides the ideal training environment for me. Plus, Iowa has one of the best ophthalmology research departments in the country, allowing me to get involved with projects during residency. On a final note, after living in Miami, I really appreciate the low cost of living here and the ability to actually drive places quickly and find parking. For all the reasons above and many more, I am so excited to be here!


Zachary Mortensen, MD, MBA

Zachary Mortensen, MD, MBA

Transitional Intern, 2019-2020; Ophthalmology Resident, 2020-2023

Why did you choose Iowa?

Iowa seemed to uniquely balance a renowned reputation with a down-to-earth attitude. While Iowa has been a trailblazer in ophthalmologic medicine, the individuals here appeared to maintain a culture of respect and warmth. I initially felt humbled walking among some of ophthalmology's leaders, but I quickly felt welcome. All the residents were incredibly happy to be here and I knew it was a place where I too could have a good time and be myself. Lastly, this city provided the perfect home for my family. The relatively low cost of living, abundance of family-friendly activities, and robust network of resident physicians made Iowa a no-brainer.

Dr. Mortensen's academic profile


Tirth J. Shah, MD

Tirth J. Shah, MD

Transitional Intern, 2019-2020; Ophthalmology Resident, 2020-2023

Why did you choose Iowa?

I fell in love with Iowa during my interview. It was so humbling to see how approachable the faculty and residents were–especially given the renowned reputation. The PGY1 year was a big draw. Not only do we have 5 months of ophthalmology where we get to work up patients, practice our ophthalmologic examination, and try to come up with an assessment and plan, but we also get amazing bi-weekly lectures throughout the year for our level of training and get to practice some basic procedural skills, like suturing. I felt this would certainly help ease the stress of the huge learning curve during PGY2 year and would set a strong foundation for the rest of residency training.

In addition, I was drawn to the excellent research opportunities here, the emphasis on education and teaching, and how approachable and invested the faculty were. It definitely felt humbling to have these famous faculty take such interest in our pursuits. The networking opportunities are phenomenal. Now that I am here, I am so happy I chose Iowa. The program is truly amazing and not only already meets my expectations but far and away exceeds it.

Dr. Shah's academic profile


Margaret R. Strampe, MD

Margaret R. Strampe, MD

Transitional Intern, 2019-2020; Ophthalmology Resident, 2020-2023

Why did you choose Iowa?

I already knew that University of Iowa had everything I wanted in a residency program—clinical excellence, incredible research opportunities, and an impressive reputation—but it was my interview day that made the decision for me. The people are what make Iowa great, and they are the most supportive, collaborative group. Every program tells you that they treat their residents like family, but Iowa is the only one I interviewed at that really lives up to that promise.

Dr. Strampe's academic profile


Caroline Y. Yu, MD

Caroline Y. Yu, MD

Transitional Intern, 2019-2020; Ophthalmology Resident, 2020-2023

Why did you choose Iowa?

Choosing Iowa was a gut decision, and I rarely allow my gut to make the call. During my interview day, the camaraderie and warmth of the faculty and residents put me at ease, and I felt a uniquely strong sense of community that instinctually drew me towards this program. The more I researched into the program, the more I realized that Iowa was the perfect combination of stellar faculty, range of research opportunities, tight-knit community, excellent surgical and clinical training, and exposure to a wide range of pathology. As a lifelong Californian, I was (and still am) intimidated by the idea of midwestern winters, but I believe that Iowa more than any other program will help me to become the best ophthalmologist that I can be.

Dr. Yu's academic profile