Current Residents

Meet our Residents and Interns

Spenser Morton

Spenser J. Morton, MD

Ophthalmology Resident, 2016-2019

Why did you choose Iowa?

I chose University of Iowa because I wanted to train in a world-class facility, with top-notch faculty, in an environment that is comfortable, friendly, and supportive. Not only does the UI provide the best blend of academic and surgical training available, but it does so while surrounding you with truly high caliber people who want you to succeed just as badly as you do. Lastly, I was blown away by how great of an opportunity the integrated internship is. Every day that passes I am happier that I chose Iowa.

Dr. Morton's academic profile


Stephanie LynchStephanie K. Lynch, MD

Ophthalmology Resident, 2016-2019

Why did you choose Iowa?

People here have a great sense of humor. The residents not only receive excellent training but are also well supported as individuals.

Dr. Lynch's academic profile


Aaron RiccaAaron M. Ricca, MD

Ophthalmology Resident, 2016-2019

Why did you choose Iowa?

I chose University of Iowa for numerous reasons, but primarily for the people in the department and the quality of resident education and experience. The atmosphere here is beyond the best out of anywhere that I saw across the nation. The faculty and staff love what they do and it shows in the day-to-day workflow. The attendings love to teach and interact with the residents. Dr. Oetting always has the best interests of the residents in mind and is very receptive to new ideas and progress. Everyone here wants to support you and provide you with all the opportunities possible for you to develop and succeed in any way you desire.

It is completely possible for you to have a strenuous and high achieving work life as well as a healthy personal life in this program. The research potential is fantastic, if you choose to pursue it, and the surgical training is cutting edge. Also, the integrated internship is a huge bonus. It allows you to become a member of the department immediately, you don't have to wait an entire year to begin what you want to do right now.

Dr. Ricca's academic profile


Daniel TerveenDaniel C. Terveen, MD

Ophthalmology Resident, 2016-2019

Why did you choose Iowa?

I chose University of Iowa because I believe in the program's mission. The department is committed to curing blinding eye conditions but they also place the highest emphasis on resident education. Nowhere else in the country do you have world-renowned specialists taking such a personal interest in resident education. Department-wide teaching rounds every morning, a busy, second-to-none surgical curriculum, and personalized resident research mentorship give you the tools to become successful in the career path you choose. The integrated intern year is also great. It is five months of ophthalmology experience and takes away the stress of matching into a second intern year program. Finally, the people here are incredibly kind and give you endless opportunities to succeed.

Dr. Terveen's academic profile


Brittni ScruggsBrittni A. Scruggs, MD, PhD

Ophthalmology Resident, 2016-2019

Why did you choose Iowa?

As someone who aspires to be a physician-scientist, I can think of no better program than University of Iowa to start my career. The research is fascinating, novel, and abundant–all residents have really interesting projects! Iowa stood out as a residency program that caters to what is best for the individual resident. For example, the integrated year (which is a huge plus), allows residents to get connected with mentors early and have five months of dedicated ophthalmology rotations while still an intern. So, a resident’s knowledge is being built up in a low-stress environment before primary call even begins! The integrated intern year also allows residents to later choose to travel internationally or do sub-specialty electives that prepare the resident for a specific career or fellowship. I am a southern girl, yet I feel at home here. Everyone is genuinely kind and cares very much about education, as evidenced by daily grand rounds and weekly conferences.

Dr. Brittni Scruggs' academic profile


Matthew BenageMatthew Benage, MD

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 ChungAnthony T. Chung, MD

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 Fox, portraitAustin R. Fox, MD

Ophthalmology Resident, 2017-2020

Why did you choose Iowa?

University of Iowa is a "renaissance" program fully invested in resident education. The people are nice, welcoming, and down to earth. The department is comprised of highly accomplished individuals who are highly interested in our success. The research at Iowa is world-class with ample opportunity. Lastly, though the program has a strong tradition and is annually recognized at the top, the program is innovative and striving to advance resident education.

Iowa City appealed to me as well as a smaller, clean, safe city that reminded me of my hometown (though winter may be a different story).

Dr. Austin Fox's academic profile


Benjamin JansonBen J. Janson, MD

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 StiffHeather A. Stiff, MD

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 Fortenbach, PhD, MDChristopher R. Fortenbach, MD, PhD

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, MDLauren 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, MDTyler S. Quist, MD

Ophthalmology Resident, 2018-2021

Why did you choose Iowa?

I came to Iowa City because of the amazing faculty, super nice residents, and the opportunity to live in an incredibly 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 University of 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. In addition, I love the integrated internship offered at Iowa, which I feel best-prepared residents in ophthalmology as they transition from being a PGY1 to a PGY2.

Dr. Tyler Quist's academic profile


Alexis K. Warren, MDAlexis 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, MDCaroline 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,portrait

Karam Alawa, MD 

Transitional Intern, 2018-2019; 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, portrait

Justine Cheng, MD 

Transitional Intern, 2018-2019; 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, portrait

Salma Dawoud, MD 

Transitional Intern, 2018-2019; 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, portrait

Ryan Diel, MD 

Transitional Intern, 2018-2019; 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, portrait

David Ramirez, MD 

Transitional Intern, 2018-2019; 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