When Carlos Roberts, M.D., came to WellSpan York Hospital’s residency program in 2005, he never expected to pick up a passion for cycling along with his education. Today, he is a WellSpan urogynecologist, a career he says was built on the program’s top-notch medical training, life lessons and balanced attention to an enriching professional and personal life.
WellSpan York Hospital recently was recognized as one of the best teaching hospitals in the country, ranking 44th in the nation on the Lown Institutes Hospital Index for Major Teaching Hospitals. The hospital offers residency programs in a wide range of specialties, including obstetrics and gynecology, emergency medicine, family medicine, general surgery, internal medicine, orthopedic surgery, pharmacy and dental, part of WellSpan’s medical education program.
Roberts first heard of WellSpan York Hospital when he was in medical school at Howard University, which had a tradition of sending students to the hospital’s residency programs. However, Roberts and his wife loved Missouri and he actually did his first year of his obstetrics and gynecology residency in St. Louis, transferring to York after his wife got a position as a post-doctorate fellow in epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. After his medical schooling at a historically Black university and a year of a residency in a hospital in a larger city in the Midwest, he did not know what to expect from the program in York.
“It was the best of both worlds,” he discovered. “There was obstetrical experience but also a significant gynecological experience. We were exposed to things in the operating room very early.”
The faculty, made up of attending physicians at the hospital, was engaged and committed to teaching, he said. They would show up early for rounds in the morning and help the residents to “question ourselves and our own understanding of the disease process and how we managed patients.”
Outside of the hospital, they provided other valuable guidance, asking residents: What would you like your career to be like? What kind of physician do you want to be? What are your interests outside of medicine? How can you seek to be a well-rounded person?
Roberts particularly remembers a progressive dinner, where residents got to interact with the older physicians on a personal level.
“They talked to us about life,” he said.
When his residency program ended, Roberts decided to stay in York, after doing fellowship training at St. Luke’s University Hospital in Allentown.
“The residency program is a foundational part of why I stayed,” he said. “The WellSpan Health system also is a very strong system financially and their mission and purpose are ones that I believe in. There is a lot of support for professional development.”
Roberts, who attended college on a soccer scholarship, got introduced to cycling by an attending physician in the residency program. He now cycles five days a week, logging more than 100 miles. After being encouraged to think about his career, he became interested in administrative work and physician leadership, and has served as the president of the WellSpan York Hospital medical staff. He also is now a faculty member in the obstetrics and gynecology residency program.
William Unwin, M.D., chair of the WellSpan York Hospital Obstetrics & Gynecology Department, was one of the attending physicians who helped to train Roberts. He said the fact that Roberts, a former resident, stayed at WellSpan and now helps to train the next generation of physicians is part of the residency program’s DNA.
“People don’t come to York and stay here unless they have an interest in teaching residents,” Unwin said. “It’s a collegial friendly department that has always worked well together. We work to create an environment that fosters talented people wanting to stay here.”