The operating room is my favorite place to be in the hospital. An early experience with anesthesia during medical school opened my eyes to this exciting field, as I found the care of patients who are undergoing surgery to be an interesting and rewarding experience. So much of medical care takes place between the physician and patient; in anesthesia, patient care is simultaneously intertwined with surgical care and the anesthesiologist must function as part of a team. Anesthesia appeals to me because I enjoy applying basic medical and physiological principles in real time to care for patients. As a medical student I rotated in a cardiothoracic ICU run by anesthesia, as well as operative, pain management and perioperative surgical home environments. These experiences showed me the central role of the anesthesiologist in patient care, regardless of how the medical profession evolves over time.
Through the residency and interview process, I was looking for an academic program with an integrated intern year, opportunities to participate in diverse and complex surgical environments, and a full breadth of fellowship opportunities. I also wanted to be part of an institution that would challenge and support my growth, working with other residents who aspire to leadership in the profession. WashU Anesthesia provides all of these and so much more. As a physician-scientist I wanted to be part of a department whose foundation is a deeper level of learning. My positive initial impression of WashU was enhanced by the friendly, professional demeanor of the residents, attendings and staff that I met during the interview and the incredible wealth of knowledge and resources within the department.
So, why Washington University and why St Louis? Ultimately, the decision came down to two things: quality of training and quality of life. It was important to select a location where I could receive excellent training and my family could thrive. My wife and I have lived throughout the country, and the quality of life here rivals that of major cities on either coast. St. Louis is a family-friendly and easy place to live: affordable and high quality housing and great public schools are available within a short commuting distance of the hospital and the region offers an amazing array of low-cost and free museums, attractions and activities. I feel confident that WashU will provide a solid foundation for my anesthesia career and that my family will flourish during our time in St Louis.
Dean Thorsen, DO, PhD
BS, University of Florida 
PhD, University of Chicago 
DO, Touro University - California