Student Spotlight: Wenting Ma

If Wenting Ma (’22) could give new medical students a piece of advice, it would be to “find people who are invested in your success and willing to take a chance on you, and learn from them.” As she prepares for residency, she is grateful for the strong culture of mentorship at CCLCM as well as for her research year, both of which played a key role in her career goal development.

During Wenting’s third year, a chance encounter with Jia Lin, MD, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, prompted her to pursue the same field. “I was looking for a clinical elective and ended up reaching out to Dr. Lin to join her in a cardiothoracic anesthesiology rotation,” she recalls.

An exemplary mentor, Dr. Lin took the time to guide Wenting through her clinical practice step by step, although the specialty was, at first, completely new to Wenting. During that rotation, Wenting was exposed to the fascinating and exciting world of cardiothoracic and vascular anesthesiology, which set her sights on the field.

Wenting spent her fourth year of medical school at the National Institutes of Health, where she worked under an interventional pain-trained anesthesiologist. She was the only research fellow from CCLCM in the 2020-21 academic year. One of her most memorable and profound experiences during that time involved working with patients suffering from severe pain due to end-stage cancer.

“One of the most gratifying experiences from my research year was seeing our patients recover their quality of life and regain their daily activities of living after successful treatment of their chronic, intractable pain,” Wenting says.

Following her research year, she successfully defended her thesis, a basic science research project that examined pain-signaling pathways. Her work explored the correlation between the cells responsible for transducing pain and inducing pain control.

Wenting is especially grateful for the ways in which the CCLCM curriculum gave her a graduated autonomy in driving her own medical education, which prepared her to enter the next stage of training. In the coming months, she will move to New York City for an anesthesiology residency at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Wenting sees herself doing at least two fellowships in the future — ideally, one in cardiothoracic anesthesiology and another in critical care medicine. Eventually, she would like to practice comprehensive cardiothoracic and vascular perioperative medicine.

“This would include making sure that patients are best optimized prior to their surgery, managing patients’ conditions intraoperatively and also caring for them in the surgical intensive care unit after their operation,” Wenting says.

Reflecting on her medical education experience, Wenting feels that it’s the people at her medical school who made the most difference.

“There are so many people I want to give a shout out to: Drs. Anand Mehta, Shiva Sale and Nikhil Kumar, and the rest of the Anesthesiology Department here, and ever-amazing residents and fellows like Drs. Joe Salloum, Connor Elliot, Bryan Benson and Oscar Tovar-Camargo, who went out of their way to make sure that I had a good learning experience,” she says.

Wenting also cannot forget to thank her longitudinal clinic preceptor, Xian-Wen Jin, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, and her research year co-mentors, Michael Iadarola, PhD, and Andrew Mannes, MD, ME, MBA, from the Department of Perioperative Medicine at the NIH, who helped her hone her passion for anesthesiology. She is also especially thankful to Sergio Bustamante, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, who taught her the value of high-fidelity simulations in anesthesiology training.

Outside of academics, two of Wenting’s favorite pastimes are nature and landscape photography. Cleveland’s outdoor scenery and Metroparks have been the subject of many of her photos in recent years. She is a frequent contributor to Stethos, the CCLCM arts and humanities journal. In fact, one of her works was featured on the journal’s front cover. She also loves trying new restaurants around Cleveland and cannot wait to explore the food scene in New York City.