Q&A with the House Staff Association

Co-presidents Lane Lagattuta, DO and Nicholas Skertich, MD introduce the committee that represents and advocates for Rush resident physicians
A group of health care providers wearing scrubs and masks at the Rush Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

This week, Rush University is proud to host its first ever House Staff Appreciation Week. To celebrate some of our outstanding residents and fellows, we’re highlighting each Graduate Medical Education (GME) committee. Here’s everything you need to know about the House Staff Association (HSA), led by co-presidents Lane Lagattuta, DO (PGY-3, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation) and Nicholas Skertich, MD (PGY-3 General Surgery).

What is the purpose of the HSA?

The HSA is responsible for representing Rush University Medical Center (RUMC) resident physicians in matters relating to:

  • Facilitating optimal patient care
  • Serving as a liaison between RUMC administration and house staff
  • Negotiating with RUMC administration on matters relating to contracts, benefits and salary
  • Ensuring quality education for all residents
  • Advocating for improvement of facilities and working conditions
  • Promoting mutually beneficial relations with Rush Medical College students

What encouraged you to get involved in the HSA?

Lagattuta: This is a unique opportunity to represent and advocate for my fellow residents. We are given the chance to work closely with RUMC leadership on various tasks including improving resident wellness, which is also a very rare opportunity for most residents.

Skertich: Being involved in the HSA is an incredible opportunity to advocate for your peers and implement positive change to our training experience.

How many members does the HSA have?

All house staff, both residents and fellows, are considered members. The HSA’s executive board is made up of two co-presidents, a vice president, secretary, treasurer, patient safety/quality improvement chair and wellness chair.

What initiatives are you working on now?

Our main mission as house staff co-presidents is to represent and advocate for our peers. During the COVID-19 pandemic we are particularly focused on resident wellness and finding ways for us to connect with each other despite the social limitations imposed by the pandemic.

To that end, we have recently started a bimonthly house staff newsletter instead of hosting meetings. This accommodates all house staff schedules so that more residents and fellows can stay informed and participate. Residency and fellowship can obviously be a very stressful time, pandemic aside, so we have also converted our social chairs to wellness chairs in hopes of focusing on improving house staff wellness. We have also worked with RUMC leadership all year to ensure wellness center resources are available to all house staff.

Despite our country’s nearly year-long battle with COVID-19, which has significantly affected resident and fellow training, our house staff have shown incredible resilience. When training has been affected, house staff been flexible and have carried on with overwhelmingly positive attitudes.

What is your vision for the HSA going forward?

We hope this committee continues to grow and pushes for the best resident and fellow experience possible, from improving resident resources and workspaces, to fostering an excellent educational experience. We also want to be at the forefront in promoting and supporting resident wellness.

A group of smiling health care providers