Meet the Residents: Leah Jensen, MD, and Jorge Zarate Rodriguez, MD

Residents in the Department of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are part of an academic program with diverse surgical training, strong research opportunities and mentors who are national leaders in their fields.

With residency programs in General Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Urology and Vascular Surgery, residents in every specialty have access to world-class training. What makes each of these programs truly special is the community and camaraderie.

Get to know the residents in the Department of Surgery’s residency programs, why they chose Washington University School of Medicine for their surgical training and what it’s like to be a resident in St. Louis.

Leah Jensen, MD, and Jorge Zarate Rodriguez, MD, are residents in the General Surgery program. The Washington University General Surgery Residency is a five-year program, providing residents an amazing depth and breadth of clinical experience, the flexibility and personalization to create customized training, and a welcoming family of faculty and trainees.

Leah Jensen, MD

Jensen is a PGY-1 General Surgery resident. After studying neuroscience at Johns Hopkins, Jensen earned her medical degree at Washington University School of Medicine. Among her many research interests, Jensen has worked testing novel treatment options for ALS disease. In her inter year, Jensen has come to appreciate late-night conversations with her fellow residents on the night shift.

Jensen is originally from Long Beach, California. When asked why she chose WashU, she says, "I chose WashU because it is a wonderfully welcoming and supportive place to train. The faculty here are also amazingly talented and genuinely interested in teaching residents." When asked what advice she would give medical students applying for residency, she says, "Pay attention to the little things in order to get a sense for the culture of a program. The tone of a program's emails or how much effort they are making to welcome interviewees can say a lot about how they interact with their residents."

Jorge Zarate Rodriguez, MD

Zarate Rodriguez is a PGY-3 General Surgery resident. He studied biology and political science at a New York University program based in Abu Dhabi prior to earning his medical degree at Washington University School of Medicine. Zarate Rodriguez is working with Dominic Sanford, MD, in the section of HPB-GI Surgery, focusing on pancreatic cancer.

Zarate Rodriguez says, "I grew up traveling a lot because of my dad's job. I grew up in Mexico City, Buenos Aires, and Beijing." When asked about his research interests, he says, "I'm interested in. clinical outcomes research and will be spending my lab time working with Dr. Sanford in the HPB division focusing on pancreatic cancer. Other topics of interest include surgical ethics, and representation and mentorship of URMs." When. asked about his favorite thing about living in St. Louis, he says, "St. Louis is a great place to live because it has a small town feel but it still has plenty of stuff to do, with tons of sports and arts/music events going on all the time. It's also pretty affordable. It's probably one of the few cities where one can afford to buy a home on a resident's salary!"

Zarate Rodriguez was recently featured by the Latino Surgical Society, an organization established in 2017 to nurture and support the advancement of Latinx surgeons throughout the United States, and to motivate, mentor, and inspire the under-represented in medicine, medical students and residents who wish to pursue careers in surgery.