Max Samimi, MD, MBA, anesthesia resident, spent nearly 10 years of working in finance before he found his passion for medicine. Originally from Iran, and later Southern California, Dr. Samimi chose to become an anesthesiologist in pursuit of a career built on purpose, that balances lifelong learning with helping people.

A member of the anesthesia resident class of 2022, Dr. Samimi is very active in many areas of the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital—in particular, he’s passionate about diversity and inclusion. He credits this to his medical school experience at Howard University College of Medicine, which exposed him to the inequities in health care and underrepresentation of minority providers.

“Coming from a place like Howard University, with its rich tradition of training Black physicians, I recognized that all hospitals and schools can do better,” he says. “There’s a lot of room to grow and reduce those inequities in patient outcomes, delivery and more.”

Among his many accomplishments in this area, Dr. Samimi dedicates himself to participating in as many networking events as possible as well as spearheading efforts to provide support and mentoring opportunities to minority medical students in the department.

Dr. Samimi shares more about his experience in the Mass General Anesthesia Residency Program below.

Max Samimi with a group of other Mass General anesthesia team members
Max Samimi (first on the left) with a group of other Mass General anesthesia team members. This picture was taken in 2019, prior to COVID-19 social distancing and mask policies.

Q. How has your experience been with Mass General’s Anesthesia Residency Program?

I expect that no matter where you go, residency is always challenging, especially in the first few months. I am lucky to work in an environment where I constantly feel supported, challenged and encouraged to push myself to my utmost limits. I have never had one moment where I have felt unsupported.

Q. Why did you pick Mass General’s Anesthesia Residency Program?

I picked this program for the clinical rigor and so I could come to a place where I would be challenged. To be in this program, you have to want to be in an environment that pushes you to reach your full potential.

I also was excited to experience the East Coast. I am originally from Ventura, California and, during the time I was applying for residency, I was seeking a new city and found myself truly excited about Boston. The city is so livable and walkable, not to mention historic and old. New England is unique and charming, and I loved that there are so many places available to explore in the surrounding area

Q. What surprised you about the culture at Mass General?

Honestly, when I first considered it, I didn’t think my personality would fit. There is a reputation that Mass General is tough and stodgy, but I found the opposite to be true. When I came for my interview, I felt a warmth and sincerity.

Q. What is one thing that motivates you every day?

The incredible privilege to help people on a daily basis get through an unnerving time in their lives and helping them do so in a safe way.

When I started this journey, I had the goal to become an independent anesthesiologist. Each day, I am becoming a better provider, person and listener.

Also, I have to give a shout-out to my wife. I met her in my last year of medical school, and she has been an inspiration. She keeps me centered. The past two years would have been much more challenging without her.

Q. What is one challenge you’ve experienced as a resident and how did you overcome it?

One of the challenges was getting exposed to things I had not experienced during medical school and my internship. The newness of it all that sometimes feels overwhelming. I learned very quickly that it is important to take a step back when I am overwhelmed, and to remind myself that I am in a program where I am expected to learn and master my craft over years, not months.

I have developed a habit of jotting down encouraging notes to myself during the day to remind myself to stay grounded. I am big believer in writing my thoughts out and reading them when I start to feel overwhelmed.

Q. What advice would you give to someone interested to apply for the Anesthesia Residency Program at Mass General?

I have three pieces of advice:

  • Truly believe in yourself. Throughout your life, you may meet people—even amongst your family and friends—who doubt your ability to accomplish your goals. If you lose belief in yourself, it’s hard to get there.
  • Identify your goal and don’t let anything stand in your way. You have to work hard and be focused, and that should reaffirm how badly you want something. The best things in life take hard work. You’ve got to go all in. It won’t feel like work if you really want it.
  • Broaden your network. Recognize that there are a lot of people who will want to help. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and ask questions. Learn, learn, learn.