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Welcome and thank you for your interest in our program! For decades, Vanderbilt Emergency Medicine has been a leader in education and clinical excellence. We are on a mission to train the future leaders in emergency care who will be ready for any job. Here at Vanderbilt, you will not only learn in one of the highest acuity EDs in the country, but you will also learn skills for managing your career, life, and wellness. I would invite you to explore our pages and learn more about our residency program. I would also encourage you to follow us on Instagram and Twitter to learn more about what is going on day-to-day here in Nashville and at Vandy.


Since 1992, the VUMC EM residency has been serving the complex needs of our region. Our vision is to leverage our unique training environments to train resident physicians to deliver timely, safe, effective, equitable, and personalized care to any patient, anytime, anywhere. Our graduates will be prepared for patient-centered leadership in the next generation of emergency care.


Vanderbilt University Medical Center is located in the heart of Nashville, TN. It is a quaternary care center serving the citizens of Tennessee in addition to parts of 4 neighboring states. VUMC is a leading research organization devoted to patient-centered research and receives research funding from many federal sources, Our department is a leader in emergency care research and enrolls thousands of patients per year in multiple high quality, multicenter studies. It is an NIH-designated comprehensive cancer center, comprehensive stroke center, and the only Level I adult trauma, Level I pediatric trauma, and comprehensive burn center in middle Tennessee. In addition to our residency program, VUMC is also home to more than ninety other training programs with over one thousand residents and fellows which means that you will learn alongside other superior trainees from across the country.  We look forward to hearing from you and thank you again for your interest in our program.



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Matthew Pirotte 
Program Director 

Dr. Pirotte did his undergrad at the University of Kansas and medical school at Loyola University in Chicago. Following this, he completed his residency in emergency medicine at Northwestern where he served as chief resident. He has been an attending in the emergency department at both Loyola and more recently Northwestern and served as both assistant clerkship director and assistant residency director. Dr. Pirotte is passionate about teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels with a focus on procedures, practice transition, and personal finance.  He lives in 12 South with his wife Christiana (an anesthesiologist at Vanderbilt), their 2 children Zoe and Tommy, and their beloved English Springer Spaniel Lilly.  In his free time, Dr. Pirotte enjoys reading novels, entertaining, cooking, outdoor sports, and gaming.


Kaitlin Ray
Assistant Program Director 

Dr. Ray is a native of Nashville and a former D-1 swimmer at Duke University. She did her medical school at the University of Tennessee and residency at Northwestern in Chicago where she served as Chief Resident. Following residency she took a position as an APD at the University of Wisconsin before returning home to Nashville. She enjoys spending time with her husband Will (a private practice gastroenterologist), her son Jack, and her wire-haired Dachshund Hank.

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Joe Sikon
Assistant Program Director 

Dr. Sikon grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. He completed his medical training in 2016 as a part of the six-year accelerated B.S./M.D. program through Kent State and Northeast Ohio Medical University.  From there he and his wife moved to Nashville where he completed his Emergency Medicine Residency at Vanderbilt in 2019, and his Fellowship in Simulation in 2020. Since then, Joe has worked actively with resident education at Vanderbilt as a faculty member, primarily as a part of the Simulation Division. He was appointed as an APD in 2022. When he's not at work or in the sim lab Joe likes to spend his time lifting at the gym, cooking, and spending time with his wife and chocolate Labrador, Chessie.


Catherine Burger
Assistant Program Director 

Dr. Burger is an assistant professor with the Department of Emergency Medicine. She completed her undergraduate degree in biology and history at the University of Michigan followed by her medical degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.  After graduating from the Vanderbilt University Emergency Medicine Residency, she then completed Chief Residency at Vanderbilt as well. After five years serving as faculty at Vanderbilt, she completed a fellowship in Pediatric Emergency Medicine 2021. Shortly after finishing her fellowship, she became assistant program director in 2021. She enjoys international medicine, running, volleyball and cooking.

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Alexa Thomas
Chief Resident

Dr. Thomas was born in New Mexico but spent most of her formative years in Colorado. She attended the University of Denver where she studied Biology and Spanish, followed by obtaining her medical degree at the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine in Minnesota. Having always dreamed of pursuing Emergency Medicine, she was thrilled to match at Vanderbilt in 2021. She is now serving as a Chief Resident for the program. Her professional interests include ultrasound, medical education, program recruitment and technology in education. She enjoys trying new restaurants, live music, hiking, and traveling to visit friends and family.

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Katie Rief
Chief Resident

Dr. Rief completed her undergrad in Biology and Neuroscience at Duke University. She worked in healthcare consulting in Washington DC before moving back to Texas to attend UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. She first completed a residency in Physical Medicine and Rehab (PM&R) at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia & Cornell where she served as academic chief resident. She then started emergency medicine residency at Vanderbilt where she fostered interests in critical care, pre-hospital medicine and medical education. She works as a flight physician with Vanderbilt LifeFlight and is one of the chief residents for the 2023-24 academic year. Outside the hospital she enjoys hiking, flying trapeze and dog-sitting for the rest of the department until she gets her own puppy. 

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Joshua  Campbell
Chief Resident

Dr. Campbell grew up in Mississippi and did his undergrad at University of Alabama (Roll Tide!). He went back to MS for medical school at the University of Mississippi Medical Center where he was honored with AOA and Gold Humanism awards. Joshua is specifically interested in undergraduate and graduate medical education. Joshua and his wife, Ashley, live in Germantown with their dog, Henry, and are expecting their first child this fall!


Elizabeth Fischer
Associate Program Manager

Elizabeth has been at Vanderbilt since May 2016 and is the newest member of our  team.  She is transferring to us from the Department of Surgical Sciences, where she was the assistant to the Chief Business Officer, as well as assisting the General Surgery Residency Program Director for the past 2 ½ years. Elizabeth is a proud mom to three boys (Aaron, Wyatt & Jaxon) and two dogs (Link and Bogie). In her spare time, she likes to spend time with her wife and boys, go hiking, and take family vacations.


Tammy Tankersley
Program Coordinator

Tammy is a Nashville native and has been with VUMC for 15 years. She is the proud mom of one daughter (Alyssa), and her two handsome Golden Retrievers, River and Raine (River pictured). In her spare time she enjoys working in her yard, walking on trails with her Golden boys, crafting and spending time with family and friends. 

Please reach out to her with any questions you may have about our program. 


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