Tutor Spotlight: Dr. Daniel Matassa – Med School Tutors

  • /Reviewed by: Amy Rontal, MD
  • We’re kicking off the new year by spotlighting another of our rockstar tutors, Dr. Daniel Matassa.

    Like the rest of our tutors, Dan takes a deep pride in the mentorship of his students, and has helped countless future doctors conquer their USMLEs—from Step 1 through Step 3. Dan is incredibly on top of his game, patient, knowledgeable, cracks us up regularly, and is often the first to offer his help. He has also contributed to our blog (you can read his posts here).

    Long story short, we couldn’t be more grateful to have Dan on our team, and we’re pleased to introduce you to him. So without further ado, here’s Dan:

    Where did you go to medical school?

    Rutgers University—New Jersey Medical School.

    Where are you doing your residency and in what specialty?

    Same place—Internal Medicine.

    What are your career plans after residency?

    I’m going to be a chief resident for a year, followed by an Infectious Diseases Fellowship.

    What accomplishment in your medical career are you most proud of?

    Being selected to be a chief resident. It was the culmination of all my hard work over the last 7 years of medical school/residency. It’s a big honor to be asked by the administration to be a leader of the program.

    Do you do any research? Any publications?

    I don’t do much research. I’m working on some ID case reports, but I have no publications or bench research.

    What brought you to Med School Tutors? Why did you choose to be a tutor?

    Found out about MST through a colleague that was tutoring at the time. I have an enormous passion for being an educator. The exams that I tutor for can be life-changing for many people; sometimes being the difference between getting a residency or not. I like that I can have an impact on these students’ lives by coaching them through one of the biggest hurdles of their careers.

    What is one piece of advice you would give to students as they are finishing interview season?

    Think about which place you felt most comfortable at. Most programs have the same curriculum and a similar patient population, no matter how much they tell you they’re the best. Residency is an important life decision and will be some of the hardest years of your life. You have to be comfortable and happy where you are—not just with the program, but with life in general—those years will be miserable for you if you aren’t. Personally, I chose to stay near family/friends—that’s where I get my life’s greatest satisfaction, and I wasn’t willing to sacrifice that just to be in a more renowned institution.

    What is the most embarrassing story from your intern year OR what is the most awkward patient encounter you have ever had?

    I once called a cardiology consult for a patient with a strange arrhythmia. The cardiology fellow confusingly called me 30 mins later to tell me that the patient had no cardiac problems. I then realized that I gave him the wrong name—he evaluated the wrong patient. Super embarrassing, but thankfully not resulting in any real harm.

    What is your favorite thing to eat?

    I’m Italian—chicken parmesan and pasta are required.

    What is the most exciting place you have ever traveled?

    I haven’t been anywhere too exotic. The nicest place I think I’ve ever been was Bermuda several years ago. I am going to Hawaii in April on my honeymoon, which promises to be the best trip of my life.

    If you weren’t a doctor, what would you do?

    Tough question. I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was a teenager. If not in medicine, I think I would have pursued a career as a detective or crime scene investigator. In a way, medicine and crime are a lot alike—you’re combing through information and running tests to look for answers.

    What do you like to do outside of medicine?

    I have a 1.5-year-old son, which happily occupies a lot of my time. Outside of residency, tutoring, and the baby, I don’t have too much free time—but I like to play basketball and swim whenever I have the opportunity during the warmer months. I also love to cook and spend a lot of time in the kitchen.