Fall 2014
Resident Round-Up

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Bjorn Flora

Cycling resident

Bjorn Flora, M.D., chief internal medicine resident in Reno, peddles to work most days. Photo by Edgar Antonio Núñez.

Resident puts pedal to the metal

Story by Anne Pershing

Bjorn Flora, M.D., chief internal medicine resident in Reno, likes to do things a bit differently, and he illustrates that by not driving, but bicycling to work each day. Flora, who works at the Veterans Administration Sierra Nevada Health Care System and Renown Health, lives in south Reno, but chooses to pedal his way to work.

"I like to get some exercise during the six days I work while I'm commuting, and riding the bike fills that need. It also saves me a lot of money on gas."

He said he usually rides eight to nine miles one way.

"If I leave the house early enough, then I ride down Virginia Street. Otherwise, I take back roads and city park trails to get to the VA or Renown. I bike for the exercise as working the long hours in residency leaves little time for biking during the week. I also do it because biking is one of my favorite activities. If I ride daily, then I tend to commute approximately 100 miles per week."

At night, he takes the back roads home, even during the winter months.

"I definitely have lights on my cycle-cross bike, which is perfect for commuting through town. I also want everyone to know that Reno drivers are very courteous. It's definitely bike-friendly here, and I appreciate that so much, as do other bikers."

Flora said Reno is lucky to have bike paths. He says as a cyclist, he always remembers that the drivers have the right-of-way.

"Because if I'm hit, I know I'm the one that's going to get hurt."

Flora, who was born in Portland, Ore., earned his undergraduate degree in pre-med and biology and ecology at Alaska Pacific University and a master's in biology at Alaska Fairbanks University. He acquired his medical degree from Ross University in the Caribbean island nation of Dominica. He explained that for clinical rotations as a medical student, he spent the majority of his time in Saginaw, Mich. through Michigan State University.

He then completed his internship at the University of Nevada School of Medicine and will complete his residency in internal medicine next June. As for his position as the third-year chief resident, he has both administrative duties and teaching responsibilities.

"As a senior resident, my duties also include overseeing interns and first-year medical students. We work as a team in the intensive care unit or on the general medical floor at the VA and Renown. Specialty rotation is also included, which involves working with pulmonologists and cardiologists. Other specialty rotations we work with include nephrology, endocrinology and more."

He said that a major benefit of the School of Medicine's residency program is that Renown and the VA bring patients in from Northern California and across Nevada, thus giving residents exposure to a vast range of illnesses that are not always seen at a city-based medical center.

"The School of Medicine's internal medicine program is fortunate to have so many faculty members who put forth a great effort into teaching and mentoring residents," said Flora.

"The attending physicians are very approachable and many are graduates of either the medical school or its residency program, and they want to make sure that we continue graduating high quality physicians. The local hospitals, including Renown and the VA, are also very supportive. We appreciate what they do for us, and they appreciate what we do for them."

When asked about his next goal beyond residency training, Flora replied: "I'm applying for a pulmonary and critical care fellowship and am looking forward to learning much more about both. You can never learn too much."