Nian Verzosa

Direct Knowlege Contributor Nian Verzosa
  • By Nian Verzosa, MD, Anesthesiology Resident
  • Nian is an anesthesiology resident in Upstate New York. She earned a B.A. in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University and her medical degree at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. She is currently an anesthesiology resident at State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate in Syracuse, NY.

Nian grew up in a traditional Filipino immigrant household, and she owes a lot of her identity today to her upbringing. She learned to be resourceful, learn skills quickly, and that the best form of currency is in relationships and connections with people. Her childhood is one of the reasons she chose medicine. It was a field that was continually evolving, and a profession builds on relationships and connecting with others. Her educational journey was not typical. She took breaks between finishing undergraduate and starting medical school and a hiatus in residency to pursue her interests in international travel and entrepreneurship. Although these breaks have given her new perspectives and have enriched her life, she always found her way back to practicing clinical medicine.

Nian Verzosa is an anesthesiology resident and entrepreneur specializing in helping physicians start their online businesses in residency. Nian has worked with many physicians on overcoming burnout by empowering them to begin their entrepreneurship journey. Her professional goals are to improve resident education to business and finance, a subject that resident physicians have little exposure to but are necessary. Her aims to positively impact resident education, female empowerment in medicine, and personal development continue to drive her both personally and professionally.

Nian’s full-time job is in clinical medicine and anesthesiology. She also runs Freelance Resident, a company she founded dedicated to helping physician entrepreneurs grow their businesses by marketing authentically and ethically. How did Nian get where she is today as a clinical and entrepreneur?

Undergraduate work

Nian Verzosa began her educational career at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in Baltimore, MD in 2006. Nian immigrated to the United States when she was six years old, and her mother was a public health nurse. Nian’s background led her to develop an interest in public and international health early in her career and pursued a degree in Public Health. During her time at Johns Hopkins, Nian took part in many global and public health education and research initiatives. For instance, she earned several research grants to study Filipina migrant workers, and the financial and gender role struggles they face when working abroad. She presented this research as a video documentary at the annual 2008 JHU Women, Gender, and Sexuality Workshop in Baltimore, MD. She received a B.A. in Public Health Studies in 2009.

Nian’s Research and Accolades

During her undergraduate career, Nian took every opportunity she could find to explore her interest in international health. For instance, she spent a winter abroad in Ghana, Africa, where she studied the difficulties that public health activists face when instituting reforms in rural communities in Ghana. After her travels to Africa, she looked for more opportunities for international projects, which led her to travel to the Philippines on a research grant.


In addition to international travel, Nian was also active in research. For instance, she received a grant to participate in the Harvard School of Public Health’s (HSPH) Summer Program in Biostatistics & Computational Biology, where she was part of an intensive 6-week research program led by HSPH faculty. She helped execute a case-control study on how chronic arsenic exposure has negatively affected the Bangladeshi population. The goal of her research was to study human biological responses to arsenic metal exposure. This research was part of a larger initiative in exploring ways to manipulate epigenetic biomarkers to treat people with chronic arsenic poisoning in the future. After graduating from her undergraduate institution, she dedicated the next two years after graduation to travel and pursue other public health and international opportunities before starting medical school.

Nian Verzosa’s Proudest International Achievement

Her proudest accolade during her time between graduating university and starting medical school was when she received a Fulbright Scholarship. Her Fulbright scholarship gave her grant funding to teach and conduct research in a rural community in the central highlands of Vietnam. Nian spent a year in rural Vietnam teaching English to local college students while studying the mental health issues that ex-patriots face when working in rural, non-English speaking communities in Vietnam. She combined her research with her video editing skills and created a video documentary of her research findings. She presented her video documentary at Fulbright Vietnam’s annual meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 2011. To this day, Fulbright Vietnam shows this documentary every year as part of the Fulbright Vietnam orientation process so that new Fulbright scholars are aware of the mental health challenges that can occur doing this type of work.

Nian Goes to Medical School

Upon completing Fulbright Vietnam, Nian started medical school at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 2011. After teaching English to Vietnamese students, she developed a passion for being an educator and mentor. After Fulbright Vietnam, she began medical school. During medical school, she became involved in various mentoring programs, and the most meaningful was a program called GUIDES. Nian served as a GUIDES mentor to help younger medical student peers discover and match their ideal medical specialty.

Additionally, she was also part of the Anesthesiology interest group. In the group, she led airway workshops for medical students. She graduated from medical school in May 2015 and matched in an anesthesiology program in Houston, TX.

Residency and Chief Medical Officer

Nian took a residency hiatus to pursue a year-long chief medical officer role at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in 2018. As a chief medical officer, she led clinical trials and projects on non-disposable respirator options for healthcare works during pandemics. For instance, she was able to head projects in major universities. She worked with research teams to test the best use of reusable elastomeric respirators during pandemic periods.

Returning to Residency

After Nian completed her chief medical officer year, she returned to finish anesthesiology residency in Syracuse, New York, in 2019. Nian is currently a senior anesthesiology resident at SUNY Upstate. More specifically, her interests are in regional anesthesiology and regional pain management. Her current research interest is in optimizing thoracic epidural management in large-incision abdominal surgeries. The focus of the research is to use thoracic epidurals to improve patient pain scores after large-incision abdominal surgeries. She plans to practice as a general anesthesiologist and pursue a fellowship in regional anesthesiology.

Nian Founds Freelance Resident

In 2019, Nian founded Freelance Resident while still in residency. She helps other physician entrepreneurs transition their passion projects into profitable businesses by helping them market their services through video marketing. As an undergraduate, she has always enjoyed video editing and marketing. She found a way to leverage her creative skills to help other physician entrepreneurs grow their business through video marketing. In short, her mission is to help all physicians overcome burnout and build businesses that allow them to replace their physician income doing what they love to do.

Get to Know Nian Verzosa’s Personal Life

In addition to Nian’s professional and academic successes, Nian is happily engaged to her partner, Michael, a cardiac anesthesiologist she met through residency. Moreover, they both work in Syracuse, NY, with plans to move back to California once Nian finishes training. Nian and Michael enjoy going to music festivals and international travel.

Get to Know Nian Verzosa

You can follow Nian on Instagram @freelanceresident. Also, you can find her on LinkedIn at this link. Both sites are great places to find out how she juggles life as an anesthesiology resident and physician entrepreneur. Nian loves learning dance choreography in her free time and is a lifelong personal growth and development investor. Moreover, she is also an avid podcast listener and listens to 1-2 podcasts a day on anything personal finance and business-related.

Nian’s Goals

Nian’s goal in life is to be financially independent enough to travel and live in a new country for three months out of the year for the next ten years. She wants to use these three months to learn the country’s language, immerse herself in the culture, and build meaningful relationships. After this decade long project, she hopes to write a book about her experiences. She learned so much from living in Vietnam for a year during her Fulbright scholarship, and she wants to continue that type of cultural learning after she finishes anesthesiology training.

Words She Lives By

Nian’s motto in life is: “breakthroughs happen on the other side of failure.” This quote inspires her to be fearless. She uses this quote to drive her to take action and to achieve her biggest goals in life. Moreover, she read that about 40% of college graduates never read another book after college. She wants to combat this statistic and inspire people to continue their learning and personal development journey. She believes sites like Direct Knowledge allow learning to continue, despite how busy life can become. Explore Nian’s work on the website, and follow her on social media to keep up with her entrepreneurial projects.

The Future Looking Forward

Nian looks forward to continuing her career in anesthesiology and adding value to the physician entrepreneur community. In the future, Nian hopes to inspire physicians to create a profitable business doing what they love to do. She believes one way out of physician burnout is to rediscover one’s natural interests and hobbies again. She wants physicians to leverage their hobbies outside of medicine to create profitable businesses. For the time being, Nian intends to work on engaging content that will help readers learn more about anesthesiology. Above all, she wants to dispel some of the myths out there regarding this topic.

Nian Verzosa’s Life Mission

Nian has always been committed to leading a life of personal development and life-long learning. There are several ways we can continue to improve ourselves, whether as students or as professionals. Additionally, there are many resources to help people learn whatever they want, but it starts with the self-motivation. Nian looks forward to encouraging people to continue their learning journey and add to their growing body of knowledge regarding anesthesiology.

Follow Nian Verzosa on Social

Follow her on Instagram and LinkedIn to keep up with her work. Find Nian’s articles here on Direct Knowledge and remember to comment on them to start a conversation with her. 

What did you find most unexpected about Nian’s journey through medicine?

If you could ask her to dispel one myth about medicine, what would it be?

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