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Excellence is our “Fourte”

Internal Medicine Residency Program fills all 10 positions for the 4th year in a row

Athens, GA – For the fourth year in its four-year history, the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership Internal Medicine Residency Program at St. Mary’s Health Care System has filled all openings for its new class of medical residents.

Internal Medicine Residency Program
The Resident physicians of the Internal Medicine Residency Program take a moment out of their regular education updates at St. Mary’s to celebrate the announcement that we have filled the program’s fourth class.

The AU/UGA Medical Partnership Internal Medicine Residency Program was the first new graduate medical education program in Northeast Georgia in recent years and received full accreditation from the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education in October 2016.

The new residents will begin practicing at St. Mary’s on July 1 under the supervision of advanced resident physicians and physician faculty from the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.

“This is another exciting year in the history of our program as we prepare to graduate our first class of residents and welcome in our forth class.” said Montez Carter, St Mary’s President and CEO. “Our first three classes have been filled with truly fine young physicians. We are confident this next class will continue the tradition of compassion and excellence. St. Mary’s is proud to be an integral part of the Internal Medicine Residency Program and its success in bringing more medical doctors to Georgia and to the Athens region.”

“We are honored to have received so many truly exceptional applicants to our program,” said Achilia Morrow, MD, MPH, Program Director for the Internal Medicine Residency Program. “The supportive medical community, dedicated volunteer faculty, staff, and St. Mary’s Health Care System truly make this an excellent program to learn and train physicians in Northeast Georgia.”

The Internal Medicine Residency Program Class of 2021 and the schools at which they completed their education are:

  • Akuoma “Yvonne” Akabogu, MD. Bachelor’s and medical degree from Danylo Halytsky Lviv National Medical University.
  • Zachary Hart, DO. Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Rhodes College; medical degree from Lincoln Memorial University- DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine.
  • Lara Khamo, MD. Bachelor’s degree and medical degree from Al-Kindy College of Medicine and the Caribbean Medical University School of Medicine.
  • Shabtab Khan, MD. Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences-Psychology from Clemson University; medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine.
  • Bao “Chau” Nguyen, MD. Bachelor’s in Biology from the University of North Texas; medical degree from International American University College of Medicine.
  • Somtochukwu Nwokoye, MD. Bachelor’s in Biology from the University of Texas at Arlington; medical degree from American University of Antigua College of Medicine.
  • Caridad “Cari” Padron, MD. Bachelor’s in Biology from Barry University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Davenport University; medical degree from Avalon University School of Medicine.
  • Jamila-Duyen Pham, MD. Bachelor’s in Environmental Health Science from the University of Georgia; medical degree from the University of Medicine and Health Sciences, St. Kitts.
  • Joshuam Ruiz Vega, MD. Bachelor’s in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico; medical degree from University of Medicine and Health Sciences, St. Kitts.
  • Vandana Yanamadala, MD. Bachelor’s in Health Science from Kasturba Medical College International Center; medical degree from American University of Antigua College of Medicine.

Like the first three classes, the fourth class of residents has strong connections to Georgia. One is a native of Georgia while six have educational ties to our state, including one who earned her bachelor’s degree from UGA. The class is 70 percent female and 30 percent male, with numerous members who are interested in community service and rural healthcare.

“We are proud to have these ten physicians join our residency program. They truly impressed us with their maturity, compassion, scholarly achievements, and dedication to improving the community,” said Dr. Morrow.

The Internal Medicine Residency Program (IMRP) is a joint effort by the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership and St. Mary’s, the IMRP’s Major Participating Site. Its goal is to address the physician shortage in Georgia. Residents are graduates of medical school who are completing the last stage of their medical education, a three-year, hands-on program that ends in certification by the American Board of Internal Medicine.

The IMRP received 2,193 applications for this year’s 10 openings. A committee made up of Internal Medicine Residency Program faculty, several local physicians, and leaders from St. Mary’s and the Medical Partnership, interviewed selected applicants. Candidates typically interview with multiple programs. Afterwards, the candidates and the programs rank their preferences, then the National Residency Matching Program determines placements. Residents learn which program they have been matched with on Match Day, held on the third Friday of March every year.

“I could not be more excited to welcome this incoming class of residents” said AU/UGA Medical Partnership Campus Dean Michelle Nuss, M.D. “They each bring a new perspective and talent to our program. I know they will bring great things to our community here in Athens.”

In addition to the care they provide at St. Mary’s Hospital, the residents also work hand-in-hand with physician faculty at Community Internal Medicine of Athens in the Resource Medical Center at 1500 Oglethorpe Ave, Athens. This full-fledged outpatient practice provides primary wellness care, sick care and chronic disease management for adults, and accepts most major forms of insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, and self-pay, with financial assistance available to those who qualify. Third year Residents also complete clinical rotations in Greensboro, Ga., providing inpatient care at St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital and outpatient care at TenderCare Clinic.

“Being the site of the first medical residency program in Northeast Georgia continues to be a tremendous honor for St. Mary’s,” said Bruce Middendorf, M.D., St. Mary’s Chief Medical Officer. “Residents bring new energy and enthusiasm into our clinical areas. At the same time, working with these new physicians is exciting for our medical staff. We are looking forward to welcoming our fourth class of residents and to working with them to further raise the bar for clinical excellence at St. Mary’s and across Northeast Georgia. This is a great day for our community.”

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