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New class of Resident Physicians begins final stage of medical education

St. Mary’s Health Care System and the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership are welcoming 11 new physician residents to the Internal Medicine Residency Program (IMRP) this summer.

The Internal Medicine Residency Program Class of 2022 is, front: Maureen Onweni, MD; Marjory Pesek, MD; Kajal Joshi, MD; Zoheb Sulaiman, DO; Umair Majoka, MD, and Amtul Shafi, MD; back: Robert Seminara, MD; Akhila Madala, MD; Juan Salazar Castillo, MD; Nathaniel Rodriguez, MD, and Kevin Shapiro, MD.

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 and area community-based teaching faculty.

Residents are graduates of medical school who are working toward full licensure as independent physicians. Residency is a three-year program with increasing levels of independence. It’s the final stage in their internal medicine education. At the end of the three-year program, they will sit for their Boards and then either go into practice or continue into training for a specialty.

The IMRP is accredited to host up to 34 residents. They provide supervised inpatient care at St. Mary’s Hospital on Baxter Street and outpatient care at Community Internal Medicine of Athens on Oglethorpe Avenue. In addition, third year residents spend two months in a rural healthcare setting, providing inpatient care at St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital and outpatient care at TenderCare Clinic, both in Greensboro.

“The diversity of experience provided by the Internal Medicine Residency Program makes it truly unique,” said Achilia Morrow, MD, Program Director. “Our residents practice in settings ranging from critical care to a rural outpatient clinic, which gives them tremendous insights into realities and possibilities as they move forward in their careers.”

Meet the new residents

The IMRP Class of 2022 is in orientation now for their July 1 start date. They and their medical college are:

  • Kajal Joshi, MD, medical degree from American University of Antigua College of Medicine
  • Akhila Madala, MD, medical degree from Narayana Medical College
  • Umair Majoka, MD, medical degree from American University of Antigua College of Medicine
  • Maureen Onweni, MD, medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine
  • Marjory Pesek, MD, medical degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine
  • Nathaniel Rodriguez, MD, medical degree from American University of Antigua College of Medicine
  • Juan Salazar Castillo, MD, medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine
  • Robert Seminara, MD, medical degree from American University of Integrative Sciences School of Medicine
  • Amtul Shafi, MD, medical degree from Shadan Institute of Medical Sciences
  • Kevin Shapiro, MD, medical degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine

They are joined by Zoheb Sulaiman, DO, a preliminary year resident who will practice for a year with the IMRP before continuing his training in internal medicine. Dr. Sulaiman earned his medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Suwanee, Ga., campus.

This year’s Chief Resident will be Sandeep Jalli, DO, who is completing the third year of his internal medicine residency on June 30 and will be staying with the IMRP for an additional year. The Chief Resident acts as a liaison between faculty members and residents, serves as a mentor, and helps design and create educational activities, in addition to providing patient care.

“We are proud to have these 11 physicians join our residency program. They truly impressed us with their maturity, compassion, scholarly achievements, and dedication to improving the community,” said Dr. Morrow.

Continuing a tradition of success

Program leaders also are celebrating the success of the outgoing Class of 2019. Of the nine graduating residents and departing Chief Resident, six will remain in Georgia to practice or will continue their education at the Medical College of Georgia. Of those six, three will stay in the Athens area: Dr. Jalli as Chief Resident at St. Mary’s, Zachary Newman, MD, as a primary care physician in Lexington, and Rida Younus, MD, as a hospitalist at St. Mary’s. Two of the six will be practicing in rural settings.

“This is tremendous that two of our residents will be practicing primary care in rural Georgia where the greatest physician shortage exists,” said Shelley Nuss, MD, Campus Dean and Designated Institutional Official of the AU/UGA Medical Partnership.

The IMRP is a joint effort by the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership and St. Mary’s, the program’s Major Participating Site. The program’s goal is to address the physician shortage in Georgia. Residents are graduates of medical school who will be 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.

“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, MD, 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 welcome our fifth class of residents and are looking forward to working side-by-side with them over the next three years to further raise the bar for clinical excellence at St. Mary’s and across Northeast Georgia.”

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