Alumni News

  • 07 Oct 2015 11:50 AM | Deleted user

    AUA alumnus Dr. Apurva Shah (Class of 2011) has been named as one of three hospitalists have been named at St. Elizabeth Medical Medical Center in Utica, NY.

    He was Chief Internal Medicine Resident at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital in Pontiac, MI.

    Dr. Shah is internal medicine board eligible and certified in basic life support, advanced cardiac life support, central venous access, and the arterial line. In addition to English, Dr. Shah speaks Gujarati and Hindi.


  • 22 Sep 2015 3:18 PM | Deleted user

    [From Spartanburg Medical Center and the American Academy of Family Physicians]

    Out of 3,500 applicants, Spartanburg Medical Center family medicine resident Dr. Brintha Vasagar (Class of 2012) was one of 12 applicants recognized with the 2015 Excellence in Graduate Medical Education Award by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and the only resident in the southeast to receive this award.

    “It is quite an honor to be selected,” Dr. Vasagar said. “As a family medicine physician, I’m passionate about being in the community to help educate the public on prevention. I want to leave a community better than I found it.”

    The AAFP’s Excellence in Graduate Medical Education Award recognizes outstanding family medicine residents for their leadership, civic involvement, exemplary patient care, and aptitude for and interest in family medicine.

    Dr. Vasagar, a family physician from Hatfield, PA, will receive the award at the American Academy of Family Physicians annual meeting in Denver, CO. The AAFP Family Medicine Experience (formerly AAFP Assembly), one of the largest gatherings of primary care providers in the country, will be held Sept. 29 through Oct. 3, 2015.

    Dr. Vasagar is a third-year family medicine resident at Spartanburg Medical Center (SMC), part of Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. Along with caring for patients, Dr. Vasagar serves as a liaison between faculty and residents as chief resident of SMC’s Family Medicine Residency Program.

    “Since coming to us, Dr. Vasagar has stepped up to the plate and helped lead the Family Medicine Program. This recognition is another feather in her cap,” said Jeffery Swartz, MD, SRHS Family Medicine Residency Program Director. “This award also gives some attention to our program and shows that we have outstanding residents that will become well-trained family physicians.”

    Dr. Vasagar is a graduate of Georgetown University, American University of Antigua, and Johns Hopkins University. She also spent a year completing a post-doctoral fellowship in clinical research at the Center for Celiac Research at Harvard. Dr. Vasagar was drawn to Spartanburg Medical Center not only because of the professionalism of the program, but also the friendliness of the area.

    Dr. Vasagar has written for numerous publications, made scientific presentations, and on-camera appearances regarding public health and medicine. In the future she hopes to become Surgeon General of the United States and revolutionize the way we view health. A survivor of the 2004 tsunami which devastated South Asia, she has spoken before members of Congress and the United Nations about international health issues and disaster preparedness.

    “Helping educate on preventive healthcare through writing or speaking on television is my ultimate goal,” she said. “I also have a desire to start a free clinic and work with local homeless shelters to care for those individuals.”


  • 22 Sep 2015 3:16 PM | Deleted user

    [From Phelps Memorial Hospital Center]

    In June, the family medicine residency program at Phelps Memorial Hospital Center will graduate its first class of residents. One of the members of the inaugural class, AUA alumnus Dr. Anesh Badiwala (Class of 2012), has accepted a position with Phelps Medical Associates, the hospital’s primary and specialty care medical group.

    “From the beginning, a fundamental goal of our program has been to cultivate the best and brightest family physician leaders for our community through innovation and partnership,” said Shantie Harkisoon, MD, program director. “We are very proud of Dr. Badiwala for being one of the first residents to fulfill that vision. Westchester is fortunate to be gaining such a fine physician and we look forward to working with him in his new capacity as a member of Phelps Medical Associates.”

    “Achieving a position with Phelps has been a personal goal of mine since starting with the residency program in 2012,” said Dr. Badiwala, who earned his medical degree from AUA. “I feel grateful, jubilant and honored. The program has accelerated my skills and knowledge with the support of exemplary faculty and medical staff. I look forward to serving the community and supporting Phelps’ visionary plan for the future.”

    In congratulating Dr. Badiwala on his appointment, Phelps President and CEO Daniel Blum said, “I’m ecstatic you’re joining us and look forward to seeing the growth of your practice. I know you will serve as a role model to every new physician minted at Phelps and an inspiration to those physicians who have been in practice for many years. Welcome aboard!”


  • 22 Sep 2015 3:14 PM | Deleted user

    On July 11th, Dr. Bilal Khan (Class of 2011) embarked on his first Global Health mission - a two-week trip to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam as an attending physician. He supervised medical students from the University of Vermont, conducted an ultrasound training session, reviewed cases, and brought U.S. standards of care to Vietnam while studying the advances and limitations of their health care system.

    Dr. Khan realized that although his experience as an attending physician was limited, his global health experience was not. He started his medical career in Antigua and was already accustomed to being the foreigner in an international hospital. Having this experience in Antigua allowed him to excel in Vietnam.

    He was able to humbly present himself to the hospital staff and doctors. They greatly appreciated his understanding that experience in a different health care setting doesn't mean "bad." It just requires understanding the various socioeconomic statuses and limitations in other countries. They were impressed at how comfortable he was in their hospital and he can directly attribute this to his experience at AUA.


  • 09 Apr 2015 1:46 PM | Deleted user

    Dr. Eddie Fatakhov (Class of 2012) was published in the Medical Association of Georgia's publication: The Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia. Below is his complete article on the need for more primary care physicians: 

    A resident's perspective: Is starting a private practice a dying art?

    By Eddie Fatakhov, M.D., MBA   

    Going into my final few months of residency, I am somewhat puzzled knowing that so many of my colleagues are signing contracts with hospital-owned outpatient practices or are going into subspecialist fellowship training or have plans to work as a hospitalist. As someone who plans to go into solo private practice, I feel like an outlier.  

    Yes, I know what you might be thinking. Who goes into solo practice these days when hospitals are buying up practices, big multi-specialty groups seem like the way of the future, and patient-centered medical homes are right around the corner?   

    And let’s not forget about my student loans, which total about $250,000. Plus with stricter regulations, the odds are against me when it comes to getting a bank loan to open a practice. From the outside, it sounds like a real hassle to open and maintain an office rather than to go to work for a hospital, get a paycheck, and go home with no worries in sight.

    Why not follow the masses and become employed rather than face the risks associated with private practice? For me the bottom line is that in a community that is screaming for more doctors – and primary care physicians in particular – we simply aren’t doing enough to encourage our residents to go to private practice and provide the much-needed care.

    Yes, hospital owned outpatient practices are out there – but they don’t have the same continuity of care with their patients since they are employees of the hospital. Not to mention the patient will get a bigger bill because of the facility fee that the patient is being charged since the hospital owns the outpatient practice. So now patients pay more for procedures while this would not be the case in private solo practice.

    A lot of my colleagues entered their residency program with the goal of going into outpatient medicine in a private practice setting. But by the time graduation came along, things changed. My colleagues tell me they are looking for job security. They want help to repay their loans. They want a flexible work schedule. And they “don’t really want to get into the business side of medicine.

    So why, again, would I consider private practice? An older physician would probably point out that there was a time when opening a solo private practice was the norm when they completed their residency. They would also note that they could get a bank loan without much trouble. Keep in mind, too, that these are the same physicians who are training and teaching today’s residents.  I believe that today’s residents have a different mindset for some of the aforementioned, and important, reasons: They are concerned about the debt they have accumulated. They are concerned the risks associated with running a business. And they are concerned about medical malpractice.

    I truly appreciate those concerns. Yet I also believe that we must find a way to change the cultural mindset within the medical profession to preserve the private practice model if we hope to facilitate the continuity of care and to have a better patient-physician relationship and to decrease health expenditures for our patients. Furthermore, we need to provide our physicians with the autonomy of running their own business with support and not despair.

    At least that’s why I have decided to go into private practice – and I hope that I’m not alone in that regard.

    Dr. Fatakhov is a third-year internal medicine resident at Georgia Regents University who is going into solo private practice in the Atlanta area. The MAG member and author also serves as the chair of Resident/Fellow Council for the Georgia Chapter of the American College of Physicians. 


  • 16 Mar 2015 12:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In 2013, Dr. Hassan Masri (AUA Class of 2010) traveled to Syria for twelve days to provide medical assistance to refugees of the country’s ongoing civil war. While there, he went through challenging trials that tested everything he learned as a physician.  His extraordinary story begins in an Intensive Care Unit in Canada.

    Why He Became a Doctor

    Born in Saudi Arabia to parents of Syrian descent, Dr. Masri moved to Canada when he was a boy. He did not have much exposure to Syrian culture apart from occasionally speaking in Arabic with family and eating Syrian food. When he was growing up, his two greatest influences were his uncle, a renowned cardiologist who always wanted to help people, and an ICU doctor dedicated to treating a relative that was seriously ill. The ICU doctor would give updates around-the-clock and would often stay overnight to monitor his patient.  

    The example set by these two people convinced him to become a physician. However, when it came time to apply to Canadian medical schools, he faced a challenging application process, which led him to consider international medical schools. After researching several schools, applying to many, and getting accepted to some, he ultimately chose AUA. 

    “The staff at AUA were very clear about my options and made the process extremely transparent,” said Dr. Masri. “Medical school is a huge investment and they made me feel comfortable with my decision.”

    He hoped that by becoming a physician, he could influence someone else’s life just as his uncle and the ICU doctor influenced his.

    Four Years of Education to Treat One Patient               

    Upon arriving in Antigua, he suddenly felt the weight of what it means to earn an MD. During his first class, his Anatomy professor spoke to the students as if they were already physicians, but the reality of becoming a doctor hit him hardest during his White Coat Ceremony.

    “I still remember slipping on that white coat and feeling the weight of responsibility that comes with becoming a doctor,” said Dr. Masri.  “But as a resident with a white coat now longer than that of students, I felt a massive increase in that responsibility.”

    While attending clinical rotations, he had his first memorable patient experience. He was assigned a patient with terminal cancer and found there weren’t many long-term treatment options for her. Nonetheless, his patient was upbeat and would always give him a hug whenever he visited her. A few weeks after leaving the hospital, Dr. Masri received a package from her that included a thank you note and a sweater embroidered with the simple saying: “Hugs Not Drugs.”

    “Physicians who lack empathy, professionalism, and thoughtfulness aren’t physicians,” said Dr. Masri.  “At AUA our education was shaped by the principle that in the practice of medicine, compassion and professionalism go hand in hand.”

    The medical education he received at AUA helped him on a daily basis at his Internal Medicine residency at Harbor Hospital. His first patient took deep breaths between each word he spoke – a symptom of heart failure. Dr. Masri patiently spoke with him, checked his background, and ran numerous tests. By the end of it, he understood the underlying symptoms and prescribed the appropriate medication. Within a few days, his patient was no longer short of breath while speaking and his health improved dramatically.  

    “You need four years of education to treat one patient,” said Dr. Masri.

    “I Didn’t Think My Life Was More Important Than Theirs”

    During his residency, civil war broke out in Syria. Dr. Masri was glued to the war coverage and was seriously concerned about the shortage of physicians there. He held a fundraiser that raised more than $100,000 to sponsor an entire orphanage in the Syrian refugee camps. Despite this fundraising, he felt he could do more. He got in touch with the Syrian American Medical Association and the Syrian Expatriate Medical Association to find out how he could join doctors on the ground there.

    “My parents told me not to go because it was dangerous,” said Dr. Masri. “But other doctors risked their lives to go there. I didn’t think my life was more important than theirs.”

    While other residents were going home to their families during the holiday season, he took the necessary precautions and flew to Turkey, where he then travelled to a town located on the Syrian/Turkish border. He packed medical supplies and medication but nothing could prepare him for what he saw upon arrival. From the outside, the place he would work at for the next twelve days appeared to be a school, but inside it was a fully-functioning hospital.

    “If it looked like a hospital on the outside, it would’ve been bombed,” said Dr. Masri.

    The hospital was located about twenty kilometers away from an active war zone. He could hear the bombs being lobbed at populated areas by the Syrian army on a regular basis. It was a shockingly foreign experience for Dr. Masri who had only heard those sounds on television.

    “Although you’re there to help people, you realize your life is also on the line,” said Dr. Masri.  

    The Reality on the Ground

    While he was there, he treated hundreds of patients, many of whom have never seen a physician before. The elements and time were working against him. In the mountains, the temperature was below freezing and most of the people he met were wearing t-shirts and sandals. He tended to patients with diseases and injuries he thought he would never have to treat. It was an overwhelming and harrowing experience.

    “I could barely sleep because patients were coming in at all hours of the day and night,” said Dr. Masri. “I might have to treat a patient with massive war injuries.”

    He had limited resources, which meant that not every situation could have a happy ending. A 70-year-old patient came in with considerable chest pains. Dr. Masri determined he was suffering a terrible heart attack but didn’t have the resources to completely stabilize him. The only place that could treat him was over the border in Turkey, but it was too dangerous to travel at night. He checked on him every ten minutes and, at daybreak, lifted him onto a stretcher and escorted him by foot to Turkey. The patient passed away before they reached to the border.

    “You always remember the patients who don’t make it,” said Dr. Masri. “Even though he was very grateful for our help, I will always look back and be sad and disappointed that someone had to die due to lack of resources.”

    During his time in Syria, he lost a lot of weight. His diet consisted of some bread in the morning and a tiny bowl of pasta with tomato sauce at night. If he had time to sleep, it was in a tent outside in the freezing cold. Nevertheless, the little victories made it all worthwhile.

    One patient, the 6-year-old daughter of one of the hospital security guards, would always watch what he was doing. She would play doctor with her friends by imitating what he did with other patients. She had contracted Hepatitis A from the drinking water, but maintained a sunny disposition. Under Dr. Masri’s care, her health improved and she soon went back to playing doctor. When he left, he gave her his pens.

    “I told her that when the conflict is over and she’s grown up, hopefully she will play doctor for real and use those pens to write her first prescriptions,” said Dr. Masri.

    The Privilege to Return Home

    Returning to Canada put a lot of things in perspective. He felt thankful for all the little conveniences available in a country not ravaged by war. He could now sleep in a warm bed every night and never had to worry about going hungry. Even though there is a physician shortage in Canada, patients have easier access to health care.

    “Lots of people are waiting for us to graduate so we can dedicate time to helping them,” said Dr. Masri.

    Currently, he is a Critical Care Fellow at Queens University School of Medicine in Kingston, ON and is completing a world-renowned echo cardiography training course at Stanford University. Despite all the hardships that came along with his trip, he says that going to Syria was one of the proudest moments of his life. Even though he’s thousands of miles away, Dr. Masri still tries to relieve Syrian refugees and in November 2014, he raised $175,000 to send heating fuel and winter clothing to Syria.

    He’s also incredibly proud of his alma mater for helping him reach these fundraising goals and fostering the necessary skills to treat underserved communities.

    “AUA is there to train people from underprivileged backgrounds who are then able to provide healthcare to those who are also underprivileged,” said Dr. Masri.

    Since returning from Syria, he realized that his education and commitment to medicine has instilled a sense of greater responsibility. There is more to being a doctor than gaining financial wealth. He hopes other medical students follow his path and use their skills to treat those most in need.

    “Every medical student says he or she wants to help people, but I think that helping people doesn’t always have to come along with a paycheck,” said Dr. Masri. “People need a doctor and you are one. You don’t have to insert yourself in a war, but you must go to the people that can’t come to you, serve those that are less privileged. This is what being a doctor is all about.”

  • 16 Mar 2015 12:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dr. Paul Aguillon (Class of 2010) is an attending Family Medicine physician in an area where doctors are most needed – rural Delaware.

    While studying at AUA, Dr. Aguillon decided to become a primary care physician. He was inspired by his professors’ dedication to their students and emphasis on compassion and bedside manner. As a teaching assistant, he was especially amazed by how invested his professors were in each student’s academic and professional progress.

    “They were focused on bringing out the best in every student. If they noticed a dip in your performance or knew you could do better, they’d push you that much harder and help you bring your grades up,” said Dr. Aguillon. “Not many schools have professors that would invest so much in their students.”

    During clinical rotations, Dr. Aguillon helped patients who were suffering from a multitude of diseases. Though still a clinical student, there were moments that made him feel like he was already a seasoned physician. One day, while taking the history of a hospice patient who didn’t have much time left, he instinctively put down his pen and just listened. The patient felt like he was part of a conversation, not just answering questions, and expressed how he felt truly cared for by Dr. Aguillon.

    “Sometimes it’s better to stop writing and just listen to your patient with undivided attention,” said Dr. Aguillon.

    While debating between surgery and family medicine residencies, he ultimately chose the latter because it would give him a greater opportunity to interact with patients. He also felt it was where he could make a bigger difference. This became especially clear early in his residency when he had to treat a patient suffering from diabetes and heart failure. She had already been in the hospital for 90 days when he first met her.  Instead of focusing on diligent history-taking, he expressed his concern on a personal level then convinced her to undergo gastric bypass surgery and make healthier lifestyle choices. By the end of his residency, she no longer required hospitalization.

    “I treated her like I treat all patients – as a member of my family,” said Dr. Aguillon.  

    The physician shortage has hit low-income and rural areas the hardest. After his residency, Dr. Aguillon joined his father’s practice in rural Delaware and saw the adverse effects of the shortage first-hand. For every 30,000 people, there is only one doctor. Dr. Aguillon’s clinic is stocked with resources not common to a typical family medicine private practice that allow him to treat emergency, surgical, and orthopedic cases. The shortage has forced his practice to encompass many disciplines outside his purview.  

    “There are two dermatologist offices in the area but they don’t accept new patients,” said Dr. Aguillon. “It takes about six months to run a biopsy. If we put up an ad for more patients, our doors would be knocked down.”

    Despite the overflow, he loves his job. He works six days a week, his hours are consistent, and he still has some time to enjoy his hobbies like fishing, hiking, and golfing. He likes interacting with patients on a daily basis and listening to their stories. Plus, as a physician in private practice, he has a lot of responsibility.

    “In private practice, you have to slow down and really double check everything,” said Dr. Aguillon. “When the buck stops with you, you won’t be so quick to over-prescribe antibiotics.”

    After a year of working at the clinic, he’s convinced that more medical graduates need to join primary care fields. In family medicine, he gets to apply a little bit of everything he learned throughout medical school. This is particularly essential considering patients have been unable to see a doctor for months because of the lack of physicians in their area.

    “When you’re a primary care doctor, you’re serving the highest need in the United States,” said Dr. Aguillon. “You just have to occasionally put the pen down and listen to all the patients who rely on your expertise.”  


  • 09 Jan 2015 11:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dr. Raaj Ruparel (Class of 2011) was featured in the video series Saving Lives with Gus, produced by the Mayo Clinic, which was developed to engage millennials about basic lifesaving procedures via social media.

    He made these videos when he was a Simulation and Surgical Education Fellow at The Mayo Clinic. Currently, he is a General Surgery Resident at The Mayo Clinic. While he was a fellow, he and his colleagues were challenged by Dr. David Farley, Co-Director of the Simulation Medicine Fellowship, who was inspired to create this initiative after a local high school athlete died when an AED kit failed to save him. The goal of the initiative is to save the life of at least one person a year. Dr. Ruparel created a prototype, called Gus, and they both starred in these informational videos, which were released weekly on the Mayo Clinic News Network.

    If you would like to learn more about the series, the videos are available to watch here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8jUDQphCac

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fn8aRYrNvYU

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVnGWqqe-6M

  • 14 Nov 2014 12:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dr. Talha Memon (AUA Class of 2012) has matched at a Sleep Medicine Fellowship at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. This is one of the top sleep medicine programs in the country.

    Dr. Memon was a Family Medicine Resident at the University of California, Riverside and was one of the first AUA graduates to match at a California residency. AUA is very proud of his incredible achievement and look forward to his contributions to the medical community.

    Dr. Memon was a Family Medicine Resident at the University of California, Riverside and was one of the first AUA graduates to match at a California residency. AUA is very proud of his incredible achievement and look forward to his contributions to the medical community.

    Dr. Talha Memon (AUA Class of 2012) has matched at a Sleep Medicine Fellowship at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. This is one of the top sleep medicine programs in the country.

    Dr. Memon was a Family Medicine Resident at the University of California, Riverside and was one of the first AUA graduates to match at a California residency. AUA is very proud of his incredible achievement and look forward to his contributions to the medical community.

  • 26 Feb 2013 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    AUA Graduate Dr. Kate Schmitz was featured in the Daily Record News about her work in rural areas, where physicians are needed the most. More about her work below:

    Some doctors are the kind patients see when they have a specialized issue. A patient might drive an hour or more to a big city and see the doctor a few times. Then there are the doctors patients see for checkups, laryngitis and their kids’ ear infections.

    Neuroendocrinologists or interventional radiologists are important to modern medicine, but they probably won’t provide the kind of medical care that most patients need on a daily basis.

    Doctors Kate Schmitz and Vaughan Bulfinch entered Community Health of Central Washington’s family medicine residency program to train in the kind of medicine people need every day, and they’re doing a lot of that training here as the Yakima-based health care provider’s first residents in its rural family medicine residency program in Ellensburg.

    Residency is the last part of physician training following medical school and prior to specialty certification and entry into independent practice.  Community Health of Central Washington, which has a clinic in Ellensburg, has had a residency program in Yakima for some time. It was able to expand to Ellensburg with money from the Affordable Care Act for family care residency programs, creating two slots here for rural-focused family practice training.

    The residents work monthly rotations in different specialties related to family practice. Some of those rotations are at the KVH Hospital in Ellensburg or at Yakima Memorial Hospital. They also do regular shifts working at the Ellensburg clinic with other primary care physicians. During their residency, they will receive training in obstetrics, integrated behavioral health, osteopathic manipulation medicine, procedural training and inpatient pediatric and adult medicine.  


    Specialized training

    While medical schools teach a broad range of medicine, new doctors spend several years working in residency alongside more experienced physicians to get specialized training in a specific field. In family medicine, doctors learn how to handle all kinds of different, but common, maladies for patients of all ages.

    Schmitz and Bulfinch started in July. Over the next two years, four more residents will join the program, bringing the total number of doctors cycling through the three-year program to six.

    “Everybody has a different idea of What does it mean to be a doctor,” Schmitz said. She’d like to be the kind of doctor working in the thick of things helping patients.

    “I’m the kind of person who liked all of my rotations in medical school,” Schmitz said. “I really enjoy pretty much every aspect of medicine, and so that is why family medicine appealed to me, even more so rural medicine, because I like doing stuff hands-on.”

    Some doctors, she said, even if they do a family medicine residency, might never put in a chest tube or even deliver a baby. That’s not the case in this program, she said, since there could be so many different cases to handle and not many other providers in a rural area.

    She said she sometimes thinks it might be interesting to specialize in obstetrics or surgery.

    “But then I always kind of come back to center and remember, well, you know, if you did that, then you would never get to do pediatrics or you would never get to do the stuff that you see in the clinic, which is a wide variety of things. You never really know what you’re going to get in this clinic,” she said.

    “I would never get to pull off another toenail,” she said. “If you specialize in toenails, then you’d get sick of toenails.”

    A doctor of family medicine will be able to refer most special cases to another provider, she said.

    Labor and delivery, earaches, pneumonia and the like, “That is your bread and butter medicine and that is what happens to most people,” she said.

    “If you know how to deal with common things then you’re going to satisfy more of the needs of most people.”

    Bulfinch agreed, and said he’s glad he gets a jack-of-all-trades range of skills, and can do it in a less densely populated area.

    He grew up in Anacortes and went to college at Central Washington University, and he prefers small town life, he said. He wants to work in Central Washington when his residency is complete, because that’s where he said he’s needed.

    “It would mean that I was able to help a patient population that, in my opinion, is more needing of help. They don’t have the access to medical care that people living around larger cities do,” he said. “It would allow me to do the greatest amount of good with my time.”

    He met his wife in college, and they have a son and a home in Yakima. Working in a smaller market for doctors means he won’t just see patients at work, he said, but at the grocery store or at the movies.

    “You become part of the community,” he said.


    Rural providers

    Most doctors tend to get jobs near where they did their residency, said Dr. Don Solberg, chief medical officer at Kittitas Valley Healthcare. Although it’s not the primary goal of the residency program, there’s hope it will create a group of practitioners who are interested in rural medicine and their area.

    “And are therefore more likely to stick around,” he said.

    Beyond the West Side, Washington looks more like Idaho or Montana as far as physicians per 1,000 people, and any extra hand can help, said Dr. Russell Maier, Community Healthcare Central Washington’s residency director.

    For a while, there were fewer than 20 doctors in any year of any residency program in both Yakima and Spokane, he said.

    He said Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in Yakima has been a boon for training more doctors locally, but even if it was the biggest medical school in the county, it wouldn’t necessarily mean there would be more doctors serving Washingtonians east of the Cascades.

    “Med school doesn’t create practicing physicians,” he said.

    Still, even if residents don’t stay where they trained, health care providers have a few extra doctors on hand while they’re around.

    Solberg said the staff at KVH has been excited to start having the residents around. KVH offers rotations to students in different areas of study, like nursing or paramedic programs, but hasn’t had post graduate residents for around 20 years, he said.

    “It usually makes us better at what we do when we’re teaching,” he said.

    Original article featured in the Daily Record News.


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