Hiffsa Taj, MD

Administrative Chief ResidentOsceola Regional Medical Center

Hometown: Peshawar, Pakistan 

Medical School: Khyber Medical College

Future Career Interests: Hematology and Oncology

Hobbies: binge watching Netflix shows, pilates, strength training and amateur photography.  

Tell Us About Yourself: I was born in the UK and moved to Pakistan when I was 4 years old. My favorite thing about this program is the sense of family and comradery amongst the residents. When I interviewed here, I could feel that the whole program felt like one big happy family, and I would fit right in. The program has been very nurturing, not only career wise but also on a personal level. The leadership is very open to feedback and encourages it. The diversity of patients not only exposes us to a variety of pathologies but also challenges our medical knowledge, which I find very stimulating.  

George Alvarez, DO

Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Chief Resident-Orlando VA Healthcare System

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

Medical School: Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine

Future Career Interests: Pulmonary and Critical Care

Hobbies: Basketball, video games, quality time with friends  

Tell Us About Yourself: I was born and raised in Charlotte North Carolina. Growing up I was a professional gamer and played basketball. I grew up being a huge Bulls fan and love watching NBA! I love being at our program because of the passionate and caring community that I get to be a part of. I was drawn by the amazing group of individuals that I work with every day. Outside of medicine, I love spending time with my friends and family, binge watch Netflix, listen to new music and play with my new golden doodle. Orlando has a lot to offer and is really an incredible city to live in. I love my job and when I’m free, I love trying new restaurants and visiting the theme parks. 

Francheska Castro, MD

Administrative Chief ResidentOrlando VA Healthcare System

Hometown: Miami, Florida

Medical School: Ross University School of Medicine

Future Career Interests: Cardiology, Critical Care

Hobbies: Working out, traveling, bake desserts. 

Tell Us About Yourself: I was born and raised in Miami, but I am half Peruvian and half Cuban. My career goal is to stay in Academic medicine and to pursue fellowship in Cardiology Critical Care. I have been a competitive athlete most of my life and one of my greatest accomplishments was representing the United States in the Mundial de Amazonas y Jinetes in 2012 where I won 5th world champion and again in 2014. I have 2 Goldendoodles, Rio and Maya. I love to cook especially bake for all of our residents!

Richard Henriquez, MD

Administrative Chief ResidentOrlando VA Healthcare System

Hometown: Miami, Florida

Medical School: Ross University School of Medicine

Future Career Interests: Academic Medicine

Hobbies: Soccer 

Tell Us About Yourself:  I was born in Haiti. I grew up in Miami and went to undergrad at UCF (GO KNIGHTS). I lived in NYC before moving back to Orlando. I love this program because it fit my career goals and personality. It provides me with great exposure to interesting internal medicine cases and gives me excellent exposure to other specialties. I have a passion for Medical education and this program provides me with that avenue achieve my goals. Additionally, the residents, faculty, and staff are always open to listen, help and have become like a family.  Outside of medicine, I love movies, music, spending time with my family and friends, working out in my new gym, traveling the country, trying new Orlando restaurants.. and of course, visit the parks.

Living in Orlando

Thank you so much for your interest and consideration in the UCF/HCA Internal Medicine Residency Program. We are delighted to give you a detailed introduction to the city of Orlando and our training.

The City of Orlando needs no introduction. It is a major metropolitan city in Central Florida and is a big attraction for theme park fans. Tennis players and golfers love Orlando for its great weather and facilities. Living in Orlando almost feels like being on vacation every day! After working hard on clinical rotations, you have so much to do and explore in the city. There are several nearby beaches within an hour’s drive so it’s easy to spend your day off relaxing at the beach. This city has a great night life, shopping malls and some of the best restaurants. Road trips to Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, St. Augustine and Key West are also a very popular for residents when they want to get out of town.

Our program is fun, exciting and spending time with the faculty, residents and medical students is the biggest highlight of our day. We provide a positive and nurturing learning environment by implementing an advanced educational program based on highly effective teaching principles. We also organize resident retreats, fun social events and team-building activities on a regular basis.

Our residency is highly evolved academically and is unique in incorporating innovative teaching concepts based on published research. We take feedback from our residents very seriously and are constantly growing and improving based on resident evaluations. We have a highly specialized and innovative faculty in graduate medical education, who are invested in creating an outstanding educational program.

We are part of the emerging Medical City in Orlando’s Lake Nona area. Our residents come from an exceptionally diverse backgrounds and we are proud of the state-of-the-art facilities at our sites: Orlando VA Health Systems, UCF Health and Osceola Regional Medical Center.

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