By Wendy Sarubbi | March 20, 2015 7:35 pm

The College of Medicine received its second class of Internal Medicine residents Friday during National Match Day 2015. And among the 17 new residents is a UCF undergraduate and University of Miami medical student whose wife, also a UCF alumnus, is expected to join Orlando’s medical school this fall.

Stephen Dodson graduates this spring from Miami’s Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. He met his wife, Charlene, when the two were lab partners at UCF. For the past year, the couple coordinated med school admission and residency interviews. Friday at noon, as thousands of students nationwide learned their residency matches, the Dodsons learned they will be together as both begin their medical careers – she as a student, he as a physician. “We’re ecstatic,” Stephen Dodson said.

UCF’s residency program is a partnership between the medical school, the Orlando VA Medical Center and Osceola Regional Medical Center. Designed to bring more primary care physicians to the community, the partnership allows residents to care for an array of patients – including veterans and residents of Central Florida’s fastest growing and most diverse county. Dodson spent 15 years in the Air Force, stationed at Patrick Air Force Base, and said the opportunity to care for vets was a huge benefit. “You feel good when you care for our nation’s heroes,” he said. “You feel like you’re helping people who really deserve and appreciate it.”

Dodson will join a diverse group of 15 other physicians-in-training from across the United States and the world. They were chosen from 2,800 total applicants and after 196 interviews. “We wanted residents who were passionate about caring for patients and passionate about learning,” said Dr. Abdo Asmar, program director of UCFs residency program and a former chief resident at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital, one of the nation’s largest. “We wanted residents who wanted to be here and help build a new program.”

The new residents will arrive this summer and join UCF’s first cohort of 17 residents, who will be entering their second year of training. Dr. Asmar called all the residents “pioneers” because they are building a program from scratch. He praised UCF’s first residents for being strong ambassadors for the new program during interviews with the second cohort.

During the first year of the residency program, most in-hospital experiences were at Osceola Regional because the Orlando VA Medical Center was still under construction. With the VA open, UCF residents will have the opportunity to care for more hospitalized veterans in a facility that has been designated as an emerging center of innovation. Osceola has made a strong commitment to graduate medical education with two new residency programs starting recently. Osceola also offers specialty programs such as its Central Florida Cardiac and Vascular Institute and Orthopedic and Spine Center.

“The UCF College of Medicine and our partners are delighted with our residency match,” said Dr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine. “We are all committed to expanding the training and numbers of physicians who will practice in Central Florida.”

New Internal Medicine Residents

Abeer Al Majali — Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar

Talat Almukhtar — University of Baghdad College of Medicine

Uyanga Batnyam — Peking University Health Science Center

Natalia Castillo Almeida — Universidad San Francisco de Quito Colegio de Ciencias de la Salud

Ali Chaudhry — Allama Iqbal Medical College

Sarah Dhannoon — Al-Nahrain University College of Medicine

Stephen Dodson — University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine

Arfa Faiz — Army Medical College

Juan Jaller Char — Universidad del Norte Programa de Medicina

Nway Ko Ko — University of Medicine 1

Jorge Morales — St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine (Grand Cayman)

Joan Morales Lappot — University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine

Vishal Patel — USF Health Morsani College of Medicine

Dana Perrone — Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Arun Rajasekaran — Kasturba Medical College Manipal

Wael Sankar — Ross University School of Medicine



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