By Wendy Sarubbi | June 23, 2016 10:06 am

The College of Medicine’s Internal Medicine Residency Program graduated its second class of first-year residents in June, recognizing the young physicians as pioneers helping to create a graduate medical education program that will bring more trained doctors to Central Florida.

Dr. Asmar 2016 residency awards“We are engaged in a very exciting time in residency training – across Central Florida and our state,” said Dr. Abdo Asmar, program director for the Internal Medicine residency, as he welcomed residents and their faculty to the celebration. “UCF sponsored residencies are growing by leaps and bounds through hard work, inspired leadership and teamwork.”

The Internal Medicine residency is a partnership between the medical school, Osceola Regional Medical Center and the Orlando VA Medical Center. In October, UCF and Hospital Corporation of America, announced a consortium that will bring more than 550 new residency slots to the state by 2020. The consortium just filled its first cohort of Emergency Medicine residents at HCA’s Osceola Regional, selecting seven M.D. graduates from hundreds who applied.

As faculty and administrators awarded first- and second-year residents for performance excellence, they talked about how the 33 were helping to create a new culture of graduate medical education at a new medical school and a hospital that had never had GME programs before. Dr. Asmar described the effort as swimming against a current. “That’s what it takes to create something new and it is difficult work,” he said. “We had the strength to battle the current because of our partnership, our diversity and because we shared an ultimate goal – to create healthcare leaders and improve the health of all.”

Award winners are:

Student Educator Award – Dr. Faraz Afridi (second-year resident) and Dr. Wael Sankar (first-year)

2016 residency awards 3Dr. Afridi said educating medical students – many from UCF — is one of the joys of his job. “I really enjoy teaching,” he said. “The medical students add more to my day than I feel I do to theirs. They make my work life enjoyable and I have passion for education.”

Humanitarian Award – Dr. Zahra Ahmad (second-year) and Dr. Sarah Dhannoon (first-year)

Clinical Skills Award – Dr. James Mellone (second-year) and Dr. Natalia Castillo-Almeida (first-year)

Osler Award – Inpatient General Medicine Faculty – Dr. Esteban Janolo

Osler Award – Outpatient General Medicine Faculty – Dr. Sayed Ali

Osler Award – Sub-specialty Faculty – Dr. Rami Hanna and Dr. Mohammed Sharif


Dr. Thompson 2016 residency awardAbove and Beyond Award – Dr. Jennifer Thompson

Resident educators also recognized the program’s graduating chief residents – Drs. Muhammad Zulqarnain and Sandeep Dayanand.

They announced that in 2017-2018, when the first Internal Medicine cohort has finished its residency, the program will select chief residents from its own graduates. Chiefs for that year are Drs. Mustafa Kinaan, Rizcallah Dick, and Faraz Afridi.



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