By Wendy Sarubbi | March 18, 2016 5:46 pm

UCF’s Internal Medicine Residency Program matched 20 M.D. students on March 18, as it expanded to full capacity to add even more physicians to the Central Florida community. The graduate medical education program is done in partnership with the Orlando V.A. and Osceola Regional medical centers, providing a diverse learning opportunity for medical school graduates.

The program had 17 residents during its first two years. This year, UCF’s program received 4,300 applicants. Dr. Abdo Asmar, UCF’s Internal Medicine Residency program director, said he hopes the expanded residency can grow to offer fellowship programs for post-residency training.

The new residents come from the United States and abroad, representing a diversity of educational, research and service backgrounds. Their interests range from cliff diving to music. One resident plays trombone in a gospel band. Another studied with the Canadian Conservatory of Music as a child.

“These are young, enthusiastic physicians who are eager to make a difference in the lives of patients in Central Florida,” Dr. Asmar said, noting that more than 100 physicians are involved in training residents through community partnerships. “Our goal is to take these talented young people and turn them into great citizens for our community and outstanding physicians and keep them in the area.”

The partnership residency program was developed to help ease Central Florida’s physician shortage, especially in primary care. Research shows that the majority of physicians set up their practices in the communities where they did their residency training.”

In its residency program, UCF has focused on scholarly activity and research as well as emphasis on quality and safety initiatives. The top residency programs offer physicians a diversity of learning experiences. UCF’s program offers residents the opportunity to care for veterans and their unique health issues as well as residents of Osceola County, one of Florida’s most diverse and fastest growing areas.

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