By Wendy Sarubbi | June 27, 2016 2:40 pm

The College of Medicine welcomed 59 new medical residents June 23 who will care for patients across Central Florida, thanks to a new partnership with the nation’s largest hospital group.

The new physicians – the largest joining to date – will be doing their Graduate Medical Education (GME) training in internal, family and emergency medicine at Osceola Regional Medical Center, Ocala Regional Medical Center and North Florida Regional Medical Center. A new consortium between the medical school and Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) is bringing 550-plus additional residencies to Florida by 2020 to help address the state’s physician shortage.

As she welcomed the young doctors to UCF, Dr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs and founding dean of the UCF College of Medicine, said they were now part of an innovative new medical school that is the foundation of an emerging Medical City that will one day be a global destination for medical education, research and patient care.

“When I look back at my own journey, I know that having children and my Internal Medicine residency, were the best experiences of my life,” she said. “It was in my residency that I learned more than I could have ever dreamed about medicine. I learned the science and art of healing. And I learned what it was like to be responsible for another person’s welfare and life. I wish you the same opportunity for learning and growth. I hope that with your faculty – from UCF and HCA – you will achieve your dreams and help your patients to achieve theirs.”

The new residents begin July 1. Seven will be the first cohort of residents at a new Emergency Medicine residency at Osceola Regional Medical Center. Ten will train in Internal Medicine at a new program at Ocala Regional Medical Center. Others are headed to do their post-graduate training in Internal Medicine and Family Medicine at North Florida Regional Medical Center. In addition, UCF is beginning its third year of a residency program in Internal Medicine in partnership with Osceola Regional and the Orlando VA Medical Center. And within the next two months, the medical school and HCA are expected to welcome nine new residents to the Obstetrics and Gynecology residency at Osceola Regional.

Dr. Adam Benzing did his medical school training at Howard University and is in the first cohort of UCF Emergency Medicine residents. “It’s a brand new program and so I am really excited about that,” he said during orientation. “It’s a unique opportunity to be a part of something that’s just being built. I will have the opportunity to contribute to it and shape it in a way that you can’t with a more established program.”

Dr. Sreyasi Bhattacharya, who studied at the College of Medical Sciences in Bharatpur, travelled from India to be trained in internal medicine at Osceola Regional and the Orlando VA.

“Orientation has been fun and informative, and I’m so happy to meet everybody,” she said. “I am very much looking forward to this three year journey and I hope to have a lot of fun and learn a lot.”

Her newfound friend, Dr. Patricia Guzman, traveled from her native Peru where she studied at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia and will also be training in internal medicine at the VA and Osceola Regional.

“I chose UCF because when I interviewed, I really liked the program and the people were very friendly and very warm,” she said. “I’m excited and nervous, but let’s see. I’m looking forward to growing with the program.

A Florida native, Dr. Oteni Hamilton comes to UCF from the Ross University School of Medicine and will also be an internal medicine resident at the Osceola Regional-Orlando VA program.

“I know that it’s going to be a booming program soon, because obviously the college is making leaps and bounds and growing. I would like to be a part of that, so that I can leave my mark as well and gain my training,” he said. “I’m very optimistic about the future and it’s been a long road to this point and I look forward to any opportunities that can come out of it.”

The nation’s top residency programs give young physicians a diversity of experiences in patient care. Several new Internal Medicine residents said the make-up of the UCF-VA-Osceola Regional residency in a diverse, rapidly growing state was a plus. Dr. Benzing said working with veterans and in Osceola County, with one of Florida’s fastest-growing Hispanic populations, offers unique opportunities for physician education.

“It’s a region with a population that I’m really interested in working with, especially with a high Spanish speaking community,” he said, “and so it has all the things that I am looking for in a program.”


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