GME - Highlights

Kaweah Delta Health Care District’s Graduate Medical Education Program graduated its first class of physicians on Thursday, June 16, 2016, and celebrated the fact that more than 40 percent of the original class of residents has decided to stay and practice in the area.

“When we set out to become a teaching hospital, one important goal was to improve this community’s access to health care by growing the next generation of physicians,” said Lindsay Mann, Chief Executive Officer of Kaweah Delta Health Care District. “We’re thrilled that five of the original 12 residents have committed to practicing medicine in our community.”  

 A total of 24 physicians graduated during the district’s first commencement. Graduates included the original class of 12 residents, who in 2013, started in the district’s first two residency programs – emergency medicine and family medicine. Also included is the first class of 12 physicians in the transitional year program, a clinical-based program, which started in July 2015. Transitional year physicians spend a year in residency with a general focus and continue training elsewhere in specialties such as radiology, ophthalmology and dermatology, etc.  

Four of the five residents in the family medicine residency have decided to stay in the community including: Fahad Hashmat, M.D.; Kamel Kamel, M.D.; Ehab Swehli, M.D.; and Marwan Zoghbi, M.D. Also staying to practice is Sean Oldroyd, D.O., an emergency medicine resident.  

On June 20, Kaweah Delta’s five programs supported the training of 68 physicians, among them the next class of 35 residents began their two-week orientation.

Twenty-five percent of these new residents rotated at Kaweah Delta while in medical school. They learned about the community, the residency program and decided to apply for a position. This year, Kaweah Delta received over 2,400 applications and interviewed 450 candidates for 35 training spots.   

The residents say they enjoyed being part of the first class and want the community to know they are ready to serve. “We have been taught to provide quality care and we see the difference we are making to patients. This community makes you feel very appreciated. It’s thirsty for quality, customized, and non-rushed personal care,” Dr. Zoghbi said.  

The choice of where to practice medicine after residency was clear, Dr. Kamel said. “I am staying here, first, because I love Visalia, not just me, but my family as well,” he said. “Second, I would love to pay back the community that taught me, accepted me and has given me the opportunity to learn and grow.”  

Visalia’s central California location is among the reasons Dr. Oldroyd said he is staying. “I appreciate that I can take my children camping, like I enjoyed as a kid. I love that we have access to the mountains and the beach is nearby.”  

In 2012, news of the district’s first two residency programs brought hundreds of applicants to the area vying for the 12 spots. Since that time, Kaweah Delta has grown its programs from two – family medicine and emergency medicine – to five programs. Kaweah Delta currently offers residencies in family medicine, emergency medicine, psychiatry, surgery, and transitional year.

 As printed in the Visalia Times-Delta on June 10, 2016