Kaweah Delta Set To Graduate Its First Class Of Physicians On June 16
VISALIA – Kaweah Delta Health Care District’s Graduate Medical
Education Program will graduate its first class of physicians on Thursday,
June 16, and celebrate 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 will graduate during the district’s first
commencement. Graduates include 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 will support the training
of 68 physicians, among them the next class of 35 residents as they begin
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.