Family Medicine Residency Program graduates seven; two physicians complete Occupational Medicine Residency Program

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Family Medicine Residency Program at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler recently celebrated the graduation of seven residents at a formal commencement ceremony. In addition, two physicians completed the Occupational Medicine Residency Program.

Family Medicine Residency Program

The family medicine residents were honored with a banquet June 17 at Willow Brook Country Club in Tyler. Janet Hurley, MD, a Family Physician in Whitehouse, and a 2002 graduate of the UTHSCT Family Medicine residency program gave the keynote address.

The seven Family Medicine Residency Program graduates are: Jared Dixon, MD; Andrea Ellis, MD; Jason Gipson, MD; Jennifer Lee, MD; Wesley Pemberton, MD; Joel Richards, DO; and Jessica Varnam, MD, said Donna Mann, program manager for the Department of Family Medicine.

Two graduates are starting private practices in Texas: Dr. Ellis in Tyler and Dr. Gipson in Abilene. Two others are entering private practice outside of Texas, Dr. Lee in Louisiana and Dr. Varnam in Wisconsin.

Two graduates will be employed as emergency room physicians: Dr. Pemberton at UTHSCT and Dr. Richards in College Station. Dr. Dixon is beginning a sports medicine fellowship in Tyler. Dr. Magued Rizk completed his fellowship in sports medicine and will practice in Indiana.

Several awards were given at the banquet. Andrea Ellis, MD, was named Resident of the Year and Resident’s Resident. Robert Tompkins, a UTHSCT assistant professor of family medicine, received the Faculty of the Year Award.

The Outstanding Community Preceptor of the Year was Pediatrician Rebecca Risinger, MD. UTHSCT’s Jennifer Nonnenmann, RN, received the Nurse of the Year Award. Dr. Ellis, Dr. Gipson, and Dr. Varnam received the Academic Excellence Award.

On July 1, eight new residents began the Family Medicine Residency Program. They are Peter Cao, MD; John Davidhizar, MD; Will Dreiss, MD; Dustin Gentry, MD; Chelsi Jackson, MD; Richard Lowrance, MD; Mark McDonald, MD; and Ryan Tatum, MD.

UTHSCT’s Family Medicine Residency Program began in 1985. It is a three-year program and has graduated 146 family physicians. More than half of these have stayed in East Texas.

Occupational Medicine Residency Program
Two residents have completed Occupational Medicine training this year. They are Marek Greer, MD, who has a master’s in public health (MPH) as well as a medical degree, and Philip Head, MD, who received a master’s of science in environmental science in a program run jointly by Stephen F. Austin State University and UTHSCT.

Dr. Greer received his medical degree from the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center and his master’s from the University of Oklahoma College of Public Health, both located in Oklahoma City. He completed residencies in family medicine at St. Anthony Family Practice Residency in Oklahoma City and in general surgery at Greenville Memorial Hospital Residency in Greenville, S.C.

Dr. Head graduated from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and also completed his residency in internal medicine at UTMB.

The Occupational Medicine Residency Program at UTHSCT has also filled its two positions for the 2011 year, which began July 1. The new residents are: Patty Morell Bilhartz, MD, MPH, and ShaMarick Gaston Blue, MD.

Dr. Bilhartz received her medical degree from Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and her MPH from the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Rural Public Health, both in College Station. She completed her residency in internal medicine at the Scott & White/Texas A&M College of Medicine Graduate Medical Education Program in Temple.

Dr. Blue received his medical degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn. He completed a one-year surgery internship at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Ga.

The Occupational Medicine Residency Program began in 1994 and is one of four such programs in Texas (three civilian and one military). Twenty-four physicians have graduated from the two-year physician-training program. Sixty percent of the graduates have remained in Texas.

For more than 60 years, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler has provided excellent patient care and cutting-edge treatments, specializing in pulmonary disease, cancer, heart disease, primary care, and the disciplines that support them. With an operating budget of more than $125 million and biomedical research funding that exceeds $10 million annually, UTHSCT has a major economic impact on East Texas. Its two medical residency programs – in family medicine and occupational medicine – provide doctors for many communities in East Texas and beyond.

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