UTHSCT Family Medicine Residency Program meets its match with eight top-ranked graduating physicians

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Family Medicine Residency Program at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler has successfully filled its intern positions with eight highly qualified graduating physicians, said Donna Mann, program manager for residency recruitment and training.

“These top graduates were attracted by the excellence of our program. Our success is a testament to the tremendous support of the Health Science Center and its educational mission,” Mann said.

All the new UTHSCT residents are graduating from U.S. medical schools, though nationwide just 48 percent of the positions available in family medicine residency programs are being filled with U.S. medical school graduates, she added.

“These new physicians were highly sought after, and we are very fortunate to have ‘matched’ with them,” Mann said. They will start their residency training on July 1.

The new resident physicians and the medical schools they graduated from are: Role Flores, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, Fort Worth; Amy Hlavaty, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine; Amber Higgs, University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB)-Galveston; Vaughn Harris, Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus; Serah Obayangban, UTMB- Galveston; Stephen Sepulveda, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School; Robert Smith, School of Medicine at LSU Health Sciences Center, Shreveport; and Lori Wyatt, UTMB-Galveston.

Since it began in 1985, the three-year program has graduated 146 family physicians, 38 of whom have stayed in Tyler, said Jonathan MacClements, MD, director of the residency program and chairman of UTHSCT’s Department of Family Medicine.

While family medicine doctors are in short supply around the nation, Northeast Texans are fortunate, he said. That’s because almost half of these physicians have stayed here, becoming family doctors for thousands of the region’s residents.

“We’re also blessed with health care facilities and doctors who understand the importance of preparing the next generation of physicians,” Dr. MacClements said, adding that community support enables the residency program to succeed.

During the match process, medical school graduates interested in family medicine interview at selected residency programs and then send their preferences to the National Resident Matching Program. The program ranks the family medicine programs in the order of each new physician’s interest.

In addition, each family medicine residency program also sends its list, which ranks graduates according to its preferences, to matching program officials. The lists are then “matched up” and all participants notified of the results.

For more than 60 years, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler has provided excellent patient care and cutting-edge treatment, specializing in pulmonary disease, cancer, heart disease, primary care, and the disciplines that support them. UTHSCT’s annual operating budget of $125 million represents a major economic impact of over $287 million for the Northeast Texas region. Since 2002, scientists in the Center for Biomedical Research have been awarded $118.6 million in research dollars. As the academic health science center for Northeast Texas, its graduate medical education programs – with residencies in family medicine and occupational medicine – provide doctors for many communities throughout the region and beyond. UTHSCT is also the program sponsor of the residency program in internal medicine at Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview.

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