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North Oaks Welcomes Eight Internal Medicine Residents to GME Program

  • Category: In The News
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  • Written By: Melanie Lanaux Zaffuto
North Oaks Welcomes Eight Internal Medicine Residents to GME Program

North Oaks Medical Center will launch its first graduate medical education (GME) program this summer for internal medicine.

Following a rigorous selection process, seven medical students (doctors in training) and one transfer from a pediatric residency matched with the North Oaks Internal Medicine Residency Program this past March. Hailing from four regional medical schools, the doctors are: Vzair Cheema, MD, and Joseph Pomaville, MD, both from Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans; Nicolas Gaughran, DO, Shane Mays, DO, Swetha Narla, DO, and Matthew Spano, DO, from Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Louisiana Campus in Monroe; Steven Smith, DO, from William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Hattiesburg, Mississippi; and Fabian Sarrias, DO, a pediatric residency transfer from Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Auburn Campus in Alabama.

“The Association of American Medical Colleges [AAMC] projects a sizeable deficit of physicians in the United States by 2025 – specifically in primary care. The successful establishment of the North Oaks GME Program aims to help close the gaps and is a crucial step in our overarching strategy to invest in the health and well-being of the Northshore community,” affirms North Oaks President & CEO Michele Kidd Sutton, FACHE. “Training the next generation of physicians and medical leaders for Louisiana supports our goals to grow with our region, guarantee access to healthcare and enhance health outcomes for those who rely on our services.”

North Oaks received initial accreditation as a sponsoring institution from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) in July 2022. In January 2024, ACGME granted initial accreditation to the North Oaks Internal Medicine Residency Program, thereby paving the way for launch in July to coincide with the 2024 academic year.

“Our residents will participate in a comprehensive curriculum designed to foster clinical excellence, critical thinking and professional development,” notes North Oaks Chief Medical Officer and Associate GME Program Director Robert Peltier, MD. "We are committed to empowering our residents with the tools, resources and support they need to succeed in their training and beyond. We look forward to watching them grow and thrive as they embark on this transformative journey in their medical careers."

The residents will train at North Oaks Medical Center and other facilities within the health system, gaining vital experience and learning from expert physicians serving on the North Oaks medical staff.

The launch of North Oaks’ GME Program is a significant milestone for North Oaks Medical Center, which serves the Northshore as a Level II trauma center and primary stroke center. Since its beginnings as a 60-bed community hospital in 1960, North Oaks Medical Center has grown into a health system, additionally encompassing North Oaks Rehabilitation Hospital, 40-plus primary care and specialty clinics, three urgent cares, three outpatient rehabilitation clinics, two outpatient diagnostic centers, a hospice agency, school of radiologic technology and dietetic internship program.

In alignment with the North Oaks GME Program’s strategic implementation plan, residency programs for other specialties, including emergency medicine, general surgery and family medicine, will be launched over the course of the next six years. This will bring the total number of residents who are being trained at North Oaks up to 70, at any given time, by 2030.