Kaweah Delta graduates resident physicians

There are more doctors taking care of people living in Tulare County thanks to Kaweah Delta’s residency program and on Thursday, June 13, that number grew as the program graduated its fourth class of physicians.

Thirty physicians graduated during Kaweah Delta’s commencement ceremony in Visalia. The graduates included Dries Van Dyk, D.O. and Christopher Schaefer, D.O., two of Kaweah Delta’s Emergency Medicine Residency Program’s 10 graduates, who will stay in the community to practice emergency medicine and become the first physicians in the first simulation fellowship in the Central Valley.

The one-year simulation fellowship will offer physicians the opportunity to establish skills that will help them develop and manage healthcare simulation-based programs in the future.

“Simulation is an integral part in educating physicians and it takes special training after residency to become an effective simulation educator,” said Dr. Kimberly Sokol, Director of Simulation at Kaweah Delta. “Now that our residency programs are developing excellent physicians, we are excited to develop a simulation fellowship to create experts in the field of simulation. The fact that it’s the first of its kind in the Valley makes it even more special.”

In addition to Dr. Van Dyk and Dr. Schaefer, a number of other graduates are staying to practice in the Central Valley. They include:

Dr. Ahmer Khalid, Family Medicine

Dr. Vanesa Avila, Family Medicine

Dr. Patrick McLaughlin, Psychiatry

Dr. David Fujihara, Emergency Medicine

Dr. Brian Tanner, Emergency Medicine

Dr. Dallas Beaird, Emergency Medicine

Other residents that graduated include:

Emergency Medicine: Drs. Christopher Goodwill, Michael Johnson, Norlan Maltez, Elizabeth Nguyen, Caroline Schrodt, Brian Tanner. Family Medicine: Drs. Mary Heady, Geoffrey Lange, Naila Mubashar, Suleiman Saroia.

Psychiatry: Dr. Latika Philips. Transitional Year: Drs. Jason Andrade, Suzana Bosanac, Danielle Farrar, Barry Golestany, Cameron Henry, Zane Khademi, Ian Macdonald, Joel McLouth, Ana Mitchell, Nathaniel Moriarty, Jonathan Shader, and Anderson Webb.

In an area such as the Central Valley, residency programs are important solutions to solving the shortage of physicians.

“These programs are important to the community when you think about the fact that we are in a physician shortage area,” said Dr. Lori Winston, Designated Institutional Official for Kaweah Delta graduate medical education. “We pour our hearts and soul into these programs and at the end of the day, we’re making really smart doctors who care for patients and are making Kaweah Delta better.”

In its first four years, 36 percent of the residency program’s graduates have chosen to stay in the community to practice medicine (excluding transitional year residents, who after one year of residency move out of the area for specialized training in fields such as radiology, ophthalmology, etc.).

Dr. Van Dyk, who grew up in Visalia and graduated from Golden West High School, first came back to Kaweah Delta as a scribe. Later, he became a medical student, matched into the residency program and is now an attending physician. “It has been a great experience. I would not have chosen anywhere else. This is the community where I was born and raised. It is nice to be able to give back,” he said. “I’m glad I’m able to do that.”

Dr. Schaefer is from Southern California, but the choice to stay in the Central Valley was easy.

“I didn’t feel a great connection to my hometown and I liked that everyone was friendly toward each other, so I sort of got adopted by the Valley,” said Dr. Schaefer who referred to his training as “world class,” and is looking forward to the simulation fellowship, which begins on July 1. “Simulation is a very new field and it’s a powerful way to train people in the safest and most life-like way.”

During the ceremony Nathaniel Moriarty, M.D. received the “Frank and Teresa Kleist Award,” which is given to a graduating resident physician who best exemplifies humanitarian compassion in the care of patients. Dr. Moriarty was selected out of the graduating residents across all specialties by Program Directors to receive the award.

The award was donated by Dr. Frank Kleist, a retired member of Kaweah Delta’s Medical Staff and Faculty Emeritus of Kaweah Delta’s Psychiatry Residency Program, and his wife.

During their programs, residents have taken care of community members throughout the hospital, while family medicine residents additionally care for patients at Kaweah Delta Family Medicine Center, 202 W. Willow Ave. (fifth floor) and psychiatry residents care for patients at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and at Kaweah Delta health clinics in Exeter and Lindsay.

Kaweah Delta’s Graduate Medical Education Program began in 2013, and now offers residency programs in emergency medicine, family medicine, psychiatry, surgery, anesthesia, and transitional year.

On Monday, June 24, Kaweah Delta’s six programs will support the training of ­­­­120 total resident physicians for the upcoming academic year, among them the next class of 46 residents physicians as they begin their two-week orientation.

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