Campus News Science & Technology

Medical Partnership program at St. Mary’s announces first residents

Athens, Ga. – The Internal Medicine Residency Program, a joint effort of the Georgia Regents University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership and St. Mary’s Health Care System, today announced its first class of residents, who will begin their residency education on July 1.

The program received nearly 1,300 applications. A committee made up of Internal Medicine Residency Program faculty, along with members of the leadership from St. Mary’s and the Medical Partnership, interviewed about 100 candidates.

Resident applicants participated in Match Day today and were notified by the National Residency Matching Program where they will pursue their medical residencies. For the first time, 10 applicants learned that they had matched with the internal medicine program sponsored by the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership with St. Mary’s serving as the major participating site.

Matching applicants to specific graduate medical education programs is the culmination of a process during which applicants participate in interviews and visits to residency programs across the country. To determine the post-graduate medical education assignments, applicants rank programs at which they would like to complete residencies, and residency programs rank the applicants. The final pairings, coordinated by NRMP, are announced at noon on the third Friday in March.

Residents are physicians who have graduated from medical school and are beginning supervised training that leads to licensure to practice medicine. During their three-year internal medicine residency, these resident physicians practice alongside attending physicians to gain increasingly sophisticated knowledge, skills and experience working with patients. In an internal medicine residency, these physicians focus on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease in adults.

The Internal Medicine Residency Program appointments for 2015 with their undergraduate/graduate school and medical school are:

• Brian Brewer; University of Georgia; GRU/UGA Medical Partnership.

• Heather Brody; Tulane University/University of South Florida; The American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine.

• Narayana Gowda; University of Georgia; American University of Antigua College of Medicine.

• Andrew Ke; University of Georgia; Ross University School of Medicine.

• Soma Mandal; Ohio State University/New York University; Albany Medical College.

• Tenzing Phanthok; Emory University/Georgia Tech; American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine.

• Akhil Rasim Reddy; University of Georgia; St. George’s University School of Medicine.

• Sonia Suda; Duke University; Tulane School of Medicine.

• Kyle Walker; University of Georgia/Georgetown University; Ross University School of Medicine.

• Addison Zhang; University of Wisconsin, Madison; American University of Antigua College of Medicine.

This first class of residents has a strong connection with Georgia.  It includes five individuals who attended the UGA for their undergraduate degrees, one of whom will also be a Medical Partnership Class of 2015 graduate. In addition, another individual attended Emory University and received a master’s degree from Georgia Institute of Technology. Overall eight of the 10 have educational ties to the Southeast.

“We are very pleased that in the first year of our joint residency program, all 10 available positions have been filled,” said Don McKenna, St. Mary’s president and CEO. “To me, this speaks volumes about the attractiveness of our new program to the next generation of physicians. We are proud to be an integral part of this effort to bring more medical doctors to Georgia and to the Athens region in particular.”

“Commitment, hard work, and a passion to improve healthcare are all necessary for the development of a new residency program,” said Dr. Barbara Schuster, the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership dean. “Like the first class of partnership medical students, these applicants have chosen to seize the opportunity to help build graduate medical education in Athens. Kudos and thanks to everyone who, through teamwork, brought the vision of graduate medical education in Athens to fruition.”

Residents will arrive in Athens on June 24 for orientation and will begin work in the hospital on July 1. The Internal Medicine Residency Program can accommodate 10 residents in the inaugural year, with another 10 in 2016 and 10 more in 2017 for a maximum of 30 residents total.

“Being the site of the first medical residency program in Northeast Georgia is a tremendous honor for St. Mary’s,” said Dr. Bruce Middendorf, St. Mary’s chief medical officer. “Residents bring new energy and enthusiasm into our clinical areas. At the same time, working with these new physicians is exciting for our medical staff. We are looking forward to welcoming our first-ever residents and to working with them to further raise the bar for clinical excellence at St. Mary’s and across Northeast Georgia. This is a great day for our community.”

“We are excited to reach our next milestone in this collaborative effort to provide a high quality Internal Medicine residency program,” said Dr. Michelle A. Nuss, campus associate dean for graduate medical education at the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership. “It is a compliment to the community of Athens and the area physicians that so many applications were filed, and our team worked hard to identify individuals who would be the best fit for this program. These 10 individuals will help address the need for more physicians in the state of Georgia.”

“It is remarkable that a first-year program filled all its positions,” said Dr. Pete Yunyongying, director of graduate medical education for the Internal Medicine Residency Program. “With no history and no track record, it means that these applicants were impressed by the faculty, the physicians, the staff, the hospital and the opportunity in Northeast Georgia.”

The GRU/UGA Medical Partnership is a collaborative effort between Georgia Regents University and the University of Georgia and is addressing the critical shortage of physicians in the state. The Medical Partnership combines the significant instructional and research resources of UGA, the state’s flagship land-grant research university, with the expertise of the Medical College of Georgia at GRU. For more information, see

St. Mary’s Health Care System, a not-for-profit Catholic health care ministry, is a member of Trinity Health Inc. St. Mary’s includes St. Mary’s Hospital in Athens, St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital in Greensboro and numerous affiliated facilities and practices. It offers a comprehensive range of services to the surrounding community and Northeast Georgia and is the recipient of numerous awards for outstanding quality of care. For more information, see