Health & Wellness Science & Technology Society & Culture

St. Mary’s, GRU/UGA Medical Partnership welcome first residents

Internal Medicine Residency Program first
The Internal Medicine Residency Program

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, officially welcomed its first class of internal medicine residents.

The 10 residents, who began orientation on June 24, officially began work July 1.

“The start of Northeast Georgia’s first residency program is an historic occasion,” said Don McKenna, St. Mary’s president and CEO. “It is the product of years of hard work by many people and offers the state and our community an unprecedented opportunity to enhance access to quality care by attracting a new generation of primary care physicians to our region.”

“We appreciate all that Gov. Nathan Deal, the legislature, the board of regents and the leadership of GRU and UGA have done to make this program possible,” said Dr. Leslie Lee, interim campus dean of the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership. “Through their foresight and dedication, they have provided the support needed to bring this dream to fruition.”

Each resident will complete three years of training in internal medicine rotations as specified by the American Board of Internal Medicine certification requirements. Residents will focus on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease in adults and will practice alongside attending physicians to gain increasingly sophisticated knowledge, skills and experience working with patients.

The Internal Medicine Residency Program includes five core faculty members, 10 subspecialty education coordinators and approximately 70 additional faculty members for the elective and subspecialty rotations. These faculty members provide quality clinical care and medical education on a daily basis.

“The eagerness of our medical staff to serve as faculty is a tremendous asset to our program,” said Bruce Middendorf, St. Mary’s chief medical officer. “Our residents will be working side-by-side with experienced physicians who are excited to be involved in mentoring the next generation of doctors. I have never seen our medical community so energized.”

“The educational program’s overall goals and objectives are to graduate outstanding competent, knowledgeable and qualified internal medicine physicians, and this is the first step in achieving those goals,” said Michelle A. Nuss, GRU/UGA Medical Partnership campus associate dean for graduate medical education.

The residents’ education began June 24 with five days of intensive orientation to St. Mary’s and the Medical Partnership, including sessions on hospital processes, advanced cardiac life support and residency program expectations.

“We were very fortunate to match 10 outstanding young physicians, and it has been wonderful seeing them come together as a group during orientation,” said Pete Yunyongying, GRU/UGA Medical Partnership internal medicine program director. “They can’t wait to meet the community of Athens and Northeast Georgia in the coming months.”

GRU/UGA Medical Partnership
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 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 on the partnership, visit

St. Mary’s Health Care System
St. Mary’s Health Care System, a not-for-profit Catholic healthcare 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, St. Mary’s Sacred Heart Hospital in Lavonia, 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, visit or follow St. Mary’s on Facebook and Twitter.

The Internal Medicine Residency Program’s first class is:
Brian Brewer, M.D.
• Undergraduate school: University of Georgia
• Medical school: GRU/UGA Medical Partnership
Heather Brody, M.D., M.Sc.
• Undergraduate school: Tulane University
• Graduate school: University of South Florida
• Medical school: The American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine
Narayana Gowda, M.D.
• Undergraduate school: University of Georgia
• Medical school: American University of Antigua College of Medicine
Andrew Ke, M.D.
• Undergraduate school: University of Georgia
• Medical school: Ross University School of Medicine
Soma Mandal, M.D., M.P.A.
• Undergraduate school: Ohio State University
• Graduate school: New York University
• Medical school: Albany Medical College
Tenzing Phanthok, M.D., M.S.
• Undergraduate school: Emory University
• Graduate school: Georgia Institute of Technology
• Medical school: University of the Caribbean School of Medicine
Akhil Rasim Reddy, M.D.
• Undergraduate school: University of Georgia
• Medical school: St. George’s University School of Medicine
Sonia Suda, M.D.
• Undergraduate school: Duke University
• Medical school: Tulane School of Medicine
Kyle Walker, M.D., M.S.
• Undergraduate school: University of Georgia
• Graduate school: Georgetown University
• Medical school: Ross University School of Medicine
Addison Zhang, M.D.
• Undergraduate school: University of Wisconsin-Madison
• Medical school: American University of Antigua College of Medicine