Lakeside Medical Center, Palm Beach County’s only public hospital, graduated five residents from its family medicine residency program on June 24.
The 70-bed hospital in Belle Glade, owned and operated by the Health Care District of Palm Beach County, became accredited in 2011 to offer the program, which trains family medicine physicians in a rural hospital. It is one of the few programs in the nation to focus on the special healthcare needs of rural areas.
“Congratulations to each of you and to your families,” said Dr. Ronald J. Wiewora, CEO of the Health Care District of Palm Beach County. “Through your commitment to this program and your service to Lakeside Medical Center’s patients, we help improve the health of Glades’ residents today, tomorrow and well into the future.”
More than 70 people attended the graduation of Dr. Omar Mubaidin, Dr. Josephine Pearson, Dr. Tracy Romanello, Dr. Zeporah Sykes and Dr. Na Ly Vang. They make up the first graduating class to have completed all three years of the program at Lakeside Medical Center.
“You have learned the science of medicine, but it is my sincere hope that you will always practice the art of compassion in this new road that you are about to begin as full-fledged physicians,” said Dr. Nikerson Geneve, director of Lakeside Medical Center’s family medicine residency program.
Mubaidin, the program’s chief resident, spoke on behalf of his fellow graduates about the academic advantages of learning medicine in an underserved region so rich in charm, optimism and community spirit.
“It’s going to be very hard for any of us to really leave Belle Glade,” he said. “I know I speak for all of us when I say we are very lucky to have trained here.”
In his remarks, Hospital Administrator Thomas J. Leach credited the graduates for their role in realizing many of the hospital’s recent achievements.
“During the course of their time here, these five physicians have contributed to Lakeside Medical Center having approximately 13,600 admissions, 70,000 emergency room visits, 3,750 surgeries and having delivered 1,300 babies,” he said. “This group of residents was not only here to learn from us, but they have become an integral part of this healthcare team.”
Following the graduation ceremony, the five graduates took part in coating three incoming residents to the program: Dr. Jessica Brunette, Dr. Samantha Choudhury and Dr. Justin Morgan.
This year’s graduation included a keynote speech from Dr. Shino Bay Aguilera, aesthetic dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Aguilera, who helped train the graduates during their clinical rotations, praised each of them for their work as healers. “Just the fact that you chose to receive your education here in Belle Glade says a lot about you,” Aguilera said. “In life, it’s not how much you know, it’s how you affect other people’s lives.”
The family medicine residency program is financed by a grant from Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration.
For more information about Lakeside Medical Center, visit www.lakesidemedical.org or call (561) 996-6571.
ABOVE: Dr. Tracy Romanello, Dr. Josephine Pearson, Dr. Omar Mubaidin, Dr. Na Ly Vang and Dr. Zeporah Sykes with Program Director Dr. Nikerson Geneve.