Family, friends and colleagues gathered June 15 at Lakeside Medical Center, Palm Beach County’s only public hospital, to celebrate the graduation of four residents from its family medicine residency program. Lakeside, which is owned and operated by the Health Care District of Palm Beach County, is the program’s primary clinical training site.
This is the third class of residents to graduate from the program, which was established at the acute-care facility in 2011 and is one of the few programs of its kind to focus on the special healthcare needs of rural, underserved areas.
“Your achievements are especially meaningful to me as a physician,” said Dr. Ronald Wiewora, CEO of the Health Care District and chief medical officer. “Through your commitment to this program and your service to our patients, we help improve the health of Glades residents today, tomorrow and well into the future.”
More than 80 people attended the graduation of Dr. Heidi Denton and Dr. Nathan Kaller, co-chief residents, Dr. Sabine Delinois-Elisee and Dr. Isaac Vargas. The residents leave the three-year curriculum with knowledge and experience gained from rotations in emergency medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, geriatrics, general surgery, internal medicine, neonatology, community and sports medicine, cardiology, diagnostic radiology, orthopedics and ENT, urology, ophthalmology and critical care.
“I have witnessed your hard work and your dedication. You have made it. You have learned the science of medicine,” Program Director Nikerson Geneve said. “Now is the time to practice the art of compassion as physicians. We have done our best to inspire you, and I believe once you go out there, you will do very well.”
This ceremony included a keynote speech from Yaw Abu, residency program faculty and chief of medicine at Lakeside. He encouraged the residents to continue expanding their knowledge and improving as they embark on their careers. “Our education continues with each patient we meet,” Abu said. “So, as you turn a page today, a new phase of life begins tomorrow. But go into that new phase knowing that you have earned our trust and respect.”
In her remarks on behalf of the graduating residents, Denton recounted how the diverse range of medical conditions that present at the rural hospital, along with the familial atmosphere of the program, have prepared the graduates for the challenges they may face in practice.
“I have learned so much as a resident with Lakeside Medical Center’s family medicine residency program,” she said. “We learned from you ,and we’re the better for it. And we’re going to become good doctors because of it.”
Hospital Administrator Thomas Leach credited the graduates for their role in Lakeside Medical Center realizing several key achievements over the years, including being named in 2012 and 2014 by the Joint Commission as a “Top Performer on Key Quality Measures.”
“Without the efforts of our residents, those accomplishments would have been difficult to attain,” Leach said. “This group of residents was not only here to learn from us, but they have become an integral part of this healthcare team, and we have learned from their experiences.”
Also speaking at the event were Juan Cocuy, chairman of the Glades Rural Area Support Board, which governs Lakeside Medical Center, as well as Martin Schnier, Lakeside’s medical director and director of medical education.
The Rev. Robert Rease, pastor of St. John First Missionary Baptist Church and a member of the Glades Rural Area Support Board, delivered the invocation. After the graduation ceremony, the four graduates took part in coating five incoming residents to the program: Bralin Bean, Elena Herschdorfer Rodriguez, Roberteen McCray, Stephen Perez and Tyler Provost.
The program is funded through a grant from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. The program’s partners include Nova Southeastern University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Palm Beach County Health Department and Florida Community Health Centers.
To learn more about Lakeside Medical Center, visit www.lakesidemedical.org or call (561) 996-6571.
ABOVE: Lakeside’s Chief of Medicine Yaw Abu; graduate Sabine Delinois Elisee; Health Care District CEO Ronald Wiewora; Yves Pierre-Louis; Florida Community Health Centers CEO Michael Gervasi; Yanick Eugene Dauphin; graduate Isaac Vargas; Marie Duthil; graduate Nathan Kaller; Program Director Nikerson Geneve; Lakeside Medical Education Director Martin Schnier; and graduate Heidi Denton.