July 8, 2019
Twenty-one physicians were honored June 30 at the 44th annual graduation ceremony of The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency and Fellowships.
The College of Community Health Sciences provides graduate and post-graduate medical education through both the three-year UA Family Medicine Residency and year-long fellowships for family medicine physicians seeking additional training in behavioral health, emergency medicine, geriatrics, hospitalist medicine, obstetrics, rural public psychiatry and sports medicine.
The 15 graduating residents and six fellows will begin their own practices in Alabama and other states or will go on to fellowship programs. To date, the UA Family Medicine Residency has graduated 509 family medicine physicians.
“It doesn’t end here,” said interim residency Director Dr. Tamer Elsayed, who welcomed graduates and their families and friends to the graduation ceremony, held at the Zone-South at Bryant Denny Stadium on the UA campus. “This is only the start, but you are up to the test.”
Elsayed said in the last three years, the graduating residents and fellows had 27,211 patient encounters, delivered 633 babies and responded to 111 code blues. “You took care of your patients in clinics, hospitals, emergency rooms, nursing homes and sometimes in their own homes. You went above and beyond.”
Dr. Dan Avery, professor emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology, was the guest speaker at the graduation ceremony. Avery served previously as chair of the College’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and has instructed residents since the 1980s.
“This is a special occasion, a big occasion,” Avery said. “When you’re a first-year resident, you think this day will never come. You’re always sleepy, you have no money, and your friends who graduated from college with you have nice homes and cars – and you’re at the hospital with six admits. But today you’ve arrived.”
He provided graduating residents with a list of key things to take with them: “Your relationships with your patients are everything; consider letting the first office visit be a social visit; treat your patients like they are your family and without regard to their financial and insurance status; communication is half of medicine and it might be the most important half; be honest with your patients; and make practicing medicine fun.”
Avery said the College’s residency is affiliated with a major university, has great faculty and staff, a strong partnership with DCH Regional Medical Center and community physicians, and wonderful facilities. But he said what really makes a residency great are its residents and fellows. “Today you graduate. Congratulations for a job well done.”
Graduating residents made brief comments as they received their diplomas.
“I am thankful,” said Dr. Dr. Katie Muhammad-Reed. “This has been a long journey, but I’m so thankful.”
In closing remarks, Dr. Richard Friend, interim dean of CCHS and former residency director, thanked the graduating residents for their commitment to CCHS. “We have benefited, your patients have benefited, and our community has benefited,” he said.