June 29, 2016Twenty-one physicians were honored at the 41st annual graduation ceremony of The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency and Fellowships. The 14 resident physicians and seven fellows who were honored at the ceremony, held Saturday, June 25, at the Zone-South at Bryant Denny Stadium on the UA campus, will soon begin their own practices in Alabama and other states. Some resident physicians will go on to complete fellowship programs. The UA College of Community Health Sciences provides graduate medical education through both the three-year Family Medicine Residency and year-long fellowships for family medicine physicians seeking additional training in behavioral health, hospitalist medicine, obstetrics, rural public psychiatry, sports medicine or geriatric medicine. “We’re very proud of the work this group has done in continuing the mission of the College,” said Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of CCHS, as he welcomed graduates and attendees. Dr. A Robert Sheppard, associate professor of Internal Medicine and the director of the College’s Hospitalist Fellowship, was the guest speaker of the ceremony. He shared with the graduates that he grew up poor on a farm in south Alabama, and that he initially struggled when he came to UA as a pre-med student. His academic advisers discouraged him from pursuing medicine because of his low grades, he said, and he had trouble with reading comprehension and vocabulary. But he worked diligently, improved and was eventually accepted to the University of Alabama School of Medicine. “Don’t ever give up,” he said to the graduates. “And don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t do something.” Awards were given to many of the graduating residents, including the inaugural William W. Winternitz Award in Geriatrics, which was given to Dr. Michael Gabriel in recognition of his interest in geriatrics and exceptional care of the geriatric population. Dr. Anne Halli-Tierney, a geriatrician and assistant professor in Family Medicine at the College, presented the award, which is named in honor of Dr. William W. Winternitz, a founding faculty member of the College who passed away in October 2015. “[Dr. Winternitz] had a passion for the field of medicine and especially for academic medicine and the betterment of medical students and residents.” Halli-Tierney said. Winternitz joined the College in 1977, serving as professor and chair of Internal Medicine and Director of Medical Student Affairs. He remained active at the College after his retirement. He and his wife, Madeleine Hill, established the William W. Winternitz Geriatric Gift Fund to support the College’s Geriatric Initiative to provide enhanced educational opportunities for medical students and residents, new service-based learning opportunities and increased patient interaction. “This award is supported by and named for a man truly dedicated to teaching both patients and medical learners,” said Halli-Tierney. “And it is given to the resident who has shown a solid interest in geriatric medicine and has provided exceptional, compassionate care of the geriatric population during his time at CCHS.” 2016 Graduating Fellows: Dr. Nicole Denise Arthur, Obstetrics Fellow Dr. Alexis Tanishia Mason, Behavioral Health Fellow Dr. Byron Oswaldo Mata Gonzalez, Hospitalist Fellow Dr. Bogdan Strambu, Hospitalist Fellow Dr. Antoanela Zaharia, Hospitalist Fellow Dr. Matthew David Andres, Sports Medicine Fellow Dr. Carl Hunter Russell, Sports Medicine Fellow 2016 Graduating Residents: Dr. Chandra Rekha Americhetty Dr. Sirisha Chada Dr. Mary Margaret Clapp Dr. Jason Lee Clemons Dr. Eric James Curley Dr. Timothy Scott Eckford (chief resident) Dr. Michael Daniel Gabriel Dr. Katie Marie Gates (chief resident) Dr. Maysoon Hamed Dr. Ambreen Mardhani Dr. Bhavika Rajanikant Patel (chief resident) Dr. Jerry Yue Shen Dr. Ross Alexander Summerford Residency Award Winners William R. Willard Award – Dr. Jacquelynn Luker (first-year resident) Internal Medicine-Intern Award – Dr. Jacquelynn Luker Internal Medicine-Best Resident – Dr. Katie Gates and Dr. Ross Summerford Pediatrics Award – Dr. Eric Curley Psychiatry Award – Dr. Bhavika Patel Psychiatry/R3 Award – Dr. Jason Clemons Obstetrics and Gynecology Award – Dr. Michael Gabriel Research/Scholarship Award – Dr. Mary Margaret Clapp, Dr. Katie Gates, and Dr. Ambreen Mardhani William W. Winternitz Award in Geriatrics – Dr. Michael Gabriel Society of Teachers in Family Medicine Teaching Award – Dr. Jason Clemons Clinical Competency Committee Awards – Dr. Jason Clemons (third year), Dr. Keri Merschman (second year), Dr. Cheree Melton (first year), and Dr. Ashley Wambolt (first year) William F. deShazo III Award – Dr. Ross Summerford 360 Award – Dr. Katie Gates Rural Medical Scholar Graduates Recognized Dr. Jason Clemons Dr. Katie Gates Dr. Ross Summerford The College’s Rural Medical Scholars Program is designed to recruit students from rural Alabama who want to become physicians and practice in rural communities in the state. For more coverage of the event, including photo galleries, click here.