St. Mary's Medical Education

6/24/16 — The Internal Medicine Residency Program, a joint effort of the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership and St. Mary’s Health Care System, welcomed its second group of Internal Medicine residents today.

The class of 10 residents, who began orientation on June 22, will begin the final phase of their medical education on July 1, 2016. Each has completed medical school and now begins a 3-year medical residency that will include progressively independent patient care under the supervision of physician faculty. The residents provide care at St. Mary's and at the program's ambulatory care practice, Community Internal Medicine of Athens, and also complete extensive coursework with the Partnership Medical School.

"We are very proud to welcome our second group of residents to Northeast Georgia's first residency program," said St. Mary's President and CEO, Don McKenna. "Our experience with the first class has been phenomenal, and we look forward to equally great success with our second class. It's an honor to be an integral part of the process of educating the next generation of physicians so that they can provide quality care. We are thrilled that we can provide this unprecedented opportunity to bring new physicians to our region."

This year's class joins the 10 residents who came to the Internal Medicine Residency Program and St. Mary's on July 1, 2015. The first class now progresses to their second year, in which they will have increasing responsibility and autonomy, including contributing to the education of the new first-year residents.

"The first class at a new residency program blazes a trail for future classes to follow," said Pete Yunyongying, MD, AU/UGA Medical Partnership Internal Medicine Program Director. "The second class puts the program to the test and makes it even better, refining and building on the work done by the first class. The faculty are very impressed with the caliber, dedication and commitment of all 20 of our residents. It's exciting to be part of this program and to help guide its growth."

Strong ties to Georgia

This second group of residents has strong connections to Georgia, Dr. Yunyongying noted. Nine of the 10 have ties to the state, ranging from being born in Georgia to having served in the Armed Forces in our state. One is a graduate of the University of Georgia, two earned their medical degrees from Georgia universities, and three others completed medical clerkships in this state.

According to Bruce Middendorf, MD, St. Mary's Chief Medical Officer, it is unusual for a new residency program to "match" all openings in its initial years. In the match process, graduating medical students apply to residency programs that interest them all across the nation. Then, programs select students to interview. Finally, both the student and the program have to select each other for a match to occur.

"In our first year, we received more than 1,300 applications, conducted about 100 in-person interviews, and filled all 10 residency spots," Dr. Middendorf said. "This year, we received 1,848 applications, conducted 111 in-person interviews, and again filled all 10 openings. That success speaks volumes about the appeal of our program. I think the match process for our third year residents will be even more outstanding."

In addition to program leadership, the Internal Medicine Residency Program includes five core faculty members, 10 subspecialty education coordinators, and approximately 70 additional faculty for the elective and subspecialty rotations. These faculty members are actively engaged in providing quality clinical care and medical education on a daily basis.

What Resident physicians do

Residents focus on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease in adults and practice alongside attending physicians to gain increasingly sophisticated knowledge, skills, and experience working with patients. Each Internal Medicine resident will complete three years of training in Internal Medicine rotations as specified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) certification requirements. After completion of the program, they are eligible to take their Board certification exam, apply for state licensure, begin practicing internal medicine, or pursue additional education in specialties such as cardiology, orthopedics or neurology.

“We appreciate all that Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, the legislature, the Board of Regents, and the leadership of Augusta University and the University of Georgia have done to make this program possible,” said Michelle Nuss, MD, campus dean of the AU/UGA Medical Partnership. “Through their foresight and dedication, they have provided the support needed to bring this dream to fruition.”

The AU/UGA Medical Partnership is a collaborative effort between Augusta University and the University of Georgia and is addressing the critical shortage of physicians in the state. The Medical Partnership combines the instructional and research resources of UGA, the state’s flagship land-grant research university, with the expertise of the Medical College of Georgia at AU.

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 health care 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.

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The Internal Medicine Residency Program’s class of 2019 is:

Waqas Ahmad, M.D.
• From: Chicago, Ill.
• Bachelor's degree: Loyola University, Chicago
• Medical degree: American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine Sint Maarten

Kristina Catania, M.D.
• From: Florida
• Bachelor's degree: Florida State University
• Medical degree: University of Medicine and Health Sciences, St. Kitts

Seth Courson, D.O.
• From: Valdosta, Ga.
• Bachelor's degree: UGA
• Medical degree: Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Mary De Croos, M.D.
• From: Florida
• Bachelor's degree: Duke University
• Medical degree: University of Medicine and Health Sciences, St. Kitts

Zachary Di Iulio, M.D.
• From: Oklahoma
• Bachelor's degree: Augusta State University
• Medical degree: Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University

Bennett Gladden, M.D.
• From: Missouri
• Bachelor's degree: University of Kansas
• Medical degree: University of Kansas School of Medicine

Sandeep Jalli, D.O.
• From: Augusta, Ga.
• Bachelor's degree: Cornell University
• Medical degree: Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Martin Kagira, M.D.
• From: Kenya
• Bachelor's degree: Beulah Heights University
• Medical degree: Mercer University School of Medicine

Zachary Newman, M.D.
• From: Tennessee
• Bachelor's degree: Capital University
• Medical degree: St. George's University School of Medicine

Rida Younus, M.D.
• From: New York
• Bachelor's degree: New York Institute of Technology
• Medical degree: International American University College of Medicine

The 2018 IMRP class is: Drs. Brian Brewer, Heather Brody, Narayana Gowda, Andrew Ke, Soma Mandal, Tenzing Phanthok, Akhil Rasim Reddy, Sonia Suda, Kyle Walker, and Addison Zhang.

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