Kaweath Health celebrates 2024 graduating class

The Graduation Medical Education Program at Kaweah Health has graduated 41 resident physicians and three fellow doctors, hoping to add more doctors to the Central Valley.

41 resident physicians, three fellowship-trained physicians graduate from the program; an average of 42% of Kaweah Health graduates stay in the Central Valley to practice medicine

VISALIA – Thanks to the Graduate Medical Education Program at Kaweah Health, more doctors are practicing in the Central Valley.

This year, Kaweah Health has announced the graduation of 41 resident doctors in six specialty areas of study and three fellow doctors in its Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship. Since the program began 11 years ago, Kaweah Health has graduated 210 resident physicians and three fellows, with an average of 42% of those doctors staying in the Central Valley to practice.

“It’s a bittersweet moment, because they have become part of our Kaweah Health family and our community,” said Gary Herbst, Kaweah Health’s Chief Executive Officer. “They’ve had an indelible impact in our organization, and through their commitment to excellent service, they have helped improve the health of patients in Tulare County.”

This year’s winner of the Frank and Teresa Kleist Award was given to Reza Emami, MD. The Kleist award recognizes a graduating resident physician or fellow who best exemplifies humanitarian compassion in the care of patients. The award was donated by a local book club honoring Dr. Frank Kleist, a retired member of Kaweah Health’s medical staff and faculty emeritus of Kaweah Health’s Psychiatry Residency Program.

“Graduating a GME program is not a simple accomplishment,” said Lori Winston, MD FACEP, Chief Medical Education Officer and Designated Institutional Official. “It is the culmination of years of rigorous study, many sleepless nights and endless exams. These graduates have chosen a profession that requires compassion, empathy and a relentless pursuit of knowledge.”

Kaweah Health’s Graduate Medical Education Program began in 2013 and now offers residency programs in anesthesiology, emergency medicine, family medicine, psychiatry, surgery and transitional year. The first class of physicians graduated in June 2016.

Admission into the program is competitive as Kaweah Health received more than 4,500 applications this year and interviewed more than 700 candidates for 53 openings. With close to half of its graduating doctors staying in the Central Valley to practice, the program is bringing a steady flow of new doctors into the region.

The 2024 graduating class is divided into several specialties of study. From anesthesiology, the graduates include Haiyan Guo, DO; Kinh-Vy Nguyen, MD; Edmund Wang, DO; and Adrian Gregory Yambao Yabut, DO. In emergency medicine, Matthew Bordbari, DO; David Fernando Castro Palomino, DO; Amy Chuang, DO; Giulia Di Bella, DO; Ethan Noah Hartman, MD; Melissa Kemp, DO; Kevin Lieu, MD; Aubtin Saedi, DO; Christina Seto, MD; Maria Tobar, MD; and Alex Inchen Tsai, DO graduate from the program.

From family medicine, the graduates include Eduardo Amezcua, MD; Jasmeen Chahil, MD; Grace Guadalupe, MD; Rebecca Rachel King Kawagoe, DO; Sparghai Sahar Ludin, MD; and Dorathea Smith, MD. In psychiatry, James Harrison Collins, MD; Sherry Kwon, MD; Mithun Medagangoda, DO; Shashvat Patel, MD; and Morgan Stanley, DO, graduate from the program.

From surgery, the graduates include Natalie Ranya Joumblat, MD; Jacob Kirkorowicz, MD, MSc.; and Julia B. Ruffo, MD. In transitional year, Bruno Alonso, MD; Jeremy Craig Brown, DO; Stanley Chu, MD; Audelia Eben, DO; Arturo Hernandez, MD; Steven Lacombe, DO; Ashley Marie Lau, DO; Shant Thomas Malkasian, MD; April Yen Ngoy, DO; Ellie Nareae Ok, DO; Thomas Garrett Shomaker, MD; and Yuan Quinton Yuan, DO make up the graduates. From the child & adolescent psychiatry fellowship, the graduates include Reza Emami, MD; Kristine Hwang, MD; and Cyrus Montes de Oca, DO.

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