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Inaugural class of Family and Community Medicine Residency Program graduates

The first six physicians to train in the new Penn State Health Family and Community Residency Program at Mount Nittany Medical Center are headed for the next steps in their medical careers. The six graduated from the program in a ceremony on Friday, June 22 at the University Park Regional Campus of Penn State College of Medicine.

The residency program was developed in collaboration with Mount Nittany Health to provide a rural and community medicine training opportunity for the next generation of family medicine physicians.

“The physicians graduating from this program will go on to practice family medicine in communities across North America,” said Dr. Joseph Wiedemer, director of the Family Medicine residency program. “They are well prepared to provide high quality care amid a rapidly changing health care industry.”

The physicians began practice through the program on July 1, 2015, in the Penn State Health Medical Group – Park Avenue clinic, in the Centre Medical Sciences Building.

“Caring for another human being is sacred work, and we are thrilled to train and graduate the inaugural class of family medicine physicians from our program,” said Kathleen Rhine, president and CEO of Mount Nittany Health. “We expect this class to be the first of many physicians coming from our program to fulfill the growing need for family medicine physicians in our community and in others.”

The first cohort of physicians to graduate from the program includes:

  • Karthika Arulsothynathan, who plans to practice family medicine at Upper Allegheny Health System in New York.
  • Jonathan Ashley, who plans to practice family medicine in the Centre County region.
  • Shwetha Gurram, who is headed to Oregon to practice family medicine at Salem Health.
  • Natalia Hanson, who will practice family medicine in Mifflintown, Pa., at Geisinger Health System.
  • Amit Thatte, who will pursue an anesthesiology fellowship at the University of Toronto.
  • Nicki Vithalani, who will head to Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles for a fellowship in hospice and palliative medicine.

During the first year of their residencies, the physicians focused on general specialties such as family medicine, internal medicine, surgery, critical care medicine and pediatrics.

In the second and third years, they underwent additional training in various specialties and sub-specialties, and spent more time on outpatient directed care and electives.

The eleven second- and third-year residents currently in the program will be joined by seven new residents who will begin rotations in July.

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