June 29, 2007

New house staff eager to get started

Featured Image

During orientation for new house staff this week Mayshan Ghiassi, M.D., foreground, prepares to get an injection from Nicole Hammock, R.N., while his brother, Mahan Ghassi, M.D., smiles as Linda Larson, R.N., fills a syringe. The brothers graduated from VUSM and are residents in Neurosurgery. (photo by Anne Rayner)

New house staff eager to get started

Fred Kirchner, M.D., left, with Donald Brady, M.D., who will succeed Kirchner in October as director of Graduate Medical Education. (photo by Mary Donaldson)

Fred Kirchner, M.D., left, with Donald Brady, M.D., who will succeed Kirchner in October as director of Graduate Medical Education. (photo by Mary Donaldson)

On Monday, 240 excited and anxious young men and women began the transition from medical students to physicians as they embarked on a weeklong orientation prior to starting their residencies on July 1.

Fred Kirchner Jr., M.D., associate dean and director of Graduate Medical Education, who has been the first to welcome new house staff to orientation for the last 19 years, did so for the last time on Monday in Light Hall. He will step down later this year after 37 years at Vanderbilt.

“One of the perks of my job is to be the first of a number of people over the next few days who will say 'welcome,' and be assured that each subsequent 'welcome' is as sincere as this first one,” Kirchner told the new physicians.

Kirchner introduced his successor, Donald Brady, M.D. Brady, who is currently the associate vice-chair for Education and co-director of the Internal Medicine residency program at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, will assume the new position on Oct. 1.

Steven Gabbe, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine, also welcomed the group and, via a brief introduction to elevate, encouraged them to always seek excellence in education, research and patient care.

“I urge you to join our pursuit of excellence as conscientiously as you embark upon all other aspects of your graduate training here,” he said. “Every weekday at Vanderbilt, we treat over 3,500 patients. Each one of those patients and their family members has the opportunity to decide whether the care and level of service they received was consistent with what they expected at a place like Vanderbilt University Medical Center. This is what our pursuit of a culture of excellence is all about.”

The assembly kicked off a week of orientation activities, which included everything from vehicle registration to health screenings to presentations on benefits and support services for physicians. There was also a welcoming picnic Monday evening on Olin Hall Lawn.

After the general orientation, the new house staff had departmental-specific sessions, all leading toward the nationwide first day of work for new residents, July 1. After that, each program runs independently.

The new VUMC residents are specializing in 50 different areas, including 23 categorical areas with numerous subspecialties. The major areas are Anesthesiology, Emergency Medicine, Medicine, Neurology, Ob/Gyn, Pathology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Radiology/Nuclear Medicine and Surgery.

Most are newly graduated from medical schools, both nationally and internationally; a few have transferred from other residency programs.

Of the new graduates, 29 received their degrees at Vanderbilt's medical school and have chosen to continue their training here.

The total number of house staff at VUMC stands at approximately 830. Their residencies range in length from three years — the minimum to qualify for a board examination — to eight years for certain specialties.

“The residents are great. They are bright, intelligent and in medicine for all the right reasons,” Kirchner said. “I feel that the future of health care is in good hands.”