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There was something very unique about the 2021 graduating class of the Brodes H. Hartley, Jr. Teaching Health Center. It wasn’t the fact that all five graduates were brilliant young doctors, even though they were. It was the fact that all of them were women. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, there has been a steady rise in the number of women students, and CHI’s 2021 class was living proof.
Four family medicine residents and one psychiatry resident received medals and certificates at the graduation on June 12.
“We are very proud of our graduates,” said Dr. Elizabeth Philippe, Chief of Family Medicine, Associate Director of Medical Education, and Program Director for Family Medicine. “They are now better clinicians with diverse experience, who are ready to provide high-quality services.”
The graduation was streamed live on CHI’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Dr. Romeena Lee, graduate and chief resident, addressed those in attendance.
“I have found a place that fulfilled my heart again, where I was able to learn and help those with the most needs,” said Dr. Lee. “I call CHI my ‘little gem in the South’.”
Dr. Sydney Coupet, founder of SPARK Health, delivered the keynote address.
“I am so excited to share this special day with these graduates and their families as they start the next phase of their medical career,” said Dr. Coupet. “CHI has definitely attracted the best and brightest physicians from across the country to train right here and enhance its goal to deliver high-quality, patient-centered care to the community.”
On June 23, CHI also held a virtual White Coat Ceremony to welcome the incoming class of residents, which included four family medicine and three psychiatry residents. The donning of the white coat is a symbol of passage for incoming residents, as they take on the responsibility of becoming a physician for the community.
This moment was especially important for resident Dr. Yeily Hernandez-Mato. When she was only 18, she nearly died in a violent car accident. Four months later, she was released from the hospital, left to recover in her mother’s car as the two of them were homeless. Without any money or insurance, Hernandez-Mato went to CHI where doctors nursed her back to health. On June 23, she returned full circle to train and serve among those doctors.
“It’s an emotional moment for me to come back to CHI,” said Dr. Hernandez-Mato. “The care team here showed me compassion, and now I have the opportunity to show others the same compassion.”