CIFC Celebrates Graduation of its Fourth Internal Medicine Post-MD Residency Class

Class of 2019

The fourth class of post-MD medical residents recently graduated from the Greater Danbury Community Health Center’s (GDCHC) Internal (adult) Medicine Residency Program.

Connecticut Institute For Communities Inc. (CIFC) sponsors the Greater Danbury Community Health Center (GDCHC), a federally qualified health center. The center, which has multiple sites in Danbury, provides health care to people of all ages on a sliding scale. GDCHC’s services include pediatrics, internal (adult) medicine, women’s health, and adult and pediatric dental and behavioral health services. The nonprofit organization also manages school-based health centers in Danbury and Newtown. 

As part of the Greater Danbury Community Health Center, CIFC sponsors a Teaching Health Center program that offers a post-MD residency in internal (adult) medicine. GDCHC is the only Teaching Health Center in Connecticut and one of only 56 Teaching Health Centers nationwide.

The nine residency graduates were presented with their diplomas at a graduation ceremony on June 17 at the Amber Room Colonnade, Danbury, surrounded by their families, loved ones, teachers, CIFC leadership and more. They completed their three-year residency training at the community health center, in compliance with all the requirements of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the national Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

“The most enjoyable part of a teaching program is seeing a group of enthusiastic young residents grow and mature over their three years into confident, well-trained physicians,” said Dr. Asha Marhatta, MD, MPH, CIFC GDCHC internal medicine residency program director. “Our task is made easier by the outstanding caliber of the residents who come here, and the superb faculty who teach them. All of our graduates are compassionate, kind and driven individuals who keep patients first, in all they do.” 

CIFC’s first class of medical residents began in 2013 and graduated in 2016. The program, which is accredited by the national Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, focuses on training residents in the “Patient-Centered Medical Home” practice model, which places patients at the center of their care. The residency program is recognized as a Level 3 Patient Centered Medical Home (the highest rating) by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). The residents are trained at the Greater Danbury Community Health Center, as well as at Danbury Hospital and Griffin Hospital in Derby, where they complete in-patient rotations. As of this July, the CIFC Teaching Health Center will have a total of 24 residents enrolled in the three-year program.

“GDCHC is the only Teaching Health Center in Connecticut. The program has had excellent results and is highly regarded,” said James H. Maloney, CIFC president and CEO. “There is a huge looming shortage of primary care doctors both nationally and in Connecticut, and our program is a direct response to that need. We’re delighted that seven of the nine of this year’s graduates will go on to practice in primary care or a primary care subspecialty such as geriatrics.”

According to the American College of Physicians, only 18 percent of graduating internal medicine residents in 2018 reported planning a career in general internal medicine, which includes primary care. From this year’s CIFC Internal Medicine graduating class, 78 percent are going on to practice in primary care or a primary care subspecialty.    

The nine graduates:

Dr. Nahid Suleman: Dr. Suleman was born in Kenya. He earned his medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine. He has accepted a faculty position with the University of Kansas Health System.

Dr. Melvin Philip: Dr. Philip was born in Canada. He earned his medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine. He is pursuing a fellowship in a primary care subspecialty (palliative care) at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Dr. Swati Patel: Dr. Patel was born in Evanston, Illinois. She earned her medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine. She has accepted a primary care position at Kaiser Permanente Medical Group in northern California.

Dr. Leonidas Miras: Dr. Miras was born in Huntington, New York. He earned his medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine. He has accepted the position of Primary Care Chief Resident for CIFC for 2019-2020.

Dr. Samah Hajjar: Dr. Hajjar was born in Saudi Arabia. She earned her medical degree from Taibah University College of Medicine. She has been accepted to a primary care subspecialty (geriatrics) fellowship at UConn.

Dr. Ishtiaq Habib: Dr. Habib was born in Bangladesh. He earned his medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine. He has joined a primary care private practice in Naperville, Illinois.

Dr. Ismail Almokyad: Dr. Almokyad was born in Saudi Arabia. He earned his medical degree from Misr University for Science and Technology College of Medicine. He is pursuing a fellowship in nephrology at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Ahmad Alharbi: Dr. Alharbi was born in Saudi Arabia. He earned his medical degree at Jazan University Faculty of Medicine. He has been accepted to a hospitalist position at the University of Missouri.

Dr. Majed Alfi: Dr. Alfi was born in Saudi Arabia. He earned his medical degree at the King Abdul-Aziz University College of Medicine and Allied Sciences. He has been accepted to a sleep medicine fellowship (a primary care subspecialty) at UCLA in California.

Photo credit: Nicole Bourgeois-Believe