Shaping the future of medicine: HCA Healthcare welcomes 2,006 new residents and fellows in 2023

new residents and fellows outside hospital
In 2022, HCA Florida Capital Hospital in Tallahassee, Florida launched its first-ever Graduate Medical Education Residency Program in partnership with the University of Central Florida College of Medicine. Accredited by the Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the program trains residents in dermatology and psychiatric medicine.

On July 1, 2023, HCA Healthcare continued a tradition of celebrating new physicians on their next step in their medical careers by welcoming 2,006 new residents and fellows to our Graduate Medical Education (GME) program. As the largest sponsor of GME programs in the United States, HCA Healthcare onboarded one of the largest incoming classes of residents among U.S. teaching hospitals in 2023.

GME refers to the period of education in a particular specialty (residency) or subspecialty (fellowship) following medical school. By joining HCA Healthcare’s GME program, the newly minted physicians will have the opportunity to work with high-quality faculty focused on teaching them to provide exceptional, compassionate care. The new class of residents and fellows will spend time within their GME program treating patients in a real-world environment and will gain access to fulfilling career opportunities across HCA Healthcare’s top-performing hospitals, surgery centers, practices, urgent care centers and research centers.

According to a study by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the United States could see an estimated shortage of between 37,800 and 124,000 physicians by 2034, including shortfalls in both primary and specialty care.

“As the country is faced with physician shortages, we are working to address these challenges head-on by investing in medical education that inspires tomorrow’s physicians to advance science, and improve patient care,” said Dr. Michael Cuffe, HCA Healthcare executive vice president and chief clinical officer. “I am confident that the nearly two thousand physicians that joined our organization this summer will be encouraged, challenged and prepared to fulfill HCA Healthcare’s mission to care for and improve human lives.”

HCA Healthcare began building a network of GME training programs nine years ago and has since become a leading sponsor of GME training. The success of the organization’s GME program is a testament to the collaborative efforts between HCA Healthcare’s teaching hospitals working together to provide quality training to the next generation of physicians.

We’ve expanded our training to more than 300 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited programs, 5,185 residents, and 72 teaching hospitals across 16 states. HCA Healthcare’s network of teaching hospitals provides significant advantages in the development of high-quality education, offers a broad spectrum of clinical experience and a range of excellent academic support services such as research, curriculum development and shared didactics.

HCA Healthcare overall offers GME training programs in 46 different specialties and subspecialties. The largest programs by total enrollment this year are:

Program# of Residents
Internal Medicine1,809
Family Medicine636
Emergency Medicine507
Transitional Year327
Obstetrics and Gynecology219
Cardiovascular Disease94
*HCA Healthcare GME information current as of October 1, 2023

While they come from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, our residents and fellows are bound by shared values of inclusion, compassion and respect for their patients and one another. Read below to learn how the residents and fellows of HCA Healthcare are embracing our mission…

Meet a resident

Headshot of Dr. Amanda Hijazin in a white lab coat
Dr. Amanda Hijazin, Neurology Resident, Riverside Community Hospital

Dr. Amanda Hijazin
Riverside Community Hospital (Riverside, CA)
Neurology Resident

Dr. Amanda Hijazin was inspired to pursue a career in medicine at an early age. She recalls early childhood memories of visiting her father – also a physician – at work. In the hallways of the hospital, she witnessed her father’s passion and enthusiasm for positively impacting the lives of others – and, her career trajectory was instantly set in motion.

“I saw my father always show empathy to his patients and he knew the importance of communicating clearly with them,” Dr. Hijazin recalled. “I knew I wanted to be a doctor in those hallways, seeing my father and imagining myself walking out of a patient room, knowing I gave them my every ounce of compassion and understanding. Our good day may be someone’s worst, and I want to be a positive impact on these patients.”

Choosing a Neurology Residency at HCA Healthcare’s Riverside Community Hospital, close to her family in Southern California, was a natural fit for Dr. Hijazin. “I had the privilege of watching my dad diagnose and treat all types of neurological diseases growing up,” Dr. Hijazin explained. “Over the years, I have been captivated by neurological diseases, the nuances of the neurological exam, and the ways in which neurologists are able to guide their patients through such vulnerable moments in their lives.”

During the course of Dr. Hijazin’s residency, she would like to focus on refining her clinical skills, advancing her medical knowledge and contributing to the field of neurology through patient care and research. With a diverse patient population and experienced faculty, Dr. Hijazin believes Riverside Community Hospital will play a pivotal role in her journey toward excelling in her neurology residency and throughout her career in medicine.

HCA Healthcare’s mission – above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life – deeply resonates with Dr. Hijazin. “It emphasizes the true importance of prioritizing human well-being and healthcare, which aligns perfectly with my core values,” Dr. Hijazin said.

“HCA Healthcare’s mission reflects a genuine dedication to making a positive impact on people. It inspires me to deliver high-quality healthcare for patients while striving for continuous improvement in the medical field.”

Dr. Amanda Hijazin

Meet a fellow

Headshot of Dr. Simon Izaguirre in a white lab coat
Dr. Simon Izaguirre, Vascular Neurology Fellowship, Swedish Medical Center

Dr. Simon Izaguirre
Swedish Medical Center (Englewood, CO)
Vascular Neurology Fellowship

Born into a family of mechanics and engineers in North Dakota, Dr. Simon Izaguirre initially considered pursuing a similar path. It was his experience as an emergency medical technician (EMT) that helped him to realize that his true calling lay in the field of medicine.

“I realized the most satisfying work for me is making a difference through patient care,” Dr. Izaguirre said. “When someone is having the worst day of their life, you can always offer something, whether that’s your support or potentially reversing their suffering if they respond to treatment.”

Through extensive schooling and training in HCA Healthcare’s GME program, Dr. Izaguirre found his niche in vascular neurology, leading him to continue training as a specialist in his chosen field at affiliate Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, Colorado. This choice was motivated by a desire to make a difference in the lives of those affected by strokes, which can cause loss of brain function and affect movement and speech.

Matching with Swedish Medical Center, an Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center, is an exciting next career step for Dr. Izaguirre. “The hospital receives a wide range of patient cases provided by transfers within Colorado and many surrounding states,” Dr. Izaguirre explained.

When he graduates, Dr. Izaguirre plans to stay in Colorado as a neurology hospitalist. “HCA Healthcare has provided me with the opportunity to train as a neurology resident and now as a vascular neurology fellow to help me achieve this goal through their excellent training program.”

Related article: 32 HCA Healthcare hospitals recognized among 100 Top Hospitals by Fortune/PINC AI

Advice for new residents and fellows from a chief resident

Headshot of Dr. Errett Jacks
Dr. Errett Jacks, Chief Resident, Emergency Resident, Grand Strand Medical Center

Dr. Errett Jacks
Grand Strand Medical Center (Myrtle Beach, SC)
Chief Resident, Emergency Medicine

The journey through a residency or fellowship is often described as a time of growth, learning and self-discovery that sets the stage for a lifelong medical career. Dr. Errett Jacks knows this all too well, as he was voted chief resident by his fellow residents at HCA Healthcare’s Grand Strand Medical Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. As he nears the end of his GME program, Dr. Jacks offers valuable advice for the new class of residents and fellows as they navigate the challenges and triumphs that lie ahead.

“While the hours may be long, the years are short,” he reflects. “It is a perfect time to dive in head first, address your weaknesses and push yourself to broaden your comfort zone.”

Dr. Jacks is the first person in his immediate family to pursue a medical degree and credits his studies at Clemson University – also in South Carolina – for helping grow his passion for science. “Coming fresh out of undergraduate studies, I was thrilled to get a job in the field of genetics and apply my biological sciences degree immediately,” he recalls. “It wasn’t until being out of college for a couple of years that I made the pursuit of a career in medicine a top priority and fortunately had set myself up for success with hard work completed previously.”

The key to succeeding in a GME program, according to Dr. Jacks, is to embrace every opportunity. “The physicians educating the next generation of medical professionals each bring their own unique practice styles and expertise to HCA Healthcare’s GME program. Learn from and emulate them while continuing to add knowledge and procedural skills to your clinical toolbox,” he explained.

Dr. Jacks enjoyed learning about different specialties, but after rotating through many different departments throughout the hospital, he found his calling in Emergency Medicine.

Through this program, Dr. Jacks has honed his clinical skills, presented at HCA Healthcare’s digital lecture series, Grand Rounds, and won accolades for his research and statistical analysis. “HCA Healthcare’s GME program has been a tremendous asset to my training,” he added.

Dr. Jacks reminds fellow physicians that the challenges of residency and fellowship are not meant to be faced alone. “There may be trialing moments related to residency/fellowship itself or things in life just happening, but it’s important to lean on the support groups that have been with you on this journey. With your support system in place, it’s important to remember why you have chosen this career path.”

For those in the medical field, including Dr. Jacks, the essence of healthcare is the desire to better the lives of those they serve. “Ask any nurse, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, physical therapist, occupational therapist or physician why they originally wanted to go into healthcare and you’ll likely hear some variation of the answer ‘to help people,’” he said.

“Staying grounded to the ideological focus of HCA Healthcare’s mission statement is a strong reminder of what’s most important day-to-day and the reason so many of us do the work that we do to help our patients.”

Dr. Errett Jacks, Chief Resident, Grand Strand Medical Center

About HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 183 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our more than 283,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.

As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.

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