White River Health System (WRHS) welcomed the Internal Medicine (IM) Residency Class of 2020 at a matriculation ceremony in the Josephine Raye Rogers Center for Women and Imaging Conference Center. WRHS CEO, Gary L. Bebow, FACHE introduced the program. “Rural regions are at a disadvantage due to the maldistribution of physicians,” Bebow said. “Our hospital is proud to have taken the initiative to address this problem by developing the Internal Medicine Residency Program. Statistics show that significant number of physicians establish their medical practice in the region where they complete residency training.” Ceremony highlights included remarks by The Honorable Mike Beebe, former Governor of Arkansas. Mr. Beebe spoke to the residents and guests about the impact that the WRHS IM Residency program will have on the physician shortage in rural Arkansas. He recognized WRHS Board Members, physicians and Administration leadership for their innovative and proactive approach to ensuring the availability of qualified physicians for the WRHS service area. Stephanie Gardner, UAMS (University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences) Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost, also welcomed Residents. Gardner addressed the WRHS and UAMS affiliation. The WRHS IM Residency program offers the unique experience of training at a community health system with the advantages of large academic medical center. Boris Dover, Chairman of the WRHS Board of Directors, welcomed residents to the city of Batesville and offered the support of the community. The event marked the ceremonial enrollment and beginning of the Residency Program at White River Medical Center (WRMC). Residents began their duties at WRMC on July 3. The IM Residency is a three-year period of training for physicians after graduation from medical school. IM is the specialty focused on primary care of adults. IM physicians may also choose to complete fellowship training in specialty areas such as Cardiology, Neurology, Oncology, and Pulmonology before establishing a medical practice. The WRHS Graduate Medical Education team includes Khaled (Kal) Khasawneh, M.D., Program Director; Morgan Norton, M.D., Associate Program Director of the IM Residency; Jody Smotherman, PharmD, Associate Administrator Graduate Medical Education and Designated Institutional Officer, and Mary Wood Cox, IM Residency Program Coordinator. The 2017 class of IM Residents, their hometown, and medical school are; Machel Germain, Naperville, Illinois, Windsor University; Lilianna Hanefeld-Fox, Spanish Fort, Alabama, Medical Faculty of Mannheim Heidelberg University; Paige Heflin, Little Rock, Arkansas, St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine; Bryan Huang, Fairfax, Virginia, University of Queensland; Lissette Jimenez, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Universidad Iberoamericana Santo Domingo; Doreen Kamoga, Hays, Kansas, Mbarara University of Science and Technology; Anthony Kunnumpurath, Jonesboro, Arkansas, Amala Institute of Medical Sciences; Neal Mehta, Kingsport, Tennessee, University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine; Anastasia Postoev, Monroe, Georgia, Caribbean Medical University School of Medicine; and Ron Varghese, Rochester, Minnesota, Medical College Thiruvananthapuram. The WRHS program is the only ACGME-accredited IM Residency Program in Arkansas outside of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) system.