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Lehigh Valley Hospital–Schuylkill Rural Family Medicine Program to Welcome Its First Group of Residents

Four doctors match for the local program

Schuylkill Rural Family Medicine Program

Lehigh Valley Hospital(LVH)–Schuylkill’s Rural Family Medicine Residency Program took a giant step toward reality with the recent match of four physicians who will be the first class of residents admitted to the program.

“We are so excited to reach this stage of the program where our residents will be seeing patients,” says Mackenzie Mady, DO, Rural Family Residency Program Director and also a family medicine physician with Lehigh Valley Physician Group (LVPG)–Schuylkill Medical Plaza, Pottsville. “Our residents will begin seeing patients in June, both in the office setting and in the hospital.” The residency is headquartered at Mady’s practice at Schuylkill Medical Plaza, where classroom and other facilities to support the residents have been developed.

This residency is for three years. LVH–Schuylkill will welcome a new class of four residents every year going forward.   

Welcomed as the first class of residents to LVH–Schuylkill are Faris Albakoaa, Glady Mary Mathew, Alireza Goodarzi and Lindsey Martinez.

Faris Albakoaa, MD, is a graduate of the University of Mosul College of Medicine, Mosul City, Iraq.  He was drawn to family medicine as it offers his patients a continuity of care. “I’m excited to join this new rural family medicine program in Schuylkill County,” Albakoaa says. In his spare time, Albakoaa says, he’s enjoying fatherhood and playing chess with his wife and is looking forward to experiencing Schuylkill County.

Glady Mary Mathew, MD, is a graduate of CMU School of Medicine (Caribbean Medical University), Curacao. Born in Saudi Arabia, Mathew moved to India in third grade and then to Arizona while in high school – a journey that guided her to family medicine. “Growing up in such diverse, cultural backgrounds has given me opportunities to better understand varied patient populations. I have been fortunate to find mentors who supported my interest in family medicine and taught me to provide compassionate care for my patients,” she says.

As a resident at Schuylkill Rural Family Medicine program, Mathew says she is excited to be part of the inaugural class of 2022 and to dedicate her training to caring, comforting, strengthening and supporting the community around her. 

Alireza Goodarzi, MD, is a graduate of the Medical University of Lublin, Poland. He was born in Tehran, Iran and grew up in the suburbs of Buffalo, N.Y. where he graduated from the University of New York at Buffalo studying biology and theater. Goodarzi says that while in medical school, he discovered the best way to transcend cultures is to exercise empathy and compassion. Goodzari says he chose family medicine as it will allow him to play an integral role in supporting the health of his community. “I am so excited to begin my training at the LVH–Schuylkill Family Medicine Residency and look forward to exploring my interests in sports medicine, rural medicine and maternity health care.”

Lindsey Martinez MD, is a graduate of Trinity School of Medicine, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  Originally from Phoenix, Martinez says her medical education has taken her all over the country and that she looks forward to putting down roots in Schuylkill County. “Away from medicine, I enjoy hanging out with my dog Sky, fishing, hiking and antiquing. I plan on taking advantage of the parks and vast outdoor activities. Can’t wait to meet everyone!”

LVH–Schuylkill is now considered a teaching hospital and all that goes with it,” says William “Bill” Reppy, President, LVH–Schuylkill. “We have an aging physician population in Pennsylvania and especially here in Schuylkill County. This is a great opportunity to introduce Schuylkill County to these physicians and help create our next generation of care providers for our community.”

Statistics show that that clinicians who train in rural settings are more likely to continue to practice in that or close to that community after they complete their residencies. 

Mady, a Schuylkill County native who returned home to practice medicine, is optimistic for the future. “The Rural Residency program is about educational opportunity, expanded availability of care and replenishing our need for primary care physicians here at home.”

In addition to Mady, faculty has been identified and secured:

  • Daniel Pedersen, DO, Associate Program Director, Family Medicine Physician, at LVPG Family Medicine–Schuylkill Medical Plaza, Pottsville
  • Bernard Adukaitis, DO, Integrated Medical Group pediatrician
  • Marc Bonin, DO, Medical Director of the Emergency Department at LVH–Schuylkill
  • Stephen Evans, DO, LVPG Orthopedics and Sports Medicine–Mauch Chunk Street and LVPG Family Medicine–Schuylkill Medical Plaza, Pottsville
  • Ivor Lewis, MD, LVPG Family Medicine–Frackville
  • Susan Medalie, DO, family medicine-obstetrics
  • Manish Mishra, MD, Integrated Medical Group, Adult Hospitalist, at LVH–Schuylkill
  • Robert Thurick, DO, Integrated Medical Group, Adult Hospitalist, at LVH–Schuylkill
  • James Xenophon, MD, obstetrics
  • Angela Zawisza, DO, Pediatric Hospitalist, at LVH–Schuylkill

A resident doctor is already a graduate of a medical school, licensed to practice, and trained as part of the graduate medical education program. LVH–Schuylkill’s program has already received its accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, the organization responsible for accrediting all graduate medical training programs for physicians in the United States. 

In 2019, the federal Health Resources and Services Administration awarded LVH–Schuylkill a $749,859 Rural Residency Planning and Development Program grant. The grant was part of a larger $20 million distribution across 21 states. LVH–Schuylkill was the only facility in Pennsylvania to be included in the awards.

Family medicine is a medical specialty within primary care that provides continuing and comprehensive health care for the individual and family across all ages, genders, diseases and parts of the body. The specialist, who is usually a primary care physician, is named a family physician. LVPG–Schuylkill family medicine physicians and the new residents will see patients from infants, children, teens, adults to geriatric patients. Family medicine physicians take a holistic approach to medical care to address the many facets of health.

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