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Addressing the national physician shortage: HCA Healthcare welcomes class of 1,867 residents and fellows in 2022
Across HCA Healthcare, 1,867 new residents and fellows embarked on an exciting step in their medical career on July 1, 2022
By: UAG School of Medicine
Across HCA Healthcare, 1,867 new residents and fellows embarked on an exciting step in their medical career on July 1, 2022. By joining HCA Healthcare’s Graduate Medical Education (GME) program, the next generation of physicians will have the opportunity to work with high-quality faculty focused on teaching them to provide exceptional, compassionate care.

The newly minted doctors will begin to treat 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. The incoming class is one of the largest groups to ever onboard at HCA Healthcare and the largest incoming class of residents among U.S. teaching hospitals.
“At HCA Healthcare, we are committed to addressing the physician shortage by creating more opportunities for residents and fellows to complete their training,” said Dr. Michael Cuffe, HCA Healthcare executive vice president and chief clinical officer.

“This year, we’re thrilled to provide 1,867 medical school graduates with access to quality residency programs in the communities that we serve. I am confident that they will be inspired, challenged and given the tools needed to fulfill our mission to care for and improve human life.”

HCA Healthcare began building a network of GME training programs eight years ago and has since become the largest sponsor of GME training. In addition to training more residents and fellows, we’ve expanded our training to 337 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited programs, 5,334 residents and fellows, and 62 teaching hospitals across 16 states.

HCA Healthcare’s large 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.
According to 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.

Meet the Residents 


Michelle Hernandez, M.D. (St. David’s South Austin Medical Center Austin, Texas)

For Dr. Michelle Hernandez, the thrill of being in an operating room led her to HCA Healthcare’s GME General Surgery residency at affiliate St. David’s South Austin Medical Center.

“I enjoy how surgeries can immediately help patients and provide quick results,” said Dr. Hernandez. “It’s all about teamwork and the collaborative effort it takes to care for our patients.”

Dr. Hernandez knew she wanted to return to Texas, where she was raised, to complete her residency. She had attended Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, Mexico, and studied alongside surgery attending physicians in Phoenix, Arizona.

“I researched programs in Texas that accepted medical surgical graduates from outside the U.S., and the GME program at St. David’s HealthCare was one of them,” Dr. Hernandez recalled.

The surgical resident learned more about the program and was encouraged to apply for a spot from a former St. David’s HealthCare physician.

“I can already feel the hands-on impact of the GME program. On my second day, I scrubbed in on two cases. From learning the medical aspects to managing patients on the floor, I know I’ll be able to develop my medical and surgical skills here at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center.”

Connor Johnson, M.D. (TriStar Centennial Medical Center Nashville, TN)

Dr. Connor Johnson says his medical journey to the GME program at HCA Healthcare’s TriStar Centennial Medical Center is a full-circle moment. He was born at the Nashville, Tennessee-based hospital in the ‘90s.Influenced by his interactions with physicians and love of science, Dr. Johnson knew he wanted to enter a profession where he could help people. That led him to the Psychiatry Residency Program at TriStar Centennial Medical Center. 

Psychiatrists examine, diagnose, and treat the mental and physical aspects of psychological conditions, including insomnia, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and bipolar disorder. Psychiatrists also work alongside physicians in other specialties, nurses, social workers, advanced practice nurses, physician assistants, psychologists, and other therapists in order to serve our patient’s psychiatric needs.

“I was attracted to HCA Healthcare’s GME program because, as a part of a large health system, I’m offered unique experiences and growth to be the best physician possible,” Dr. Johnson said.


Imari Faceson, D.O. (TriStar Centennial Medical Center Nashville, TN)

Dr. Imari Faceson’s path to healthcare stemmed from her desire to help others make the best medical decisions possible. While in grade school, Dr. Faceson grew familiar with the role of a physician as she watched her mother experience hospitalizations. From that early age, Dr. Faceson knew she wanted to be a doctor who built great relationships with her patients. She will now get the chance to develop relationships with HCA Healthcare’s patients in the Transitional Year Residency Program at TriStar Centennial Medical Center.

In the Transitional Year Residency Program, she’ll gain a well-balanced foundation in preparation to begin an advanced residency training program such as Anesthesiology, Dermatology, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation or Radiology. 
Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri, Dr. Faceson has also seen firsthand the impact that HCA Healthcare’s connected network has on the communities we serve. HCA Healthcare’s HCA Midwest Health – based out of Dr. Faceson’s hometown – consists of hospitals, emergency rooms (ERs), urgent care clinics, outpatient centers, physician practices and surgery centers.

“I knew after interviewing with the HCA Healthcare GME faculty, I wanted to be a part of HCA Healthcare.”

Andre D’Souza, M.D. (TriStar Centennial Medical Center Nashville, TN)

Dr. Andre D’Souza’s interest in healthcare began in high school when his father underwent heart bypass surgery. He saw his father’s physicians employ tenacity, knowledge and skill to help his loved one.

From that moment onward, Dr. D’Souza chose to pursue medicine so that he could pay forward the same level of care his father received.
After researching programs across the country, he knew TriStar Centennial Medical Center would provide a nurturing and stimulating training environment.


“I felt like I could contribute to making the program the best it can be,” Dr. D’Souza said. “The faculty was very helpful, and the entire GME team has been wonderful. I am excited to be here.”

TriStar Centennial Medical Center is a 741-bed tertiary care facility, offering the entire spectrum of medical, surgical and behavioral healthcare. As a part of the hospital’s Internal Medicine Residency Program, Dr. D’Souza will gain robust clinical exposure to both inpatient and outpatient medicine and experience in office, hospital and emergency settings.


Priyanka Vuppala, M.D. (St. David’s Women’s Center of Texas, Austin, Texas)

Dr. Priyanka Vuppala is part of the inaugural obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN) GME program at St. David’s Women’s Center of Texas, located on the campus of St. David’s North Austin Medical Center.

“I am excited about the opportunity to build the program from the ground up, along with the other residents in our cohort,” Dr. Vuppala said.

While completing an undergraduate education at the University of Virginia, Dr. Vuppala’s grandmother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer – ultimately leading her to pursue this specialty.

“I witnessed her battle and the journey her healthcare providers took alongside her. My grandmother passed away during my fourth year in medical school, but having seen firsthand the unique role women’s healthcare providers play, I decided to pursue a future as an OB-GYN. I knew I wanted to be there for women during pivotal moments in their lives – from delivering a child to battling an illness – just as those physicians supported my grandmother.”

Dr. Vuppala said her goal was to continue her education in Texas as she has a strong support system and Austin is a great healthcare market. St. David’s HealthCare learning sites incorporate fully staffed OB-emergency rooms, high-risk antepartum units and a maternal-neonatal transport team. As a resident, Dr. Vuppala will train under board-certified OB-GYNs, OB hospitalists, gynecologic oncologists, urogynecologists and reproductive endocrinologists.

“There is still so much to be done when it comes to women’s healthcare in Austin,” Dr. Vuppala adds. “I look forward to connecting with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to incite impactful change for the women in our community.”


Yamann Sahlool, M.D. (Los Robles Regional Medical Center Thousand Oaks, CA)

For Dr. Yamann Sahlool, medicine is a family affair. He grew up in Flint, Michigan, and decided to follow in the footsteps of his mother – a physician.“I watched her serve in an underserved diverse community and knew that I wanted to train in a community hospital like she did,” said Dr. Sahlool.

The Los Robles Regional Medical Center resident was prompted to explore the HCA Healthcare GME program after hearing a resident share a positive experience with sister facility Riverside Community Hospital.

“They spoke very highly of HCA Healthcare’s GME program and mentioned that Los Robles Regional Medical Center was just starting a program. They told me that it would likely be a similar experience and encouraged me to apply,” he continued.

Dr. Sahlool is confident that he chose the right program to continue his training. “The staff are all so approachable and knowledgeable and willing to take time to teach residents and answer any questions that we have,” he said. “California has been wonderful. My wife and I are very excited to be here and hope to stay long-term. I feel privileged to be here and work with such a wonderful team.”

Nirusha Abeydeera, D.O. (Riverside Community Hospital Riverside, CA)

Dr. Nirusha Abeydeera knew she wanted to join a GME program that respected its residents’ insights and cultivated a supportive learning environment – leading her to the Internal Medicine residency at HCA Healthcare’s Riverside Community Hospital in Southern California.
“I learned in my interview that Riverside Community Hospital’s GME program shared my values of emphasizing work-life balance and endorsing a collaborative culture,” Dr. Abeydeera said.

Riverside Community Hospital is a tertiary referral center for myocardial infarction, stroke, sepsis and trauma, and is a regional medical affiliate of the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine. The hospital’s residents see a diversity of patient population and pathology, which allows them to develop skills and scholarly interests in various subspecialties. “This program provides scholarly activities and leadership opportunities that assist residents in reaching their career goals,” said Dr. Abeydeera.

“All of the residents, faculty and administration I met through the interview process were welcoming and genuine about their intent to help develop my career as a physician.”


Rutuja Bhalerao, M.D. (Riverside Community Hospital Riverside, CA)

Dr. Rutuja Bhalerao says she is excited to stay in Southern California as she begins her Internal Medicine residency at Riverside Community Hospital. GME is a crucial pillar of Riverside Community Hospital’s commitment to its community. The program offers academic-level training in a wellness-oriented, community-based learning environment.

“I decided to join the Riverside Community Hospital GME family to train in and learn the needs of my local community,” Dr. Bhalerao said. “Through the knowledge and skills I acquire, I intend to give back by helping to fulfill the growing demand for physicians in the area.”

She says many factors drew her to this particular GME program. “The structure allows me to interact closely with patients and treat a wide variety of pathology. In addition, I have the opportunity to perform hands-on medicine.”

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