Family Medicine Residency Program Thrives in Its Third Year, Inaugural Class Prepares to Enter the Field

A little over three years ago, Phelps welcomed six newly graduated MDs into a brand new residency program. Today, the NYMC Phelps Family Medicine Residency Program, established by Phelps in partnership with New York Medical College and Open Door Family Medical Centers, is a well-established and highly respected program.

The three-year program was originally designed for 18 residents (six per year). Last year, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education granted a program expansion that allowed eight residents in the third-year residency class, so that there are currently 20 residents in training at Phelps.

What Are Family Medicine Physicians?

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Family medicine physicians are primary care providers who treat the whole person in every stage of life, focusing on the prevention and treat- ment of disease. They are trained to take care of the entire family, dealing with medical issues that may affect more than one family member and creating long-term, personal relationships with their patients.  

“A family medicine doctor can provide continuity of care for patients in virtually every medical setting,” says Co-Chief Resident London Muse, MD. “We see infants, children, adolescents, pregnant women, adults and geriatric patients on a daily basis. Having one provider for everything is something I think is really important, so that even when we refer patients to specialists, they feel confident that someone who knows them very well is overseeing their care.” 

Residency Program 

A residency is a period of advanced medical training that follows medical school and involves supervised practice in a hospital and outpatient settings. During family medicine
residency training, doctors complete clinical “rotations” in areas including adult inpatient and outpatient medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, cardiology, geriatrics, orthopedics and adult and pediatric emergency medicine. 

“Developing the NYMC Phelps Family Medicine Residency Program has been a phenomenal experience,” says Dr. Shantie Harkisoon, a family physician and director of the residency program. “As a family doctor, I never expected to wear so many different hats – from designer of the residency headquarters to trainer of physicians. My guiding principle has been for us to do whatever it takes to create an extraordinary training program, and I think we’ve done that. I could not have wished for better resources or greater support from the community and the wonderful, inspiring people with whom I work. We have an extraordinary group of residents as a result.” 

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Third-year resident Anesh Badiwala, MD, reviews a patient’s X-rays in the Emergency Department

Much of the success of the program stems from the involvement of Phelps physicians and other clinicians and staff. “The thing I like most about our program is the people we work with – from faculty, specialists and other residents to nurses, medical assistants, hospital volunteers and, most importantly, our patients and their families. The bond, consideration and care we have for one another really cannot be matched.” says second-year resident Molly Kilpatrick, MD.

In addition to providing training that is founded on evidence-based medical care, the program focuses on giving residents skills that enable them to listen and relate to their patients. Residents receive specialized behavioral medicine training to help them maintain their own wellbeing, enabling them to better protect the wellbeing of their patients. 

Integrative Training

Because of the evolving nature of healthcare, family medicine training is more integrative than ever before. Residents in the NYMC Phelps program receive their clinical training at Phelps and at Open Door Family Medical Center in Sleepy Hollow. The program also has a special relationship with Westchester Medical Center and Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, where residents learn to care for pediatric patients who have more serious medical conditions. Training at these various locations enables the residents to refine their medical skills under varying circumstances and provides them with experience in working with diverse groups of patients.  

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According to Hira Qureshi, MD, Pediatric Chief Resident at Westchester Medical Center, “Phelps residents bring to the Department of Pediatrics a sense of dedication to all patients, a willingness to learn about the pediatric patient, and a zeal that is needed to fuel their drive while on this short but momentous residency journey. Though they are initially faced with daunting tasks that might scare first-year residents, by the end of the rotation, they seem to overcome most if not all that is daunting and are able to accomplish such tasks with grace. We appreciate their unique perspective and enjoy learning from them as much as we hope they enjoy learning from us.”


“It’s great working at a community hospital because it’s small, you know everyone in the hospital, you build relationships with patients and learn about different cultures,” says Farah Ansari, MD, first-year resident. The residents have created a bond with the community by volunteering at local events and getting to know the people in the towns where they live. Recent events include managing a teddy bear clinic for children at the Sleepy Hollow Street Fair or volunteering in the Phelps medical tent during a triathlon. 

With the increased demand for primary healthcare comes a need for more internal medicine and family medicine doctors. Many Westchester physician practices have been recruiting the soon-to-be-graduates. 

“It has been so exciting watching the program evolve and reach its full complement,” says Kimberly Andron, LCSW-R, MSW, Director of Behavioral Medicine for the residency. “The success of all of our efforts is becoming apparent as our inaugural class makes plans to enter the field.” Dr. Harkisoon agrees: “Thanks to the involvement and enthusiasm from faculty and staff, we have developed a superb program that is creating outstanding family physicians.”

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