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SampsonRMC graduates first class of Family Medicine Residents

June 24, 2019

Sampson Regional Medical Center (SampsonRMC) is pleased to announce its first graduating class of family medicine residents who complete their residency on June 30, 2019.  These family medicine residents along with the hospital’s dermatology residents and traditional year interns celebrated the completion of their programs during a recent graduation ceremony held at Coharie Country Club.

Drs. Keith Burke, Steve Jones, and Rita Mikhail-Vaswani are the first residents to graduate from the hospital’s Family Medicine Residency program. 

The Family Medicine Residency began in 2016, through affiliation with the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine at Campbell University. At the time the program accepted its first class of residents, it was fully accredited by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and has since received recognition by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

Under the program direction of Dr. John-Mark Miller, D.O., Drs. Burke, Jones, and Mikhail-Vaswani completed their rotations and built the foundation for future residents of the program.   “SampsonRMC has built an outstanding Family Medicine Residency program.  They were true pioneers stepping into something that was unestablished and trusting that we could make it work,” stated Dr. Miller.  During their time in the program, they completed rotations in surgery, obstetrics, cardiology, dermatology, pediatrics, orthopedics, both inpatient and outpatient family medicine, and critical care areas of the hospital. “The first class of residents has been awesome in making a good impression on their first rotations and continued that trend as they progressed through their training,” added Dr. Miller.

Dr. Steven Jones served as Chief Resident for eighteen months; normally, this position is held for only twelve months.  Jones worked to arrange lectures and didactics for the residents, he managed the residents’ schedules, and served as a resource for them, all on top of his own resident requirements.  The groundwork laid by the first class of family medicine residents has proven to make this a top program.  “What was first started with four family residents, has now grown into a full complement of twelve family medicine residents,” remarked Dr. Miller.

As the first class of family medicine residents moves on to their next journey, Dr. Mikhail-Vaswani has accepted a position on SampsonRMC’s hospitalist team.  “Dr. Mikhail-Vaswani has made tremendous growth as a young physician, and we are excited that she will be staying at SampsonRMC to start her career and help train the next generation of physicians,” stated Dr. Miller.

Remarking about her time in the Family Medicine Residency program, Dr. Mikhail-Vaswani spoke highly of her fellow residents and Dr. Subodh Pal, Medical Director for Hospitalists and Program Director for the Traditional Rotating Internship program at SampsonRMC.  “I am very excited to be in the inaugural Family Medicine class; it is truly a special feeling.  I do feel my colleagues and I have started something special and have paved the way for other residents to excel in their training,” stated Dr. Mikhail-Vaswani.  She noted that it has been a challenging but rewarding three years learning more and growing more than she ever thought she could.  “The most important rotation that prepared me for my career would have to be internal medicine with Dr. Pal.  He is truly a gifted teacher and the best mentor I could ask for.  He has taught me how to be a caring physician, believe in myself and helped to build my self-confidence.  Thanks to his mentorship, I am prepared to be an independent physician,” explained Mikhail-Vaswani.  She looks forward to joining SampsonRMC as a hospitalist and chose SampsonRMC for her first job because of its friendly work environment and for the opportunity to continue working with her attendings who now become her colleagues. 

Also very proud of his residents’ accomplishments is Dr. Johnathan Crane, D.O., F.A.O.C.D., Dermatology Residency Program Director. Under his direction, SampsonRMC’s dermatology residency has grown over the past five years from one resident to six.  Two of them graduate at the end of this month.  “I am very proud of the Dermatology Residency program and its growth,” said Dr. Crane.  “We received our ACGME accreditation, and we performed extremely well during our recent inspection,” he explained.  Having met all requirements and passed inspection, the program is not due for inspection for another ten years. Since the program’s beginning, dermatology residents have shown growth in their skills and in-service exams, placing in the upper third of dermatology residency programs throughout the United States.  “In 2018, we came in first place in the Sagis Derm Path Bowl, a nation-wide competition where we competed against dermatology residency programs across the United States.  In 2019, once again we showed our skills and placed second,” added Dr. Crane.  “We have grown as a program and established a reputation as an outstanding dermatology residency.”

This year the program graduates its third class of two residents. “Dr. Dana Baigrie and Dr. Joseph Prohaska are two outstanding dermatologists who have big futures ahead of them,” stated Dr. Crane.  In August, Dr. Baigrie will join Dr. Crane’s practice, Atlantic Dermatology, seeing patients in Clinton three days a week and at the Wilmington office two days.    “Dr. Baigrie is very well liked by both patients and staff, and we look forward to her future with Atlantic Dermatology,” added Dr. Crane.

SampsonRMC also celebrates the achievement and graduation of four interns from the Traditional Year Intern (TRI) program: Dr. Katrina Hansen, Dr. Amy Paige, Dr. Rachel Palmer, and Dr. Eric Woo.  The Traditional Rotating Internship is an academic and clinically oriented program designed to provide a broad scope of training.  Often, this first year beyond medical school is used to provide residents with exposure to a wide variety of patients and rotations through different disciplines and to help guide them to their desired residency program.  As the TRIs head out to their respective residency programs, Dr. Eric Woo will continue his time in Sampson County as he joins SampsonRMC’s Family Medicine Residency in July.

SampsonRMC’s interns and residents share they feel more than prepared with the training they received during their time at SampsonRMC and plan to apply their learning as they embark on their medical careers.


Pictured left to right is Family Medicine Graduates: Dr. Steve Jones, Dr. Rita Mikhail-Vaswani, Dr. Keith Burke

Pictured left to right is Traditional Rotating Interns: Dr. Katrina Hansen, Dr. Amy Paige, Dr. Rachel Palmer, Dr. Eric Woo, and Dr. Subodh Pal, Medical Director for Hospitalists and Program Director for the Traditional Rotating Internship program at SampsonRMC