Last week, two young physicians began their internal medicine residency training at HCA Florida Lake Monroe Hospital in Sanford, Florida, — another first for the UCF-HCA Healthcare Graduate Medical Education (GME) Consortium, which is one of the fastest-growing in Florida.

Shaheera Nadeem and Sameh Madanieh and hospital leaders said they are inspired being part of a new UCF residency that is committed to innovation, education and providing patient-centered care to the community.

“HCA Florida Lake Monroe Hospital is honored and excited to partner with the UCF College of Medicine as a nationally recognized leader in medical education,” says John Gerhold, the hospital’s chief executive officer. “This program is important for our community to ensure there is pipeline of future physicians to serve the needs of our Central Florida community.”

With a new cohort of physicians who began their GME training on July 1, the UCF-HCA Healthcare partnership now has more than 620 residents and fellows training across Florida. The new residency at HCA Florida Lake Monroe Hospital is the second GME hospital partner in Central Florida. The other is at HCA Florida Osceola Hospital in partnership with the Orlando VA Medical Center in Lake Nona. This summer, the  consortium also began its first Internal Medicine residency at HCA Florida Fort Walton-Destin Hospital in the Panhandle.

“I am proud of our continued efforts to start new GME training programs throughout Central and Northern Florida, particularly in medically underserved communities,” says Stephen Cico, UCF’s associate dean for graduate medical education and the consortium’s designated institutional officer. “Primary care residency programs, such as the internal medicine residency at HCA Lake Monroe, will increase access to care for residents of the region, as well as improve care.”

Physicians cannot practice medicine immediately after graduating from medical school. They must complete graduate medical education training for three to seven years depending on their specialty. Residency and fellowship programs are a key to addressing Florida’s physician shortage as the majority of doctors begin their practices where they did their GME training. The UCF-HCA consortium now has 39 accredited programs across the state in needed specialties including primary care, psychiatry, surgery, gastroenterology, obstetrics and gynecology, emergency medicine, rheumatology, geriatrics and endocrinology.

Joshua Shultz is program director of the new internal medicine residency in Sanford, Florida. “I am excited to train the next generation of internal medicine physicians and ushering in a new era of healthcare at HCA Florida Lake Monroe Hospital,” he says. “Our vision is to encourage as many of these trainees as possible to remain within the community after completing their residency, addressing the future healthcare needs of Seminole and West Volusia counties.”

Nadeem says she chose internal medicine as a specialty because “it’s the frontline of healthcare.”

“As primary care physicians we are the first stop, the ones who untangle the complex web of symptoms,” Nadeem says. “It’s not about grand gestures, it’s about the quiet victories — empowering patients with knowledge, guiding them through health challenges and being a partner in their well-being. It’s a chance to make a real difference, one patient, one story at a time.”

Nadeem and Madanieh say they were inspired by Lake Monroe’s team approach to patient care and the opportunity to have so much one-on-one training with attending physicians. Both are excited to help build an innovative GME program from the ground up.

Madanieh says he felt the inaugural program’s excitement from his first interview at the hospital.

“I felt that energy from those young leaders, our faculty members,” he says. “At the end of the interview day, I just felt like, ‘I want to be there!’ I ranked UCF/ Lake Monroe Hospital first out of 19 on my list.”