Residency Program

Nicole A. Swallow, MD, FACP

Thank you for your interest in the Penn State Hershey Internal Medicine Residency Training Program. I'd like to take a moment to introduce you to the training you will find with us.

Our Goal

Our goal is to provide a rigorous clinical education in all aspects of Internal Medicine, while balancing the acquisition of core knowledge with the ability to customize your educational experience. Our residents are integral members of the health care teams in general and subspecialty medicine, and provide comprehensive primary care services to the population of central Pennsylvania. A culture of professional accountability and collegiality is fostered in an environment that promotes individual growth and learning. Opportunities for scholarship in basic, translational, and clinical sciences, along with the availability of research in medical education, quality improvement, and healthcare epidemiology allow for a well-rounded experience that prepares residents for their future career endeavors, whether they are in fellowship, private practice, or hospitalist medicine. Our program has the reputation of training excellent internal medicine physicians, while continuing to be very successful in preparing those who choose to pursue subspecialty training or enter into academic medical positions following their residency training.

Our Institution

At Penn State Hershey, we have the advantage of being the primary quaternary referral center for the central Pennsylvania region. This broad referral base yields a range of diverse pathology, allowing you to see the common and not-so-common diseases all under one roof. Our institution provides comprehensive, interdisciplinary cancer care to central Pennsylvania via the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, Penn State Hershey Heart and Vascular Institute pioneered the total artificial heart in the late 70's and early 80's, and continues to be as the cutting edge of cardiovascular device development and implementation, with an active LVAD program, an adult ECMO program, and cutting edge EP program. As a resident you will rotate with faculty and fellows across a variety of subspecialty areas, allowing the opportunity to learn about and participate in direct patient care and research in these areas.

Individualized Education

The depth and breadth of Internal Medicine continues to expand, almost exponentially. In order to best meet the demands that will be placed on residents in their eventual career, we support several dedicated "tracks" within our core residency to allow for customization of your training, to focus on fellowship placement, primary care, hospitalist medicine, or a clinician-scientist career. We offer a broad range of clinical and non-clinical opportunities to allow for the development of your career interests.  We have embraced a "6+2" inpatient/ambulatory model which allows for focused inpatient and outpatient clinical experiences.  You will see more about these facets of our program throughout our webpage.

I encourage you to spend some time on our website to see how a Penn State Hershey education could meet your personal and professional goals. Don't hesitate to contact us if you desire further information about our training program.

Nicole A. Swallow, MD, FACP
Director, Internal Medicine Residency Training Program 

Nasrollah Ghahramani, MD, MS, FACP

I am delighted that you are considering our program for your residency training. These are exciting times, as we aspire to develop a model program with the philosophy of resident-centered learning. The program has been my second family long before I assumed the role of associate program director. It has been extremely gratifying to associate with an enthusiastic and capable group of young trainees with diverse backgrounds. I value my clinical role as a transplant nephrologist; yet, I see that role complete only when I share the experience with house staff. I am passionate about patient-oriented research; yet, research becomes so much more meaningful and gratifying when I mentor residents in their research, as I listen to them present their scholarly work at grand rounds, and as I see their progress towards their career goals. I cherish my clinical work and I appreciate the opportunity to be able to do research; however, what brings me to work early in the morning, every day, is the passion I have to learn and to teach.

Every day, at morning report, I benefit from the superb teaching provided by our chief residents and learn from the residents as they discuss their cases. The opportunities to teach while providing patient care and the opportunities to mentor trainees while performing research are highly valued by faculty members within the Program and the Department of Medicine.

Penn State Hershey is a special place with a culture of teamwork, where our residents' dedication to patient care and to each other is inspiring. This is complemented by enthusiastic and supportive faculty whose main mission is to train the next generation of internists.

Our residents receive excellent preparation for careers in primary care, hospital medicine or any of the subspecialties. During their training, they have opportunities to participate in pioneering research. The goal of our residency program is to provide mentoring to our trainees within a supportive environment, such that the challenges of residency transform to opportunities for growth. We consider each resident's success and the collective success of the program as inseparable. Throughout the years, each resident, through his/her unique background and perspective, has enriched our program.

I hope you will review the information on our website to learn more about a program that is committed to the training of the highest quality of residents.

Nasrollah Ghahramani, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.P.
Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology
Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Health Sciences
Associate Director, Internal Medicine Residency Program

Andreas Achilleos, MD

As of July 1st, 2013 our program has successfully implemented an ambulatory block schedule to take the place of traditional weekly clinic sessions.

Our ambulatory block system enables residents to provide longitudinal patient care, reduce the number of clinic sessions during busy inpatient rotations, while still meeting ACGME requirements for outpatient training.  This has significantly increased our residents' satisfaction with ambulatory training.

During any two week ambulatory block, residents provide longitudinal care for their patients in our primary care clinic but also spend time in other subspecialty clinics, which allows them to experience the full spectrum of outpatient care and prepare for a career in primary care or any other subspecialty.  Each ambulatory block has a general theme, based on the predominant area of outpatient medicine that it focuses on; for example the musculoskeletal block includes experience in sports medicine, podiatry and orthopedics. Other outpatient blocks have a focus on women's health, endocrinology, gastroenterology, cardiology, allergy and immunology, mental health etc.  Our ambulatory curriculum also includes sessions in outpatient procedures, clinic for the underserved, palliative care clinic, adolescent weight management clinic and quality care review committee.

Any ambulatory block schedule also includes protected time for self-study, quality improvement projects, as well as half day per week dedicated to medical education (academic half day). Our academic half day features parts of our innovative curriculum in Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM modules and EBM consult) and the ACP High Value Cost Conscious curriculum. During the academic half day, residents engage in interactive, small group problem based learning and have the opportunity to assume the role of teachers for their peers.

Direct observation sessions (mini-CEX) and resident evaluations are integrated into the residents' outpatient clinic schedule, with specific time set aside, which ensures their completion.

Our longitudinal care clinic is a level III patient-centered medical home and is well supported by our experienced staff. Our residents treat patients with a wide variety of disorders, ranging from routine primary care and prevention to more complex and esoteric problems.  Our residents also enjoy minimal patient no-show rate in their clinic, which allows them to quickly build and follow a patient panel.  

Andreas Achilleos, M.D.
Associate Program Director (Ambulatory Medicine)

Nicole A. Swallow, MD, FACP
Program Director
 
Andreas Achilleos, MD
Associate Program Director
Ambulatory Medicine
 
Nasrollah Ghahramani, MD, FACP
Associate Program Director
Hospital-based Medicine
 
Simon Mucha, MD
Assistant Program Director
 
Chief Residents 2015-2016
Neal Fitzpatrick, MD
Eliana Hempel, MD
Bradley Mathers, MD
Vince Pinelli, DO
 
Chief Residents 2016-2017
Beth Foreman, DO
Allison Kasmari, MD
Kathryn Waksmundzki, MD

Core Clinical Faculty:
  
Philip J. Billoni, MD
Clinical Coordinator
Lancaster General Hospital
 
Carolina Candotti, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Division of General Internal Medicine
 
Susan Glod, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Division of General Internal Medicine and Palliative Care
 
Jed D. Gonzalo, MD, MSc
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Division of General Internal Medicine
 
Karen Krok, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Division of Gastroenterology
 
Michael MaCauley, MD
Clinical Coordinator
Lebanon VA Medical Center 
 
Colleen M. Rafferty, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Division of General Internal Medicine
 
Margaret M. Wojnar, MD
Professor of Medicine
Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine 
 
 

 

 

Neal Fitzpatrick, MD (Drexel University College of Medicine):

The three years spent in training for an Internal Medicine Residency require young physicians to develop and improve both professionally in the hospital, and personally as individuals as well.  We are asked to dedicate ourselves to constant educational growth in what may be the most complex profession that exists today, often during a time when our personal lives can be equally demanding.  As daunting as this all sounds, with the right support from the leadership of a program's chief residents, the ability to balance these challenging demands can become much simpler.  My job as chief resident is to ensure the ability of our residents to develop in all these areas, both inside and outside the hospital, with the most facilitative environment possible.  I hope to be able to serve our residents by dedicating my time and effort to your education and professional growth, while aiming to serve as a role model in patient care, and providing the compassion needed at times through the process.  I am thankful for the privilege to do so.

 

Eliana Hempel, MD (Drexel University College of Medicine):

No matter what experiences have brought you to residency, it will be a time of discovery and growth.  Residents will find themselves equal to challenges they thought insurmountable, aware of interests and passions previously unknown to them and fortified by the strong, long lasting bonds they create with their colleagues.  The Penn State Hershey Internal Medicine Residency Program is a fantastic place to be able to do all of these things.  We are exposed to a breadth of pathology, a variety of subspecialty services and multiple practice settings.  We are closely mentored by enthusiastic and engaged faculty members who demonstrate a commitment to quality patient care and a strong desire to educate.  Because of these characteristics and the unique balance of university training in these beautiful surroundings, I was so glad to join this remarkable program three years ago.  Three years later, I feel honored to be able to serve as one of its chief residents.  These three years have molded me not only professionally, but also personally.  Along the way, my faculty mentors and chief resident have been a source of valuable insight, much needed perspective and continual support.  I aspire to provide this support, motivation and insight for others during my chief year.  As a graduate of the Primary Care Track, I especially look forward to helping residents explore careers in primary care and other outpatient based specialties.  I also have a long standing interest in education and will strive to engage residents with innovative teaching techniques.  Most of all, I am looking forward to working with my exceptional co-chiefs to contribute to our residents' professional growth, support them through personal hardship, optimize their learning and make their years at Hershey Medical Center as valuable to them as they have been to me.

 

Bradley Mathers, MD (Penn State College of Medicine)

The road to becoming a physician is arduous and, in many ways, residency can be the most challenging step.  I have been fortunate to have had a rewarding experience here at Penn State Hershey Medical Center.  A large aspect of my satisfaction has been the mentorship and friendship not only from our outstanding faculty, but also from my fellow residents.  I am honored to continue on as Chief Resident.  I look forward to working with and teaching aspiring residents and medical students, collaborating with my fellow chiefs, and further contributing to our exceptional residency program.

 

Vincent Pinelli, DO (Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine)

The medicine program at Hershey Medical Center left a lasting impression on me as a medical student rotating from an outside institution.  The camaraderie of the resident, coupled with their vast amount of medical knowledge and friendly demeanor, was something I wanted to emulate.  Thankfully, I had the guidance of an excellent group of chief residents and senior residents as an intern to help guide me down the path to become the physician I am today.  Many thanks are owed to the program leadership, as well as my fellow residents, for the medical knowledge, clinical skills, and relationships I have developed during my training.  I am excited and honored to step into the role of a chief resident, and look forward to giving as much back to the program as it has given me. 

 

 

 

I started my undergraduate education at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster PA but returned to my home town of Munich, Germany to earn my medical degree from the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich.  After graduating medical school in 2008 I joined the Department of Physiology at the Penn State College of Medicine as a post-doctoral research scholar until entering the institutions internal medicine residency training in 2010.  After completing residency training I had the privilege of serving as an Internal Medicine Chief Resident and Instructor for the 2013-2014 academic year.  I am now excited to join the program's administration as an Assistant Program Director.  My academic focus will be on inpatient training with particular attention to bedside procedures, realization of the Hospitalist-track, and our new "Academic Half-Day" conference format.

Simon Mucha, MD
Assistant Program Director