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What Arizona Docs are Saying - Graduate Medical Education

Spring 2023
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We asked physicians across Arizona their thoughts on graduate medical education. Here's what they told us:

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Meet the participating Physicians:
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Sarah Patel, MD

Sonoran Sleep Center

Phone: (602) 206-6262


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Lori Kemper, DO, MS, FACOFP

Midwestern University

Phone: (623) 572-3200


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Gary A. Smith, MD, MMM

East Valley Wellness Center

Phone: (480) 373-2399


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Katherine Mitzel, DO, FACEP

University of Arizona, College of Medicine - Phoenix

Phone: (602) 827-2002


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Burt Feuerstein, MD, PhD

University of Arizona, College of Medicine - Phoenix

Phone: (602) 827-2226


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Antonio Torloni, MD, MS

Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center

Phone: (877) 809-5092


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Amy Guzek, MD

Hip Kids Pediatrics

Phone: (480) 447-9490


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Yasmin Amin, MD

National Partners in Healthcare

Phone: (866) 535-5001



Why or Why Not is more diversity needed among residents?


I believe there is adequate diversity in candidates trained in American schools. - Burt Feuerstein, MD


I was one of them in the early 1980s. By today's standards there was open and overt discrimination from staff and "colleagues.” There are great candidates all over the world. They bring a lot of experience having had to already do one year of rotating internship before getting their MD degree. - Antonio “Sergio” Torloni, MD

More physicians versus mid-level providers would be appreciated. - Amy Guzek, MD

International medical school graduates are highly motivated and are very often highly educated. Our need in the state is so great that we should not be biased against international graduates when we are allowing osteopathic students who are far less qualified to work. – Yazmin Amin, MD

Too many US graduates need residency spots. – Palak Patel, MD

IMGs are highly qualified and can assist our patients if their English is good. – Gary A. Smith, MD

I believe residency positions should be provided to US graduates before IMG graduates. – Katherine Mitzel, DO

Residency spots should be given based on merit and qualifications. Many IMGs are highly qualified and skilled. Several are also bilingual, which only increases diversity to reach out to a broader population. - Shazia A. Malik, MD

Acceptance of medical graduates should be based on qualifications, not on minority status.  International graduates should be considered only if there are not enough qualified US graduates. – Karen Kennedy, MD

We already have plenty of graduates from US medical schools. – Charles Finch, DO

I first think we should open enough spots for all US medical graduates, and we likely would still need more doctors at that point. – Jane Lyons, MD

International medical graduates bring different perspectives on how things can be done. – Cheryl O’Malley, MD

I believe there are still many US grads needing residency slots. - Suganya Karuppana, MD

To increase the number of physicians in the state. Of course, these IMG should be considered if they are strong, competitive and competent applicants. – Joanna Kowalik, MD

Only if they are qualified by school, grades, and recommendations. – Paul Baranko, MD

State capacity needs to match state production and it does not. - Frederic Schwartz, DO

Right now, there are some US trained graduates who do not place into a residency. While we need to solve this problem first, if there are still open slots, then well qualified IMGs should be taken into residency programs. - Ronnie Dowling, MD

Priority should be given to US graduates including DOs. Frequently US graduates have difficulty getting in residency and graduates from the Caribbean get better positions which is flawed as many foreign schools only train them to obtain good scores in examinations without any basic knowledge. - Nadeem Shabbir, MD

US grads should be given preference in US residency slots, but the projected shortages of docs demand that residency outputs improve. If IMGs are required to fill the workforce need, then they should be offered positions. - Robert Cravens, Jr, MD

We need all the physicians we can get if their credentials are valid. - George Sibley, MD

It creates healthy competition. Sometimes students and residents built within the system become lax or don’t see a diversity of opinion. - Avtar Singh, MD

We have sufficient graduates from US medical schools. - Mark Zubriski, MD

There is a big gap of physicians needed for the near future with our aging population and rapid expansion of business in Arizona. - Alvin G. Wong, MD

There is a glut of graduates from Arizona schools who are much more likely to stay and fill the need in the state of Arizona and who are not able to get into programs in the state. – Lori Kemper, DO

IMGs are already contributing tremendously across the state. - Shakaib Rehman, MD

Meet the participating Physicians:
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Shazia A. Malik, MD

Valley Urogynecology Associates

Phone: (602) 788-1521


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Karen Kennedy, MD

Northwest Clinic for Children

Phone: (602) 866-1974


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Charles Finch, DO


Phone: (480) 882-6359


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Jane Lyons, MD

Dignity Health

Phone: (602) 406-3520


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Cheryl O'Malley, MD

University of Arizona, College of Medicine - Phoenix

Phone: (602) 827-2226


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Marie Gronley, MD

Marie Gronley, MD

Phone: (480) 922-8490


Suganya Karuppana, MD


Phone: (480) 882-4545


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Joanna Kowalik, MD, MPH

District Medical Group

Phone: (602) 470-5000


Meet the participating Physicians:
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Shakaib Rehman, MD, CSH, FACP, FACH

Phoenix VA Healthcare System

Phone: (602) 277-5551


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Frederic Schwartz, DO, FACOFP

A.T. Still University

Phone: (480) 219-6000


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Ronnie Dowling, MD

White Mountain Surgical Specialists

Phone: (928) 537-4240

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Nadeem Shabbir, MD

Banner Neuroscience

Phone: (602) 521-3300


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Robert Cravens, Jr, MD

Tucson ENT

Phone: (520) 575-1271


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George Sibley, MD


Phone: (480) 455-3000


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Avtar Singh, MD

Phoenix VA Healthcare System

Phone: (602) 277-5551


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Katherine Mitzel, DO, FACEP

University of Arizona, College of Medicine - Phoenix

Phone: (602) 827-2226



Share any suggestions for improving GME programs for the future


More work on evaluating data and clinical trials. Emphasis on personal patient follow up. - Burt Feuerstein, MD

Ten years ago, I ran into an associate that was hired straight out of residency. She could quote from textbooks like a preacher quotes from the Bible. Nevertheless, when she had to decide, she froze or could not make a decision because being book smart is sometimes a detriment to practicing good medicine. One must make decisions based on what we have. Having a patient die because of lack of action is a very serious problem that I have seen more and more frequently. – Antonio “Sergio” Torloni, MD

Allow associate physician training paths for unmatched MD and DO students versus allowing NPs and PAs to “practice medicine” with less appropriate education and training. – Amy Guzek, MD

Integrating hospital systems to allow for greater variability of resident experience, i.e., university, community, and public hospitals along with public access clinics to assist the indigent and underserved populations. – Gary A. Smith, MD

Many are unaware of opportunities in Arizona. I think the GME programs should support outreach and help recruit the best candidates to our state. - Shazia A. Malik, MD

There should be more medical schools and larger class sizes to produce the physicians needed to treat the growing population of Arizona. – Karen Kennedy, MD

I think residents need much more exposure to primary care as well as private practice and small group practice. This would go along with increasing payments to primary care providers. – Jane Lyons, MD

The ACGME has undertaken a project to look at modifying program requirements in each specialty to match what future practice looks like. This includes growth of abilities to lead teams to ensure that they can function at the level of their training to provide the most access for patients. This is a challenge for physicians and practices to adjust to because it means letting go of some of the traditional responsibilities to transition to a fully functioning multi-disciplinary team and physicians being responsible for a larger number of patients. – Cheryl O’Malley, MD

Incentivize and prioritize primary care residency. - Suganya Karuppana, MD

Increase the numbers of residency spots, more rural exposure, simulations, more research opportunities. – Joanna Kowalik, MD

Having more full-time faculty running the programs and subspecialties, competitive salaries for teaching staff. – Paul Baranko, MD

More primary care slot allocation and support. - Frederic Schwartz, DO

Funding is the big issue. As two in five physicians are now thinking about either retirement or part time employment within the next five years along with the increased needs of our aging population, we need to train more physicians. Taking a fellowship, which many do, also prolongs the training process. We will face a significant physician shortage soon. – Ronnie Dowling, MD

ACGME stresses more on didactic lectures which is counterproductive. Residents get better grasp of medicine with practical training. - Nadeem Shabbir, MD

Teaching physicians need to be paid a reasonable stipend for residency/GME training. - Robert Cravens, Jr, MD

I've been practicing for 49 years and find that some of the younger physicians don't do very thorough physical exams. They rely on labs and imaging to treat their patients. Most physicians now stand in the room with their backs to the patients and they don't seem to connect. - George Sibley, MD

Official paid training for faculty. Faculty should be given time to grow and maintain their credentials. A faculty GME track as a roadmap would be nice. - Avtar Singh, MD

We need to expand the number of residents per residency program and the number of internal medicine/family medicine residencies in Arizona. Also, we need to expand the number of spots for internal medicine fellowships, because we are losing high-quality graduates to other states. - Alvin G. Wong, MD

GME programs can improve by taking third year students from a diversity of colleges (especially in those hospitals that are financially supported by tax dollars). Additionally, students from D.O. programs should be considered based on their osteopathic credentials and not be expected to jump through additional hoops (such as requiring them to take USMLE). – Lori Kemper, DO

Get more funding from state, local and private. - Shakaib Rehman, MD

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