Graduating residents actualize long-awaited goals during Celebration of Education

Pediatric resident physicians smile for the camera while viewing posters on display in the Learning Resource Center, where the Celebration of Education and Advances in Medical Education events were held.
Shashank Shettar, MD, at left, received one of several awards announced during Celebration of Education. Afterward, he and other graduates enjoyed the reception in the LRC atrium.
Emergency medicine resident physicians, along with program and UF COMJ leaders, gather for a photo during Celebration of Education.
Internal medicine resident physicians, along with program and UF COMJ leaders, gather for a photo during Celebration of Education.

Amid the fanfare and loud cheers, Jorge B. and Maria Trabanco sat quietly on the back row of the auditorium, beaming with pride as their son, Jorge M. Trabanco, MD, enjoyed his moment in the spotlight.

Trabanco was onstage with more than a dozen of his medical colleagues, who have all recently completed the three-year internal medicine residency program at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville. Support, dedication and appreciation were core themes of their journey.    

“This is a proud moment for us, to be here celebrating this with him,” said Maria Trabanco, who drove from Miami to Jacksonville with her husband to attend their son’s graduation. “We know he worked extremely hard and sacrificed a lot for this.”

Many stories of sacrifice and optimism were shared June 13 during the annual Celebration of Education event, where nearly 120 resident physicians and fellows were recognized for completing training programs at UF COMJ. The ceremony was held in the Learning Resource Center auditorium on the UF Health Jacksonville campus. A reception immediately followed in the LRC atrium.

“I’m very excited to be finished. It’s been a long, long road to get here,” said Trabanco, who will now work as a hospitalist in New Smyrna Beach, with visions of specializing in pulmonary critical care one day. “I’m finally ready to start my career.”

Trabanco was among 16 internal medicine residents who graduated — the most of any UF COMJ training program this year. The emergency medicine residency program had 15 graduates and the pediatric residency program had the third-most, with 13. Thirty-six UF COMJ training programs were represented at the event.

Leon L. Haley Jr., MD, MHSA, dean of UF COMJ and CEO of UF Health Jacksonville, addressed the graduates during the ceremony, emphasizing key words such as “resilience.” He said resilience is essential, given the heavy demands and commitments of a practicing physician.

“Your weekends and holidays are not protected,” Haley said. “But be resilient and take care of your wellness.”

He also encouraged the graduates to embrace their individuality while remaining engaged and opportunistic. “Seize opportunities when they arise, and learn to say no when it doesn’t feel right,” Haley said.

“Congratulations,” he said. “And my best to all of you.”

During the reception, Lauren Black, MD, MPH, enjoyed refreshments with a few other graduates of the emergency medicine residency program. She lauded the institutional support she and her colleagues received during their training.

“I think we’re all thankful to have completed residency and grateful to the mentors and the faculty members who have really gone above and beyond for our training,” Black said.

Black is among those who will remain on the UF Health Jacksonville campus to either continue training or begin practice. She will join the department of emergency medicine as a part-time faculty member while working as a part-time research fellow. The choice to continue at UF Health was easy, she said.

“There are great mentors to work with here,” Black said. “Then I thought about the ability to serve in this community at a safety-net hospital. It’s a really great opportunity to advance emergency medicine and the research related to that.”

Not too far from where Black stood, Marek Ogledzki, MD, DMD, spoke about completing the six-year residency program in oral and maxillofacial surgery. He describes the beginning of the program as “learning to drink from a fire hose,” as residents continuously grow and eventually master the essential clinical skills. 

“We really got to see some of the most complex surgeries in our specialty, and we got to do a lot of it,” said Ogledzki, who will soon begin a fellowship in Michigan in head and neck oncology and reconstruction. “I feel like this program prepares you for just about anything.”

Award winners

As part of Celebration of Education, UF COMJ leaders announced the winners of several annual awards:

  • Golden Apple Award in the Clinical Sciences (for a department) – department of pediatrics
  • Excellence in Student Education Award (resident) – Shannon LaBoy, MD, MS, neurology
  • Excellence in Student Education Award (faculty) – Win Aung, MD, MBA, medicine  
  • Robert J. Wears Outstanding Resident in Quality and Patient Safety Award – Nicolas R. Chiraboga Salazar, MD, pediatrics
  • Edward Jelks Outstanding Resident Clinician Award – Grant Nelson, DO, MPH, medicine 
  • Rosilie O. Saffos Outstanding Resident Teacher Award – Jason Arthur, MD, emergency medicine
  • Ann Harwood-Nuss Resident Advocate Award – Shashank Shettar, MD, anesthesiology
  • Louis S. Russo Jr. Award for Outstanding Professionalism in Medicine (resident) – Bashar Al-Turk, DO, medicine; and John Mooney, MD, cardiovascular disease 
  • Louis S. Russo Award for Outstanding Professionalism in Medicine (faculty) – Elisa Zenni, MD, pediatrics

Advances in Medical Education

The day also featured recognition of poster presentations that were part of Advances in Medical Education. Faculty, residents, fellows, staff and medical students submitted either educational posters or quality improvement posters for judging. Following are the winners, who each received a customized wall plaque and a cash award:

  • Most Outstanding Educational Poster – Lauren James, MA, child and adolescent psychiatry
  • Most Outstanding Educational Poster by Trainee – William Chotas, MD, pediatrics
  • Most Outstanding Quality Improvement Poster Award – Catherine Silva, MD, pediatrics
Click here to view the full Celebration of Education program, which features all of the graduates’ names and descriptions of the awards, as well as this year’s list of outstanding resident teachers and exemplary teachers among faculty members.