SPARTANBURG — Only 12 of 3,500 applicants are recognized with the 2015 Excellence in Graduate Medical Education Award by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).
Spartanburg Medical Center family medicine resident Brintha Vasagar, MD, MPH, was one of those 12 and the only resident in the southeast to receive this award.
“It is quite an honor to be selected,” Dr. Vasagar said. “As a family medicine physician, I’m passionate about being in the community to help educate the public on prevention. I want to leave a community better than I found it.”
The AAFP’s Excellence in Graduate Medical Education Award recognizes outstanding family medicine residents for their leadership, civic involvement, exemplary patient care, and aptitude for and interest in family medicine.
Dr. Vasagar, a family physician from Hatfield, PA, will receive the award at the American Academy of Family Physicians annual meeting in Denver, CO. The AAFP Family Medicine Experience (formerly AAFP Assembly), one of the largest gatherings of primary care providers in the country, will be held Sept. 29 through Oct. 3, 2015.
Dr. Vasagar is a third year family medicine resident at Spartanburg Medical Center (SMC), part of Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.
Along with caring for patients, Dr. Vasagar serves as a liaison between faculty and residents as chief resident of SMC’s Family Medicine Residency Program.
“Since coming to us, Dr. Vasagar has stepped up to the plate and helped lead the Family Medicine Program. This recognition is another feather in her cap,” said Jeffery Swartz, MD, SRHS Family Medicine Residency Program Director. “This award also gives some attention to our program and shows that we have outstanding residents that will become well trained family physicians.”
Dr. Vasagar is a graduate of Georgetown University, American University of Antigua and Johns Hopkins University. She also spent a year completing a post-doctoral fellowship in clinical research at the Center for Celiac Research at Harvard. Dr. Vasagar was drawn to Spartanburg Medical Center not only because of the professionalism of the program, but also the friendliness of the area.
Dr. Vasagar has written for numerous publications, made scientific presentations, and on-camera appearances regarding public health and medicine. In the future she hopes to become Surgeon General of the United States and revolutionize the way we view health. A survivor of the 2004 tsunami which devastated South Asia, she has spoken before members of Congress and the United Nations about international health issues and disaster preparedness.
“Helping educate on preventive healthcare through writing or speaking on television is my ultimate goal,” she said. “I also have a desire to start a free clinic and work with local homeless shelters to care for those individuals.”
The SMC Family Residency Program is one of the largest of the family medicine programs in South Carolina. SMC has 12 family medicine residents per year, with six transitional interns assisting in first year call to assure a manageable call schedule.
To maintain membership in the American Academy of Family Physicians, physicians are required to complete a minimum of 150 hours of accredited continuing medical education every three years. The AAFP was the first national medical specialty organization to set continuing education requirements for its members. This requirement helps ensure family physician members stay current on the most up-to-date medical technologies, research and techniques.
About Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System
Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS) offers a full spectrum of services through four hospitals: Spartanburg Medical Center, Pelham Medical Center, Spartanburg Hospital for Restorative Care and Union Medical Center. SRHS also includes Ellen Sagar Nursing Center, 113-bed long-term care, skilled nursing facility that offers nursing care and rehabilitation services. SRHS provides unparalleled oncological care through the Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute. The multidisciplinary Medical Group of the Carolinas has more than 300 physicians across seven counties in two states. SRHS employs nearly 6,000 associates and offers outpatient surgery centers, a vibrant post-acute division, a Level I Trauma Center, and Advicare, a licensed Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). Advicare provides Medicaid services to residents throughout the state of South Carolina. U.S. News and World Report ranked Spartanburg Medical Center the No. 1 regional hospital in South Carolina in 2014-15. The Commission on Cancer gave Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute its Outstanding Achievement Award.
About the American Academy of Family Physicians
Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 115,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.
Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is nearly 214 million office visits each year — nearly 74 million more than the next largest medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.
To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP’s positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org.