Southeast Health celebrates opening clinic for physicians furthering their education

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 7:00 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Southeast Health is celebrating the opening of their medical center clinic, but this clinic is like no other. It offers same-day access to appointments with physicians who are part of Southeast Health’s three-year internal medicine residency program.

Physicians who are furthering their education are getting hands on experience with patient care at the Medical Center Clinic, they say this is an opportunity like no other.

“I am learning so much everyday,” Noel Dangco, MD, first year resident in Internal Medicine Program, said.

This clinic is filled with young doctors straight out of medical school, focusing on longer clinic visits so residency physicians can get to know their patients.

These doctors follow patients from the hospital back into the community and stays with them throughout their time in the program.

“That’s the traditional model of medicine and primary care is being able to be both inpatient and outpatient for your patients and they establish a really long term relationship with them and really help with preventative care and long term thinking and planning for meeting health and wellness goals so it’s a really rewarding type of practice in primary care,” Dr. Juanita Heersink, MD, Clinic Director, said.

Allowing residency physicians to grow as doctors, while at the same time growing with the community.

“I’ve gotten the chance to develop a lot of relationships with my patients and when it came time for me to graduate I started to think, ‘Well, who’s going to take care of them when I leave,?’ which was part of one of the driving reasons why I decided to stay here,” Dr. Arielle Dahlin, MD, teaching faculty, said.

Dr. Dahlin completed the program in June. She now oversees residents like she once was as the teaching faculty.

“While they are still in training they are very much paying attention to all of the very small, tiny details of your life and you’re getting an overview with two different physicians because they do check out each patient with the attendings that are there that were supervising them,” Dr. Dahlin said.

Giving them the confidence on simple and complex cases.

“They help me become a better doctor,” DR. Dangco said. “They are always watching my back and I aspire to be like them and I really feel it that even when the works getting hard, they are there for me.”

Residents in this program assist attendants allowing the clinic to expand on the number of patients they can see.

“These are licensed physicians that can prescribe medications and practice independently and then they do have older physicians that act as an attending and kind of help them coordinate care and plan care so we make sure we don’t miss anything when we’re working with our very complicated patients,” Dr. Heersink said.

There are three classes of 13 residency physicians, making a total of 39 residents in the program.

Although many of them travel after completing the program, several stay right here in the Wiregrass.

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