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Co-Chief Resident's Comments

Ference  Tripp Ference, MD, Academic Chief Resident

I am honored to welcome you to Carolinas Rehabilitation! Here you will find a world-class education set in a collegial atmosphere. As the largest rehabilitation center in the Southeast, you will be exposed to a diverse and complex patient population. We are physically connected to the only Level I trauma center in the city, with a catchment area that spans multiple states. As a result, CR has recruited exceptional faculty who provide one-on-one, hands instruction in each of the diverse disciplines of physiatry.

Additionally, our residents have an 18-month cycle didactic series, further reinforcing the information gained on clinical rotations. We have incorporated specialized curricula including ultrasound/fluoroscopy workshops and a resident resiliency series throughout the academic year. Board review is provided year-round, with formal mock-oral examinations provided for the PGY-3s and PGY-4s once annually. These opportunities will not only serve you when taking exams but will prepare you for success as a physiatrist wherever you choose to practice.
I chose CR because of the opportunities it provided, the supportive environment, and the focus on work-life balance. After my interview, I had full faith that I could succeed here. I am confident you will feel the same.

Westerkam Dana Westerkam, MD, Quality Improvement Chief Resident

Welcome to Carolinas Rehabilitation!  We are located in Charlotte, NC, which is ideally centrally located in the Southeast region. We pride ourselves on a well-rounded learning experience which creates experienced, competent physiatrists that are prepared to practice in a variety of diverse settings. Our residents gain a wide exposure to the field of PMR and do not do so alone! We are assigned a peer mentor, faculty mentor, resident mentor, and quality improvement mentorship early in our time as residents to guide us through our education and on to a successful future career in physiatry. As an excellent complement to our board preparedness curriculum and clinical experiences, we also gain valuable real-world knowledge in quality improvement. Every resident is actively involved in quality improvement projects, which focus on ways we can enhance our patient care. We continually strive to advance our program through integrating resident-led initiatives within our rehab system. In this way, our residents are encouraged to get involved, gain valuable leadership experience, and be a part of improving the larger healthcare system. From our resident wellness curriculum to our clinical experience and didactic series to our practical, real-world exposure to quality improvement, we are confident you will graduate with the tools and knowledge you need for a successful, prosperous career in this wonderful field. We look forward to meeting you soon!

 Weaver Paul Weaver, DO, Administrative Chief Resident

Thank you for your interest in Atrium Health - Carolinas Rehabilitation! I believe you will find our program comparable to the nation’s elite with brilliant attendings that create a family atmosphere, exceptional leadership that listen to resident concerns and believe in constant evolution, and a great work / life balance. Currently we have TBI and Cancer rehabilitation fellowships; however, the program is very well rounded and gives you the opportunity to excel in any subspecialty or fellowship path you choose. Faculty mentors are assigned to learn more about your interests, guide you toward achieving the goals you set, and become future leaders in the field. As an example of change, 3+ years ago residents requested more ultrasound opportunities. Very quickly leadership bought a state-of-the-art U/S machine, made available to residents 24/7 for practicing, and started a curriculum with protected educational days. This facilitated opportunities to learn as PGY2 which has now progressed to greater mastery and ability to teach others as PGY4s. With 15 residents we have a great balance of home call, moonlighting opportunities, and plenty of time to enjoy all that Charlotte has to offer. Highlights I recommend discussing further with our residents include the attending lead interventional spine cadaver workshop, resiliency curriculum, and sports coverage opportunities. Carolinas Rehabilitation and the city of Charlotte feel like a second home, and we hope you will consider joining our family!

PM&R Alumni Faculty Comments

Terrence Pugh, MD: “I have undergone a significant amount of personal and professional growth during my 3 years here as a resident at Carolinas Rehab, so I was very pleased when an opportunity presented itself to remain as faculty. I know that being a part of a great team of physicians, therapists, nurses and staff along with continued mentorship will only further advance my development as a physician. I look forward to continuing my career as an attending at Carolinas Rehabilitation.”

Jesse A. Lieberman, MD:  "I came to Carolinas Rehabilitation as a resident because I felt like it was the best program in the Southeast. I had an excellent experience as a resident and I felt very well prepared for my fellowship. I came back to join the faculty because of the excellent reputation of the hospital and program and the camaraderie amongst the faculty and residents. It is an excellent place to work and learn."

Matthew Shall, MD:  "After completing my residency training in Charlotte, I was excited to return as a faculty member to work with a number of the fantastic physicians who mentored me through my training. Carolinas Rehabilitation is in the forefront of rehabilitation not only locally and regionally, but has a growing reputation throughout the United States. I am proud to say that I am part of such an exemplary institution."

Vu Q. C. Nguyen, MD:  "I came here as a resident because it was the best program in the Southeast. The faculty's level of dedication to the program is unparalleled, and every resident is viewed as a unique gem with great brilliance just waiting to be polished. I chose this faculty job over others because I feel there's a special chemistry here. I am at home with this group of people. They're my mentors, pupils, colleagues and friends."

Sonya G. Rissmiller, MD:  "I came to Carolinas Rehabilitation for my residency because of its reputation, and because I had an immediate sense of acceptance and familiarity when I interviewed. The faculty is diverse in their interests, yet cohesive as a group. I feel privileged to call them my colleagues and that I am involved in teaching the residents. I am amazed with each year's group of residents. Just when I think we've found our best group yet, the group that follows emerges and proves to be every bit as dynamic as the group before. I couldn't imagine a better group of faculty or residents!"

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