Internal
Medicine

The Kennestone Internal Medicine Residency Program offers new doctors a chance to learn from extraordinary teachers and clinicians who enthusiastically give back by sharing their skills and experience. At Kennestone the focus is on the whole doctor—healer, colleague and life-long learner. Faculty members know you not just as a resident, but also as an individual with a family, friends and a future.

Whole doctors treating whole patients

Experience excitement, challenge and personal growth as you learn to practice medicine in a vibrant community setting without the feeling of being lost in a huge academic program. The WellStar Kennestone Internal Medicine residency program is built on the belief that the best healthcare is a partnership between patient and provider.

Unlike some programs, ours does not rely on residents to fill essential clinical positions. This is residency education developed with the learner in mind. Extraordinary teachers and mentors are dedicated to their patients and to your personal and professional development.

Curriculum

Acceptance to the WellStar Kennestone Regional Medical Center Residency Program in Internal Medicine is based on medical school performance, board exam results, letters of recommendation and in-person interviews. We especially encourage applicants who are committed to improving the health of Georgia residents. WellStar Health System is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

The Internal Medicine curriculum is designed to comply with requirements to train residents to practice independently and to take, and pass the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) specialty board certification exam. The educational plan is designed to meet/exceed the educational requirements of the ACGME, Internal Medicine Residency Review Committee (RRC-IM), and the ABIM. The program’s structure gives residents the flexibility to configure learning opportunities to meet professional interests and to help them achieve their goals.

Interns will typically spend five months on the inpatient medicine wards. During the PGY-2 and PGY-3 years, the inpatient ward experience is characteristically four months. Those who select elective primary care may do as few as three ward months during the final two years of training.

Continuity Clinic is an ongoing part of training in internal medicine.  The RRC-IM requires residents to complete a minimum of 130 continuity clinics over the 36 months of residency training. It is also required that at least a third of internal medicine residency training be in an outpatient setting. With multiple schedule possibilities, we estimate that over 40% of the typical WellStar Kennestone resident’s training schedule will be in an outpatient setting and the requirement for a minimum number of Continuity Clinics will be comfortably exceeded.

Core Rotations:
Residents will rotate through the foundational subspecialties that make up much of internal medicine, including cardiology, endocrinology, rheumatology, nephrology, gastroenterology, infectious diseases, pulmonology and hematology/oncology. The program requires residents to rotate through a minimum of 6 of these 8 subspecialty rotations.

Additionally Required Rotations:
In addition, rotations in neurology, geriatrics, emergency medicine and critical care are required by the RRC-IM. Interns will complete a one-month rotation in neurology. A one-month rotation and geriatrics is typically scheduled during the PGY-2 year. Emergency medicine (minimum 4 weeks and maximum 8 weeks) rotations occur during the intern and PGY-3 years. Interns will spend one month in the MICU and one month in the CCU. PGY-2 residents will work an additional month as supervising residents in the CCU. A supervising MICU rotation is scheduled to occur during the PGY-3 year.

Additional Non-Internal Medicine Elective Rotations:
In compliance with RRC-IM requirements, additional elective experiences are available for allergy/immunology, psychiatry, dermatology, medical oncology, women’s health/GYN, non-operative ENT, non-operative orthopedics/sports medicine, palliative care, sleep medicine, rehabilitation medicine and medical ophthalmology.

Novel Elective Rotation Possibilities:
Leveraging strengths of the WellStar Health System, curriculum and clinical experiences have also been developed in areas including community health, student health, research, population health, health policy/advocacy, urgent care, international health, complex care and bariatric medicine. Residents interested in primary care have the option of a special primary care elective during both the PGY-2 and PGY-3 years of training.  For residents with compelling interest, additional rotations are available for heart failure, arrhythmias, hospitalist medicine and transplant medicine.

Conferences:
A variety of learning conferences augment resident education. These have been designed to address particular learning needs traditionally identified by residents. Included are Medicine Grand Rounds, Ambulatory Morning Report, Inpatient Report, Journal Club, Quality Improvement Conferences, Scholarship and Teaching among Residents (STAR) Conferences, Critically Appraised Topics (CAT) Conferences, a board review course and Morbidity/Mortality/Improvement Conferences. We also offer workshops and educational sessions related to leadership development.

  • Join a winning team. Kennestone Regional Medical Center is one of the busiest hospitals in Georgia and our Emergency Department is the second busiest in the state.
  • Innovative, rotating educational conferences hone your skills in research, teaching and scholarship.
  • Teach and learn from other healthcare professionals in an interdisciplinary environment.
  • Rotations are built around a 28-day schedule and all switch on the same day.
  • Learn and perfect skills using state-of-the art simulation systems.
  • Explore the possibility of customizing a curriculum to match your interests.
Unique Features

Modern Experience

Gain valuable exposure in trending areas like population health, quality of care and medical ethics. Learn patient care from our highly successful Accountable Care Organization (ACO), recognized nationally for substantial cost-savings and improved patient outcomes.

Residents follow a panel of clinic patients throughout their residency, gaining experience in longitudinal follow-up. You’ll also develop in-depth quality of care initiatives that keep patients safe and improve health outcomes.

Non-traditional Rotations

In addition to standard IM offerings, residents can choose from non-traditional medicine rotations in areas like anesthesiology, sports medicine, women’s health, sleep medicine, student health, rehab, dermatology and ENT.

While we do not have a separate match listing for a primary care track, our flexible curriculum design makes it possible to incorporate two primary care rotations, working alongside highly successful practitioners.

Diverse Methodologies

The program uses data-driven systems like Lean Six Sigma to teach residents to avoid waste and work more efficiently. We help you learn the business, as well as the practice, of 21st century medicine.

Benefit from faculty involvement in specialties like population health management and healthcare advocacy.

Let our resource diversity be your competitive advantage.

Leadership & House Staff
G. Waldon Garriss III
MD, MS, MBA, MHA, FAAP, MACP
Program Director, Internal Medicine
Certified in both internal medicine and pediatrics, Dr. Garriss is a dedicated career medical educator who served on the Vanderbilt faculty for 12 years, where he was named one of the university's Master Clinical Teachers. He is currently an Adjunct Professor, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN, as well as a Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, General Internal Medicine Section, at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, GA. He retains an additional faculty appointment as Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Community Medicine - School of Medicine, at Mercer Health Sciences Center, and served as Clinical Adjunct Faculty at the Emory University School of Medicine from 2011 - 2017.
Zenobia JonesFoster
MD, MPH
Associate Inpatient Program Director, Internal Medicine
Dr. JonesFoster is the Medical Director of Hospital Medicine at WellStar Kennestone Regional Medical Center, and has been a Clinical Assistant Professor with the Department of Medicine, General Internal Medicine Section, at Georgia Regents University since 2015. She gained a unique perspective by working as a healthcare consultant before becoming an internist. She has worked with diverse pathology and populations including inner-city residents and veterans. A hospitalist at Kennestone Regional Medical Center, Dr. JonesFoster links her business background with her clinical knowledge to train medical residents to be well-rounded physicians who practice strong evidenced-based medicine, while treating patients and their teams with respect and empathy.
Janet Pak Memark
MD, MPH, FACP
Associate Ambulatory Program Director, Internal Medicine
Dr. Memark has a keen interest in treating under-served populations. Following training at the University of Miami and Loyola University, she worked with a Cook County primary care clinic and served on the Loyola faculty. She has been Medical Director of WellStar's community health clinics since 2013.
Sheila Lawshea
Coordinator, Internal Medicine Residency Program
Sheila brings to WellStar over 15 years of experience as a residency/fellowship coordinator, and over 25 years in healthcare. She has worked at Atlanta Medical Center and, more recently, at Loyola University Medical School in Chicago. She is happy to return to the Atlanta area to join the WellStar GME team.
Natalee Wilson
PGY-1
Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University
Walter Selver
PGY-1
Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine
Ashley Poullard
PGY-1
The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
J. Norris
PGY-1
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Joseph Kinuthia
PGY-1
Mercer University School of Medicine
Rachel Johnson
PGY-1
Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University
Mehrin Jawaid
PGY-1
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Charlie Farmer
PGY-1
Mercer University School of Medicine
Sena Choi
PGY-1
Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University
Yael Ross
PGY-2
Ross University School of Medicine
Shiraj Panjwani
PGY-2
St. George’s University School of Medicine
Amaka Onwuka
PGY-2
Robert Wood Johnson (Rutgers) School of Medicine
Umme Nur
PGY-2
Peking University Health Science Center
Charlene L. Rohm
PGY-2
Medical College of Georgia
Chris Holladay
PGY-2
Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine
Kevan Desai
PGY-2
St. George’s University School of Medicine
Jessica Barnard
PGY-2
Mercer School of Medicine
Mosaab Awad
PGY-2
University of Aleppo School of Medicine
Salary & Benefits

Our salary and benefits program reflects our concern for the resident who has a life, not just a medical degree. Residents enjoy the same top-tier benefits offered to other WellStar Health System employees, and your health and wellness is a top priority. We’ve got people and programs to help you stay healthy, stay focused and not get overwhelmed.

Singular Concierge Services

  • Let our professional concierge team take your car for an oil change, restock your groceries or simply pick up a birthday gift for your loved ones while you stay focused on providing great care.
  • From simple errand running to event and travel planning, if you can dream it, our team can do it!
  • Residents can place concierge requests via phone, fax, email or in-person. Once a request has been made, a concierge team member will process and fulfill the request, then follow up with the resident to ensure everything is perfect.

Vacation and Incidental Sick Time

  • 20 paid work days per contract year. To be granted at the discretion of the Program Director.
  • Time not taken will not carry over to next contract year.

Illness

  • Five paid days per contract year. Unused days will not carry over to next contract year.

Maternity/Paternity/Adoption

  • Eligible for 120 hours of paid time off after six months of employment if full-time; 60 hours if part-time.
  • Paid time off will be applied before Illness pay or Vacation pay.

Malpractice Coverage

  • WellStar provided coverage at no cost to Resident.

Reimbursements

  • Up to $1,000 PGY-1, $1,400 PGY-2, $1,500 PGY-3, and $1,600 PGY-4-8 per contract year for professional dues, journal and subscription fees.
  • Board Certification/Recertification, DEA, Georgia medical license and city/county business license.

Group Long Term Disability (LTD)

  • Eligible after 30 days of continuous employment. No enrollment required.
  • Provided at no cost to Resident.
  • Payable on the 91st day of disability if approved by LTD Insurance Carrier.
  • Benefits equal 60 percent of monthly base pay (maximum $16,000 per month).

Supplemental Individual Disability Insurance

  • Eligible after one month of employment. Premiums paid by Resident.
  • Requires approval from Supplemental LTD company after completion of enrollment form.
  • Pays in addition to Group LTD plan providing a benefit up to 75% of total compensation.

Short Term Disability (STD)

  • Eligible on the first day of the month following 30 days of continuous employment.
  • Enrollment Required.
  • Premiums paid by Resident.
  • Benefit coverage equal to 60 percent of your base pay up to a maximum weekly benefit of $1,500.

Life Insurance

  • Eligible on the first day of the month following 30 days of continuous employment as Resident.
  • Basic Life and AD&D provided at no cost to Resident. Coverage amount equals 1.5 times annual base pay (not to exceed $500,000).  No enrollment necessary.  Will need to complete beneficiary information on web enrollment portal.
  • Optional Life provided at group rates. Can purchase up to four times annual base pay (not to exceed $500,000).  Spouse and child coverage available at group rates.  Imputed income recognized.

Qualified Pension Plan (defined benefit plan)

  • Generally, automatically enrolled in plan on first of month following age 21 and 12 consecutive months of WellStar employment with 1,000 hours from date of employment.
  • Will earn a year of credited service for each pension payroll plan year you are credited with at least 1,000 hours.
  • In most cases, you become fully vested after five years of service (i.e., paid at least 1,000 hours for five plan years). Vested benefit is payable once you reach normal retirement age.  Several payment options available.
  • May retire as early as age 55 (with a reduced benefit) as long as you have at least ten years of vesting service. Alternatively, you may elect to receive your benefit while working through the In-Service Distribution Option as early as age 62, provided you have completed at least ten years of vesting service.

Supplemental Retirement Savings Plan (403(b) defined contribution plan)

  • Eligible on first day of employment.
  • Resident directed investments.
  • Maximum contribution — $18,000 (age 50 and older $24,000). Limits subject to change according to IRS Regulations.
  • Resident contributions matched each pay period with a “true up” option at year end. For every $1 contributed, up to 4 percent of eligible earnings, WellStar will contribute $.50.
  • May contribute a percentage of bi-weekly salary or flat dollar amount each pay period.
  • Contributions taken from all taxable income throughout the payroll calendar year.
  • Roth and pre-tax options available.
    100 percent vested in WellStar contributions after three years of service.

Eligible Deferred Compensation Plan (457b)

  • Eligible to enroll on first day of employment, however deductions will not start until the month following the election.
  • Maximum annual Resident contribution $18,000. Limits subject to change according to IRS Regulations.
  • No WellStar matching contributions.
  • May contribute a percentage of bi-weekly salary or flat dollar amount each pay period.
  • Pre-tax contributions taken from all eligible taxable income throughout the payroll calendar year.
  • Investment options identical to 403(b) investments.

Medical Plan (High Deductible Health Plan Options)

Health Savings Account (HSA) or Health Reimbursement Account (HRA)

  • Eligible on the first day of the month following 30 days of continuous employment.
  • Three plan options — WellShare Premium, WellShare Select and Minimum Basic. Two WellShare plan options with access to Health Savings Account (HSA) or Health Reimbursement Account (HRA), if not qualified for HSA.
  • HSA includes pro-rated WellStar lump sum contribution with optional Resident per pay period contribution up to annual IRS limit.
  • HRA includes pro-rated WellStar lump sum contribution. No Resident contribution allowed.
  • Resident and WellStar share in cost of medical plan option selected. Resident premiums deducted each pay period on pre-tax basis.

Dental, Flexible Spending Accounts, Vision, Accident, Critical Illness and Permanent Life Insurance

  • Eligible on the first day of the month following 30 days of continuous employment. Enrollment required. Premiums deducted each pay period.
Application Requirements & How To Apply

Thank you for your interest in the WellStar Kennestone Regional Medical Center’s Residency Program.  It is our mission to create an exceptional and personalized training environment for people interested in serving patients as internists – whether as generalists or subspecialists – in order to provide the highest quality of care for our community.

Our interview season will run from mid-October through mid-January.  Applications will only be accepted through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) and any interested individual must be registered to participate in the National Residency Match Program (NRMP); no program positions will be offered outside of the NRMP.

Our application deadline is December 1st, of the interview year; applications not submitted (and complete) by this date will not be considered for review by the residency selection committee.  The program’s residency selection committee will review the ERAS applications and interview offers will be extended based on the applicant’s overall portfolio.  Interview invitations will be issued only through the ERAS post office to the applicant’s e-mail address, as indicated on the ERAS application.  Available interviews will be scheduled on a first-come first-served basis.

Application Requirements:

  1. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, have a valid U.S. Permanent Resident Card or EAD, or possess a J-1 visa.  (Our institution does not sponsor any visas.)  In addition, candidates must provide documentation to support this requirement to the GME office if a letter of Agreement is extended.
  2. Applicants must also either be a:
    1. Graduate/pending graduate of a U.S. or Canadian medical school accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME).
    2. Graduate/pending graduate of a college of osteopathic medicine in the U.S. accredited by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).
    3. Graduate of a medical school outside the United States or Canada who also meets one of the following additional criteria:
      • Holds a currently valid Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) certificate; or,
      • Holds a full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in a U.S. licensing jurisdiction in his or her current ACGME specialty/subspecialty; or,
      • Completion of a Fifth Pathway program provided by an LCME-accredited medical school.
  3. Applicants must be within two years of graduation from medical school or direct patient care activity.
  4. Applicants must qualify for a full or unrestricted educational limited license in the State of Georgia.
  5. Applicants must have the following materials entered into the ERAS program:
    • Dean’s Letter (or MSPE)
    • Three letters of recommendation (a Chairman’s letter is not required, but the program does take special note of letters of recommendation from the attending physician during medicine sub-internship/acting internship/externship rotations performed during the senior year)
    • Official medical school transcript (no photocopies accepted), including grades for all required clerkships
    • Personal Statement
    • Current curriculum vitae
    • An official transcript with score on the USMLE/COMLEX Step 1.   Preference will be given to first-time takers of the USMLE/COMLEX; applicants who did not pass a USMLE/COMLEX on the first attempt may still be considered for an interview, but it is imperative that those who retake the exam have a competitive score.
    • Applicants must have an official transcript with scores on USMLE/COMLEX Step 2 CK and CS; this is due before the due date for NRMP Rank Order List.
    • Although not required, applicants are encouraged to provide an optional photograph.

Please note that the required information, including letters of recommendation be in English; non-translated documents will not be accepted.  Only applicants who satisfy the above requirements will be considered for an interview.  Interviewees will be evaluated based on medical school performance, letters of recommendation, board examination scores, personal statement, and their overall interview performance.

WellStar Health System, including the WellStar Kennestone Regional Medical Center is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate with regards to a person’s ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status.

We invite qualified candidates to apply for the WellStar Kennestone Residency Program through the national resident matching program. Use this link to the program’s Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS®).