Newswise — Hackensack Meridian Health Jersey Shore University Medical Center has significantly expanded the residency and fellowship training programs offered at the Neptune-based academic center. In 2017, the medical center added a General Surgery Residency Program and Cardiology Fellowship Program, and also expanded the number of pharmacy and dental residency positions. For 2018, the medical center will increase the number of pediatric resident positions and begin new ACGME-approved Psychiatry Residency and Nephrology Fellowship programs.

“Medical education, on the undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate levels, is one of our highest priorities,” says David S. Kountz, M.D., MBA, FACP, vice president of academic affairs at Jersey Shore University Medical Center and co-chief academic officer for Hackensack Meridian Health. “This impressive growth demonstrates our dedication to advancing medical knowledge and training future physicians through innovation, mentorship, and collaboration.”

Dr. Kountz stresses that expansion goes beyond adding brand new programs. “The medical center increased the pharmacy residency program from two to three positions, the dental residency from four to five positions, and we will be increasing the number of first year pediatric residents from eight to nine this year,” Dr. Kountz says. “Since the dental program is largely outpatient, having more residents allows us to provide more dental services to the community. And our newest pediatric resident actually transferred from a program in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.”

In July 2017, Jersey Shore University Medical Center began its new General Surgery Residency Program with two PGY1 physicians. With 18 faculty members, this comprehensive training program lasts five years, exposes participants to every specialty at the medical center (with the exception of Transplant at Hackensack University Medical Center) and encourages research throughout each year of academic training. Each year, two additional residents will be added to the program, eventually having a complement of ten resident physicians at any given time at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

According to the surgical program director, Glenn Parker, M.D., “The degree of clinical responsibility and technical operative experience increases incrementally with each year of training. Our residents mature clinically, hone their technical ability, and further develop interpersonal skills that are critical for their success to become independent Surgeons.” 

In September 2017, a new Cardiology Fellowship Program began at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. The hospital holds the elite status of being only the seventh program (out of more than 40 teaching hospitals) in the state of New Jersey that has been approved to provide advanced training in cardiovascular diseases. It is also the only cardiology fellowship sponsored by a hospital within the Hackensack Meridian Health network. Two fellows are currently enrolled, and two more will join each fall as part of the three-year program.

“We offer comprehensive training for clinical cardiologists in a dynamic environment,” says Dawn Calderon, D.O., director of the Cardiology Fellowship Program and chief of cardiology at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. “Our fellows possess a passion for learning, participate in high-quality, compassionate care for our patients, and learn alongside seasoned physicians who help to develop skills that will benefit fellows for the lifetime of their careers.” As a tertiary referral hospital that evaluates and treats a large number of cardiac patients, Jersey Shore University Medical Center offers the technology, resources and know-how to perform cutting-edge cardiac procedures. Fellows work alongside expert cardiologists who specialize in both invasive and noninvasive procedures with a vast breadth of expertise.

In addition to starting the general surgery and cardiology programs, the medical center received official approval to begin two additional programs in the New Year. In July 2018, a new Psychiatry Residency Program will begin with four physicians kicking-off the four year program.

“Recruitment for the four first-year slots began last fall and generated tremendous interest, with over 950 applications received,” says Ramon Solhkhah, M.D., Psychiatry Residency Program director and chairman of the department of psychiatry at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. “Receiving accreditation to offer this specialized training will serve a critical need for the residents of our community who require behavioral health assessment and treatment.” A Psychiatry Residency Program was also approved for Ocean Medical Center in Brick, which reinforces Hackensack Meridian Health’s commitment to this critical health issue.

Also beginning in July 2018 will be a Nephrology and Hypertension Fellowship Program. One physician will be selected annually for the two-year specialty program. Over a two year period, each fellow will rotate through approximately 20 months of required clinical experience and four months of electives, research, and scholarly activity.

“We’ve seen tremendous momentum in the growth and expansion of the medical education programs at Jersey Shore University Medical Center,” says Arif Asif, M.D., MHCM, founding fellowship program director at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. “The new nephrology program will offer clinical rotations for acute and chronic inpatient consult services, dialysis rotation, transplant nephrology and robust outpatient nephrology experience at Jersey Shore University Medical Center and our sister hospital, Hackensack University Medical Center.”

“We are fortunate to have a medical staff that embraces not only training a new generation of physicians, but is open to the continuous learning and idea sharing that comes with working side-by-side a new generation of medical professionals,” says Kenneth N. Sable, M.D. MBA, FACEP , president of Jersey Shore University Medical Center and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital. “They are dedicated educators who offer a wealth of knowledge and experience to these residents and fellows in a collegial, collaborative environment. We are extremely excited to add these programs, and have plans to introduce even more specialized training opportunities in the future.”

Jersey Shore University Medical Center sponsors several programs accredited by ACGME or their relevant accrediting agency. These include residency training in Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Internal Medicine; a Pediatric Hospital Medicine Fellowship; and graduate training programs in General Dentistry, Clinical Pharmacy and Podiatry. In total, there are over 100 residents and fellows in programs at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. The medical center is a University level affiliate of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and will soon be a major affiliate of the new Seton Hall – Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, scheduled to recruit its first class later in 2018.

To learn more, visit the Academics page at

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About Hackensack Meridian Health

Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 16 hospitals, including three academic medical centers, two children's hospitals and nine community hospitals, two rehabilitation hospitals, physician practices, more than 160 ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, and urgent care facilities. Hackensack Meridian Health has 33,000 team members, more than 6,500 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.

The Network's notable distinctions include having one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America's 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more consecutive years, four hospitals ranked among the top 10 in New Jersey, including Hackensack University Medical Center, the No. 1 hospital, Jersey Shore University Medical Center at No. 4 and Ocean and Riverview Medical Centers tied at No. 8., as ranked by U.S. News and World Report. Other honors include consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, recipient of the John M. Eisenberg Award for Patient Safety and Quality from The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum, a six-time recipient of Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For," one of the "20 Best Workplaces in Health Care" in the nation, and the number one "Best Place to Work for Women." Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies.

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