Local hospitals welcome diverse new class of young doctors

Jul 10, 2017

Young doctors in Western New York and around the country are in one of the most stressful periods of their careers.

Physicians go through long and detailed training after they get out of medical school. It traditionally starts July 1, as recent graduates become first-year residents and gradually learn the specialties and subspecialties they will practice in their careers.

They come from across the world to receive that specialty training in the United States. Of the 180 new residents being trained through the University at Buffalo who started July 1, 26 other countries are represented.

Dr. Roseanne Berger, UB's senior associate dean for medical education, said the new doctors are the front door of health care.

"When there is a issue that arises urgently in the hospital, because they are fast and young and always there, they are often first on the scene," she said, "and they really expand the physician workforce and so they are major contributors."

Those residents are always under the supervision of experienced doctors, although as they move through the years of residency, they are more and more able to handle cases themselves.

Some of those residents from overseas will stay here, if they can get permission from Washington and work in medically underserved urban and rural areas.

"Areas that often have difficulty attracting physicians for economic reasons or for social reasons and so the contributions made by those graduates of the international schools who have trained here are enormous," Berger said.

Of the 783 doctors in local residency programs, 245 come from out of the area. She said they have had their training vetted and their medical and language skills tested.

She said American doctors can learn from overseas doctors in this area with an increasing number of immigrants of different social, cultural and language bases and sometimes serious medical needs.

"The diversity that comes from having a mixture of international and U.S. grads, I think, is a strength and our patients are a diverse group," Berger said. "I think it's very valuable to have diversity within our residency programs."