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Navy Capt. Mark Stephens, associate professor and chair of the Department of Family Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, speaks to Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune interns and residents during the Family Medicine Residency program graduation at Marston Pavilion aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, July 1. The 13 graduating sailors are destined to either continue their training at the hospital or check in at their first duty station as new medical practitioners.

Photo by Cpl. Jonathan G. Wright

Sailors graduate NHCL Family Medicine Residency program

1 Jul 2011 | Cpl. Jonathan G. Wright

No one is born a doctor – there are years of education, training and internship needed to become someone who can reach out and pluck a life away from the brink of oblivion. In no way does this fact diminish in the military, holding just as true in every instance for Navy medical personnel. Every year is spent in either medical education or building upon prior experience, all in the effort to be able to provide a higher level of care for the Marines and sailors they serve.

July 1 marked the end of a preliminary step in the quest for medical knowledge for 13 family physicians and interns as they graduated from the Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune Family Medicine Residency program at a ceremony held at Marston Pavilion aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.

“Naval medical providers have brought hope and healing to families across the world,” said Navy Capt. Daniel Zinder, commanding officer of NHCL. “This is truly a celebration for these interns and residents, because it is their turn to do the same.”

Six Naval officers completed yearlong internships in the hospital while the remaining seven ended their three-year residencies. The purpose of the FMR program is to allow these sailors the fundamental experiences needed to start their careers as health care providers, having worked alongside current practitioners at the hospital.

The call of “ring four bells” twice echoed through the Beito Room of the pavilion as Zinder and Navy Capt. Mark Stephens, associate professor and chair of the Department of Family Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, made their way to the podium to make remarks and present the certificates of completion as well as various awards.

“For those of you graduating today, I have two things for you,” said Stephens. “The first is that you all have contractual obligations to your patients, and when they come to you for help, you will do the best you can to serve them. After you provide that care, reflect on what you did and how you might have done it better. Keep those two things in mind, because as physicians in the Navy, you have a great responsibility to your patients and to yourself.”

After the certificates of completion were awarded, two plaques for the intern of the year and resident teacher of the year were lauded, presented to Navy Lt. Mathew Guggenbiller and Lt. Cmdr. Wendy Gordon, respectively. Two Navy Achievement Medals were also awarded for work in the FMR program, bestowed to Navy Lts. Eric Vaught and Stephanie Elenbaum.

As the 13 graduating sailors either leave for their first duty stations as new health care providers or stay to continue training, they are all a little bit further down the road toward becoming medical practitioners, helping and healing service members and their families across the globe.

“A lot of people in this country continually seek the next best thing, never happy with what they have achieved,” said Zinder. “Take pride in what you have all accomplished here in the now, but never lose the drive to better yourselves in that aspect.”