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First-Year Residents

Juan Almaguer, DO

Juan Almaguer, DO

Medical School: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Bradenton, FL

Undergraduate: Florida International University, Miami, FL

Having lived most of my life in Florida, including medical school, it is safe to assume I did not know much about Latrobe. However, there were several things that drew my attention to the LAH FM residency, including it being an unopposed and well-established program, with available housing right across from the hospital, in a small (but not remote) town, so I was thrilled when Melissa and Kathleen told me they would love to have me as a visiting student during my fourth year of medical school.

During the first day in the hospital, I was blown away when I walked into morning report to find a room full of residents who got along like family and were all smiling, including the interns who had been on the job for less than 2 months. As a medical student, I was immediately made to feel welcome, by attendings, residents, and staff alike, and I was allowed to have an active role during patient care. I also had the opportunity to rotate with a former graduate who had nothing but good things to say about her time in the program.

Pretty soon it became obvious Latrobe was, by far, the place where I wanted to do my training. During both my rotation and interview it became clear that the program is all about finding individuals who fit into their culture of camaraderie with an emphasis on having each other’s backs. This culture starts at the top with Dr. Semelka, who is always making sure the residents are doing their best to take care of themselves and maintain a proper work/life balance. Even though I have only been here for the better part of a month, it is obvious the program does a great job of mentoring and pushing their residents beyond their comfort zone, so we can grow both as physicians, and as people. Without a doubt, there is no place I would rather be but LAH, and I feel blessed the program has given me the opportunity to train here!

Alex Androkites, DO

Alex Androkites, DO

Medical School: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine-Seton Hill, Greensburg, PA

Undergraduate: University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg, Greensburg, PA

Choosing Excela Health Latrobe Family Medicine Residency was an easy decision to make. During my medical school training, I scheduled several rotations with Excela and saw firsthand the culture of the healthcare system. I was part of an extremely friendly environment conducive to learning where I could see myself developing into a skilled, well-rounded physician. Also, having grown up in the Greensburg area, I know of the impact Excela Health has within the communities it serves. I feel honored to be a member of this healthcare team as a resident physician.

Other important aspects of the program influenced my decision as well. First, the unopposed nature of the program in a large three hospital system allows for many learning opportunities from a primary care and specialty standpoint. Second, the curriculum flexibility allows me to pursue my medical interests of geriatric medicine and ultrasound within the framework of primary care.

Staying local for residency also provides me with the ability to continue my personal interests including swimming, golf, church activities, and volunteering at a local nursing home. With all these factors it made it simple to rank Latrobe as my number one choice. I am excited to begin treating patients as part of an excellent healthcare team here with the Family Medicine Residency.

Megan Cunningham, DO

Megan Cunningham, DO

Medical School: Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, Blacksburg, VA

Undergraduate: Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH

I did an audition rotation at Latrobe in August of my fourth year of medical school. From my very first day, every resident and preceptor made me feel like I was an integral part of the team. Feedback and advice were readily given, and I could tell that I was surrounded by great people who were not only passionate about teaching and practicing medicine, but who were also invested in making me the best doctor I could be.

The underserved community and unopposed program, as well as the proximity to my husband and my families made Latrobe a top contender; but it was the people, the emphasis placed on work-life balance, and the curriculum that made making my rank list easy. As fourth year continued, I found that I missed the time I spent here, and the people I met here, including the other applicants I auditioned and interviewed with.

On match day, I was beyond excited to see that the 4 of us who met while auditioning together all those months ago chose to come here, which I think is pretty telling about the quality of the program! Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I met the rest of my class. Honestly, they are 7 of the best people I know, and instantly became my family! I truly could not have asked for better preceptors, more supportive upper years, or a cooler class of co-interns.

Lauren De Luca, MD

Lauren De Luca, MD

Medical School: Saint George’s University, West Indies, Grenada

Undergraduate: University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Latrobe Family Medicine Residency felt like a perfect match for me from the moment I met the faculty and residents during my interview. It was evident how truly kind, caring, and supportive a community this program really is, where each resident and colleague prioritize the success and well-being of one another. It was important to me to be a part of a program that provides full spectrum care to a diverse range of patients and have the opportunity to train under physicians who exemplify excellence in patient care. It was here at Latrobe that I found exactly that – a program with a supportive learning environment where I could grow into a well-rounded Family Physician. The program director, Dr. Semelka, is a true testament to the program’s emphasis on resident wellness, which made my decision in putting Latrobe as my top choice an easy one.

Jeremiah Florendo, DO

Jeremiah Florendo, DO

Medical School: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Erie, PA

Undergraduate: Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, PA and Westmoreland County Community College, Youngwood, PA

As a med student, I had the opportunity to complete several rotations within Excela. Throughout each rotation, it became clear that this is a truly special program, centered around teaching its residents how to think critically in all aspects of patient care. The attending physicians, through their combined years of multi-faceted experience, really show their love of teaching as they pass their collective expertise onto the next generation of physicians. They certainly bring a worldly knowledge to this small town, and it is in full display as they work side-by-side with the residents daily. Additionally, the entire faculty makes every effort to get to know the residents personally and they place a high emphasis on maintaining a good work-life balance. This is especially valuable for people like me, as I have a wife and three young children.

The decision to join this residency program was one of the easiest decisions I have ever made. I have proudly called myself a member of the Latrobe community for the past 25+ years, so I already knew just how much Latrobe has to offer. From delivering newspapers as a kid to various parts of the hospital, to volunteering in the ED as a teenager, to rotating here as a med student, and now being here as a resident, I am thrilled that my relationship with this hospital has come full circle! I look forward to being able to continue serving this community, my community, for the next three years and beyond.

Cole Miller, DO

Cole Miller, DO

Medical School: Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Lynchburg, VA

Undergraduate: University of Pittsburgh- Johnstown, Johnstown, PA

During my fourth year of medical school, I was searching for a Family Medicine residency to call home when I discovered Excela Health. After reading about the program online, I decided to call and set up an audition rotation. From the moment that I walked through the door on my audition rotation, I could tell that Excela was special and felt more like a family than a workplace. Everyone that I met in the hospital was very friendly and were never afraid to say “Hello!” and introduce themselves. The residents that I interacted with during my audition were eager to show me what day to day life in Latrobe is like. During my entire rotation I really felt as though I were part of the residency as a direct member of the patient care team and not just observing from the back of the room. The residents and faculty were very engaging and eager to share their experiences regarding medicine and the residency program. Couple those amazing residents with faculty that have such a passion for teaching, and you have a recipe for a great residency! Outside of the hospital, Latrobe is a beautiful town with plenty of amenities and wonderful people, making it an even better place to live, work, and relax. There are also so many outdoor activities only a short drive from Latrobe including hiking, biking, and some of Pennsylvania’s best fly-fishing. After choosing to continue my medical training at Excela, I am excited for the future and confident that I will be trained to be the best physician that I can be.

D. Vincent Ream, MD

D. Vincent Ream, MD

Medical School: University of Medicine & Health Sciences, St. Kitts

Undergraduate: Ave Maria University, Ave Maria, Florida

It feels surreal that the hospital in which I was born is now the place I chose to continue my medical journey. Choosing Excela Health Family Medicine Residency was one of the easiest choices I have made. I was drawn to the program for many great qualities including the caring community it fosters, the tremendous amount of support that the faculty has for their residents, and it being unopposed. It was a bonus that the location is close to my family! The program at Latrobe Hospital boasts a sense of family and it surpasses every expectation. From day one of orientation, it feels like family. The faculty, administrative staff, and co-residents are inviting, willing to help, and genuine throughout every encounter. Another significant deciding factor for me was the willingness of the program to help the residents meet their educational goals along with the program’s eagerness to improve the overall educational experience. It is very evident that mediocrity is not the norm and it's inspiring. This program is truly special, and I couldn’t be more excited to be part of the Excela Health Family Medicine Residency family.

Alex Smaracheck, DO

Alex Smaracheck, DO

Medical School: Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia, PA

Undergraduate: Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, PA

In my exploration of residency programs to further my training in family medicine, Excela Health Latrobe stood out as the best fit for several reasons. During my rotation experience here, I was highly impressed by the program’s strong sense of community and commitment to resident education. From my first day of working with Excela, I immediately felt very welcomed by all members of the program and soon fostered great working relationships with attending physicians and residents. It especially caught my eye that our program director, Dr. Semelka, heavily emphasizes resident well-being and maintaining a positive-attitude work environment. The unopposed nature of this program also means that family medicine residents have excellent opportunities to gain as much hands-on training as possible in a more intimate community hospital setting. The added benefit of subsidized housing options for residents is also an incredible and unique strength of this program.

As a native of Southwestern Pennsylvania, it was always my passion to return and work to serve patients in the area that I call home. I am very grateful for the privilege to live this dream and train in such an outstanding program that suits all of my professional goals.

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