The inaugural class: (standing) Batel Isenstein, MD; Carol Jane Cha, MD; Jorge Espana, MD; (seated) London Muse, MD; Anesh Badiwala, MD; and Sara Paul, MD.

Why did you choose a residency in family medicine?           
Dr. Espana – I like family medicine’s focus on preventive medicine, the diverse patient population, and the opportunity it offers you to become a member of an extended family.

Dr. Muse – Family medicine physicians follow patients through all ages and stages of life, from birth to adulthood to old age. When a whole family comes in, we can take care of mom, baby, teenager and grandparents. In one afternoon at Open Door, I saw a newborn, an elderly lady with diabetes, a young man for a physical and an elderly man with a foot sore. You never know who’s going to be behind the next door.

Dr. Isenstein – I chose this field because of the ability for continuity of care. I also chose family medicine because it is ideal for practicing internationally, which is a goal of mine.

Dr. Paul – There’s a really special dynamic with family medicine in the relationships that you develop with your patients. Also, I feel very strongly about public health and preventative medicine, which is at the core philosophy of family medicine.

Why did you choose the NYMC Phelps residency program?
Dr. Badiwala – This program is a comprehensive, multi-dimensional educational experience in an outstanding hospital in a scenic community. It’s unique because it not only trains you to be a comprehensive physician but also a leader in medicine. Other programs tailor their programs solely towards academics. This one goes above and beyond and trains us to become patient advocates.

Dr. Cha – This program provides me with the opportunity to become a leader within a community, to work in a clinic like Open Door, and to learn from some of the best medical providers in the field.

Dr. Isenstein – I was a medical student at New York Medical College, and I wanted to stay in the Westchester area and be part of pioneering a brand new program to help bring family practition-ers to the amazingly deserving patients we have here.

Dr. Muse – While at New York Medical College, I did a couple of brief rotations at Phelps (geriatrics, orthopedics, pediatric endocrinology). I loved the feel of the hospital and its “culture of kindness.” I really like the marriage between NYMC, Open Door and Phelps. I love living on campus, walking to work, driving to the clinic – it’s great to have everything in close proximity.

Dr. Espana – Phelps is an amazing hospital with an amazing physical therapy center, emergency room, hyperbaric chamber, Hoch Center for education and wonderful staff. Everyone is happy to be here and enthusiastic about supporting the residency program

Dr. Paul – I loved everything about this program – the location is ideal, the fact that the program is new and all the excitement around that, and having the opportunity to be involved with such an amazing organization as Open Door. The union of NYMC, Phelps and Open Door is such an exceptional platform to learn from and be a part of.

What do you enjoy most about the program?
Dr. Espana – What I enjoy most about the program is the enthusiasm and energy that every provider in the hospital shows towards teaching the new residents.

Dr. Muse – It’s great to have the chance to shape the program, making it the best program. I’m also able to work teaching into my residency, which I really love. Whatever the residents are strong in they can bring to the table.

How do you feel about the Westchester area?
Dr. Badiwala – I’m originally from Toronto and am new to Westchester.  It’s gorgeous! My walk down the hill from my apartment to the hospital is amazing. The pride that I have in being here and seeing that view of the river every morning gives me a jolt of energy. I would consider this area as home after my residency is over.

Dr. Muse – I love Broadway shows, so being able to park here for free and take the train into the city, that’s my ideal. I like that we serve a varied group of patients, many different ages, ethnicities, economic status. It will prepare us to be well-rounded physicians.

Dr. Espana – The Westchester area is wonderful. We have a great view of the Hudson River, there are delicious restaurants, and it is the only place where I always find a deer, skunk or raccoon in my backyard.

Dr. Paul – I absolutely love it! I’m new to the area, but I knew during application season that I wanted to stay in the New York area. I think Westchester has so much to offer.

Have there been any surprises so far?
Dr. Espana – The biggest surprise for me was how a hospital that never had a residency program before adjusted so quickly.

Dr. Badiwala – One shocking surprise is the culture of kindness this hospital has, and how happy everyone is to be a part of this institution. That’s a surprise considering the current state of healthcare in NY State and hospitals.  I did clinical rotations in community hospitals in Brooklyn. That was completely different.

How have your interactions been with the medical and other hospital staff?
Dr. Cha – The medical and hospital staff are amazing. The specialists have all been so kind and enthusiastic about teaching, even when we’re taking valuable time out of their day. The nurses have been so nice, welcoming us into this medical home, and we appreciate all the feedback and support we’ve been given.

Dr. Isenstein – Great! I especially love interacting with the nursing staff here, as well as the nutritionists, volunteers and the wonderful staff of the cafeteria, who are so kind.