NEW DOCTORS IN A NEW ERA
Central Florida Health News|September 2021
Pandemic Offers Unique Education for Medical Residents Starting Their Careers
PAMELA PALONGUE

Dr. Akhila Reddy likes practicing family medicine because it provides her with the opportunity to interact with people of all ages and backgrounds, from babies to geriatric patients, with a plethora of medical needs. One thing she couldn’t possibly have foreseen when she started medical school was the arrival of a virus that would change the entire medical landscape.

DR. AKHILA REDDY

A first-year resident in the Florida State University College of Medicine Winter Haven Hospital Residency Program, Reddy began her journey into medical education at St. George’s University in the Caribbean. She completed her third and fourth years of medical school in Los Angeles and Miami.

DR. NATHAN FALK

While in these urban environments, she was required to see patients in the field, rather than the more controlled environments of a hospital or clinic. She admits to being apprehensive about treating patients when COVID-19 first emerged.

“I was unvaccinated, and I was still seeing patients,” Reddy explains. “We didn’t know who had COVID and who didn’t.”

Those early days when testing equipment was in short supply were challenging for everyone, but especially the medical professionals in particular, who were continually exposed to the virus and working on the front lines.

She just began her residency in July with the program, which aims to give young doctors much-needed experience while also filling the need for more family practice physicians in Polk County.

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