April 07, 2021

Scholars follow Internal Medicine track in Huntsville

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Lakkur SindhuSindhu Lakkur, Ph.D.Last year, the Huntsville Regional Medical Campus (HRMC) launched the Internal Medicine Integrated Residency (IMIR) Program—which aims to bridge the gap between the fourth year of medical school and the first year of residency for UAB medical students.

The program is unique in that it allows UAB students to apply for early consideration. Once accepted, students spend majority of their time on the UAB-Huntsville campus during fourth year, followed by residency the following three years under UAB at Huntsville Hospital. Moreover, generous philanthropic investments to the program significantly cut costs for enrolled fourth year medical students.

Two students currently on the Internal Medicine Residency Track were recently named IMIR Scholars: Sindhu Lakkur, Ph.D., and Jennifer Lamar.

Both Lakkur and Lamar matched into the UAB Huntsville Internal Medicine Program this year on Match Day, March 19.

New program; new beginning

Sindhu Lakkur, Ph.D., cheerfully says her match in Huntsville is flourishing with opportunity and “will provide a strong foundation in internal medicine, giving me the options to become a hospitalist, primary care physician, or pursue a fellowship.”

Lakkur is native to Baltimore, Maryland where she earned her bachelor’s degree and was a Meyerhoff Scholar. In her undergraduate work, she worked as a research assistant at Johns Hopkins, which propelled her interest in pursuing a Ph.D. in nutrition.

After her Ph.D. work was complete, Lakkur came to UAB to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship in biostatistics. During medical school, she continued to focus on interdisciplinary research.

For her next chapter in residency at the UAB Huntsville Internal Medicine Program, Lakkur says she hopes to learn about internal medicine in a variety of outpatient and inpatient settings. “I would like to learn to work with a large team of doctors, nurses, and health care workers to take care of patients,” she says.

LAMARJennifer LamarSimilarly, Jennifer Lamar expresses that her match symbolizes a new beginning. A native of Eva, Alabama, she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Lamar is currently the president of the Internal Medicine Interest Group, working with many students and residents to implement curriculum on the use of High Value Care in the UAB Huntsville Internal Medicine Residency Track.

On the new beginning, she explains, “Being in the medical field is a long road with many check points. Graduating medical school signifies reaching a check point: becoming a doctor. Now that I'm entering residency with a declared profession in Internal Medicine, there is a shift in focus with new goals, ambitions, and expectations.”

She says the program will contribute to her growing expertise due to the “different backgrounds, experiences, and views” of the residents and faculty.” She adds, “Working alongside and learning from these individuals, while continuing to build my medical knowledge, will greatly increase my abilities as a physician.”

"We are thrilled to have Sindhu and Jennifer join our residency here in Huntsville," says Roger Smalligan, M.D., MPH, regional dean of the Huntsville Regional Medical Campus. "They have both been outstanding as medical students, and now as physicians they not only bring along their intelligence and skill, but an incredible sense of caring and dedication that is an encouragement to patients, families, and fellow physicians."

Making Huntsville home

Lakkur and Lamar both say they are excited about the next steps in their lives, especially in the historic city of Huntsville.

“Huntsville is a strong, diverse community that offers a ‘big city’ feel, yet has the essence of a small town with activities and entertainment to suit any individual,” Lamar says.

Plus, the big city/small town feel traverses into Huntsville’s health care environment, on which Lakkur is especially enthusiastic. “Huntsville is small enough that you get to know the faculty personally, but large enough that you can pursue a career in many directions,” she says.

Both graduating students are integral to the Huntsville community, volunteering their time with the Huntsville Community Free Clinic. They are each committed to helping underserved communities in Huntsville receive health care.