Merit Wesley program thriving with 22 grads


Merit Health Wesley’s Graduate Medical Education residency program has seen great success since its inception in July 2015, recently holding graduation for 22 resident physicians and welcoming a new class of first-year residents.

Merit Health Wesley’s residency program was developed in 2015 with two areas of focus, Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine. The Transitional Year Program was added in 2018, and 2019 is the first year for M.D.s to be accepted. This is the second full class to graduate since During the four years prior, 23 additional residents have completed the program.

“Our programs continue to see growth,” said Sherry Turner, D.O., director of Graduate Medical Education. “In only four years, we’ve grown from four residents to 64. This accomplishment is a testament to the hard work our hospital and community partners, like William Carey University, have put into supporting much-needed physician education.”

During the graduation ceremony, Derek Hunt, D.O., was named Emergency Medicine Resident of the Year. Benjamin Drake, D.O., was named and Internal Medicine Resident of the Year. Emergency Medicine Intern of the Year was Jeremy Unger, D.O., and Internal Medicine Intern of the Year was Nicholas Reed, D.O. TRI- Internal Medicine Intern of the Year was Daniel Oakey, D.O., and Carl Jones, D.O. was named TRI-Emergency Medicine Intern of the Year.

The hospital also recognized chief residents from the programs, Derek Hunt, D.O., and Adam Whitaker, D.O., for Emergency Medicine

“We have seen much success in these rising physicians and look forward to their contributions as they move on to the next stages of their careers,” said Turner.

To date, Merit Health Wesley’s residents have a 100 percent pass rate for physician board exams. Residents graduating from the program this year will be moving on to positions in locations as far away as Washington State and Washington, D.C. and as close as Hattiesburg, Laurel, and Jackson.

In July 2019, the hospital welcomed 32 new residents, for a total of 66 residents among the three programs.

“As the program grows, so does the local economy, as residents often bring with them spouses and families who will work, shop, eat, and take advantage of the area’s entertainment and recreational activities,” said Turner. “The growing program also adds jobs in administration as well as in the clinical setting, as the Graduate Medical Education staff includes administrative positions, 15 core faculty, and more than 50 faculty members.