SVMC’s Podiatry Program Attracts Surgical Residents from Chicago

Contact: Eileen Druckenmiller
(802) 447-5558

BENNINGTON — The high quality of the surgical program at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) has led to the hospital’s first residency program. Residents in the St. Joseph Hospital/VAMC North Chicago PM&S-36 residency program will now be able to choose SVMC for a one- or two-month rotation.

“A residency program is somewhat unusual for a community hospital,” explained Dr. William J. Sarchino, an SVMC doctor of podiatric medicine who is overseeing the program in Bennington. “It’s an exciting way for students to see the innovative surgeries we do in a rural, community hospital setting.”

While here, the residents will work closely with Sarchino. Besides being on the medical staff at SVMC, Sarchino is also a faculty member for the program which, through St. Joseph’s Hospital, is affiliated with the University of Illinois. Residents will also get to learn from local orthopedic and general surgeons on SVMC’s medical staff.

“We are happy to add SVMC to our residency program,” stated Dr. Frank W. Zappa, director of podiatric medical education at St. Joseph Hospital/VAMC North Chicago. “We want our residents to get the most well-rounded educational experience they can.”
The residency program at St. Joseph Hospital/VAMC North Chicago is one of the largest in the country for podiatric medicine and surgery. While most programs might have two to six residents, their program has 15 residents that they place in various locations throughout the U.S.

“Offering our residents opportunities across the country means they have the chance to see how procedures are done in different regions and by a variety of surgeons. It provides them with the chance to learn several new philosophies and approaches to patient care,” Zappa said.

Dr. Brandon R. Gumbiner is the third-year chief podiatric medical resident in the program and the first resident to visit SVMC. He described his first two weeks at SVMC as informative and beneficial. In fact, Gumbiner remarked that he has already participated in three types of cases at SVMC that he had not seen yet during his entire three years of residency.

“I was very excited to come to SVMC because I knew already what a remarkable teacher Dr. Sarchino is,” stated Gumbiner. “Everyone in Bennington, from the other doctors, to the nurses, hospital staff, and patients, has been very helpful and interested in my educational experience. I really feel I’ve already gotten a sense of the connectedness and personal touch that comes with living and working in a smaller community.”

Gumbiner is in his last year of residency in the program, finishing in June. He earned his medical degree in podiatric medicine from Rosalind Franklin University of Health and Medical Sciences in North Chicago, Ill. After his residency is completed, Gumbiner plans to practice in South Bend, Ind. He and his wife, Laura, a graduate student at Northwestern University, have been married for a year and a half. Together, they look forward to their upcoming life together in South Bend.

“To me,” added Gumbiner, “it’s more rewarding to work in a community you feel connected with, where you know you may run into your patients at the library or grocery store. I hope to form the same type of relationship with my future patients as Dr. Sarchino has with his.”

“One of the goals of the residency program is to expose the residents to as many different types of cases as possible,” said Sarchino. “Brandon has been a tremendous help with my patients and is getting to see variety of cases that I think are unique to a smaller, more rural community.

“In addition,” Sarchino added, “the other surgeons and staff at SVMC have embraced having a resident at the hospital. This has opened many other training possibilities for Brandon and will do so for our future residents. There is a sense of collegiality at SVMC that I don’t think you find in many other medical centers.

“For example, Brandon has been able to work with an orthopedic surgeon who is an expert on foot and ankle surgeries, an orthopedist who specializes in a unique ankle repair technique, and with several of our general surgeons who have had cases involving the lower extremities. All of this training helps to make someone a more well-rounded surgeon and a more complete doctor.

“I think we as surgeons learn as much from the residents as they do from us. That is part of what makes having a residency program so rewarding.”

Sarchino has been with SVMC for more than 15 years and was affiliated with Mary McClellan Hospital in Cambridge for seven years before that. He received a medical degree in podiatric medicine and surgery from the New York College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery in New York, N.Y., and is certified by the American Board of Lower Extremity Surgeons. Sarchino is the past chief of surgery and vice president of the medical staff at Mary McClellan Hospital. He is also a past chief of surgery at SVMC and is now serving a term as vice president of SVMC’s medical staff.

“I am thankful to have a physician of Dr. Sarchino’s stature involved in our residency program, said Zappa. “The openness and commitment made by him and the medical staff at SVMC is an outstanding contribution to the residents’ education.”

SVMC is a part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC). SVHC is a community-based, not-for-profit health system that exists solely for the benefit of its community. SVHC has a vision to make the communities it serves the healthiest in the nation.