CVPH Family Medicine Residency Holds First Graduation - All three physicians will remain in the North Country

CVPH Family Medicine Residency Holds First Graduation
All three physicians will remain in the North Country


PLATTSBURGH, NY (06/29/2019) -- The University of Vermont Health Network – Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH) Family Medicine Residency graduated its first class of Family Medicine Residents recently marking the culmination of a three-year training program for the Residents and a successful endeavor by CVPH to improve access to primary care in the region.   

Members of the Class of 2019 include:

  • Ashely Bernotas, MD, a native of Toronto, Canada who graduated from theAmerican University of Antigua College of Medicine.

  • Aaron Esterson, MD, of Montreal who graduated from St. George’s University School of Medicine; Dr. Esterson was born in Montreal.

  • Stephen Winfield, MD, of Prince Edward Island, Canada who is a graduate of Saba University School of Medicine.

Drs. Bernotas, Esterson and Winfield completed CVPH’s Residency program that includes rotations in emergency medicine, OB/GYN, pediatrics, cardiology, surgery, orthopedics, geriatrics and community medicine. Additionally, they saw their own patients in the CVPH Family Medicine Center at 159 Margaret St.


Residency is a stage of graduate medical training. Residents hold a medical degree and practice medicine under the indirect supervision of an attending physician and successful completion of a residency program is a requirement to obtaining a medical license.

Calling this first graduation a momentous occasion,  Michelle LeBeau, President of Alice Hyde Medical Center and CVPH thanked the Class of 2019 for committing to what was three years ago, a fledgling Residency program. “Today is of course a celebration of your hard work and commitment to practicing family medicine. But it’s also a great reminder of how by working together, we can truly change people’s lives.”  


Residency Program Director Marianna Worczak, MD added, “I am so incredibly proud of these first graduates and all that has been accomplished by the establishment of our residency program.  The graduates have been trail blazers in building what I believe will be a sustainable culture of medical teaching and scholarship in the North Country. They will be this community’s future family medicine leaders. The residency program is a demonstration of what can be accomplished when the community, hospital and Network collaborate.  We should all be very proud of the future we have started.”

Kent Hall, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Alice Hyde and CVPH explained the CVPH Family Medicine Residency which was created in 2014 to improve access to primary care in the Champlain Valley. Partnering with the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont Medical School and what was then Fletcher Allen Health Care (now the University of Vermont Medical Center), the CVPH Residency welcomed its first class three years ago.


“When the idea to establish a Family Medicine Residency in Plattsburgh was first conceived, our community had been struggling for some time with access to primary care. Family medicine physicians are the backbone of the health care system and that’s even truer now as our health care system turns its focus to patient centered care that is comprehensive, coordinated and accessible. Primary care providers, like the ones we are celebrating today, play a central role in that care.”


Hall thanked all of the physicians who serve as Residency faculty as well as the staff and community for supporting the Residents. “Our goal from the start has been to provide physicians who come here for their Family Medicine residency with a dynamic and robust experience. With the help of many in our organization and community, I think we’ve achieved that.”

The Family Medicine Residency Program graduates will be practicing locally. They have been hired by Hudson Headwaters Health Network and will be located at Champlain Family Health in Champlain and the recently established Plattsburgh Family Health, located in the CVPH Health Plaza, beginning this summer.

According to Tucker Slingerland, MD, CEO of Hudson Headwaters, there is a significant challenge when it comes to recruiting physicians to rural areas and the CVPH Family Medicine Residency is proving successful in helping to address that challenge.  “Our local hospital established this Residency program with the specific intent of training the next generation of family practice physicians. It offers medical program graduates the opportunity to complete their Residency and establish careers within our region; with an eye to the future – hoping that they will eventually choose to stay in our area once their residency is complete,” he commented. “Hudson Headwaters is proud that these young physicians have chosen to remain in our region and work with Hudson Headwaters to help continue our mission of providing the best care and access to that care for everyone in our communities.” 

LeBeau said that all of the Family Medicine Residents enrich CVPH and the entire community in many ways. “We’re all so pleased that Drs. Bernotas, Esterson and Winfield have chosen to stay in our community to live and practice medicine.”


The CVPH Family Medicine Residency is currently training 12 Family Medicine Residents and has begun the process to match with six more physicians who are committed to providing care for people of all ages.


The classes of 2019 and 2020 were comprised of 4 physicians and with a matching grant from the New York State Department of Health has been to increase the class size to 6.


Each year, thousands of applications are reviewed by the Residency staff for the limited number of spots. After interviews are conducted both the Residency and applicant submit their ranking of preference (Resident to Residency) to the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). The NRMP analyzes the lists and creates matches of Residents to programs. Across the country, the matches are announced on Match Day – the third Friday in March.


The CVPH Residency offers assistance to qualified Residents with loan repayment and has received significant support from the William H. Miner Foundation as well as the Foundation of CVPH.




About Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital
The University of Vermont Health Network - Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH) is a private, not-for profit hospital in Plattsburgh, NY.  Established in 1967 with the merger of Champlain Valley and Physicians Hospitals, CVPH joined Fletcher Allen Partners in 2012, which in 2014 became The University of Vermont Health Network.  Together with its partner hospitals, the UVM Medical Group and a home health agency, CVPH provides high quality, cost effective care, close to home. Services include an award winning cardiac services program, accredited cancer center, freestanding ambulatory surgery center, comprehensive rehabilitation services and a 24 hour physician-staffed Emergency Department.  Governed by a 15-member Board of Directors, CVPH is accredited by the Joint Commission and licensed by New York State and Medicare/Medicaid Approved.  Learn more at UVMHealth.org/CVPH or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.


About The University of Vermont Health Network
The University of Vermont Health Network is an integrated system serving the residents of Vermont and northern New York with a shared mission: working together, we improve people’s lives.  The partners are:


Our 4,000 health care professionals are driven to provide high-quality, cost-efficient care as close to home as possible. Strengthened by our academic connection to the University of Vermont, each of our affiliates remains committed to its local community by providing compassionate, personal care shaped by the latest medical advances and delivered by highly skilled experts.