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Family Medicine Residency Program

The St. Vincent's East Family Medicine Residency (SVEFMR) was established in 1977 and is co-led by Christ Health Center and the St. Vincent's Health System. SVEFMR is a Christian, community-based, unopposed program dedicated to excellence in patient care, service, and medical education. The program is affiliated with Ascension Health, the nation’s largest faith-based healthcare entity and is fully accredited by the ACGME.

1. Educational Excellence

Our faculty have over 100 years combined medical experience with focus in the following areas:

  • Family medicine
  • FM-OB
  • Pediatrics
  • Internal Medicine
2. Community Engagement

The residency clinic provides experience with both urban, rural, and immigrant communities. Christ Health is a federally qualified health center that sees all patients regardless of ability to pay.

Christ Health is a PCMH-certified clinic (patient-centered medical home).

Christ Health is proud to partner with many amazing Christian organizations such as:

  • Lovelady Rehabilitation Center (local women’s drug rehabilitation center)
  • Cornerstone Schools of Alabama (a local inner-city Christian school)
  • Positive Pregnancy Choices (local crisis pregnancy center)
  • M-Power (local free clinic)
  • Other partners include: JBS Mental Health Care Authority, I3 Academy and Birmingham City Schools

Case Management, In-Person Translators, Behavioralists, and discount pharmacy services empower our patients to take charge of their health.

3. Unopposed Experience
  • No competing residents are at St. Vincent’s East
  • Residents are privileged to run all hospital codes
  • All critical care units at St. Vincent’s East are open ICUs which means residents are the primary team taking care of their critical care patients
  • High inpatient and emergency room volume expose residents to a large amount of acuity and diverse medical pathology
4. Mission Minded

    Our curriculum includes an intern mission trip and multiple 2 or 4 week international missions experiences electives. In recent years, our teams have traveled worldwide to provide medical care in places like Mexico, Honduras, Togo, Tanzania, Ukraine, China, Haiti, South Africa, and the Middle East. Or you can set up your own experience!

    Residents may go oversees for 2- or 4-week electives during their 2nd and third year.

    Ascension, Christ Health, and Christ Health faculty support resident mission trip funding and fundraising.

A Message from Dr. Gonzalez

Director’s Welcome

Today, more than 75 million people in our country live in areas with little or no access to quality, affordable primary care. It’s estimated more than 14,000 providers who are willing to serve in these communities are needed to address this critical shortage.

At Christ Health Center, we’re committed to developing physician-leaders who share our passion for providing care in communities in need. Every year, 100s of medical students apply to the residency program. In 2019, we grew the program from five to eight residents each year, making us one of the largest family medicine training programs in Alabama and one of the largest faith-based programs in the nation. Our mission is to create exceptional physicians passionately equipped and deeply motivated to care for those most in need.


How to Apply Through ERAS

Applications for the residency program are accepted through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). The residency is listed in ERAS as the St. Vincent’s East Family Medicine Residency program in Birmingham, AL. Students can link to the ERAS website or check with the administrative offices of their medical schools for details.

Apply On ERAS Website


Third Year Residents

Second Year Residents

Estefania Ruiz Perez, MD
Estefania Ruiz Perez, MD
Celia Campos Seegers, MD
Celia Campos Seegers, MD

First Year Residents

Allison Jakiel
Allison Jakiel, DO
Kalyric Cartagena
Kalyric Cartagena, DO
Carol Ann Gibbs
Carol Ann Gibbs, DO
Chelsey Delony Hadden
Chelsey Delony Hadden, MD
Lynne Obaika
Lynne Obaika, MD
Shauna-kaye Hunter
Shauna-Kaye Hunter, MD
Charles White
Charles White, DO
Joseph Wheeler
Joseph Wheeler, DO

Who We Serve

Statistics for 2023

Stats Stats

We are proud to serve patients from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds. Our patient mix provides residents the opportunity to treat a broad spectrum of health care issues and make an invaluable contribution to the surrounding community.

Click here to visit the HRSA

Where We Train

We are grateful for partnerships with the following organizations who embrace our residents and help equip them to serve in their calling.

  • St. Vincent’s East Hospital
  • St. Vincent’s Birmingham Hospital
  • Children's Hospital of Alabama
  • Andrews Sports Medicine Institute

Program Information


The program is affiliated with Ascension Health, the nation’s largest faith-based healthcare entity. The program is fully accredited by the ACGME with no citations and a one-hundred percent board passage rate for the last five years.


The St. Vincent's East family medicine residency curriculum includes:

Family Medicine Clinic

Christ Health, Chalkville and Woodlawn health centers, respectively located in the suburban and urban communities we serve, are at the heart of the SVEFMR program. These clinics offer residents the opportunity to learn how to provide outstanding care. Each resident works on a team of highly-trained and caring allied health colleagues to provide continuity care to a designated panel of patients. Additionally, residents are integrally involved in the business aspects of running the practice to help ensure they are prepared to be successful in future practices of their own.

Pediatrics Outpatient

The ambulatory care portion of the pediatric curriculum occurs at the Family Medicine Clinic during continuity clinics as well as with our staff pediatricians. Also, each resident will receive block exposure to a variety of specialized services including the Alabama Early Intervention System and Speech and Occupational Therapy. Residents are enrolled in the Johns Hopkins Internet Learning Curriculum for Ambulatory Pediatrics. SVEFMR requires one month of outpatient pediatrics for each year of residency, and every resident is provided PALS and NRP certification training. There are ongoing opportunities, such as partnering with local elementary schools via Telehealth platform, for residents to provide additional pediatric care.


SVEFMR has a strong focus in obstetrics. Our faculty includes a family physician who is an Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics (ALSO) national advisor and Centering group trained, as well as several enthusiastic, supportive Obstetric/Gynecologists. The PGY2 residents have a rotation at St. Vincent’s Birmingham working alongside Family Medicine and OB physicians while also gaining experience in the NICU/newborn nursery. Residents are first assist on C-sections during their obstetrics block month. Interested residents may continue to follow obstetrics patients in their second and third years of residency, gaining sufficient experience to provide low-risk obstetrics care to their patients after graduation. Additionally, there are workshops on episiotomy suturing, ALSO, and other GYN procedures (colposcopy, excisions and biopsies) that occur annually.

Mental Health

Our mental health curriculum includes ample opportunity for residents to learn respectful, compassionate care for patients and families. All residents complete a two or four-week rotation at our Live Oaks Mental Health Clinic, adjacent to Christ Health Center Woodlawn. The clinic is staffed by a psychiatrist as well as a team of nurse practitioners and a social worker. In the hospital, the Behavioral Medicine facility provides inpatient geriatric and general psychiatric care as well as consultation services to inpatients. Residents also receive ongoing instruction via specific mental health lecture series curriculum. In their outpatient continuity clinic patient panel, residents have longitudinal instruction in behavioral medicine. Residents become proficient in recognizing, counseling and treating patients with a wide range of psychosocial and spiritual issues that affect all areas of health.


One of the favorite rotations of residents is working with our clinical pharmacists. We partner with Samford University Pharmacy School Faculty, who work with residents during 2-week rotations in both the inpatient and outpatient setting. They are always available to assist with questions and participate directly in patient care with Coumadin Clinic and Diabetic Education and Management. Pharmacy students and residents rotate at our facilities, and they are valued members of our team, assisting with medication reconciliation issues, patient education and medication recommendations. Additionally, our pharmacy faculty are delighted to collaborate on numerous and varied scholarly activities, including posters, publications and presentations.

Surgery/Surgical Subspecialties

All residents work one-on-one with community surgical preceptors during surgical rotations. These rotations include general surgery with Inpatient and Outpatient Care, Urology, ENT, Ophthalmology, Orthopedic Surgery and Dermatology.


Trying to stay ahead of current events and trends, we are currently launching a telemedicine program that will allow residents to provide medical care remotely to our clinic patients as well as to local schools and ministries. We have received state-of-the-art equipment that allows us to interview, examine and treat patients virtually to remove patient barriers in order to care and extend our reach into communities in need both locally and internationally. We are excited to use technology to help extend our outreach and our mission!

Longitudinal Leadership Development

Physicians are leaders by default, but becoming effective in this role is a choice. At SVEFMR we promote leadership growth as a deliberate aspect of our training. Monthly physician formation and wellness sessions invite residents to consider and reconnect with the reasons why they chose a career in medicine. Throughout training, residents train alongside medical, pharmacy, and physician assistant students, growing their skills in teaching and mentoring during this longitudinal experience. During PGY-2 and PGY-3 years, residents actively serve on a hospital committee. Before graduation, 3rd year residents engage in a leadership summit exploring critical skills such as mentoring, negotiating, advocacy and media relations. Many residents also choose to serve on local foundations and boards in our community as well as within state and national Family Medicine organizations.

Adult Medicine Inpatient

The adult inpatient experience occurs solely at St. Vincent’s East hospital. This rotation consists of four weeks of FM inpatient service (days) and alternating four weeks of night float. Typically, two interns and one upper-level resident comprise the day team; another upper level and intern comprise the night float team. Our inpatient service is unopposed as there are no other residencies at our facilities. The program provides significant autonomy to residents during this rotation. Attending faculty are present in the hospital daily for rounds and remain on-call and accessible 24 hours a day. Our residents are the Code Blue team responsible for the entire hospital. This rotation is consistently considered by residents to be a notable strength of the program.

SVEFMR aims to provide high-quality, compassionate, evidence-based adult inpatient medicine that is second to none. Patient volume is suitable for excellent exposure to the broad variety of adult illnesses without compromising education or patient safety. We manage all of our own patients, including those in the ICU—with or without ventilator management—and there is ample opportunity to receive competency in intubation, central line and chest tube placement, paracentesis and much more. Our sub-specialists are committed to resident education and consistently treat the residents and FM faculty as valued colleagues.

Pediatrics Inpatient

As a PGY-2, residents rotate on the general or speciality wards service alongside the University of Alabama at Birmingham Pediatric residents at Children’s of Alabama located in downtown Birmingham. The pediatric experience includes a four-week inpatient rotation where the resident acts as a pediatric intern and provides access to the many learning opportunities, such as group simulation activities and daily lunch lectures. While at Children’s, residents also get experience working in the pediatric emergency room, a Level 1 Trauma Center, for 4 weeks alongside emergency medicine and pediatric residents.


We ensure residents are well prepared to provide outstanding care to the growing geriatric population through various learning environments and local partnerships. During all three years of training, residents participate in monthly geriatrics didactics and case presentations. During the PGY-2 and PGY-3 years, residents also assume care of two nursing home patients and one home visit patient as part of their continuity panel. Additionally, one month is dedicated to a deeper experience exploring hospice, palliative and geriatric medicine.

Sports Medicine

Residents work for two weeks at the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center at St. Vincent’s Birmingham campus. Each year, Andrews Sports Medicine Fellows have their outpatient continuity clinic at Christ Health Center, which allows additional time for residents to work with Fellows. If residents are interested in sports medicine, additional opportunities to work at local high school and collegiate sporting events are available. Through these experiences, residents will be able to establish a relationship with the Sports Medicine program and may apply for fellowship training after graduation.

Required Medical Subspecialties

Residents spend focused block rotations in Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine, Cardiology, Gastroenterology, Neurology, Nephrology, Radiology and Infectious Disease. Electives are available in Allergy/Immunology, Hematology/Oncology, Palliative Care Medicine, Endocrinology and others.


The FM ACGME required curriculum allows for generous elective time during all three years of training. Each resident is permitted 5-6 months of electives with the ability to individually tailor experiences to their specific goals and needs for future practice. Off-site and international/missions opportunities are not only available but are encouraged by the program. There are program funds allocated to assist residents in pursuing overseas endeavors. Many current and former residents—as well as faculty members—participate in serving the under-served both locally and globally.

Community Medicine/Public Health/Population Medicine

Family medicine is integrated, patient-centered health care—hopefully close to home. Here at SVEFMR, we introduce residents to a myriad of community medicine and public health-related topics through monthly didactic sessions. In PGY-3, residents experience various clinic settings providing safety net care to many vulnerable members of our community. Residents also rotate through specialized departments of our renowned Jefferson County Health Department and Occupational Medicine Department. The rotation culminates in a presentation on a related public health topic at one of our didactic sessions.

View Current Curriculum Details View Sample Curriculum


SVEFMR offers competitive benefits packages to all residents. To view current benefits packages and read a sample contract, please download the links below.

Resident Benefits Sample Residency Contract

Unique Opportunities

Residents will have access to unique learning opportunities in areas like urban ministries and service, international/disaster relief, clinical outcomes research, sports medicine and pharmacotherapy.

View Current Opportunities

Clinical Rotations

We would cherish the opportunity to get to know you during a clinical rotation. We have both inpatient and outpatient clinical rotations for third year and fourth year medical students all year round. Come, learn and serve the Lord with us! Submit your application today!

For any questions regarding our program contact Kathy Graves at Kathy.Graves@ascension.org. For scheduling a clinical rotation with our residency contact the student coordinator Charlotte Huff at chuff@christhealthcenter.org.

OB Faculty

Dr. Nathan DeWitt
Dr. Nathan DeWitt, MD

Family Medicine with OB

Dr. Megan DeWitt
Dr. Megan DeWitt, MD

Family Medicine with OB

M. Jane Puntkattalee, MD
Dr. M. Jane Puntkattalee, MD

Family Medicine with OB Faculty


Kathy Graves
Kathy Graves

Residency Coordinator

Charlotte Huff
Charlotte Huff

Student Ministry Coordinator