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SMH recruits female physicians to counter primary care shortage

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Locally and nationally, women make up about a third of the physician workforce. But that is changing as today's medical students become tomorrow's doctors. Women make up roughly half the class in U.S. medical schools today.

"That's particularly true in the OB-GYN and Family Medicine specialties, where many female students are drawn by women's health issues," said Ilene Gilbert, Chief Operating Officer of Sarasota Memorial's First Physicians Group.  

In recent months, Sarasota Memorial welcomed three new female physicians – Meghan Buhler, MD; Janet Lewis, MD; and Veronica Voloshinov, MD – to Sarasota Memorial’s First Physician Group. All are family medicine specialists providing primary care in medically underserved North Port and south Sarasota County. 

Meghan Buhler - Family Practice

Meghan Buhler - Family Practice 

Dr. Buhler joined Dana Chaykin-Glover, DO, Jeffrey Glover, DO, and James Rodgers, DO, at FPG’s Internal Medicine and Family Practice, 842 Sunset Lake Blvd., Venice. Phone: (941) 497-8220


Janet Lewis, MD – Internal Medicine/Pediatric Specialist

Janet Lewis, MD – Internal Medicine/Pediatric Specialist

Dr. Lewis joined Internal Medicine/Pediatrics physician Elizabeth Cefalu, MD, at FPG’s Internal Medicine and Pediatrics office at 2345 Bobcat Village Center Road, North Port. Phone: (941) 257-2930.


Veronica Voloshinov, MD – Family Practice

Veronica Voloshinov, MD – Family Practice

Dr. Voloshinov joined Christopher Jefferson, MD, at FPG’s newest practice location, 997 N. US 41 Bypass, Venice. Phone: (941) 952-4220

Sarasota Memorial also recruited three female internal medicine specialists to join Sarasota Memorial’s Hospitalist Group in the coming weeks – Florina Cimpean, MD; Eugenia Samoilova-Wagoner, DO; and Bhavana Nair, MD. Hospitalists do not practice in an office setting; rather they are physicians who work in the hospital setting, specialize in acute, specialty and surgical care of hospitalized patients who do not have their own physician.

Nationally, despite studies that show more than half of all patient visits are for primary care, only 7 percent of the nation’s medical school graduates are choosing a primary care career; most instead are opting for a growing number of specialty care careers.

It is estimated that one in five Americans today do not have access to a primary care doctor due to a shortage of providers in their community. Experts say the shortage has reached a critical level due to a combination of fewer physicians entering primary care, existing physicians retiring, a growing and aging population and expanding insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Sarasota Memorial has been addressing the shortage in our region by recruiting primary care physicians to its First Physician Group network. Physicians are attracted to the area, but also to the hospital and physician group's reputation for quality care. During the last several years, the group has ranked in the top 10 percent of the nation's practice groups for patient satisfaction, according to Press Ganey customer surveys. The group also has consistently earned “better performer” status from The Medical Group Management Association for patient satisfaction and superior quality/operational performance in annual surveys comparing practices nationwide.

Most recently, several FPG practices have been recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a Level 3 Patient Centered Medical Home, a quality designation given sparingly to primary care groups that have transformed their practices into medical homes for patients. The medical home concept ensures patients have a place to go and help coordinating all of their medical needs through collaboration, care coordination, communication and strong partnerships with patients, family members and personal physicians.  


About First Physician's Group:
First Physicians Group was formed in 1994 by Sarasota Memorial to help fill the gaps in primary and specialty care in the community. The group is now more than 100 providers strong, covering primary and specialty care in practices spanning Sarasota and East Manatee to North Port. Specialties include: Internal Medicine, Dermatology, Family Practice, Perinatology, Pediatrics, OB/GYN,  and GYN-Oncology. First Physicians Group provides additional medical and surgical specialties, as well as a hospitalists program, on Sarasota Memorial’s main campus.

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