Internal Medicine

Resident Narratives


Dr. Emad Alatassi Profile Image

Dr. Emad Alatassi

Medical School: Al Neelain University Faculty of Medicine, Sudan

Hometown: Homs, Berkeley

Clinical Interests: Critical Care

Hobbies: Traveling and electro-mechanical engineering

"I chose Mountainside because of the diversity and the warm family atmosphere. We are a small program and know each other well. I love how when we gather, we have Middle Eastern Hummus, Desi Biryani, Nigerian Jollof rice along with the Pizza and Burritos all on the same table. Medicine is my passion but I also love traveling and electro-mechanical engineering. To combine all my hobbies together; I recently obtained a van that I work on in my spare time. My hope is to fully customize and upgrade it to a full-off-grid 4x4 monster vehicle and drive it to Utqiagvik in Alaska; the northern most community in the United States. I am working on my Critical Care fellowship application and I believe this program will prepare me very well for it."

Dr. Shadi Gad Profile Image

Dr. Shadi Gad

Medical School: Tanta University School of Medicine

Hometown: Tanta, Egypt

Clinical Interests: Hematology/Oncology, drug development, medical devices

Hobbies: Hiking, Walking, Cooking and Reading

"I appreciate being part of the Mountainside Medical Center Internal Medicine Residency Program. We are provided with many educational opportunities every day. The program focuses on making residents strong in an academic and clinical environment. There is unique diversity among residents, faculty and staff. Everyone has their own story that is special and makes the whole group stronger. The leadership and the faculty support the residents in every possible way. It is so nice to belong to a place where you are taken care of. In my spare time, I like to take walks listening to audio books about history. I started to play the piano but I still need a lot more practice – hopefully I will be able to play when we resume our hospital talent show! I am planning to apply for Hematology/Oncology fellowship after graduating from the program."

Medical Co-Chief Resident Dr. Francine Lucero Profile Image

Medical Co-Chief Resident Dr. Francine Lucero

Medical School: Cebu Institute of Medicine

Hometown: Cebu, Philippines

Clinical Interests: Pulmonology, Cardiology

Hobbies: Running, Yoga, Traveling

"The program’s staff and leadership have been incredibly kind and supportive to the residents. Great balance of excellent clinical training and quality of life, too. I also really liked the overall organization of the residency program with the 6+2 block schedule (three 2-week inpatient blocks followed by 2 weeks of ambulatory). After graduation I will most likely go for fellowship, either Pulmonology or Cardiology."

Medical Co-Chief Resident Dr. Huzaifa Salim Profile Image

Medical Co-Chief Resident Dr. Huzaifa Salim

Medical School: University of Medical Sciences and Technology

Hometown: Mazroub, North Kurdufan, Sudan

Clinical Interests: Cardiology and Public Health

Hobbies: Running and Sudanese music

"I chose Mountainside because I was looking a program that will take me to other side of the mountain in my career. It had the perfect balanced mix of highly intelligent mentorship, diverse staff and an enriching sense of family and friendship. What I like most about the program is that it doesn’t matter where you are from, there is a place for you and your heritage here. After graduation, I’m hoping to fulfill my dream of becoming an Interventional Cardiologist."

Dr. Saira Sheikh Profile Image

Dr. Saira Sheikh

Medical School: Ziauddin University

Hometown: Karachi, Pakistan

Clinical Interests: Care, Endocrinology and Integrative Medicine

Hobbies: audible books, eating my weight in desi food (biryani is love!), binge-watching Pakistani TV shows, and keeping my curious four-year-old son out of trouble (almost always failing)

"I chose Mountainside Medical Center because of the sense of family and togetherness displayed by the faculty, administration, and residents. I am truly honored and privileged to have been included to work among this wonderful team." After graduation, I see myself working in primary care with a profound interest in Integrative Medicine. My mantra is, “The doctor of the future will give no medication but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease”—Thomas A. Edison (1847-1931).”"

Dr. Syed Uzair Profile Image

Dr. Syed Uzair

Medical School: Quiad e Azam Medical College

Hometown: Palmdale, CA

Clinical Interests: Hospital Medicine

Hobbies: Hiking, Cooking, Playing and Watching Cricket

"I got the sense during my interview that how supportive the program will be, and the interview day was very well organized. Mountainside has provided me opportunity to work with a culturally diverse group of amazing colleagues with whom I have been learning every day. I have already made lifelong friends here in short amount of time and it is fun to be challenged academically. The Program Director, attendings, staff and faculty are extremely supportive and provide a great platform to become a better physician. I think the training I am getting here with the diverse patient population will help me tremendously in my future practice of Hospitalist Medicine."

Dr. Tehrim Zahid Profile Image

Dr. Tehrim Zahid

Medical School: King Edward Medical University, Lahore Pakistan

Hometown: Pakistan

Clinical Interests: Pulmonary/Critical Care, Academic Medicine

Hobbies: Fashion designing

"I chose Mountainside because of the welcoming and friendly environment that it has to offer. On the day of my interview, I was impressed with the program's emphasis on resident wellness and education. The strength of this program lies in its connectedness and support system. It's an extremely clinically orientated program that aligns with my goals and values. I know that this is the place that will help me grow up as an independent and competent clinician. I am glad that I moved to an amazing and culturally diverse city with a lot of fun things to do with my kids in my free time."

Dr. Qamar Zaman Profile Image

Dr. Qamar Zaman

Medical School: Latin American School of Medicine (Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina)

Hometown: East Rutherford

Clinical Interests: Primary Care

Hobbies: Fish keeping

"I am a Pakistani who studied medicine in Cuba and ended up here in NJ where I am living in an environment of multiculturalism and friendliness. The most important aspect of the Internal Medicine program at Hackensack Meridian Mountainside Medical Center is that it’s a small program and we residents are a family, it is diverse and inclusive - based on mutual respect and excellence in our profession. I would like to go into primary care, however previous residents have done fellowships in different subspecialties so it’s good to know that the possibility of fellowship is always there."


Dr. Vanessa Castellanos Profile Image

Dr. Vanessa Castellanos

Medical School: UNIBE School of Medicine

Hometown: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Clinical Interests: Rheumatology, Autoimmune diseases, Infectious Disease, GI and Preventive medicine

Hobbies: Watching movies and tv shows, reading, photography, soccer, travelling, trying new cuisines and learning from new cultures.

I chose Mountainside for many reasons. One of them being the closeness between everyone in the program. This was immediately perceived on interview day. It really did feel like they were a family and I can say now that this is very much true. It is a small program, where every individual has an opportunity to stand out and where everybody goes by their first names. I wanted a program that saw me both as a resident and person and that invested time on my individual path towards my professional growth. MMC is a place that is evolving every day. It is a program that listens to their residents and changes if necessary to meet these demands. It is a program where wellness is encouraged as well as professional and educational competency. Mountainside is a close-knit community in the beautiful, quaint town Montclair. I also liked this town and the fact that it is only a 30 minute drive from the city.

Dr. Khush Dadhania Profile Image

Dr. Khush Dadhania

Medical School: GMERS Medical College and Hospital Sola

Hometown: Pleasanton, CA

Clinical Interests: Cardiology, Gastroenterology

Hobbies: Playing soccer, cricket, watching movies and TV shows, travelling, hiking, playing video games

Mountainside is a small residency program that ensures close camaraderie between co-residents as well as with the attendings. We get to know each other in and out and share all moments of happiness together. People here are so supportive that you feel at home from day one. There is always an opportunity for personal as well as professional growth. I love how diverse and welcoming the Mountainside community is, and we as residents feel inspired while working as a team. I am grateful for all the learning opportunities that come every day, and I look forward to much more that is yet to be discovered throughout my years of residency here at the Mountainside.

Dr. Edwin Gomez Profile Image

Dr. Edwin Gomez

Medical School: Universidad Catolica Nordestana (UCNE)

Hometown: Salcedo, Dominican Republic

Clinical Interests: Cardiovascular diseases, social medicine and equality, hematological conditions

Hobbies: Working out, running, traveling, cooking

I chose Mountainside because of the close relationship portrayed between residents and faculty, along with the endeavor, time and enthusiasm for teaching and last but not least, the location of the hospital provides such a great learning opportunity in all different areas of medicine.

Dr. Ayesha Malik Profile Image

Dr. Ayesha Malik

Medical School: CMH Lahore Medical College and Institute of Dentistry

Hometown: Bayonne, NJ

Clinical Interests: Primary Care, Endocrinology

Hobbies: Reading, painting, watching movies

Mountainside is a close-knit program that provides a healthy environment where residents are able to grow and learn. The program offers great training and support that translates into excellent patient care as well as overall resident wellbeing. I feel very fortunate to be a part of a diverse and devoted team where our mentors are invested in our growth as capable physicians as well as compassionate individuals.

Dr. Chika Mbolu Profile Image

Dr. Chika Mbolu

Medical School: Windsor University School of medicine

Hometown: Anambra, Nigeria

Clinical Interests: Rheumatology

Hobbies: Cooking, watching movies, trying new restaurants

I chose Mountainside because of the camaraderie between the residents. This was my most pleasant, funny and comfortable interview. Friendly attendings' and senior residents that are willing to teach and provide guidance.

Dr. Vishal Ramjas Profile Image

Dr. Vishal Ramjas

Medical School: Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina (ELAM)

Hometown: Herstelling, Guyana

Clinical Interests: Cardiovascular Disease, Critical Care

Hobbies: Fitness, hiking, modifying my car, travelling, mix martial arts.

During the Match interviewing season, the most intimidating aspect is not knowing if you will match into a program that is academically focused and fully advocates for a dynamic, goal directed and supportive environment for their residents. This was clearly evident from Day 1 of my interview with the current residents and faculty which compelled me to rank Mountainside Medical Center as #1. Being here has being the best medical decision I have made, surrounded not by colleagues but more like family.

Dr. Simar Randhawa Profile Image

Dr. Simar Randhawa

Medical School: British West Indies SOM

Hometown: Hackensack, NJ

Clinical Interests: Cardiovascular Disease, Preventive Medicine

Hobbies: Spending time with family, fitness, music

I chose Hackensack Meridian Mountainside Medical Center because of the inviting and kind culture among the residents and faculty. I knew I would learn to be a highly compassionate and competent clinician at this academic program.

Dr. Hiwot Workneh Profile Image

Dr. Hiwot Workneh

Medical School: Jimma University

Hometown: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Clinical Interests: Endocrinology, In-patient care

Hobbies: Spending time with family, Cooking

Since I embarked upon this long journey of pursuing residency in the US, Mountainside medical center was always my number one choice. I moved to the US a few years ago to this very place and always wanted to do my residency in a place where I can get great hands-on experience while being around my family. Mountainside medical center residency program provides a unique opportunity to learn a practical clinical skill of diverse medical cases with a favorable and pleasant academic atmosphere. The faculty members are professional and very approachable who truly made us feel like our second home here.


Dr. Lena Alawad Profile Image

Dr. Lena Alawad

Medical School: University of Khartoum

Hometown: Sudan

Clinical Interests: primary care, endocrinology, rheumatology.

Hobbies: Cooking, singing, walking and having fun with family

Mountainside Medical Center perfectly aligns with my mission and goals because it has many opportunities for learning, and it is the perfect place for growing into a great physician. I have come to see health care in Mountainside Medical Center in a more universal way and understand how the physicians including the program director do so much more than just treat the patient’s physical ailment. Besides learning how to be diligent, through this experience I was able to understand the importance of the medical team to the hospital. Also, I discovered that the actual work environment can be very fun and exciting when you get to know the people there. Residency is a stressful time, but since my interview day, I have been able to witness how the entire program from the program director down value mental wellness.

Dr. Rafia Ali Profile Image

Dr. Rafia Ali

Medical School: Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland-Bahrain

Hometown: Aberdeen, Scotland

Clinical Interests: Rheumatology, Preventative and Lifestyle Medicine

Hobbies: Running, Hiking, Pilates, Chocolate Desserts

There were three things I looked for while on the interview trail: location, learning, and laughing. I wanted to live near my family, train at a program that best complements my learning style, and work in a friendly atmosphere. I picked Mountainside because it meets all that and more. I was initially struck by how much the program values residents’ well-being which I believe is essential in providing quality patient-centered care. I also like how the program is structured to seamlessly integrate protected learning time into a busy day through morning and afternoon conferences. However, my favorite thing about the program is the warm and dynamic atmosphere formed by a diverse group of residents. I’ve moved over fifteen times in my life, but never felt so quickly at home as I have here at Mountainside. I am very grateful to be part of a program with such inspiring, dedicated, and supportive attendings, residents, and staff. I’m looking forward to a memorable few years and have no doubt the opportunities here will help us grow into well-rounded physicians.  

Dr. Sangeetha Chandramohan Profile Image

Dr. Sangeetha Chandramohan

Medical School: VMKVMC Medical college, Dr. MGR university

Hometown: Ridgewood NJ

Clinical Interests: Primary care , Preventive Medicine and Public health

Hobbies: Dancing, Travelling , Biking

I strongly believe clinical judgment, problem solving skill or the ability to manage uncertainty cannot be learned from books or the internet; rather it comes from discussions, informal learning conversations, reflection and role modeling from faculty and senior residents.  Mountainside Medical Center has all these elements to offer and I am very grateful to be a part of the Internal medicine residency program here. Internship is an important milestone in our careers as blossoming physicians and the faculty and the senior residents here provide us with a nurturing and respectful environment to help us grow and learn every day in this exciting phase of our life.  After graduation I hope to serve as a primary care physician in New Jersey.

Dr. Chidera Ekpo Profile Image

Dr. Chidera Ekpo

Medical School: University of Nigeria Faculty of Medicine

Hometown: Enugu, Nigeria

Clinical Interests: Geriatric Medicine/ Primary Care

Hobbies: Hair styling and watching interesting videos on YouTube. I also love spending time with my family and friends.

I am always fascinated by the level of warmth that both the faculty and residents here at Mountainside exude. The first thing that struck me during my interview was an interesting short video by the residents and I said to myself "this is a bunch of very HAPPY people.“

Dr. Mina Elmiry Profile Image

Dr. Mina Elmiry

Medical School: St. George's University

Hometown: Oradell, NJ

Clinical Interests: Pulmonology and Critical Care

Hobbies: Movies, Cooking, Traveling

I chose Mountainside Medical Center for my internal medicine residency for its collaborative learning environment. At Mountainside there is a palpable sense of unity and mutual support that permeates the program, reminiscent of a closely-knit family. The program's supportive and collaborative atmosphere sets the stage for acquiring skills in treating the diverse patient population in northern New Jersey. Having grown up in close proximity to Mountainside, I consider it an honor to contribute to my community.

Dr. Kiran Hanif Profile Image

Dr. Kiran Hanif

Medical School: Ayub Medical College, Abbottabad

Hometown: Pakistan

Clinical Interests: Hospitalist Medicine

Hobbies: Spending time with family and friends

I live in New Jersey with my family, so location was important for me. I was looking for a program that emphasized education and clinical training and served a diverse population, all of which I found in MMC. The people here in Mountainside Medical Center are nice and super helpful. I feel supported and welcomed by faculty members and the residents.

Dr. Huma Quadir Profile Image

Dr. Huma Quadir

Medical School: Jinnah Medical and Dental College

Hometown: Karachi

Clinical Interests: Inpatient and outpatient Medicine

Hobbies: writing bedtime stories for children; painting wall murals

New Jersey is my home and my family. Mountainside has a welcoming atmosphere, and everyone is ready to teach. I have always wanted to be part of a group that walks with its residents, recognizes them, appreciates, and corrects.  

Dr. Franz Valmores Profile Image

Dr. Franz Valmores

Medical School: University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery

Hometown: Bambang, Philippines

Clinical Interests: Primary Care and Preventive Medicine, Hematology/Oncology

Hobbies: Skincare, Watching Live Theatre especially musicals, Hiking, Tennis

I chose Mountainside because of the genuineness I felt from the residents during the interview. Since beginning residency, I have felt the support of the seniors and faculty in every aspect of the training and outside of it. I always wanted to have long lasting relationships with my patients and the community I serve.  I know I would only enhance on these goals through the structure and size of the program. Whether I pursue an outpatient or inpatient career, I know that the program and the community will prepare me in tackling the practice of medicine. Being near New York City, where my family resides, is an added bonus.

Preliminary PGY-1

Dr. Hussam Haq Profile Image

Dr. Hussam Haq

Medical School: Faisalabad Medical University, Pakistan.

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York.

Clinical Interests: Primary Care, Preventive Medicine, Occupational Medicine.

Hobbies: Traveling, spending time with my family, playing cricket and exploring new cuisines.

I am humbled to be a part of the Mountainside Family. Mountainside Medical Center sits very close to the New York City in a beautiful town of Montclair with an extremely diverse group of population. From the day I interviewed I knew that this is the place where I would want to build my foundation of Internal Medicine. The whole staff including the program director, teaching faculty, attending and residents are extremely friendly and approachable, and have an open door policy for the trainees.  Mountainside fosters a culture of compassion and empathy not only for its patients but also for the residents. The program provides ample opportunities for physicians who aspire to continue training in different subspecialties. I hope to continue this beautiful journey under the mentorship of skilled faculty and will forever be a part of this prestigious institution.

Dr. Ikechukwu Okereke Profile Image

Dr. Ikechukwu Okereke

Medical School: University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Hometown: Umubo Onicha

Clinical Interests: Hospitalist and Primary care

Hobbies: Cooking and cruising

I remember applying for a position in the internal medicine program. It was full of hope, excitement, nervousness, worry, and definitively stress. Every program was committed to educating and training medical students, turning them into great physicians. Nonetheless, I was certainly looking for more than just that. Training and preparation you can get anywhere, but training in an astounding environment like Montclair with amazing human beings was my biggest dream. During my interview, I found the faculty and residents that interviewed me a great match for my hopes as they took turns to explore the city of Montclair with me virtually. I am grateful that my first choice was the best.