Medical residents add to Temecula’s COVID-19 response team

Temecula Valley Hospital doctors
Temecula Valley Hospital doctors stand for a photo, including from left, Dr. Michael Nduati; Dr. Joel Trambley; Dr. Sean Anand; Dr. Derek Schultz, second from the right, a family medicine resident who also participated in the disaster elective rotation with Internal Medicine resident and Dr. Carrie Bacon. Valley News/Courtesy photo

TEMECULA – The first group of medical residents graduated at Temecula Valley Hospital recently. Unlike residents before them, they are learning in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. They are gaining skills, treatments and medical regimes that no one has ever performed before.

As the crisis began, program leaders created an elective in disaster response to allow residents to be on the front lines of pandemic response.

“We modeled after another program’s plan to involve residents in responding to the 2018 Camp Fire in Northern California,” Dr. Joel Trambley, director of the internal medicine program, said. “Our goal is to have residents learn how to treat COVID-19 patients safely and effectively, but also to learn how to respond to other disasters that could happen in the future.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic is an unfortunate and devastating event in which most clinicians have had no formalized education or experience in managing,” Dr. Derek Schultz, the first internal medicine resident on the elective, said. “The disaster elective at Temecula Valley Hospital has allowed the future generation of physicians to get hands-on experience and training, in managing these types of community health care emergencies.”

Residents in the family medicine program work in the emergency department in their first year and can participate in the disaster elective.

“Like all health care workers, our residents have concerns about their health and their families. We are proud that they continue to work to treat patients in Riverside County,” Dr. Carrie Bacon, program director for the family medicine program, said. “Community health is at the heart of every family medicine program.”

The family medicine program has six residents per year, while internal medicine has 20. Both programs filled all their positions for the academic year 2020-2021 through the National Residency Matching Program, and by their third year, plan to have 18 and 60 residents respectively.

The residency programs are sponsored by the Universal Health Services Southern California Medical Education Consortium, which includes Temecula Valley Hospital, Inland Valley Medical Center, Rancho Springs Medical Center, Corona Regional Medical Center and Palmdale Regional Medical Center.

“Part of our mission is to help address the shortage of health care providers in Riverside County. We are proud of our first 26 residents and excited about next year’s class. We continue to look at adding more trainees and programs,” Dr. Michael Nduati, who oversees the training programs as the designated institutional official/chief academic officer, said.

“The disaster elective has given me hands-on experience in learning how to manage disasters at the local, regional and national levels,” Schultz said. “This experience has helped me become better prepared, for helping and serving the community in the future.”

Temecula Valley Hospital, with a 5-star Medicare Hospital Compare rating, brings advanced technology, innovative programs, patient-centered and family sensitive care to area residents featuring 140 private patient rooms. It is the first Universal Health Services Hospital Emergency Department in the country to achieve accreditation from the American College of Emergency Physicians as a geriatric emergency department.

Temecula Valley Hospital specializes in advanced cardiac services, stroke care, general and surgical specialties, and orthopedics as a recent Blue Distinction Center Designation for Quality in Knee and Hip Replacement Surgeries. It is nationally recognized for patient safety by the Leapfrog Group, with a 2017 Top Hospital Award and seven “A” grades for patient safety.  For more information, visit

Submitted Temecula Valley Hospital.