Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Chickasaw Nation Family Medicine Residency Program graduates honored


Pictured, from left, are Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby, Dr. Jacob Hollenbeck, Dr. Denise Nguyen, Dr. Jason Johnson and Chickasaw Nation Lt. Governor Chris Anoatubby (not pictured is Dr. Pamela Grafton). Dr. Hollenbeck, Dr. Nguyen, Dr. Johnson and Dr. Grafton are the first to complete the Oklahoma State University and Chickasaw Nation Family Medicine Residency Program and also worked to keep patients healthy throughout the global COVID-19 pandemic.

ADA, Okla. – The Oklahoma State University and Chickasaw Nation Family Medicine Residency Program recently honored four graduates who are the first to complete the program.

Dr. Pamela K. Grafton, Dr. Jacob J. Hollenbeck, Dr. Jason D. Johnson and Dr. Denise S. Nguyen have completed three years in the family medicine residency program at the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center.

In addition to being the trailblazers who would become the inaugural class, these residents also worked to keep patients healthy throughout the global COVID-19 pandemic.

"You've learned how to treat the person – not just the patient – taking into consideration diverse cultures, families and communities," said Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby. "You've practiced holistic service, cultural sensitivity and continuity of care of the highest quality and, for nearly half of your residency, you've learned and practiced these skills while also dealing with this unprecedented pandemic."

Chickasaw Nation Secretary of Health Dr. Charles Grim said the residents succeeded throughout these unusual circumstances.

"Under ordinary circumstances, completing a residency is physically, mentally and, at times, spiritually challenging," said Dr. Grim. "As I said, 2020 was not an ordinary year. The pandemic tested all of our medical and clinical professionals at every turn, every day."

The faculty and staff of the residency program chose a handmade wooden walking stick to represent the hard work, dedication and leadership of the chief resident position. The program has purchased a walking stick that will hang in the residency clinic accompanied by a nameplate with the year of each chief resident from now on. Dr. Johnson, the first chief resident, said the inaugural graduation class of residents have learned a lot together.

"Over the past three years, this inaugural class has cleared the path. We were trailblazers," said Dr. Johnson. "We persevered together. We celebrated success together," he said. "I couldn't imagine a better group of residents to do this with."

The new chief resident is Dr. Ying Tang.

The graduating residents also received prints of a painting by Chickasaw artist Larry Carter, as the original will remain within the residency program.

Also at the graduation event, Family Medicine Resident Dr. Kenneth Smith received the Outstanding Intern Award, Clinical Faculty Dr. Eric Beaver received the Special Thanks and Recognition (S.T.A.R.) Award, and Dr. Shirley Welden received the Attending Award.

After launching in 2018, the OSU and Chickasaw Nation Family Medicine Residency Program has maintained a reputation of offering compassionate and quality health care out of the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center (CNMC). It joined the Chickasaw Nation Pharmacy Residency Program, which began in 2008, in bringing talented new groups of doctors and pharmacists to assist with medical needs in the Chickasaw Nation.

The Chickasaw Nation's residency program provides excellent opportunities for residents to grow, both professionally and personally, on the hospital floor working and learning with evidenced-based medicine. This prepares residents for careers as family practitioners.

The residency program has both economic and social benefits for the community. Graduates of medical residency programs tend to establish a practice or become active providers where they have trained.

It also promotes the high standard of health care already established at the medical center.

Students interested in fulfilling their residency within the expanding number of health facilities, programs and services of the Chickasaw Nation can visit

From this webpage, visitors will find links to criteria and applications, as well as information regarding curriculum, facilities, faculty and staff, salary, benefits and the community surrounding the CNMC.


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