General Surgery
Residency Program

Watch the Program Introduction Video


to educate, mentor, and develop qualified general surgery physicians to deliver outstanding, efficient medical care with compassion, integrity, and respect while using the most up to date practices and evidence-based medicine

The General Surgery Residency Program is designed to provide residents with the skills, knowledge, and experience required to become excellent surgeons who are leaders in their profession and will contribute to the advancement of the field of Surgery. Program graduates will be well-prepared for careers within the community and academic surgery, or to pursue additional fellowship training.

Some key features of our residency program include a focused and robust clinical and didactic curriculum, mentoring from ABS/AOBS certified faculty members with a variety of backgrounds and expertise, and a focus on excellent patient care and bedside learning. Our general surgery residents, along with the surgery department as a whole, will continue to provide the quality, patient-centered care that Lakeland Regional Health is known for, providing to the diverse patient population of Polk County and the many international and domestic visitors of the surrounding Tampa/Orlando area.

For any questions about our new program, please check this page for updates. You can also reach out to us by email.

Why Train at LRH?

We are a community-focused program centered on developing academic surgeons who will be leaders within their specialty and use the most up-to-date practices and evidence-based medicine.

  • LRH has the second busiest emergency department in the entire country
  • Long-standing, state-designated Level II Trauma Center and the only designated trauma center for Polk, Highlands, and Hardee counties
  • Faculty with diverse training and background from some of the premier training institutions around the country
  • A diverse and extensive surgical experience including trauma, critical care, hepatobiliary surgery, surgical oncology, foregut surgery, colorectal surgery, abdominal wall reconstruction, Robotic/minimal invasive surgery, as well as “bread and butter” general surgery
  • Training is patient-centered with a strong emphasis on clinical and technical training. Our residents treat the entire patient and are “physicians that also operate”


Lakeland Regional Health is one of Forbes Best-in-State Employers for 2022. We aim to remain thriving workplace for everyone on our team. We are excited to welcome our residents into our organization and support their personal and professional growth.

The 864-bed Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center is the primary clinical site for the General Surgery Residency Program and provides extensive opportunities for residents to gain hands-on clinical experience with an underserved population that has a large diversity of pathology and medical needs.


General Surgery Residents will participate in a robust educational program. All didactic activities are time-protected from clinical duties.

Additional Details:
Mortality & Morbidity Conference

  • Clinical cases with untoward outcomes are pulled from all General Surgery services and reviewed with group discussion focusing on improving patient care and finding opportunities for improvement. This experience is invaluable in developing clinical knowledge, critical thinking skills, communication skills, and preparation for the Oral Board exam.

Grand Rounds

  • These conferences are held once a month and allow for presentations on a variety of surgical topics by experts in their field. Conference topics have a broad range including basic science, technological/medical advances, physician wellness, and even medical ethics. These experiences are designed to be novel and interactive.

Weekly Educational conferences based on the SCORE Curriculum

  • Alternating between basic science and clinical conferences, these educational activities occur on a weekly basis. These didactics are led by faculty based on their experience, interest, and specialty. They are designed to both prepare the residents for their board exams, but also how to treat patients in “real life” scenarios.

Journal Club

  • Once a month meeting focused on in-depth learning and discussions with literature selected by residents and attendings. Articles selected will represent “Landmark” articles as well as new innovations and discoveries. In addition to reviewing the literature, the residents will also learn how to evaluate readings scientifically and systematically in order to incorporate Evidence-Based Medicine into their practice.

Skills/Simulation Lab Sessions

  • Our simulation center is on-site and accessible to our residents. Utilizing the most up-to-date simulation tools, the lab will have activities in open surgery/suturing, laparoscopic, endoscopic, and robotic surgery. Formal mentored sessions will be held once a month, but informal practice sessions will also be encouraged and available.

Program Leadership

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Donald M Davis Jr., MD

Program Director, General Surgery Residency Program

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Donald Davis, Jr., MD, joined the Lakeland Regional Health Physician Group in August 2021 as a General Surgeon and the Program Director of the General Surgery Residency and Surgical Critical Care fellowship. Dr. Davis earned his Doctor of Medicine degree, completed his Residency in General Surgery and fellowship in Surgical Critical Care at the University of South Florida. Dr. Davis most recently served as the Chair of General Surgery, Medical Director of the Surgical ICU and surgeon champion for NSQIP at Tampa General Hospital while also serving as Associate Professor of Surgery, Surgical Critical Care Fellowship Director, Assistant General Surgery Residency Program Director, and a founding member the Hernia Center of Excellence at the University of South Florida. Dr. Davis has served as Principal Investigator and Sub-investigator in numerous research studies and continues to publish and presented nationally on his clinical research. He is certified in General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care by the American Board of Surgery. 

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Sowsan H. Rasheid, MD, FACS

Associate Program Director, General Surgery Residency Program

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Sowsan H. Rasheid, MD, FACS, has been providing patients with high-quality, compassionate care for over 12 years. A member of the American College of Surgery, Dr. Rasheid earned her Doctor of Medicine degree and completed her Residency at the University of South Florida College of Medicine. She also completed two fellowships, one at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial and one at the University of South Florida College of Medicine.


Bilingual in Arabic and English, Dr. Rasheid is extremely passionate about providing the best care for each of her patients and believes every patient is deserving of the best, most advanced care possible without exception. Dr. Rashied specializes in Colon and Rectal (Colorectal) Surgery, with a focus on the utilization of minimally invasive techniques, robotic surgery, endoscopy, and enhanced recovery protocols. She cares for conditions affecting the gastrointestinal tract with a specific focus on the small intestine, colon, rectum, and anus. This includes infectious, inflammatory, functional, and malignant conditions. Always looking for ways to enhance her patient’s experience, she believe that there is no end to learning and improving yourself as a physician and surgeon.

Core Faculty


Boucher, MD

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Zachary Boucher, MD is a board-certified general surgeon at our Medical Center and Grasslands Campus. He practices in the areas of general surgery, including hernia repairs of all types, gallbladder surgery, acid reflux disease, skin and soft tissue lesions, and diseases of the stomach, small intestines and colon.


Dr. Boucher attended the University of Florida for his undergraduate education and continued there for medical school. He then completed his surgical training at the University of South Florida in Tampa. His practice focuses on robotic surgery due to the advantages for patients including smaller incisions, faster time to recovery, and fewer complications. 


Gaugler, DO

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Andrew Gaugler, DO, FACS is a board-certified surgeon at Lakeland Regional Health. Dr. Gaugler has special clinical interest in chest wall reconstruction after injury and prehospital trauma care. He earned his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from Nova Southeastern University and completed his internship and Residency in General Surgery at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Additionally, he completed a Fellowship in Trauma and Surgical Critical Care at the University of Miami Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Dr. Gaugler specializes in Emergency General Surgery and Trauma.


Dr. Gaugler enjoys seeing patients return to the lives they lived prior to being injured. Trauma surgery starts with saving life and limb, but his ultimate goal is for our patients to get back to their loved ones. Additionally, Dr. Gaugler leads a multi-disciplinary research group focused on improving outcomes in polytrauma patients.

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Forestiere, MD

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Matthew Forestiere, MD is a board-certified surgeon, providing care to patients at our Medical Center. He specializes in General Surgery, Acute Care Surgery, Trauma Surgery, and Surgical Critical Care.  Dr. Forestiere attended medical school at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.  He completed his Surgical residency at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Temple, TX.  He then completed his Surgical Critical Care, Trauma, and Acute Care fellowship at LAC+USC Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA before joining Lakeland Regional Health.


Dr. Forestiere is dedicated to helping patients fully understand what is happening to them with their illness or trauma, and ultimately guiding and empowering them through the treatment of their trauma care, surgery, and recovery.

Dr. Forestiere has surgical interests in the care of trauma patients, Acute Care and Emergency General Surgery with the use of Robotics, and chest wall and abdominal wall reconstruction.


Molina-Vega, MD

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Manuel Molina-Vega, MD is the Director of Hepatobiliary and a surgical oncology specialist at the Hollis Cancer Center. Caring for patients at Lakeland Regional Health since 2011, his multi-area surgical expertise is extensive and covers a wide array of pathologies. He specializes in surgical treatment for benign and malignant processes. These include reflux surgery, malignant and benign hepato-biliary and pancreatic diseases, melanoma, sarcoma, esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, other digestive tract cancers, and complex benign pathology.


After earning his Doctor of Medicine degree, Dr. Molina completed a surgical internship at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, NY; surgery residency at SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn, NY receiving the Thomas W. Pollock award for superior performance as Chief Resident; and a surgical oncology fellowship at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital. In 2008, Dr. Molina-Vega was named to America’s Top Surgeons by the Consumers’ Research Council of America and received the Alfred S. Ketcham M.D. award for superior performance as a surgical oncology fellow from the University of Miami in Florida.


Nguyen, MD

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Toan Nguyen, MD is a Mayo Clinic Fellowship-trained surgeon and a national expert in breast cancer. As the Medical Director of Breast Oncology for Lakeland Regional Health’s nationally recognized Comprehensive Breast Program, Dr. Nguyen provides the latest technology, innovation, and treatments for patients with breast diseases, benign and malignant. Since 2007, Dr. Nguyen has been perfecting his craft as a surgeon, and has dedicated his career to exclusively treating breast cancer for the past 10 years.


Dr. Nguyen is part of multiple efforts to develop treatment standards across the country. With his expertise, he continues to do ongoing research in breast cancer. Dr. Nguyen is Polk County’s first surgeon to perform numerous surgical procedures that incorporate the latest technological advances proven to improve outcomes.


Sobowale, MD

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Olumide Sobowale, MD is a double board-certified surgical critical care and trauma surgeon at Lakeland Regional Health. Dr. Sobowale specializes in Trauma/Acute Care Surgery, General Surgery, and Surgical Critical Care. Dr. Sobowale cares for patients seeking urgent, emergent, and elective surgery. Additionally, he cares for patients needing surgery for trauma injuries and who are acutely ill and need surgical intervention. Dr. Sobowale completed medical school at Howard University College of Medicine and completed his two residencies at the University of Connecticut and the University of Florida Health Science Center. Additionally, he competed his fellowship at Hartford Hospital.


Dr. Sobowale enjoys treating patients and having the capacity to intervene acutely to stop further deterioration of someone’s physiology. He aims to help them recover from an unexpected event. He is additionally interested in the abdominal wall reconstruction of traumatically injured person.

Richard Sontchi, MD

Sontchi, MD

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Richard Sontchi, MD is a double board-certified surgical critical care and trauma surgeon at Lakeland Regional Health. Dr. Sontchi specializes in Trauma/Acute Care Surgery, General Surgery, and Surgical Critical Care. In addition to patients seeking treatment for general surgery needs, Dr. Sontchi cares for patients who are acutely ill or injured, particularly specializing in complex abdominal wall reconstruction, while providing individualized care plans for each unique health concern.


Dr. Sontchi completed medical school and his residency at the University of South Florida, and his fellowship training at Orlando Regional Medical Center. Dr. Sontchi feels honored to be able to intervene and be a part of a person’s life at some of the most important chapters. He feels it is a privilege to be trusted by a patient and their family allowing him to care for them. 

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Straughan, MD

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David Straughan, MD is a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Lakeland Regional Health. Dr. Straughan completed medical school at McGovern Medical School at UT Health Science Center at Houston and his residency at University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. He also completed three fellowships in craniofacial reconstruction and facial aesthetics.  at Massachusetts General Hospital, National Institute Health, and Tulane University School of Medicine.


Dr. Straughan uses his skills to perform both cosmetic and reconstruction surgeries. Dr. Straughan's goal is to treat every patient with the respect that they deserve. Whether meeting a patient on their worst day or discussing cosmetic surgery, he strives to let them know that he is part of their team.  


Taylor, DO

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Michael Taylor, DO is a double board-certified surgeon, providing care to patients at our Medical Center. He specializes in Trauma Surgery, Emergency General Surgery, Elective General Surgery, and Surgical Critical Care. Dr. Taylor attended medical school at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. He completed his fellowship at Boston Medical Center, and completed his medical residency at McLaren Macomb.


Dr. Taylor encompasses a comprehensive trauma and surgical-informed care approach with all of his patients to care for them in their most vulnerable times. By recognizing that any traumatic event can have long-lasting implications for a patient and their loved ones, he can better care for the immediate and future needs of his patients.


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Burns, MD

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Justin Burns, MD is a board-certified surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL. Dr. Burns specializes in liver transplant, kidney transplant, and Hepatobiliary surgery. He sees many patients who require abdominal surgery.


Dr. Burns attended Western Carolina University and University of North Carolina School of Medicine where he earned his medical degree. He attended residency at Carolinas Medical Center and his fellowship for Abdominal Transplant at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. Dr. Burns enjoys getting to know his patients and their families, ensuring they feel taken care of during their most vulnerable moments.



Bugajski, PhD

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Andrew Bugajski, PhD is the AVP of Research and Sponsored Studies here at Lakeland Regional Health. Dr. Bugajski oversees all research operations to ensure that no matter what type of research is going on, that it is conducted safely, efficiently, and positively impacts our patients.


As a nurse by training, he earned his PhD from the University of Kentucky. Dr. Bugajski believes the best part of his job is getting to be with the investigators to review their data and see beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were right—there’s very little that is better than working hard on a project just to see that you were right all along, and you have the data to show it.

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Campanelli, DO

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Michael Campanelli, DO has served as the attending Neurosurgeon at Lakeland Regional Health since 2000 and Chief of the Division of Neurosurgery since 2002. Board-certified, Dr. Campanelli is highly recognized for expertise in treating traumatic injuries of the brain and spinal cord, as well as degenerative disorders of the spine. Dr. Campanelli completed medical school at Kirksville College of Osteopathic and two residencies at Grandview Hospital & Medical Center and Sisters of Charity. He then completed his fellowship at the Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates.

Dr. Campanelli is recognized for his expertise and was instrumental in implementing the Brain Lab Neuro Navigation System for the removal of brain tumors at the Medical Center. He has a special interest in the treatment of dementia related to normal pressure hydrocephalus.


Burgueno-Vega, MD

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Diana Burgueno-Vega, MD is a board-certified surgeon with over a decade of experience in general surgery, wound care, and surgical wound closure. Dr. Burgueno-Vega earned her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and completed her Residency in General Surgery at Texas Tech University. Dr. Burgueno-Vega specializes in surgical wound care, hyperbaric oxygen therapy management, robotic surgery, and acute/chronic surgical needs. She also serves patients with hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) and atypical wounds such as calciphylaxis, pyoderma gangrenosum, and advanced pressure ulcers.

Her passion for improving patient lives is evident in how she takes time to connect, listen, and care for each unique individual. She works with English and Spanish-speaking patients at our Grasslands Campus and the Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center.

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Chaudhry, MD

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Nauman S. Chaudhry, MD is a fellowship-trained neurosurgeon in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of South Florida & Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center. Dr. Chaudhry specializes in complex spine surgery in the adult, adolescent, and pediatric populations. He completed medical school at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, his residency at University of Illinois at Chicago, and his fellowship in Neurosurgery at Duke University Hospital.


Dr. Chaudhry works closely with patients, treating a variety of spinal pathologies with the latest open, minimally invasive, and robotic surgical techniques. He discusses the most durable option with patients and will follow them long term to treat any new issues that may arise after spine surgery.

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Croci, MD

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Davide Marco Croci, MD is a fellowship-trained surgeon in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of South Florida & Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center. Raised in Switzerland, Dr. Croci is fluent in four languages: Italian, French, German, and English. He completed two very competitive fellowship programs in both complex spine and complex cranial neurosurgery at Kantonsspital Aarau, Neurocenter of Southern Switzerland, and University of Basel School of Medicine.


Dr. Croci was named as a member of the North American Skull Base Society, The Congress of Neurological Surgeons, and The European Association of Neurosurgical Societies. Dr. Croci completed his fellowships at the University of Utah (Complex Spine) and the University of South Florida (Complex Cranial). He has special research interest in the inflammatory mechanism after subarachnoid hemorrhage, in skull base approaches, and in studying the outcome of patient undergoing cervical spine surgery. 

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Greene, MD

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Graham Greene, MD is board-certified and has been practicing Urologic Oncology for over 25 years specializing in care and treatment of urologic cancers affecting the prostate, bladder, kidney, adrenal, testes, and penis. He also serves as Executive Director of the Hollis Cancer Center and Chief Academic Officer for Lakeland Regional Health. Dr. Greene completed medical school at Dalhousie University and finished his residency at Victoria General Hospital and fellowship at MD Anderson.

Dr. Greene strives to place patients at the center of an environment of learning and discovery. He enjoys connecting with patients to develop strong relationships focused on their care. He believes that hope is a powerful commodity, and he feels privileged to provide hope to patients.

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Medina, MD

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Andres Medina, MD, FACS has been a Cardiothoracic Surgeon for over 20 years, specializing in cardiac, thoracic and vascular surgery. Dr. Medina serves as the director of Lakeland Regional Health’s Cardiothoracic Surgery Center. As a board-certified surgeon, Dr. Medina completed medical school at Ohio State University, his residency at Memorial Health University Medical Center, and his fellowship at University of Miami - Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Medina's goal is to help patients achieve understanding of their medical needs as the foundation for successful treatment. He encourages and empowers his patients to ask questions and feel confident in their treatment.

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Prowler, MD

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Vanessa Prowler, MD is a board-certified Breast Surgeon at Lakeland Regional Health's Hollis Cancer Center. She specializes in the treatment of benign and malignant breast diseases. Her clinical focus includes genetics and surgical techniques called “oncoplasty.” Dr. Prowler completed medical school at Florida State University, completed her residency at University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, and her fellowship at Mount Sinai Beth Israel.


Dr. Prowler aims to provide patients with the knowledge about their disease process so that they may better understand and proactively take charge of the ailment that faces them. Dr. Prowler is one of the only surgeons in the area who is a Trained Clinician in Cancer Risk Assessment which allows her to use genetics and genomics in cancer risk assessment, management, and prevention practice for breast cancer care.

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Wall, MD

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Ward Wall, MD is a board-certified surgeon at Lakeland Regional. He specializes in general surgery, trauma surgery, and surgical critical care. He sees patients suffering from various types of surgical needs including hernias, gallbladder, appendicitis, diverticulitis, removal of lumps/masses, and colonoscopies. Dr. Ward attended Wayne State University School of Medicine and completed both his residency and fellowship at Washington Hospital Center.


Dr. Ward is passionate about educating his patients so they feel confident before, during, and after their surgery. He prioritizes developing a relationship with his patients so he can help them improve their daily lives.

Program Benefits and Highlights

Lakeland Regional Health offers a competitive benefits package. Click here to view the benefits package provided to LRH team members.

Beyond our standard tuition reimbursement program, retirement plans, paid time off, and a comprehensive health and benefit plan, we also offer the following extended benefits for residents of our Graduate Medical Education Program:

  • Meal subsidy for on-call residents
  • Educational stipend for professional development
  • LRH GME Fitness Center, Lounge, and Focus Areas
  • Expenses of USMLE Step 3/COMLEX 3 fees covered

Resident Life

About Lakeland

Lakeland, the largest city in Polk County, has kept its small-town personality over the years and yet continues to become a vibrant and growing city. Conveniently located between Tampa and Orlando, Lakelanders have many ways to celebrate the climate, culture and opportunities available both in the local area and throughout Central Florida. World-class shopping, major sports franchises and entertainment venues in Tampa and Orlando and beaches on both the east and west coasts of Florida are all a quick drive away.

How to Apply

Applicants must submit a complete application via ERAS. Residents will be chosen through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP).

NRMP Number: 2323440C0

Required supporting documents:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Medical School Transcript
  • Personal Statement
  • Three Letters of Recommendation


We are excited to welcome all candidates to apply for our Graduate Medical Education programs. However, please note that applicants must be authorized to work in the U.S. We are unable to sponsor or take over sponsorship of employment Visas at this time. Thank you for understanding.

Contact Us

autumn wade

Autumn Wade

General Surgery Program Administrator

863-687-1100 Ext. 1582

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