Internal Medicine
Residency Program


to educate, mentor, and develop the next generation of Internal Medicine physicians fully qualified to deliver outstanding, efficient medical care with compassion, integrity, and respect.

Located in the largest city on Interstate 4 between Orlando and Tampa and home to one of the busiest emergency departments in the United States, the Lakeland Regional Health (LRH) Internal Medicine Residency Program provides its trainees with robust exposure in a diverse multinational population resulting in a uniquely well-rounded training experience.

This ACGME-accredited program is designed to provide trainees with a wide array of clinical experiences and leadership skills aimed to develop tomorrow’s leaders in academic medicine. The residency program is tailored to a versatile balance of clinical excellence, academic pursuit, and resident well-be­­­­­ing.

Why Train at LRH?

At 910 beds, Lakeland Regional Health is among the largest hospitals in Florida and boasts as one of the busiest stand-alone Emergency Departments in the nation. With a diverse rural population, the pathology and patient variety is unmatched. The program is uniquely designed to offer enriching experiences such as a Medical Spanish elective and a tailored curriculum that includes Point-of-Care Ultrasonography with Artificial Intelligence. A dedicated Research Team is also on site to support residents’ research endeavors.

The Internal Medicine Residency Program, recognized for its continuous connection with one of the nation’s most bustling emergency departments, distinctively integrates an Emergency Department-Hospital Medicine Admitting Rotation into its three-year residency training curriculum. This one-of-a-kind integration will offer residents a rare opportunity to gain hands-on experience and exposure to Level II Trauma acuity within the realms of both the emergency department and hospital medicine, thereby enhancing their skills and understanding in these critical areas. Moreover, our curriculum has an innovative Mentorship Program in place, which aims to prepare residents for success across various medical fields. Whether choosing to pursue a career in ambulatory care, hospital medicine, or opt for fellowship training, this program equips residents with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their chosen path.

Commitment to Excellence: Residents will train in an organization that continuously serves as an international leader in patient safety and quality improvement. Lakeland Regional Health’s long-standing reputation has earned Most Wired Advanced and Most Wired status seven times since 2013 and has since earned workplace awards from Forbes, Gallup, and Becker’s Hospital Review.

Residents will complete a focused and intense clinical and didactic curriculum, mentored by ABIM/AOBIM board-certified faculty members with a variety of backgrounds and expertise, and centered around excellent patient care and bedside learning. Our graduates will be well-prepared to become board-certified leaders in medicine and pursue careers within academia, community, or fellowship training.

Lakeland Regional Health is one of Forbes Best-in-State Employers for 2022. We aim to remain thriving workplace for everyone on our team.

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Internal Medicine Residents will participate in a robust and novel educational program with many opportunities to teach peer residents, medical students, and staff. All didactic activities are time protected from clinical duties. Residents are expected to participate in hospital committees and research activities.


Additional Details:
Weekly Didactic Curriculum

  • The Internal Medicine Residency Program offers a comprehensive and dynamic curriculum designed to provide a well-rounded education in each subspecialty, with each month dedicated to an internal medicine subspecialty focus.
  • The program uniquely incorporates Thursday academic half-days, during which residents are free from clinical responsibilities and receive extensive educational opportunities (clinical conferences and simulations) from specialty attendings and experts in the field.
    • Protected academic half-day sessions with coverage of clinical duties allows residents to immerse themselves in the learning environment without outside distractions. 
  • Monthly recurring sessions include but not limited to:
    • ACP Board Prep Curriculum
    • Simulation Center: Procedures and Communication
    • Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS)
    • Journal Club
    • Multi-disciplinary Conference
    • Quality Improvement/Patient Safety Conference
    • Diversity and Equity Inclusion Conference
    • Leadership Skills and Resident-as-Teacher
    • Step 3 Prep & Board Review
    • …and more!

Academically Driven

  • From Quality Improvement (QI) projects to bench research, LRH’s dedicated research team and Institutional Review Board (IRB) supports residents throughout all stages of the research process.
  • Partnering with our institutional Department of Research and Sponsored Studies, we actively identify, distribute, and facilitate research and scholarly opportunities to internal medicine residents. Every year, our residents are supported and encouraged to present scholarly projects at regional and national conferences.
  • Upon completion of the program, our residents complete an original scientific paper of publishable quality and/or quality improvement project.

Ambulatory Clinic

  • Diverse panel population ranging from uninsured/undocumented patients to commercial insurance payors, fostering the confidence to enter independent practice in any kind of setting.
  • Each resident will have ownership of their own primary care patient panel, fostering continuity and relationship building between physician and patient.
  • Block scheduling allows immersive ambulatory experiences without distractions from inpatient rotations. Similarly, practicing in a ‘Pod’ of providers with co-residents, ensures patients receive timely care while PCP is on other rotations.
  • Rotate through subspecialty clinics, and learn from subspecialists 1-on-1, to expand the knowledge base and confidence to care for primary patient panel.
  • Longitudinal mentoring relationship with Clinic Preceptors from internship to residency graduation.

Wellness and Personal Development

  • LRH is committed to each individuals’ needs for success.
  • No 24-Hour Call
  • Generous meal stipend & vacation
  • Mentorship Program with an IM Wellness Committee
  • Resident-only State-of-the-Art GME Lounge
    • Includes a Fitness Center!

Didactics and Education

The didactic portion of the Lakeland Regional Health’s Internal Medicine Residency Program includes:

  • Core Curriculum Conferences
  • ACP Board Preparation Curriculum
  • Internal Medicine Grand Rounds
  • Morbidity and Mortality Conferences
  • Primary Care Didactics
  • Updates in Medicine and Journal Club
  • Medical Student Afternoon Report
  • Point-of-Care Ultrasonography
  • Quality Improvement Conferences


Educational Resources

  • Decker Weekly Curriculum in Medicine
  • Medical Knowledge Self-Assessment Program (MKSAP) 19
  • ACP Board Prep Curriculum 
  • Physician Education and Assessment Center
    • “Johns Hopkins” IM Ambulatory Care Curriculum
  • UpToDate Anywhere through affiliation with Lakeland Regional Health

Program Leadership


Luis Daniel
Lugo, MD, MBA


Read Bio

Dr. Luis Daniel Lugo, a Board-Certified Internist, specializes in Hospital Medicine. He received his medical degree from the renowned Saba University School of Medicine in the Netherlands. Following this, he undertook his Internal Medicine Residency at Roger Williams Medical Center, affiliated with the prestigious Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Lugo further honed his expertise by completing a specialized fellowship program in Cardiovascular and Renal (CVR) at Bayer Pharmaceuticals, under the auspices of Rutgers Institute for Pharmaceutical Industry.
Beyond his medical qualifications, Dr. Lugo also holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Healthcare Management. His passion for education extends back to his early career as a high-school Chemistry teacher.
Before his tenure at Lakeland Regional Health, Dr. Lugo held the position of Associate Program Director for the Categorical Internal Medicine Residency Program at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, located in Brooklyn, New York. His dedication to service led him to work with veterans at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Brooklyn and with a diverse patient population at the Mount Sinai Health System in Manhattan.
In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Lugo’s commitment to education has seen him serve as Clinical Associate Professor at both SUNY Downstate College of Medicine and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where he mentored numerous residents and students. His exceptional teaching skills have earned him multiple “Teacher of the Year” awards. Dr. Lugo is multilingual, proficient in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Bizanti, MD

Associate Program Director (Inpatient)

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Dr. Anas Bizanti is a highly skilled and dedicated medical professional currently serving at Lakeland Regional Health since 2021. He brings a unique blend of medical expertise, research acumen, and passion for quality improvement. He completed his internal medicine residency in Baltimore, where he distinguished himself as a talented and committed medical practitioner. His dedication to his profession and his exceptional teaching skills earned him the prestigious “Best Resident Teacher” award. Additionally, he served as a Chief Resident at Saint Agnes Hospital, showcasing his leadership skills and commitment to his field.
Before embarking on his medical journey, Dr. Bizanti pursued a Master’s degree in Nanotechnology from the University of Central Florida. This advanced education has provided him with a deep understanding of the microscopic processes that underpin many medical conditions. Furthermore, Dr. Bizanti is also an engineer by training.
Dr. Bizanti specializes in hospital medicine, a field where his extensive knowledge and diverse skill set are put to excellent use. He is particularly passionate about research and quality improvement projects. His work in these areas contributes significantly to improving patient outcomes and advancing our understanding of various diseases. Throughout his career, Dr. Bizanti has consistently demonstrated his commitment to providing the highest standard of care to his patients. His unique blend of medical, technological, and engineering expertise makes him a valuable asset to Lakeland Regional Health and the wider medical community.
keisha ellis

Ellis, MD

Associate Program Director (Outpatient)

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Dr. Keisha Ellis is a board-certified internal medicine physician specializing in endocrinology — with particular emphasis on the management of obesity, diabetes, and thyroid disease. As a clinical professor for GME (graduate medical education), she also serves as the Associate Program Director of the LRH Internal Medicine Residency program.
Dr. Ellis earned her MD in medicine at Ross University. She then completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Connecticut and her fellowship in endocrinology at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Ellis’s research has been extensively published and presented nationwide. She sees patients at our Morell Internal Medicine location.
melissa rusli md

Rusli, MD

Associate Program Director (Outpatient)

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Dr. Melissa Rusli is a board-certified Internist with a focused practice in Ambulatory Internal Medicine/Primary Care. She completed her medical school training at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, NY, followed by Internal Medicine Residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY, and served as Ambulatory Chief Resident from 2018-2019.
Dr. Rusli is currently board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, is a member of several professional societies, and has authored several publications/presentations. She is a graduate of the Society of General Internal Medicine’s TEACH program and received several teaching awards at both the undergraduate and graduate medical education levels.
Prior to joining Lakeland Regional Health, Dr. Rusli was an Assistant Professor in Clinical Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and the Associate Clerkship Director of the Primary Care clerkship. She was actively involved in faculty development skills with new clerkship preceptors and strengthening Resident-as-Teacher skills among Internal Medicine residents.

Core Faculty


Christina Chen,


Morhaf Alsamman


Lauren Martinez,


Adeeb Mustafa,


Felix Carrillo,

andrew michalsky

Andrew Michalsky,

amon arch

Arch Amon,



Mohammad Ansari,

amon arch

Arch Amon,


Rene Cajuste,

Francisco Chebly

Francisco Chebly,

Mariana Fernandez

Mariana Fernandez,

Ferguson_Alexis - Medium

Ferguson, MD

sarah gaugler

Sarah Gaugler,

muhammad ghabra

Muhammad Ghabra,

Image from iOS (2)

Fahmida Keya,

vivian loveday-laghi

Vivian Loveday-Laghi, MD

Odette Mercado Chebly

Odette Mercado-Chebly,

pranavkumar patel

Pranavkumar Patel,

soniya patel

Soniya Patel,


Sai Wan,

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
  • Expenses of USMLE Step 3/COMLEX 3 fees covered

Life in Internal Medicine

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: 2323140C0

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


Brittany Harris 

Internal Medicine Program Manager

863-687-1100 Ext. 3669


Therisa Humphries

Internal Medicine Program Administrator

863-687-1100 Ext. 1326

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