Transitional Year
Residency Program


to provide TY residents a broad-based, individualized training experience that lays a strong foundation of clinical knowledge, skills, and professional development to advance into the next years of their careers.

The Lakeland Regional Health Transitional Year Residency program is a one-year program providing residents with a well-rounded, personalized clinical training experience in multiple specialties. Graduates will develop clinical practices, professional skills, and individualized mentorship to prepare them to deliver outstanding, efficient medical care with compassion, integrity, and respect in whichever discipline they choose.

As one of the largest hospitals in Florida (892 beds) in a rapidly growing diverse population, the patient and pathology variety is unmatched. Our board-certified faculty are equally as diverse, and eager to teach and mentor in more than 35+ specialties. As a newly formed academic program, residents will receive direct hands-on experiences and access to a plethora of research opportunities without much competition from other trainees. We’re committed to providing a personalized experience for each TY resident both clinically, professionally, and personally.

Why Train at LRH?

Large 892-bed hospital with diverse patient population and pathology variety

  • Nestled between Tampa and Orlando, Lakeland is one of the fastest growing cities in Florida. For over 100 years, Lakeland Regional Health is known for providing patient-centered care to the diverse patient population of Polk County and the many international and domestic visitors of the surrounding Tampa/Orlando area. Our multinational, rural population exposes our trainees to a wide range of clinical cases and disease pathology – the perfect environment for a robust and uniquely well-rounded training experience to produce physicians with the ability to thrive in any setting.

Invested in individualized and direct clinical and personal development

  • We are committed to creating personalized training experiences for each Transitional Year Resident, in any desired discipline. As a new academic institution, there is little competition with other trainees. Our Transitional Year residents are guaranteed to receive direct, hands-on experiences to patient care and clinical procedures. All residents will be given access to the same opportunities and held to the same expectations as categorical residents.
  • Immediately after match day, residents will begin to develop a personalized training experience designed to provide them with the necessary clinical rotations, and professional development needed to advance to the next stage of their careers, whether it is in research, leadership, exam preparation, or reapplying to categorical residency programs.

Diversely trained faculty enthusiastic for didactics and mentorship in 35+ specialties

  • Our board-certified faculty is just as diverse as our patient population, and have trained internationally in 35+ specialties.  They are the backbone to our focused and intense didactics curriculum centered around excellent and compassionate patient care. Transitional Year residents will be matched with trained mentors according to desired interests and professional needs who will foster a culture of inquiry and a drive for lifelong learning.

Fostering curiosity and leadership through research and scholarly productivity

  • All Transitional Year residents will have access to our robust research team and scholarly activities running within our institution. Our faculty is prepared to mentor residents of all experience levels. Each Transitional Year resident is expected to participate in at least one scholarly activity during the program, and will present their work at Lakeland Regional Health’s annual Research Symposium. Our faculty is well published and frequently present at national conferences. Our residents will receive the preparation and resources needed to achieve similar accomplishments.

Nationally awarded hospital fostering clinical excellence and commitment to the community

  • Residents will train in an organization that continuously serves as an international leader in patient care and quality improvement. Lakeland Regional Health’s long-standing reputation has earned Most Wired Advanced and Most Wired status seven times since 2013, has earned workplace awards from Forbes, Gallup and Becker’s Hospital Review.
  • Lakeland Regional health is in a community-based academic healthcare system with other medical residency programs, medical students, pharmacy, nursing and chaplain residency programs.


Rotations + block schedule

Rotation blocks are 4 weeks long. Can be modified to meet your personal training needs.

General Internal Medicine – 4 blocks

Night Float – 1 block (split in two 2-week rotations)

Medical Intensive Care Unit – 1 block

Emergency Medicine – 2 blocks

General Surgery – 1 block

Ambulatory Urgent Care – 1 block

Ambulatory Family Medicine – 1 block

Electives – 2 blocks

4 weeks vacation

No 24-Hour call

Electives offered

Transitional Year residents will have the ability to personalize and create new experiences based on career goals.

  • Radiology
  • Neurology
  • Dermatology
  • Palliative Care
  • Rheumatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Pulmonology
  • Cardiology
  • Infectious Disease
  • ENT
  • Heme/Onc
  • Nephrology
  • Urology
  • Anesthesia


Didactics curriculum

  • Residents will follow the didactics curriculum of the categorical residency program they are rotating on. This includes all seminars, workshops, and simulation lab experiences.
  • Please visit the following residency program websites to learn more about their didactics curriculum. 

USMLE Step 3/COMLEX exam preparation and CME resources

  • All residents are required to take USMLE Step 3/COMLEX exam. Exam preparation is embedded within the didactics curriculum.
  • Every resident will receive reimbursement for exam registration and non-vacation, protected time off to sit for the exam.
  • Residents also receive a stipend for Continuing Medical Education expenses.

Career planning and mentorship

  • Each resident will be paired with trained mentors to meet all individual needs, whether it is within a specific clinical area of interest, or within a specific scholarly interest (i.e. clinical trials, quality improvement, community outreach).
  • Didactics will be provided to help residents of all experience levels to succeed in scholarly academic medicine.
  • Seminars and one-on-one sessions will be held to help unmatched residents prepare for recruitment into another residency programs.

Program Leadership

melissa rusli md

Melissa Rusli, MD

Transitional Year
Residency Program Director

Read Bio

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

amon arch

Amon, MD
Internal Medicine

derek hansen

Hansen, MD
Internal Medicine Intensivist

Jesse Santos

De Los Santos, MD
Emergency Medicine

Read Bio

Where are you originally from?

Brooklyn, New York


Where did you Attend Medical School and what year was your graduation?

UMDNJ- Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, 2009


Where did you attend residency?

Cooper University Hospital


What is one reason residents should choose LRH EM Residency?
This is one of the busiest departments in the world with a diverse population and good pathology. It is a level 2 trauma with excellent sub specialty care. Very few patients, if any, are transferred.


What are your favorite hobbies?
I love watching sports. I enjoy wine tastings.


What is your favorite thing about living in Lakeland or Central Florida?
I enjoy the weather, especially in the winter. Really enjoy close access to many attractions including the beach.


Do you have any special interests in EM or medicine?
I am interested in simulation and teaching procedures


What is your favorite activity in central Florida?
Going to the beach


What is your favorite beach in Florida?
Longboat Key


Taylor, DO
General Surgery


Moon, MD
Family Medicine

Teaching Faculty


Bizanti, MD
Internal Medicine


Boucher, MD
General Surgery

Read Bio

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. 


Carrillo, MD
Internal Medicine


Davis, MD
Family Medicine


Dubey, DO
Emergency Medicine

Read Bio

Where are you originally from?

Rhode Island


Where did you Attend Medical School and What year was your graduation?

Nova Southeastern University in 2013


Where did you attend residency?

Tampa General Hospital


What is one reason residents should choose LRH EM Residency?
Well established community hospital which is rapidly growing and encompasses a diverse patient population. Top-notch EM staff with a deeply entrenched community feel and broad range of experiences.


What are your favorite hobbies?
Spending time with family, vacationing, cooking, home building projects. Playing sports with my kids.


What is your favorite thing about living in Lakeland or Central Florida?
Tampa provides a little bit of everything. Sports arena, great restaurants, close to beaches, availability of boating. Fast growing and constantly evolving city. Close to Disney and other major attractions.


Do you have any special interests in EM or medicine?
Education, cutting-edge EM research and practices.


What is your favorite activity in central Florida?
Spending time at the beach


What is your favorite beach in Florida?
St Pete beach

Fahmida Keya

Keya, MD
Internal Medicine


Lee, MD
Emergency Medicine

vivian loveday-laghi

Loveday, MD
Internal Medicine


Luis Daniel
Lugo, MD
Internal Medicine

Read Bio

Dr. Luis Daniel Lugo is a Board-Certified Internist with a focused practice in Hospital Medicine. Dr. Lugo earned his medical degree from Saba University School of Medicine in the Netherlands. He completed his Internal Medicine Residency at Roger Williams Medical Center, an affiliate of Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Lugo also completed a Medical Affairs physician fellowship program specializing in Cardiovascular and Renal (CVR) at Bayer Pharmaceuticals through Rutgers Institute for Pharmaceutical Industry. He holds a Master’s in Business Administration in Healthcare Management and is a former high-school Chemistry teacher with a long-standing passion for education.


Prior to joining Lakeland Regional Health, Dr. Lugo served as Associate Program Director for the Categorical Internal Medicine Residency Program at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. Dr. Lugo dedicated his skills to serving veterans at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Brooklyn and at a culturally diverse population at the Mount Sinai Health System in Manhattan. Dedicated to education, he served as Clinical Associate Professor at these institutions and worked with residents and students from SUNY Downstate College of Medicine and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Lugo is recipient of various honorable positions and has repeatedly been awarded “Teacher of the Year”. He is fluent in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.


Sandra Rodriguez
Fernandez, MD
Internal Medicine


Sandoval, MD
Internal Medicine


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 coverage and protected time off for USMLE Step 3/COMLEX 3

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.
  • Voted as the #5 Safest city to move to by US News. 25 Safest Places to Live in the U.S. in 2022-2023 | U.S. News Best Places (

How to Apply

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

NRMP program code: 2323999P0

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


Transitional Year Program Administrator

Elizabeth Diaz

863-687-1100 Ext. 1531

Or Email Us

Connect with us on Social Media