Practicing With a Purpose: Why Three Former Residents Chose to Stay at Northeast Georgia Health System

April 8, 2024

They came for residency. They stayed for a career. Read the inspiring stories behind three former residents and how they came to call northeast Georgia home.

Georgia on Her Mind

For Victoria Timmermans, MD, the choice to practice at Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) after completing her medical training here was an easy one. “The best part [of living here] is the people,” she says. “When I first came to Georgia, I thought ‘oh my goodness, what planet am I on? People are so nice.’” Originally from British Columbia in Canada, Dr. Timmermans adjusted well to living in Georgia while completing her Family Medicine residency at Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC). But her reasons for staying after residency were so much more than the friendly faces.

“I have an interest in helping victims of human trafficking, which is a big issue in Georgia,” she says. This interest was sparked by a conference she attended on the subject. Not long afterwards, “God told me to go to medical school,” she says. Although she was hesitant to apply, Dr. Timmermans took the plunge and got accepted into medical school. She chose Family Medicine as her specialty due to its variety of cases, and she could administer medical care to human trafficking victims, most of whom are rescued as adults. She also liked that NGMC’s Family Medicine residency was new, and she could be flexible in her studies.

Sharing Dr. Timmerman’s passion for helping others, her sister-in-law runs an organization in Stone Mountain, Georgia called “All Caring Hands” that provides shelter and other services to trafficking victims. Dr. Timmermans is a board member. “We like the people here, I like the community that I’ve already established, but then we’ve also got these projects that we want to pour into Georgia,” she says.

Now a provider at Northeast Georgia Physicians Group (NGPG) in Cleveland, Georgia, Dr. Timmermans observes, “As I moved to Cleveland, the accents are maybe a little thicker, but I think the hearts might even be a little more tender! Every time I sit down with a patient, my goal is to make them feel like they’re the most important person on the planet at this moment in time.”

Angels on the (Healthcare) Battlefield

Dr. Timmermans isn’t the only Family Medicine resident to be charmed by northeast Georgia. Maria “Allie” and Sergio Angel, MD, also chose to stay with NGHS and now practice at NGPG Oakwood.

Both of the Angels were born in Colombia and moved to the United States as children (Allie Angel grew up in Suwanee, Georgia while Sergio Angel grew up in Houston, Texas). After meeting in medical school, the Angels attended a conference in Kansas City, Missouri to learn about Family Medicine residency programs throughout the country. While there, Allie Angel recognized the NGHS laurel leaf at one booth. “I remembered that logo from when I was fifteen and volunteering at the hospital here,” she says.

Both interviewed in-person with NGHS. “I felt like the culture here was really different from other healthcare systems,” says Sergio Angel. When it came time to list their top residency programs, NGMC’s Family Medicine program was an easy choice. They were delighted to learn that they both got accepted.

The Angels loved serving northeast Georgia’s diverse population during residency and continue to do so. They’re also fluent in Spanish, which helps them care for the large Hispanic population in northeast Georgia. “If we like the job, why not stay and serve the community who welcomed us?” says Sergio Angel.

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