Dr. Ben Berteau
Hometown: Baton Rouge, LA
Undergraduate Education: Santa Fe College and University of Florida
Medical School: Ross University School of Medicine
About Dr. Berteau: Dr. Ben Berteau is not the first in his family to go into the health care field. His maternal grandfather was a hospital administrator on Amelia Island, Fla., and his paternal grandfather and father were pharmacists. In fact, they hoped he’d “carry the pharmacy torch,” but two mission trips to Honduras while he was in college and just after graduation from the University of Florida convinced Dr. Berteau to go into medicine.
“Helping open a primary care clinic in Honduras really opened my eyes to the impact medicine can have, particularly on residents of impoverished, underserved areas,” Dr. Berteau says.
He decided to pursue medicine, a decision that was reinforced by an encounter with a surgery patient during his first rotation while studying at Ross University School of Medicine. “I was in a community hospital and was assigned to a 50-year-old colon cancer patient with another student,” he says. “This man’s entire family was with him, and we talked with them over the course of his stay. Finally, we were able to tell the family he was cancer free. I felt like I was part of something that changed somebody’s life. I was 100 percent sure I’d made the right decision.”
His only dilemma was deciding on a specialty because he liked them all. Finally, he was drawn to family medicine because “it doesn’t shut the door on anything.”
“It’s a very broad scope, and I like having conversations with my patients and getting to know them,” he says.
After his residency interviews at Tidelands Health, Dr. Berteau was also convinced Tidelands Health was where he wanted to do his training. “You just get this feeling, and I was so impressed by the people, the enthusiasm and the fact that the program emphasizes focus on work/life balance and wellness,” he says. “You just mesh, and you’re on board with everything you’re hearing about what a residency program should be.”
Dr. Anthony Germinario - Chief Resident
Hometown: Glen Ridge, NJ
Undergraduate Education: Georgetown University
Medical School: St. George's University School of Medicine
About Dr. Germinario: Dr. Anthony Germinario had a tough time deciding what field of medicine to enter. He fell in love with aspects of every specialty. But a stint in a family medicine office in Brooklyn.
“Every patient was different,” Dr. Germinario says. “I just loved the day-to-day variety of patients and issues - from preventive medicine and small, in-office dermatological procedures to sports medicine and mental health. Family medicine is medicine through and through and to its core. It touches on every aspect of medicine, and I think it’s very exciting.”
Dr. Germinario, who earned a bachelor’s degree in human science from Georgetown University and his medical degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine, says he studied the physicians while in medical school, adopting the traits he admired most. “I want to be the type of physician my patients trust,” he says. “That’s the most important quality — someone who can build trust and strong relationships with people. And I want to be a doctor who is fully competent in diagnostic, clinical and procedural skills — one who a patient knows will deliver good, quality, compassionate care.”
About his reason for choosing Tidelands Health, Dr. Germinario says “the doctors and staff seem so genuinely interested in teaching and guiding us to be the best doctors we can be, and I really am impressed by the leadership aspect. Medicine needs a lot of leaders who can drive primary care in our country to be the best that it can be.”
And it helps that he’s in a naturally beautiful environment. “I’m from the Northeast and used to vacation in the Carolinas and always had a connection to the area. I can’t think of a better place to spend my next three years,” he says.
Dr. Vasudha Jain - Chief Resident
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Undergraduate Education: Loyola University
Medical School: Ross University School of Medicine
About Dr. Vasudha: Dr. Vasudha Jain didn’t intend to be a physician. She entered Loyola University with plans to study international business and work with a global nonprofit.
But during her sophomore year, her perspective changed.
“I took a course to get my EMT license,” she says. “On my first night working in the ER of a local hospital, a patient was brought in and he wasn’t breathing. We tried hard to save him. He didn’t make it, but everyone was working as a team. I knew then and there I wanted to go into medicine and be part of a noble profession. It was definitely my aha moment.”
The next week she switched her major to pre-med. She never looked back, earning a degree in psychology from Loyola University in 2012 and her medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine in 2016. Every course, every rotation deepened her commitment to family medicine.
“Family medicine was my first rotation, and I immediately loved it,” Dr. Jain says. “I enjoyed getting to know patients and caring for them in a long-term capacity. I knew I’d get that exposure in family medicine and work with kids, young adults, older adults and geriatric patients.”
“I’m very excited about helping patients make lifestyle changes and avoiding diseases they might be susceptible to in the future,” she says.
Dr. Jain, who was born in New Delhi and came to Chicago with her family when she was 8, is thrilled to be part of Tidelands Health’s inaugural residency class.
Dr. Justin Katz
Hometown: Queens, NY
Undergraduate School: University of Vermont
Medical School: American University of Antigua College of Medicine
About Dr. Katz: For Dr. Justin Katz, medicine is the perfect mix of science and a desire to help people. He had a love of both at an early age and jokes that, as someone whose family members include volunteers, EMTs and firefighters, he comes by the helping gene naturally.
“I always wanted to help anybody who was hurt,” Dr. Katz says. “And if you’re compassionate and you like science, you think about medicine as a career.”
He decided on family medicine toward the end of medical school, attracted to it because it encompasses all the specialties and because of the patient interaction. Plus, getting to know patients fits with his desire to know as much about a topic as possible. “I want to be 100 percent hands-on working with patients,” he says.
That fits with his curiosity and desire for learning. In addition to earning his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Vermont and his medical degree from American University of Antigua College of Medicine, Dr. Katz completed a master’s degree in biology with a concentration in molecular genetics from Adelphi University in 2010 and earned an MBA in health care management from Walden University in 2016. He also worked at a Staten Island hospital, where he did obstetric and gynecological research and published several papers.
Married and the father of a 10-month-old son, Dr. Katz says he and his wife, Lisa, were eager to come south for his residency at Tidelands Health.
Dr. Sean Nguyen
Hometown: Myrtle Beach, SC
Undergraduate Education: Wofford College
Medical School: Medical University of South Carolina
About Dr. Nguyen: For Dr. Sean Nguyen, home isn’t just where the heart is. It’s also where he’s building his hopes and dreams for practicing family and sports medicine.
A Myrtle Beach native, Dr. Nguyen grew up swimming and fishing off Springmaid Pier. He graduated from Socastee High School, where he was a champion swimmer, earning state, local and regional titles. He left the area to attend Wofford College, and during medical school, he spent a summer working at Tidelands Waccamaw Family Medicine in Pawleys Island.
Now he’s a newly minted physician, having graduated from MUSC with plans to practice locally after he completes his residency.
Dr. Nguyen says medicine is his way of giving back to the community, something he saw up close when he would accompany his grandmother to her doctors’ visits. “I saw the gratitude on the part of patients, and I saw how the doctors have the ability to give back to people in their community, to use their knowledge and compassion,” says Dr. Nguyen. “It was something I wanted to do. For me, that feeling was a big part of every patient encounter.”
Dr. Michael Ouzts
Hometown: Manning, SC
Undergraduate Education: Clemson University
Medical School: Campbell University Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine
About Dr. Ouzts: Growing up in Manning, Dr. Michael Ouzts learned early the benefits of a tight-knit community where neighbors greet one another by first name and are always ready to lend a hand to help someone in need.
He also saw up close the harsh reality of rural life for residents with few resources, limited access to health care and even less hope. As a clerk in the local pharmacy during high school, he often encountered customers who couldn’t read or pay for their medicine, much less afford a visit to the doctor.
“I learned just how hard life can be for people living in poverty,” he says.
The good and the bad of Manning and Clarendon County influenced his decision to become a family medicine physician and practice in a rural area where he can get to know his patients and help them achieve better health. “I definitely want to practice in an underserved community. It’s a chance to really make a difference in people’s lives by helping them improve their health,” he says.
It’s one of the reasons why he chose osteopathic school. “The holistic approach of osteopathic medicine appealed to me because it involves working with the body and the mind, and I think that so many economically disadvantaged people can benefit from overall care,” he says.
Dr. Ouzts, who earned his bachelor’s degree in biology at Clemson University, is a trailblazer. He graduated in the inaugural class of Campbell University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine, and now he’s in the inaugural class of Tidelands Health family medicine residents. “When I went to Campbell, the school was just starting out, and we were like family,” he says. “We had the opportunity to be leaders and leave our mark on the school. And when I visited Tidelands Health, I sensed the enthusiasm of the administration and physicians and got the same feeling that we would have opportunities to build relationships, influence a program and be part of something lasting. I’m definitely ready to get started.”
Dr. Heber Watson
Hometown: Florence, SC
Undergraduate Education: Clemson University, McLeod School of Medical Technology and Coker College
Medical School: Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine
About Dr. Watson: No matter how tough Dr. Heber Watson’s days are practicing medicine, chances are they won’t be as perilous as the time he spent volunteering on the mean streets of Chicago’s South Side.
“I heard gunshots almost daily, and was robbed at gunpoint — twice,” says Dr. Watson, who provided two years of missionary service for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after his freshman year at Clemson University.
“It definitely opened my eyes to the bigger world and showed me how blessed I was,” he says.
Danger and poverty didn’t weaken Dr. Watson’s resolve to help the underserved. As a student at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Spartanburg, he volunteered at free clinics not because it boosted his resume but because he enjoyed doing it.
His father influenced him to go into health care when he was a high school student in his native Hartsville. “My dad had family members who were aging, so we had several conversations about how difficult it can be to enjoy life without good health,” he says.
He earned a degree in medical technology from Coker College, but preparing slides and analyzing and explaining results wasn’t for him. “I realized I wanted to work with people — I loved my co-workers, but I didn’t have enough meaningful interaction,” he says.
He found meaning in family medicine. “I am able to apply my knowledge to a broad spectrum of medicine and develop lifelong relationships with my patients. I’m very excited about being able to treat the variety of conditions that family medicine provides,” he says.
Meanwhile, having “DO” behind his name has put him on the radar of family and friends. “I’m already getting calls asking me for my opinion and if they need to go to the doctor,” he says.