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Finger Lakes Health Welcomes Medical Students Sheen and Turbide for Rural Medical Rotations

Finger Lakes Health (FLH) welcomes SUNY Upstate Medical University Rural Medical Education (RMED) students Claire Sheen and Sophia Turbide.

RMED is an elective experience that allows third-year medical students the opportunity to live and train in small-town communities. Participating students complete three core clinical rotations including: Family Medicine, Surgery and Emergency Medicine, along with the RMED elective while living and training in a small town environment. For the elective, an emphasis is placed on the continuous and comprehensive care of patients. Students develop skills in the diagnosis and management of a wide range of common ambulatory and secondary hospital problems of patients across the age spectrum. Students participate in office hours and conduct inpatient rounds, laboratory work, night call, and case presentations with community-based attendings.


Sheen is a third-year medical student at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, she will be graduating in May 2023. Sheen will be doing her clerkships at FLH in family medicine, general surgery, anesthesiology, pathology, and in the emergency department.

Sheen graduated summa cum laude from SUNY Geneseo in 2019 with a BS in Biology and BA in Anthropology, Sheen states “the RMED program was one of the decisive factors that led me to choose Upstate. I got the opportunity to work in the ED at Geneva General Hospital as a scribe during my gap year. I loved the close-knit community atmosphere. The doctors had strong relationships with many of their patients, who they had often seen many times before. They were invested in the patient’s overall health and wellbeing, not just their current problem that brought them to the ED. There was also a strong team dynamic that I admired. Doctors, nurses, students, etc. all helped each other to succeed at work and outside of work. The doctors took the time to describe the reasoning behind their differential diagnoses and explain the lab and imaging results to me because they knew I was interested in a future in medicine. One physician even took time on her day off to practice interview questions with me before my first medical school interview. This caring, close-knit environment is what sparked my interest in rural medicine.”


Sheen is a native of Elmira, NY and was raised in Syracuse, NY. She has family ties throughout the Finger Lakes and spent many summers growing up on Seneca and Keuka Lake.

Turbide is a third-year medical student at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. She will be graduating in May 2023. While at FLH, Turbide will complete clerkships in family medicine, general surgery, anesthesia and emergency medicine.  Her elective study will be in infectious disease, which she has an interest in for a future fellowship.

Turbide graduated cum laude from the University of Rochester in 2019 earning a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and a Bachelor of Arts in Health, Behavior and Society. She participated in the Public Health Honors Program and completed an honors thesis, titled, “Susceptible: The Socio-Political Context of the 2013 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa”. At the University of Rochester, she was a Renaissance and Global Scholar.

Regarding the RMED program, Turbide shared, “having been born and raised in Geneva, I have benefited from, and understand the importance of, a robust rural health care system. When I was in high school, I participated in the New Vision Program at Geneva General Hospital, a partnership with Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES and had the pleasure of meeting several former RMED students from SUNY Upstate Medical University. I knew that I, like them, wanted to make rural medicine a focus of my medical school education. I began working at Geneva General Hospital when I was 17 as an EKG technician on the weekends and continued working as a Critical Care Technician in the Emergency Department when I was home from college. During this time, working with people and caring for patients from my own community reinforced and strengthened my commitment to pursuing a career in medicine caring for my friends and neighbors.”


She reflected, “During my college education, I had the opportunity to participate in public health projects, learn, and be immersed in rural communities in Malawi, Africa, the Dolomites in Northern Italy, and around Leh, Ladakh, India. These experiences taught me that access to comprehensive health services in rural and remote areas is paramount to the health of our global community.

I am so grateful to be coming home to Geneva for my RMED experience. The physicians who partner with the RMED program, serving as faculty, demonstrate deep commitment and care for their communities, patients, and students. I am so excited to have the privilege to learn from physicians and patients in my home community.”

Finger Lakes Health has a long-commitment to rural medicine education and has hosted 20 RMED students for clinical rotations at their various locations. Past students include:

  • Cherilyn White, M.D., 1993
  • Maureen Goldman, M.D., 1994
  • Sean Mclaughlin, M.D., 1995
  • Andrew Reese, M.D., 1996
  • Douglas Bowerman, M.D., 1997
  • Gavin Noble, M.D., 1998
  • Douglas Bowerman, M.D., 1998
  • Nicole Canada-McConnaghy, M.D., 2000
  • Sami Beg, M.D., 2001
  • Casey Patunoff, M.D., 2004
  • John Robertson, M.D.,2005
  • Rubie Jackson, M.D., 2006
  • Kevin Smeenk, M.D., 2007
  • Patrick Belton, M.D., 2014
  • Rachel Kopicki, M.D., 2015
  • Kyle Hagenbuch, M.D., 2017
  • Elizabeth Presutto, M.D. , 2018
  • Courtney Franceschi, M.D., 2019
  • Tyler Fuller 4th year medical student, 2021



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