Sutter Memorial Medical Center Receives Accreditation for Two New Physician Residency Programs
Apr 25, 2024
Sutter Health
Physicians consulting at the bedside of hospital patient getting ready for discharge.

MODESTO, Calif.– Sutter Memorial Medical Center in Modesto received national accreditation this month for internal medicine and family medicine physician residency programs. These are the first residency tracks in the Central Valley for Sutter Health, further demonstrating the integrated, not-for-profit system’s commitment to broadening career pathways for more physicians and helping create greater access to care for patients.

“We are on pace to become the largest community-based health care training institution in Northern California,” said Lindsay Mazotti, M.D., Sutter Health’s chief medical officer of medical education and science. “We are expanding our graduate medical education footprint to train and graduate 1,000 resident and fellow physicians each year by 2030, and each year thereafter. We are preparing the next generation of caregivers to lead the field in delivering compassionate, equitable and evidence-based care. Focusing on Modesto and the Central Valley allows us to help improve the health of our patients who are in critical need of better health care.”

The field of primary care—which includes family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, and pediatrics—is an area of great opportunity. Historically primary care hasn’t attracted as many physicians compared to specialty medicine. A recent study affirmed the primary care workforce is not growing fast enough to meet needs. The study also cited how a lack of access to primary care can lead to health disparities and more chronic health issues. This carries weight for the Central Valley, according to additional research from the University of California.

“Research shows the Central Valley is among the fastest growing regions of the state with a disproportionately low number of health providers,” said Robert Altman, M.D., president and CEO of Gould Medical Group, who has been an instrumental part of the local physician residency program development along with leaders from the hospital and Sutter Gould Medical Foundation. “We have tremendous opportunity with these programs to make meaningful differences in the lives of patients and families and further improve community health.”

Sutter teams have worked together over the years to align on strategic growth initiatives and needed infrastructure to help care for more people in Modesto and those from surrounding areas. Their efforts have been a major driver of service line development and expansion, including those supporting orthopedic care, women’s and children’s health, as well as cancer care. Through early detection of health issues, reduction of emergency room visits and hospitalizations, and management and coordination of care for chronic diseases, primary care physicians play a critical role in improving the overall health and quality of life for patients in the community.

“Our community-based residency programs offer a perfect solution to this challenge and represent an important milestone in our goal to meet the diverse care needs of our local communities,” said James Kruer, M.D., who will serve as the program director for the internal medicine residency.

Sutter Memorial Medical Center is a 419-bed hospital and a Level II trauma center that provides 24-hour emergency care, inpatient and outpatient surgery, obstetrics, pediatrics, nuclear medicine, dialysis therapy, diagnostic imaging, intensive care and physical therapy. The medical center is a stroke center of excellence, and HealthGrades ranks it among America’s 50 Best Hospitals for overall clinical quality and vascular surgery, as well as among America’s 100 Best Hospitals overall the last four years in a row.

“Our medical center will offer an exceptional training environment for up-and-coming resident physicians,” said Tracy Roman, CEO of Sutter Memorial Medical Center. “Alongside knowledgeable, experienced physicians and care teams, they will gain invaluable insight into what it means to become a skilled and compassionate care provider.”

Sutter Memorial Medical Center is also located in Stanislaus County, a diverse community featuring rural areas and suburban neighborhoods, where approximately 50% of inhabitants are Hispanic according to 2022 American Community Survey data.

“One of the larger goals of our graduate medical education programs is to have our residents and fellows reflect the diversity of the patients we serve,” said Raeleigh Payanes, M.D., who will oversee family medicine resident physicians as their program director. “We look forward to welcoming some of the best and brightest minds next summer, who will come from all walks of life and bring their unique experiences, to help compassionately care for those here in the Central Valley.”

Recruitment for the resident physicians for both Modesto programs will begin this fall. Thirty-nine resident physicians (26 in the internal medicine program and 13 in the family medicine program) will arrive at Sutter Memorial Medical Center in June 2025.

For more information about the family medicine residency program, visit Additional information on the internal medicine residency program is available by visiting To read more about Sutter Health’s growing graduate medical education programs, check out

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