Freeman News

Freeman Celebrates Graduation of New Physicians

June 20, 2023

Freeman News

Freeman Celebrates Graduation of New Physicians

June 20, 2023
Dr. Larry McIntire Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

JOPLIN, Mo. – Of the 13 new physicians who graduated from Freeman Health System’s Graduate Medical Education program last Friday evening, three announced they will remain within the system to practice medicine indefinitely.

There were cheers inside the Billingsly Student Center Ballroom at Missouri Southern State University when new physicians Justin Orren, Melanie Akuna and Adam Lawrence Magiera announced they would be staying in the Joplin area to practice their trade.

"Larry McIntire receives Lifetime Achievement Award"
Dr. Larry McIntire receives the Lifetime Achievement Award

The remaining new physicians included: Kiara Angelina Pendergraft, Nina Devi Pinjala, Christina Schramm, Zachary Vincent, Gregory Wallis, Zachary S. Anderson, Sofiya Azim, Ashley Brooke Vincent, Vanessa E. Halvorsen and Kellee Nicole Neal.

“It’s been quite the journey,” said Dr. Rob McNab, Freeman’s Vice President of Medical Education, who emceed the two-hour event. “It takes an army of talent and effort to get our doctors to where they are tonight, which is a culmination of eight, 12 and 14 years-worth of training just to get them to the very beginning of their careers.”

One by one, the 13 new physicians made their way to the podium to receive their framed graduation certificates.

“It was definitely difficult,” Dr. Justin Orren said of his residency, “but I enjoyed it and honestly, I would do it over again – I love what I do. That’s why I want to stay here and work at Freeman as an employee.”

Prior to the graduation ceremony, more than a few tears were shed when Dr. Larry McIntire, a board-certified otolaryngologist at Freeman Ear, Nose & Throat, received a surprise Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award.

His son, Freeman’s Dr. Kent McIntire, presented him with the award.

Born to an unwed mother and adopted at the age of 3, Dr. Larry McIntire was an established high school teacher and football coach in Kansas when he traveled one late summer with his team for their annual sports physicals. He watched, fascinated, as the doctor performed his duties. Falling in love with medicine right then and there, he immediately dedicated himself to the pursuit of his new career, which culminated, following a half-century, with his retirement from Freeman.

“No one loves his work more than he does. Most of you who know him see that. We see it every day in the office,” Dr. Kent McIntire said. “He has been the most significant mentor of my life, for sure. He’s a visionary, a dreamer – but he’s a dreamer that gets things done.”

A half-minute ovation followed as father and son embraced.

“It’s been exactly as I wanted,” he said of his career, in which a vast majority of it has been at Freeman. “I’ve never been dissatisfied with the practice of medicine. I enjoy it and I still enjoy my patients.”

Turning his attention to the 13 new physicians, he congratulated them.

“Feel good about what you’ve accomplished,” he told them. “I hope you can enjoy this next part of your career. You can do it. If you’re going into your fellowship please do it well, and if you’re going into your practice that’s okay too. And about 48 years from now, you can stand here where I am.”

Additional awards handed out during the ceremony included:

* Dr. Robert McNab won an Outstanding Service Award for 10 years of devoted service and leadership to the Internal Medicine Residency Program.

* Dr. Ian Kaiser and Dr. Sharon Reuben won the Internal Medicine Residency Dynamic Duo Teaching award.

* Dr. Richard Swinney won the Emergency Medicine Residency Teaching Physician of the Year award.

* Dr. Alexa Anderson won the Emergency Medicine Residency “Rookie” Teaching Physician of the Year award.

* Dr. Zach Anderson won the SR Lea Award for Most Valuable Team Member.

* Dr. Yashwanth Yerramalla won the Internal Medicine Residency Teaching Physician of the Year award.