First Year Residents
M. Sami Bakdash, MD
Growing up as the first child of two physicians, one of my first memories as a child was running around hospital hallways and playing with medical instruments. I come from a big family of doctors which includes not only my parents, but also four of my uncles and two of my aunts. Both my father and uncle trained at IU Health Ball Memorial’s Internal Medicine Residency Program and once upon a time, I actually lived in this hospital when rooms were rented out to residents. With that being said, I did not only choose medicine but also medicine chose me.
I’m a proud Hoosier, attending Muncie’s West View Elementary School as well as Storer Elementary, transitioning to Anderson’s East Side Middle School and the former Highland High School. After graduating with honors and a scholarship for college, I continued my Hoosier ride and attended Indiana University Bloomington. I was fortunate enough to obtain two major degrees in psychology and Arabic studies and a minor degree in chemistry, while completing my pre-medical and pre-dental courses.
Before continuing my educational journey, I helped establish a nonprofit organization aimed at providing community service to those in need, such as battered women’s shelters and homeless shelters. Afterwards, I attended American University of Antigua College of Medicine and was able to acquire my clinical medicine training in various hospitals in Chicago, Atlanta, and New York.
Finally, I decided to come back to my Hoosier roots and join this advanced medical program at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital. One of the most attractive features of this program is the emphasis placed on quality patient care and safety. The employees here are trained to work together as one family in prioritizing each and every patient. This creates the best fit atmosphere for excellent patient care. I am truly thrilled to join the ranks of my father and uncle and be a part of this great Ball family.
Erick Christensen, MD
I grew up in Texas, New York, and Utah. After graduating from Brigham Young University, I got a Master of Public Health degree from Emory University. I worked in public health for a few years in the Washington, DC area before enrolling in medical school at the University of Utah. Each place I have lived has offered much to learn and love, and that has been true of Muncie, Indiana.
I was very impressed by the warmth and support that I felt when I interviewed at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital. I immediately connected with the attending physicians and loved the camaraderie that I felt among the residents. After interviewing here I knew that this was the program that would help me become the physician that I wanted to be.
Outside of work, my interests include spending time with my wife and two children, cooking, traveling, camping, cycling, and being outdoors.
Navid Etemadi, MD
My journey in life has always kept me on the move. After graduating from high school and still not having a clear idea about my future career path, I decided to travel internationally before settling down. While visiting my oncologist nephew in the Philippines, I became fascinated seeing him use his knowledge and expertise to reduce the suffering of his patients. I was so moved that I cancelled all of my traveling plans and decided to begin my studies in the medical field.
I have strived to become one of the best practitioners in medicine and am thrilled to be a part of the Internal Medicine Residency Program at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital. I am convinced, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that working along a group of highly knowledgeable, friendly and supportive staff will guide me further down the path of medicine.
Clifford Hecht, MD
I was born in California but raised in Kansas before eventually completing medical school at Loyola Stritch in Chicago and matching to the Internal Medicine program here at IU Health Ball Memorial. My first exposure to the program was during a wards medicine month I took the fall before I started. It was always my goal to stay in the Midwest for residency training due to family connections, and while rotating here I was very impressed by the genuine camaraderie between residents and faculty as well as the high amount of autonomy given to the resident staff that I did not always see present during my medical school rotations. The program was gracious enough to grant me an interview at the end of my rotation, and I was very pleased on Match Day to learn I'd be returning here for the rest of my training.
My current goals are hospitalist or critical care medicine, but I am also trying to keep an open mind about my professional future. My hobbies outside work include video gaming, jogging, and dancing with my wife.
Mallory Nebergall, MD
I was born and raised in the small town of Canton, Illinois, with a childhood dream of becoming a Physician. From attending the University of Illinois in Urbana/Champaign to medical school at Ross University School of Medicine I have traveled from Dominica, Atlanta, Chicago, and New York gaining invaluable experiences with the expansive field of medicine including the delivery of healthcare to diverse patient populations.
I found a home here at IU Health Ball Memorial in Muncie, where diversity is key in addition to the small town atmosphere where my dreams all began. Outside of medicine, I am a full-time mother of one and enjoy focusing on physical fitness as well as ballroom dancing.
Vivek Patel, MD
I was born and raised in Gujarat, western part of India. Growing up in a culture where educational priority was topmost, competition to get into a good college was fierce and lack of sports opportunities pushed me towards an educational path. I always wanted to be someone that helps fellow human beings to live better life that drew me towards medicine and being a great physician might fulfil my wish. After finishing medical school at B.J.Medical College, Ahmedabad in India, I moved to the US to pursue further education. I consider Massachusetts as my home state as my family lives nearby Boston and I spent 3 years there before moving to Muncie. I am really excited for next phase of my life in and around Muncie.
Working as an observer at IU Health Arnett Hospital attracted me towards the IU Health System in Indiana. Healthy educational environment and transparency in work was top most priorities for residency and IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital is the best fit for those qualities. Resolution for next 3 years would be hard work, hard work and hard work!!! Experienced professors and valuable educational resources at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital will shape me as a great physician. I will do my best to stand up to their expectations. I haven't thought about post residency options. I would like to work as a hospitalist or consider fellowship options if my residency rotations draw me towards a specific speciality.
I always consider myself as sports loving person. Playing sports is my hobby aka best time pass. I like to play soccer, table tennis, cricket, volleyball and anything that involves physical skills. Besides that I like adventurous trips and love to pass time with friends and family.
Hatem Sabassi, MD
I was born and raised in Amman, Jordan. I completed my medical education in Egypt, where I underwent six years of rigorous medical training in one of the most crowded countries in the Middle East. This enabled me to deal with a huge number of patients in different clinical settings and to experience the joy of living in a different culture. I came to the United States in 2014 and did a number of electives under the supervision of board certified doctors which helped introduce me to the way medicine is practiced in the US.
I chose IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital because of the warm and welcoming nature of doctors and staff from the first moment I visited. I believe that the strong support system and the emphasis on didactic activities and robust clinical exposure will ensure that I will get the most out of my clinical training.
In my free time I enjoy reading, bike riding, hiking and fishing and Muncie is a great place for me to practice my hobbies.
Richard Uy, MD
I was born in Cebu City, one of the seven thousand plus islands in the Philippines. I went to New Jersey where I attended Paramus Catholic Boys High School and then received my undergraduate degree in biology at Cebu Doctors’ University. I pursued and completed my medical degree at Cebu Institute of Medicine. I enjoy cooking, playing tennis, and traveling.
I’m excited to start a new chapter in IU Health Ball Memorial. I felt very comfortable and welcome during my interview. The program has the support system that would make learning a great experience. The faculty is approachable, friendly, and loves to teach. I know I will have great learning experience, develop good relationships, and enjoy my stay with the program.