BRADENTON - Three years ago Blake Medical Center launched its first ever residency program. Now those 15 residents graduate to full time internists, filling a hole doctors say has been open for years.

“Dream fulfilled is what it really is," Program Graduate Dr. Ian Kahane said. He still remembers the day he got accepted.

“I still have the email in my phone that says, 'Congratulations, you've matched!'" Dr. Kahane said. 

He and Dr. Mark Baker are among 15 internal medicine residents selected in 2016.

“It was a blessing to actually capture this out of 1,500 applicants," Dr. Baker said. 

They say the last three years have flown by, but not without a lot of hard work and long days.

"It’s very nerve wracking honestly, but it’s an honor, so that in itself just made me work harder," Dr. Baker said.

“Residency is meant to be tough, so that way you can handle emergency situations and those kind of things," Dr. Kahane said.

They certainly made Program Director Dr. Nemer Dabage proud come graduation day.

“It was one of those temporary moments in heaven," Dr. Dabage said, "reminiscent of when your child is born or when you get married.”

He says there was a critical need for more doctors in Florida, and when interviewing Kahane and Baker in 2016, he knew they were a perfect fit.

“I was able to see through their eyes and read that they cared," Dr. Dabage said. "I would literally let any of those 15 graduates this year take care of my family members and myself.”

Dr. Dabage led the program with Kim Sorrells.

Dr. Ian Kahane is opening his own practice at 3303 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34205.