UNC Health Blue Ridge Internal Medicine Residency Program

Welcome to the Department of Internal Medicine at UNC Health Blue Ridge in Morganton, North Carolina. We are excited that you have chosen to review our program and that you have decided on a career in Internal Medicine. This site was developed to answer most, if not all of your questions about residency training and resident life at UNC Health Blue Ridge.Hospital exterior

UNC Health Blue Ridge Internal Medicine Mission Statement

UNC Health Blue Ridge Internal Medicine Residency program is a small training program located in western North Carolina. The program is designed to provide broad-based training for physicians who wish to practice in rural areas. The program promotes growth in the core competencies through the three years of training with an emphasis on both inpatient and outpatient general internal medicine. At the completion of three years, the resident physicians will be well versed in all aspects of internal medicine and will be ready to deal with patients presenting with a broad spectrum of acuity, from chronic outpatient illnesses to acute, life-threatening illnesses. The goal of the program is to help residents develop the competencies needed to be an outstanding general internist. These competencies, as outlined by the ACGME, are patient care, medical knowledge, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, practice-based learning and improvement, and systems-based practice and are emphasized in every aspect of training.Practitioner with patient

A unique feature of this program is its emphasis on cost conscious medical care and the difficulties faced by physicians practicing in rural America. The program provides residents with a diverse learning environment by utilizing primary, secondary and tertiary training sites in western North Carolina, all rich with pathology. The ambulatory training site provides comprehensive care to both low income, under or uninsured patients as well as insured patients. Patients referred there are often medically and socially complex, providing excellent outpatient training for the resident physicians. Inpatient training is centered at UNC Health Blue Ridge, which is a comprehensive, primary care center in rural western North Carolina. The hospital draws from a diverse population in the region and residents are well trained to identify and manage issues related to the healthcare disparities seen in this region of the country. Residents on the inpatient wards rotation appreciate graded responsibility, with the first year residents providing the majority of direct patient care, and the second and third year residents assuming increasing responsibilities of teaching and supervising. Additionally, the second and third year residents expand their inpatient management skills through working one on one with a teaching hospitalist.

Message from Program Director

“Nestled in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, a hospital with a finger on the pulse of the community, and a thriving residency program with brilliant minds and compassionate hearts – this was my first impression of UNC Health Blue Ridge. We are a small community-based program with individualized mentoring to help you achieve your academic goals. You will be exposed to a diverse array of community pathology and will learn to practice the highest standards of professionalism and patient safety. You will find ample support from peers and mentors in all your research and career aspirations. Our passion is to bring out the best in you.”Rahul Sampath

Dr. Sampath is the Program Director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston and subsequently went on to complete an  Infectious Disease fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Dr. Sampath won the Michael E Geraci award at the Mayo clinic for excellence in patient care and research and has won awards for excellence in teaching including preceptor of the year award in 2018. He serves on several administrative committees in the hospital and has several publications in high impact journals like PLOS, E-Biomed and Clinical infectious disease. He is passionate about teaching, research mentoring, cost-effective care, antibiotic stewardship, and infection prevention.

Our Residents

Currently, we accept 8 residents per year through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). Our residents come from all over the country to make Morganton their home. We have a diverse group of house officers whose love of rural medicine ties them together. The size of our program allows for a high level of interaction between our residents and the faculty.

Our Hospital

UNC Health Blue Ridge is a comprehensive, primary care center in rural western North Carolina. The hospital draws from a diverse population in the region and residents are well trained to identify and manage issues related to the healthcare disparities seen in this region of the country. 

The healthcare system includes two hospitals, and a continuing care retirement community, a multi-specialty physician group with over 80 physicians and 30 mid-level providers. We provide care for patients in Burke, Caldwell, McDowell, and surrounding counties.

UNC Health Blue Ridge is also affiliated with UNC Health. Included in the UNC Health Blue Ridge system is Carolinas Medical Center (CMC), located in Charlotte which has a long history of graduate medical education and over 300 residents and fellows in training. Our Residents spend some time at CMC during their tenure at UNC Health Blue Ridge. UNC Health Blue Ridge also has an active training affiliation with Broughton Hospital, one of two psychiatric hospitals in the state of North Carolina, to provide training to our residents and medical students.

Our Clinic

Mountain Valley Health Clinic is the resident continuity clinic practice located on the UNC Health Blue Ridge campus. The ambulatory facility houses a phlebotomy lab, pharmacy-run anticoagulation clinic, and also has a pharmacist on-site during a portion of the week. It also employs a patient care coordinator to assist patients with transportation, paperwork and other issues. The residency clinic works closely with the transition of care team in the hospital and runs a high risk hospital follow-up clinic aimed at improving readmissions.


Please visit the ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service) website to begin the residency application process.

Recruitment Book

View our Graduate Medical Education Recruitment Booklet [PDF]