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Suntree Internal Medicine. From left to right: Abe Hardoon, MD (AUC class of 1986), Scott Hardoon, MD (AUC class of 2008), Reginald Joseph, C-PA, Jennifer Schneider R-NP, Amanda Paul, MD (AUC class of 2009), Edwin Chan, MD (AUC class of 2006), Gary Hardoon, MD (AUC class of 2012).

For many affiliated with the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC), the school, students, and staff embody a kind of family. But for Drs. Abe, Scott and Gary Hardoon, AUC is quite literally a family affair.

Abe Hardoon was a featured guest at our June 13, 2016 Florida webinar. Listen to the archived webinar here.

It begins with Dr. Abe Hardoon, AUC class of 1986. At the age of 26, the entrepreneur hit it big with a fundraising company for nonprofit organizations and in months, he and his brother were bringing in over a million dollars a year. But the quick success couldn’t quite another professional goal: to become a physician. It was a dream that was instilled in Dr. Hardoon since childhood and a dream that his father was unable to fulfill years before, during World War II. That desire only grew after a conversation with his five year-old son, Eric.

“He came home from school one day and asked me what I did,” recalls Dr. Hardoon. “I had to stop and think about it. What did I do? After a while, I told him that I wanted to be a doctor.”

Shortly after, Dr. Hardoon left his company and applied to medical school. At 30 years-old, married, and with two children, he was a nontraditional applicant and knew the chances for U.S. medical school were slim. So, he looked into alternative routes like AUC. He applied, was accepted, and moved his family to the island of Montserrat—the original location of AUC.

Learn more about Dr. Hardoon's AUC experience via our Florida webinar from June 13. Listen to the archived webinar here.

A Different Campus Experience

AUC students in the 1980s had a much different experience than the students of today.

“We had four cadavers for 168 students, a small library, and no hot water,” remembers Dr. Hardoon. “I remember filling black plastic bags with water and then laying them on our balconies in the sun’s heat. At night, we’d hang them on the showerhead so we could get a lukewarm shower.”

Today, AUC has a high tech simulation center, fully equipped anatomical dissection laboratories, an extensive medical library, and on-campus student housing (with plenty of hot water).

But the hardships Dr. Hardoon experienced years ago helped shape him into the physician he is today. They built strength of character, resilience, and compassion—qualities that he looks for when making new hires. 

Plans for a Medical City

After completing his internal medicine residency at North Shore University Hospital in New York, Dr. Hardoon moved to Florida and in 2002 established his own practice, Suntree Internal Medicine. What started as a 700 square foot facility with two staff members quickly grew to the current 25 acre medical city—a venture that includes leading edge facilities where patients can have MRI and CAT scans, and plans for an 89-bed assisted living facility and 100 unit independent living  facility.

“The goal is to streamline everything for patients and minimize referrals to outside specialists,” says Dr. Hardoon. “So we do a lot of procedures under one roof—echocardiograms, carotid ultrasounds, vascular ultrasounds, abdominal ultrasounds, nuclear stress tests, and blood tests. We do everything possible up until the point of needing invasive help.”

Key to his vision is the development of integrated wellness features that will promote healthy living and recovery. Paved walkways, walking trails, benches, and a lake are all part of the medical city.

Keeping it in the Family

Suntree Internal Medicine is unique for many reasons but read their website and one thing in particular stands out: all five staff physicians graduated from AUC—three of whom share the same last name. That’s because Dr. Hardoon’s son, Scott, and nephew, Gary, followed in his footsteps.

“I always advocated for AUC,” says Dr. Hardoon of his family’s decisions. “I had a formidable experience there and I wanted my son and nephew to have the same.”

He was Scott’s biggest cheerleader as his started medical school and proudly watched as he completed clinical rotations in Michigan and Florida before landing in residency at Orlando Regional Medical Center. Four years later, his nephew Gary followed suit and was even named chief resident at Orlando Health.

In addition to Scott (class of 2008) and Gary (class of 2012), Dr. Hardoon employs two other AUC graduates: Drs. Edwin Chan (class of 2006) and Amanda Paul (class of 2009). And, if Dr. Hardoon gets his way, more AUC graduates will join his practice.

“I’d like to keep it in the AUC family,” he says. “There’s a philosophy and network at AUC that makes for incredible physicians. We’ve all been through the same trials and tribulations and we’ve all faced great adversity.”

Why does Dr. Hardoon think AUC makes for "incredible" physicians? Listen to the archived webinar here.

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Shannon Toher

Posted April 28, 2016 06:00 PM

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