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Alumni News

Posted by on Friday, September 22, 2017 in Alumni News, Summer 2017, Vanderbilt Community .


Anderson Spickard Jr., M.D., ‘57, HS ‘59 ‘63, BA ‘53, emeritus faculty, is the author of “The Craving Brain,” which was selected as a finalist for the Foreword INDIEFAB for adult nonfiction.



Antonio Gotto, M.D., ‘65, BA ‘57, is serving as corporate secretary and treasurer of the board of directors for the National Lipid Association.

Larry Scott, M.D., ‘69, HS ‘72, retired after nearly 41 years with the University of Texas System. He and his wife, Carol, relocated to Astoria, Oregon, where they are renovating an 1890 Victorian home. Scott plans to volunteer at the Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland.



Richard Davidson, M.D., ‘72, HS ‘77, BA ‘68, professor emeritus and former associate vice president for Health Affairs for Education at the University of Florida, was honored when his program, Interprofessional Family Health, received the first Macy Foundation Award for Program Excellence in Social Mission presented at the Beyond Flexner Conference in Miami.

W. Bedford Waters, M.D., ‘74, BA ‘70, was recently elected to the University Health Systems, Inc., board of directors as a physician member. He has also been named the first chair of the new Department of Urology at the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine.

Karen Hendrix Rhea, M.D., HS ‘76 ‘89, and John Mather were married Aug. 20, 2016. Rhea is the chief medical officer of Centerstone, a large community mental health organization, and clinical associate professor of Psychiatry at Vanderbilt.

Marilyn Escobedo, M.D., FE ‘76, retired from the University of Oklahoma Department of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital where she held the Reba McEntire Endowed Chair in Neonatology.



R. Bruce Shack, M.D., HS ‘80, FAC ‘02, professor and dean of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga, and Chip Routt, M.D., HS ‘88, who teaches and practices medicine at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, were presented the Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, as part of its graduation ceremonies on June 3.

James Patrinely, M.D., ‘80, was one of the invited featured speakers at the annual meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgery in Los Angeles. He spoke on nuances in aesthetic lower eyelid surgery. Patrinely is clinical associate professor of ophthalmology and plastic surgery at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and is also in private practice in Pensacola, Florida.

Eric Rowinsky, M.D., ‘81, has been appointed to the board of directors for Verastem, Inc., focused on discovering and developing cancer treatments. Rowinsky is the chief scientific officer of oncology at ClearPath Development Company, executive director and president at Rgenix, Inc., and adjunct professor of Medicine at New York University.

Eric Bressler, M.D., ‘81, has been elected a fellow of the American College of Radiology.

James Graumlich, M.D., ‘81, has been named governor of the Illinois Southern Chapter of the American College of Physicians, the national organization of internists. He is professor and chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria.

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has elected Jack McCallie, M.D., ‘84, to serve on its board of directors. McCallie, an internist, has practiced medicine in Chattanooga for 30 years.

B. Hadley Wilson, M.D., HS ‘84, FE ‘87, has been elected chair of the American College of Cardiology Board of Governors and secretary of the board of trustees, the main governing body of the ACC, for 2017-2018. The last Vanderbilt cardiologist to hold this position was Gottlieb Friesinger, M.D., in 1981-1982.

Vaughn Starnes, M.D., HS ‘84, FE 81, a cardiothoracic surgeon at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, performed open heart surgery on the newborn son of late night talk show host, Jimmy Kimmel. Starnes did his general surgery training at Vanderbilt where he also completed two years of research in cardiothoracic physiology and pharmacology. Kimmel thanked Starnes on his show and called him “by all accounts a genius.”

Bruce Gellin, M.D., HS ‘86, a 15-year U.S. Department of Health and Human Services veteran, has been appointed president of global immunization for Sabin Vaccine Institute.

Mark Worthington, M.D., ‘87, was named Yavapai Regional Medical Center’s Physician of the Year for 2016, selected by the YRMC medical staff and employees. A gastroenterologist, Worthington joined YRMC’s medical staff in Arizona in 2010 after serving on the faculty at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Jeffrey Sippel, M.D., ‘89, MPH, has accepted a position as clinical associate professor of Medicine in the pulmonary sciences and critical care division at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He will also be working with the UC Health System, optimizing provider use of information technology, as well as using IT to approach population health and clinical research.



Eric Barker, Ph.D., ‘93, FE ‘96, was named Purdue College of Pharmacy dean, effective July 1. He is a professor of medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology and has served as associate dean for research in Purdue’s College of Pharmacy since 2010.

Francoise Chagnon, M.D., FE ‘93, became the 44th president of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in February at the 2017 annual meeting of its members. Chagnon is the second woman to hold this title and the first woman from the Division of Surgery to be named Royal College president.

Eric Manske, M.D., ‘93 joined Christus St. Vincent Women’s Care Specialists in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He served as an OB/GYN in both the U.S. Air Force and the Indian Health Service for more than 10 years prior to moving to Santa Fe in 2007 to work with La Familia Medical Center.

Eric Zacharias, M.D., ‘93, was selected as board chair for the Boulder Valley Care Network, a newly formed clinical integrated network comprised of more than 300 physicians in the Boulder, Colorado, region. He was also hired in a half-time position as a physician risk manager for the Colorado Physician Insurance Company, a physician-led professional liability insurance company that insures more than 90 percent of the physicians in Colorado.

John Van Aalst, M.D., ‘93, a plastic and craniofacial surgeon at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, was named a 2017 Top Doctor in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Vishwas Talwalkar, M.D., HS ‘99, recently received the 2017 Murray State Distinguished Alumni Award. He is a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Shriner’s Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, and a mentor for medical students at the University of Kentucky.

Karen Wasilewski-Masker, M.D., ‘99, HS ‘02, was promoted to medical director of the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University.

Anna Tanner, M.D., ‘99, recently left private practice to open a multidisciplinary clinic for patients with eating disorders in Atlanta. Tanner, who is also an adjunct professor of pediatrics at Emory, has written admission protocols and discharge protocol for patients with eating disorders at Children’s Hospital of Atlanta.



Bill Frist, M.D., FAC ‘00, founder of the Vanderbilt Transplant Center, and Harry Jacobson, M.D., FAC ‘00, former vice chancellor for Health Affairs, are members of the Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame class of 2017.

Paul Boone, M.D., HS ‘00, a neurosurgeon, has been named a 2017 Top Doctor in Houston, Texas.

Selwyn Rogers, M.D., MPH ‘01, has joined University of Chicago Medicine as the first head of its much-anticipated new trauma center. Previously, Rogers served as vice president and chief medical officer at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

Mimi Huizinga, M.D., ‘03, HS ‘05, FE ‘07, MPH ‘07, will lead Premier Inc.’s life sciences strategy and serve as a national spokesperson for Premier research and capabilities. Premier is a health care improvement company, and Huizinga served as its chief health information officer prior to her new appointment.

Philip Budge, M.D., ‘07, HS ‘14, Ph.D., ‘03, is in his third year as an assistant professor of medicine in the Infectious Disease Division at Washington University School of Medicine. Budge completed his infectious diseases fellowship at VUMC in 2014.

Nicole McCoin, M.D., ‘03, HS’ 06, BS ‘99, is the new residency program director and vice chair of education in the Department of Emergency Medicine at VUMC.

Tarek Aziz, M.D, HS ‘06, has joined the staff of Hocking Valley Community Hospital in Logan, Ohio, specializing in psychosomatic medicine, addiction medicine and psychopharmacology.

Nishant Sekaran, M.D., ‘06, and his wife, Jami, welcomed a son, Niam, in August 2016. Sekaran recently finished a cardiovascular diseases fellowship at Duke and joined the Intermountain Heart Institute in Salt Lake City.

David McAvoy Chooljiian, M.D., J.D., ‘07, has been named chair of the American Thoracic Society’s ethics and conflict of interest committee. As one of the ethics consultation fellows of the VA’s National Center for Ethics in Health Care, he continues to teach medical ethics at Loma Linda University and perform ethics consultations for the VA hospital, where he practices pulmonary and critical care medicine.

Vikas O’Reilly-Shah, M.D., ‘07, Ph.D., ‘05, has joined Emory University School of Medicine’s Department of Anesthesiology as an assistant professor. He and his wife, Siobhan, have two daughters, Sinead, 3, and Eilis, 1. O’Reilly-Shah has been leading his department’s data governance committee and has served on the Emory healthcare analytics advisory council. He was appointed as an American Board of Anesthesiology Part II oral board examiner.

Ryan Bayley, M.D., ‘08, is principal and founder of Pyriscent Coaching, a practice dedicated to helping physicians find fulfillment and achieve better results in their lives. When not in the ER, Bayley works with doctors on issues such as burnout and fulfillment, leadership development and career transitions. He and his wife India Bayley, M.D., ‘08, live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with their three children.

Brent Lorenzen, M.D., ‘08, board-certified in clinical informatics, is working for Kaiser Permamente-San Diego.

Dana Guyer, M.D., ‘08, HS ‘12, FE ‘13, has joined Hope Hospice and Palliative Care Rhode Island as medical director.

Jonathan Chrispin, M.D., ‘09, finished his fellowship in cardiac electrophysiology at Johns Hopkins and has joined the faculty there as an assistant professor. He and his wife have two young sons.



Evan Silverstein, M.D., ‘10, HS ‘14, has released an app called 9 Gaze for ophthalmologists that allows physicians to easily take pictures of patients with strabismus in a format that is standard for ophthalmologists.

Michelle Fullard, M.D., ‘10, BA ‘06, finished a movement disorders fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania in June and received an American Academy of Neurology grant to study wearable technology in Parkinson’s disease.

Jillian Copeland, M.D., ‘10, graduated from the women’s mental health fellowship at New York University in June. She is working in the psychiatric emergency room at Bellevue Hospital and sees patients in her private practice in Midtown Manhattan.

Manuel Botzolakis, M.D., Ph.D., ‘10, completed his neuroradiology fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania in June and has joined Mecklenburg Radiology Associates in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Dana Harrar, M.D., ‘11, will begin a position as a pediatric neurocritical care attending at Children’s National in Washington, D.C., in January 2018.

Sarah Tiggelaar, M.D., ‘11, BS ‘06, and her husband, Maxime Cuypers, welcomed their first child, Jamie John, born on May 10. Tiggelaar is the new clerkship director for family medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Amulya Nagarur, M.D., ‘11, and Muthu Vaduganathan, M.D., were married Nov. 25, 2016. Nagarur is a hospitalist and an inpatient clinician educator at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and an associate clerkship director for medical students at Harvard Medical School.

Chih-Yi “Andy” Liao, M.D., ‘11, is finishing his hematology/oncology fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis and starting a new position as assistant professor at the University of Chicago on Sept. 1, focusing on GI oncology.

Niki Gupta, M.D., ‘11, has accepted a position as assistant professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Kentucky, starting in September.

Britney Grayson, M.D., ‘12, Ph.D., ‘10, HS ‘17, and Rebecca Snyder, M.D., ‘08, MPH ‘13, HS ‘15,were reunited in San Diego where they accepted awards from the Association for Surgical Education. Snyder won the Linnea Hauge Ph.D. Promising Educational Scholar Award and Grayson won the Outstanding Resident Teacher Award. Grayson recently finished a general surgery residency and began a fellowship in pediatric surgery at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University on Aug. 1.

Eric Wallace, M.D., FE ‘12, nephrologist and assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, has been named medical director for Telehealth at UAB.

Catherine Phillips, M.D., ‘12, is completing her residency in diagnostic radiology at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital where she is also planning to complete her fellowship in women’s imaging, starting in July. Her husband, John Phillips, M.D., ‘10, MPH, is a faculty member in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Brigham and Women’s/Dana-Farber Cancer Center.

Erin Toaz, M.D., ‘12, is finishing a fellowship in pediatric anesthesiology at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and will stay on as a pediatric anesthesiologist starting in August. She married James Harring, a tax director for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Chicago, on July 15, in Cleveland, Ohio.

Elizabeth Lio, M.D., ‘12, BS ‘08, has started a Nuclear Medicine fellowship at Vanderbilt (after completing her radiology residency in Denver) and is getting married on Oct. 28 in Nashville to Steven Lewis.

Adam Wegner, M.D., ‘12, Ph.D., ‘08, matched into a one-year spine surgery fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis, starting August 2018.

J. Daniel Pennington, M.D., 12, Ph.D., ‘13, completed his radiation oncology residency at UCLA, where he served as chief resident and joined Radiation Oncology Associates of Richmond, Virginia. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have two daughters, June, 5, and Lucy, 1.

Jonathan Steer, M.D., ‘12, and Courtney Massaro, MSN ‘12, were married May 27, in Boston. Steer is an Ob/Gyn and Massaro is a nurse midwife, both at Boston Medical Center.

Ankeet Choxi, M.D., ‘12, HS ‘13, BE ‘08, completed his anesthesiology residency at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital in June and moved to New York City to begin a fellowship in chronic pain medicine.

Ryan Darby, M.D., ‘11, HS ‘12, received an Alzheimer’s Association Clinical Fellowship grant to investigate the underlying brain changes that can cause hallucinations and delusions in some patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Francesca Tentori, M.D., MCSI, ‘13, has been appointed medical director of outcomes research and a member of the office of the chief medical officer on Davita Kidney Care’s physician leadership team.

Meredith Sellers, M.D., ‘13, BA ‘09, completed her chief residency year in internal medicine at Northwestern in June and will work for a year as a primary care physician at the St. Louis VA as she applies for a fellowship in hematology/oncology. Her husband, Michael Pelster, M.D., ‘13, BA ‘09, completed his dermatology residency at Northwestern and has begun a one-year fellowship in Mohs micrographic surgery and dermatologic oncology at St. Louis University.

Nicholas Giacalone, M.D., ‘13, is beginning his chief residency in radiation oncology at Harvard. His wife, Pam Giacalone, M.D., ‘13, is finishing her chief year and has joined the faculty at Brigham and Women’s Hospital as a staff psychiatrist/instructor at Harvard Medical School.

Taylor Sundby, M.D., ‘13, moved to Baltimore in July to begin a pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship at Johns Hopkins/National Institutes of Health. His wife, Gillian Starkey, Ph.D., ‘14 VU, started a tenure track teaching position at Goucher College.

Kim Grelli, M.D., ‘14, began a neonatology fellowship in July at the University of California-San Francisco.

Irene Mathieu, M.D., ‘14, published her second book of poetry earlier this year, “Orogeny” (Trembling Pillow Press).

James Tsahakis, M.D., ‘14, has been selected as emergency medicine chief resident for the 2017-2018 academic year at Denver Health Medical Center.

Samara Nichols, MS ‘14, a speech language pathologist, and Samuel Birer, M.D., were married on May 27 in Duck, North Carolina.

Lara Phillips, M.D., ‘11, HS ‘14 and her husband, Charles Phillips, M.D., ‘11, HS ‘15, welcomed a son, Kaiden Allen, on Sept. 28, 2016.