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Class Notes

Posted by on Monday, October 5, 2020 in Alumni News, Fall 2020, Vanderbilt Community .


Ralph E. Wesley, MD’72, HS’73, was honored by the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery with the annual Ralph E. Wesley, MD Leadership Lecture. In 1979, Wesley was the founding director of the Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery division at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Iverson Bell Jr., MD ‘77, was recently appointed chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tennessee.



Christopher K. Payne, MD’86, was honored as the 2019 Distinguished Philanthropist by the American College of Surgeons (ACS). The award recognizes Payne for his philanthropic endeavors, service to the surgical profession, and long-lasting contributions to the medical community and the ACS.

Tony Vine, MD’89, assistant clinical professor of Surgery at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, wrote “Messages from the Frontlines” for the ACS Bulletin during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York. Vine also authored another article about his first COVID-19 deployment in Brooklyn, for the June issue of the Southeastern Surgical Society publication, The American Surgeon.

Paul Castello, MD’89, recently completed a 10-year cycle as president/chief of staff for Marian Regional Medical Center (Santa Maria, California) and Arroyo Grande Community Hospital (Arroyo Grande, California). Castello has also served as the team physician for five regional high schools and community college football teams. He was recently elected to a six-year term on the Board of Councilors to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons having previously served two terms as a representative to the California Orthopedic Association.



Cindy Downard, BA’93, MD’97, is a professor of Surgery at the University of Louisville and division chief of Pediatric Surgery and surgeon-in-chief of Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, effective July 1. Downard has been a faculty member at the University of Louisville since finishing her pediatric surgery fellowship in 2007.

Dennis Szurkus Jr., BE’93, MD’98, began his role as chief medical officer at HCA Virginia’s Henrico Doctors’ Hospital (Richmond, Virginia) in January. Szurkus most recently served as the vice president of Medical Affairs at Sentara Leigh Hospital in Norfolk. Prior to his role there, he was vice president of Medical Affairs at Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center.

Sarah Elsea, PhD’94, FE’95, FACMG, has been elected to a two-year term on the board of directors of the American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) Foundation for Genetic and Genomic Medicine. She is a professor of Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine and senior director of Biochemical Genetics at Baylor Genetics.

V. Sreenath (Seenu) Reddy, MD, MBA, FACS FACC, EMBA’00, HS’95’97, has joined the advisory board at Harpeth Companies, the parent company of Harpeth Capital. Reddy is a cardiothoracic surgeon at TriStar Cardiovascular Surgery in Nashville and director of the Structural Heart Program and of Cardiac Surgery Outreach at TriStar Centennial Medical Center. He is also an active member of the Physician Advisors Council at HealthTrust, LLC and at HCA.

Jill Christensen Hutton, MD’96, helped start Autism Research Texas (ART), a nonprofit organization that supports autism research and provides scholarships for students with autism for various education and therapeutic needs. ART currently supports the only scholarships specifically designated for Texas residents with autism.

Dora Hughes, MD’96, was elected to the board of trustees of Goodwin House, Inc., (GHI) in Alexandria, Virginia. Hughes is an associate research professor at George Washington University in the Department of Health Policy and Management. As a member of the GHI board, she will help make decisions regarding the governance and strategic direction for GHI, which serves over 1,400 senior adults in its residential communities and provides services to many older adults who are aging in place in the greater Washington, D.C. area.

Hossein Ardehali, PhD’96, FE’96, MD’98, is the Thomas D. Spies Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, director of Center for Molecular Cardiology, and director of the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP or MD/PhD program) at Northwestern University. He is also president-elect of the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and will serve as the president next year.

Laura Rudolph-Owen, PhD’97, FE’97, was promoted from senior vice president, R&D Strategy and Operations, at Goldfinch Bio, to chief development officer.

Marya Strand, MD’97, HS’97, has been named the interim CMO of Cardinal Glennon. Strand is also an associate professor of Pediatrics at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

Sarah Gladstone, MD’98, worked as a pediatrician for 15 years in private practice and then switched gears to help coordinate research efforts to treat Wolfram Syndrome, a rare disease that Gladstone’s eldest daughter was diagnosed with four years ago when there was no specific treatment available. There are now two potential treatment options, thanks to the work of parents and scientists developing gene therapy options and molecular chaperone treatments for this disease. While searching for information about a rare cystic fibrosis genotype for a patient, Gladstone contacted one of her classmates for help, Steve Rowe, MD’98, who is the director of the Cystic Fibrosis Research Center at UAB. When Gladstone contacted Rowe, she learned he had recently published a paper about triple therapy for this type of CF in the New England Journal of Medicine, which was a great help to her patient. Gladstone hopes to dedicate more time to helping patients with rare diseases find effective treatment options.



Yasmine S. Ali, BA’97, MD’01, MSCI’07, FE’08, a cardiologist, is president of LastSky Writing, LLC, a medical writing company, and chief editor of Medscape’s congenital heart disease section for four years. She is currently working on a book about the Waverly train disaster of 1978.

Tyler W. Barrett, MD’01, MSCI’10, was selected to join the Vanderbilt chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.

Jeffrey Giullian, MD’01, FE’05, MBA, FASN, began his new position as chief medical officer for DaVita Kidney Care on Jan. 1. Previously, Giullian served as the chief medical officer of DaVita Hospital Services.

Todd W. Rice, MD, FE’01, MSCI’05, has been named the 44th president for the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) for the 2020/2021 term. Rice has been a member of ASPEN since 2007 and currently works as an associate professor of Medicine in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine at Vanderbilt University.

Laura Green, MD’02, joined the review committee for the ACGME for ophthalmology in a six-year term. She is also the president of the Program Director’s Council of the University Professors of Ophthalmology, the national ophthalmology program directors group. In 2018, she was named the chair of the American Academy of Ophthalmology Committee for Resident Education, where she is focused on engaging learners with simulation activities and innovative learning methods.

Kimberly Vinson, MD’03, FE’08, has been promoted to assistant professor of Otolaryngology and associate dean for Diversity Affairs at Vanderbilt.

Michael J. Blaha, MD’06, MPH’06, was recently promoted to professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. He and his wife, Kerry Kusz Blaha, MD’06, who practices anesthesiology with MedStar Health and Johns Hopkins, live with their three children, Krysta 12, Sienna 10, Adriana, 6, and two dogs in Cockeysville, Maryland.

Robert Boykin, MD’06, is a partner in EmergeOrtho, which is one of the largest private orthopedics groups in the country, and holds an adjunct assistant professorship with the University of North Carolina School of Medicine as a team physician for multiple high schools and colleges in the region. Boykin was recently inducted into the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES), as one of only three members in western North Carolina. Boykin’s wife, Emily Cruze Boykin, VUSN’06, is a nurse practitioner specializing in diabetes management. They live with their three children, Heyward, 5, Graham, 4, and Grace, 20 months, in Asheville, North Carolina.

Purvi Shah, MD’06, lives in Evanston, Illinois, with her husband and daughter and practices primary care internal medicine with NorthShore University HealthSystem in Lincolnwood, Illinois, where she has been since 2009. She also recently took on a role as a physician adviser within the Department of Quality and Care Transformation.

Jeanetta Frye, MD’07, HS’07, was recently promoted to associate professor and is a gastroenterologist at the University of Virginia. She is also the director of GI motility clinic and the associate program director for the GI fellowship. Frye currently lives in Charlottesville with her husband and two sons, ages 10 and 5.

Fareesh Hobbs Kanga, BS’03, MD’07, was awarded the University of Kentucky Department of Psychiatry Meritorious Service Award for her work during the COVID-19 pandemic focusing on medical student education. Kanga also recently completed her tenure as president of the Board for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Lexington and is the president-elect of the Board for the Kentucky Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (KACAP).

Stephen Hobbs, BS’03, MD’07, was appointed as the vice-chair of Radiology for Informatics and Integrated Clinical Operations as well as the Division chief of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Radiology for the University of Kentucky.

Angela Shields, MD’07, PhD’09, HS’11, Kimberly Ma Vanderhoeven, MD’07, Renee Serra, MD’07, Ashley Karpinos, MD’07, HS’11, MPH’13, FE’14, Donna Hepper, MD’07, Lynn Holliday, BS’03, MD’07, and Dorsey Thorley, MD’07, HS’11, reunited in Nashville in January. Shields works at VUMC in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Ma Vanderhoeven is assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the associate director for the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and the medical director for Maternal and Infant Care at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Serra works at Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and is the chief of Otolaryngology. Karpinos is an assistant professor at VUMC and specializes in sports medicine and Med-Peds. Hepper is a sermatologist working for Affiliated Dermatologists of Virginia in Henrico. Holliday is an assistant professor of Clinical Medicine at VUMC, specializing in family medicine. Thorley specializes in internal medicine and pediatrics and is currently working at the Cool Springs Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Clinic in Franklin, Tennessee.

Yaa Kumah-Crystal, MD’08, HS’08, FE’11, MPH’14, MS’17, has worked in partnership with the VUMC Telehealth Taskforce as the clinical director in HealthIT for Telemedicine to help deploy telehealth solutions for outpatient and inpatient care delivery to support the Tennessee Safer at Home policies during the COVID-19 pandemic. This initiative took Vanderbilt from supporting an average of 100 telehealth visits a day to about 3,000 daily to help continue essential care delivery. Kumah-Crystal continues her efforts with the telehealth team with new considerations about how to optimize workflows to support sustainable models outside the current crisis to help patients and providers continue to leverage the remote care model’s benefits intermixed with in-person clinic visits.

Sabrina C. Sopha, MD, HS’08, was appointed chair of Pathology and Medical Laboratory director at the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center in 2018.

Randon Hall, MD’08, HS’08, was named a 2020 Top Doctor by Phoenix Magazine. Hall specializes in orthopaedic surgery and sports medicine at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Brenessa Lindeman, MD’09, VMAA board member, is the junior faculty recipient of the 2020 Dean’s Excellence Award for Service at University of Alabama at Birmingham where she is the associate program director for the UAB General Surgery Residency and director for the Endocrine Surgery Fellowship. She has also recently been inducted into the ACS Academy of Master Surgeon Educators.



Brandon Richard Litzner, MD’10, a board-certified dermatologist, has joined the staff of Heartland Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center in Wichita, Kansas. Litzner received a presidential citation for his work with the Appropriate Use Committee. He remains actively involved with both the American Society of Dermatopathology and with the KU School of Medicine-Wichita where he serves as a volunteer faculty member, assisting with the education of residents and medical students.

Jonathan Steer-Massaro, MD’12 and Courtney Steer-Massaro, VUSN’12, moved in February to Lesotho, a country in southern Africa, to work for the Lesotho Boston Health Alliance (LeBoHA) Family Medicine Specialty Training Program (FMSTP). They supervise training in obstetrics and gynecology and are working for the only post-graduate medical education program in the country. They currently are volunteer assistant professors at Boston University School of Medicine where they were previously faculty.

Devin Patel, MD’13, HS’13, FE’16 and Kari Jackson, MD, HS, FE’18 were married at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville on Nov. 23, 2019. Patel is currently an interventional cardiology fellow at VUMC, while Jackson is a VUMC clinical fellow in pulmonary/critical care medicine.

Joshua Bilsborrow, MD’13, completed his fellowship training in rheumatology at Yale-New Haven Hospital and joined Yale Medicine and the West Haven VA faculty of the Section of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology as an instructor of Medicine (rheumatology). He also completed the Master of Health Science degree program in rheumatology/immunology in May, having researched inflammatory T-cell populations in systemic inflammation and joint synovitis.

Thuy Tran, MD’13, PhD’11, completed her fellowship training in medical oncology and the ABIM physician-scientist training pathway at Yale-New Haven Hospital and will be joining the Yale Medicine faculty of the Section of Medical Oncology as an instructor of Medicine.

Nakul Shekhawat, BA’09, MD’14, is the recipient of the 2019 Claes Dohlman Award from Harvard Medical School, which recognizes the top young cornea surgeon in the country. He has joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as assistant professor of Ophthalmology.

Jasia Mahdi, MD’15, started a pediatric neuro-oncology fellowship at Stanford University in June. Previously, she completed her pediatric neurology residency at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Ashlee Huff Arteaga, MD’16, started a new job with the Family Medicine Department at Sutter Health. Arteaga’s husband, Daniel Arteaga, MD’16, started a vascular neurology fellowship at Stanford.

Michelle Izmaylov, MD’17, HS’20, finished her internal medicine residency at Vanderbilt and will remain working as a hospitalist at VUMC. Recently, Izmaylov and Thea Swenson, MD, PGY-1, created a website to share stories of people who have been impacted by coronavirus. They have also received donations from companies such as L’Oreal and Vera Bradley, and have created “relief packages” to give out to those who have been impacted.

Adil Faqih, BE’13, MD’17, graduated from an internal medicine residency at UT Southwestern and started a gastroenterology fellowship at Vanderbilt in July.

Joseph Wong, MD’19, has been recognized as an Outstanding Categorical Intern by his internal medicine residency program at UCLA-Olive View.



Sarah Fitzlaff, MD’20, and her husband welcomed a son, Maverick Alan Fitzlaff, on April 27.

Margaret (Megan) Mitchell, MD’20, was the first medical student to complete a Master of Science of Health Professions Education from Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute of Health Professions while completing her MD degree at Vanderbilt. She will present her final scholarly project on head and neck surgical education in Kenya, a project she did under James Netterville, MD, professor of Otolaryngology at Vanderbilt.

Kaitlyn Reasoner, MD’20, is a 2019-2020 recipient of the Robert F. Miller Award for Community Service and Engagement. Throughout her time in medical school, Reasoner was involved with the Vanderbilt Orthopedics Hand and Upper Extremity Division, which provides free surgeries to uninsured or underinsured patients in the Middle Tennessee area. She is a first-year internal medicine resident at VUMC.