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Class Notes

Posted by Kathy Whitney on Friday, March 19, 2021 in Alumni News, Spring 2021, Vanderbilt Community, Winter 2021 .


Milton Caster, MD’49, FACS, is a retired general surgeon who currently lives in Florida. Throughout his career, Caster was president of Broward County Medical Association in Fort Lauderdale and chief of Surgery in multiple hospitals. Caster’s three sons and seven grandchildren have degrees (including two MDs and three JDs) from 18 different universities, and Caster credits Vanderbilt for shaping his life and the life of his family.



Clifton K. Meador, BA’52, MD’55, HS’60, FE’61, authored the first edition of “The Little Book of Doctors’ Rules” in 1992. His updated 2020 fourth edition has now been published by SquareOne Publisher.



Rebekah Ann Naylor, MD’68, is the first female to be appointed distinguished professor of Missions in the Roy J. Fish School of Evangelism and Missions at Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Naylor has also been a longtime medical missionary to India and worked as a strategy coordinator for the International Mission Board in the state of Karnataka, India, from 1999 to 2009. When she returned to the United States, Naylor joined the faculty of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas and taught in the surgery department. She was promoted to associate clinical professor of Surgery in 2007 and served in that capacity until her retirement in 2010.



Roy A. Meals, MD’71, has written a book “Bones, Inside and Out” that was published by WW Norton and released in October 2020. In this book, Meals, who is an orthopaedic surgeon, explores the 500-million-year history of bones and examines their biological makeup. He also discusses medical innovations and the roles that bones have played throughout human history.

Michael Linver, MD, HS’73-’74, was recently awarded the Gold Medal of the Society of Breast Imaging, the largest organization for breast imaging radiologists in the world.

William E. Harston (Gene), MD’73, FE’77, has retired after nearly 50 years in medicine. Harston was a visionary and guiding force for advancing Bowling Green, Kentucky, to be a hub for advanced cardiac care.

Bryan Simmons, MD’76, has retired after 34 years practicing infectious diseases in Memphis, Tennessee. He lives with his wife, Barbara, and has two children, Rebecca and Ryan. Bryan and Barbara walked 500 miles of the Camino Frances in Spain in 2016. Simmons received a “Living Award” from the Methodist Foundation in Memphis. He plans to spend summers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Iverson C. Bell Jr., MD’77, has been promoted to associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) in Memphis, Tennessee. Bell has been director of resident training in the Department of Psychiatry for 10 years at UTHSC, and this follows 17 years teaching at Morehouse School of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry. He also has been named a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Bell has also been a participant in the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine study this year.

K. Bruce Jones, MD’78, has been elected to the Board of Governors of the American College of Surgeons as a Governor-at-Large, representing the fellows in the Arkansas chapter. Jones started his three-year term in October 2020.

Charles (Chuck) B. Huddleston, MD’78, HS’79,’86,’88, FE’83, has been appointed Surgeon-in-Chief at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, effective October 2019.

Ron Hamner, MD’78, retired from his nephrology practice after 37 years, effective July 1, 2020. He is also publishing a book, “Rescuing the Doctor-Patient Relationship,” which has just become available on Amazon.



Ramsey Saxon, MD’82, retired from a solo practice of internal medicine in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, at the end of 2008, then moved to Morriston, Florida, in 2009 with his wife and daughter where he practiced internal medicine for a year before retiring in 2013. Saxon is passionate about the fight against detrimental global warming and has a photovoltaic system which powers his house, two electric cars, and electric lawn and garden mowers and implements.

Doug Brunette, MD’82, has published two books: “Extraordinary Cases in Emergency Medicine,” published by McGraw-Hill in 2019, and “Faith in the ER,” published by Kindle Direct Publishing in 2020.

David P. Robinson, MD’83, HS’86, FE’88, just finished a two-year term as president of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics in September 2020. The organization represents over 2,200 pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists in Florida and works for the best interests of children in the state.

Robert T. Wilder, MD’84, PhD’84, had his 20-year anniversary working for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, as a consultant in pediatric anesthesiology and pain medicine in July 2020. In April 2021, he will become president of the Society for Pediatric Pain Medicine, having just completed two years of service to the group as vice president. Wilder’s two oldest children have both graduated from Vanderbilt University, while his youngest child is currently a sophomore at Georgetown.

Kevin Churchwell, MD’87, has been appointed CEO of Boston Children’s Hospital where he has been since 2013. He formerly served as the president and COO.

John P. DeVincenzo III, MD’88, has been named the vice president of Translational Virology by Enanta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. DeVincenzo previously served as a pediatric infectious diseases specialist and the medical director of Le Bonheur’s Molecular Diagnostic and Virology Laboratories and as a professor of Pediatrics and professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Biochemistry at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine.

David Adcock, MD’89, FE’02, moved to Murfreesboro in February and is working at Ascension Saint Thomas-Rutherford as the lead plastic surgeon after almost six years in Jackson, Mississippi, with the Joseph M. Still Burn and Reconstruction Center.

Anthony (Tony) Vine, MD’89, FACS, assistant clinical professor of Surgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, was one of the physician performers who participated in the “Live from Carnegie Hall” virtual music event that occurred on Dec. 17, 2020. All of the performers were physicians and health care workers.



David Ingram Jr., MTS’92, MD’94, has been promoted to executive vice president and chief medical executive by Indiana University Health, effective on Jan. 1. Ingram has been with the hospital since 2002, and he currently serves as president of IU Health Physicians.

Eric Zacharias, MD’93, is the host of a new podcast for the Professional Liability Company, COPIC, that he works for as a physician educator and risk management consultant that insures more than 14,000 physicians in the Mountain West region.

M. Kevin Smith, PhD’91, MD’93, HS’97, MMHC’11, has been named the 2020-2021 president of the Tennessee Medical Association, which is a member-based nonprofit advocacy organization that represents 9,500 physicians statewide. In this role, Smith will be the organization’s public representative and help collaborate with physicians, legislators, patients and medical societies.

Leopoldo V. Rodriguez, MD, HS’96-’00, former anesthesiology chief resident, was elected president of the Society for Ambulatory Anesthesia 2020-2021 and president of the Florida Society of Anesthesiologists, 2021-2022. He completed a Master of Business Administration at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Isenberg School of Business in May 2020, and was inducted to Phi Kappa Phi. He was appointed chair of the Committee on Ambulatory Surgical Care of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. Rodriguez is the medical director and chief of Anesthesiology of the Surgery Center of Aventura and the assistant national medical director, Ambulatory Anesthesiology, AmSurg/Envision Physician Services.

Jasminka Vukanovic-Criley, MD, FACP, FHM, HS’99, hospitalist, associate clinical professor of Medicine at UCLA, co-founder and CEO of Indelible Learning, was invited to present at the 17th annual Games for Change Festival. Her talk, “Sleep Mystery: from escape room to point-and-click adventure,” described her team’s project to build a learning game to engage learners in sleep and health and science career exploration. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, this project is ongoing.

Henry Wilson, MD’96, has been practicing plastic surgery in Lynchburg, Virgina, for the past 10 years and has served as president of the Virginia Society of Plastic Surgeons. Wilson is active in leadership in Centra Medical Group, a 500-provider medical group and has served as chair of its board of directors since 2018. Last year, he was admitted to Harvard’s Master in Health Care Management program, with graduation expected in 2022.

Morgan J. Wills, MD’96, HS’00, who has been president and CEO of Siloam Health in Nashville since 2013, was recently awarded the Distinguished Service Award by his high school alma mater, Montgomery Bell Academy. Wills has received this award for his dedication and involvement in civic service for the Nashville community.

Marya Strand, MD’97, HS’00, has been selected as the CMO of SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis. Strand has served as interim CMO since June.

Chris Sonnenday, MD’97, has been appointed director of the University of Michigan Transplant Center, effective Dec. 1, 2020. In his new position, Sonnenday will be responsible for patient care, research and education, including establishment of success metrics.

Chris Petit, BA’93, MD’99, has been named chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology in the Department of Pediatrics at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. Petit is also the new chief of the pediatric cardiology service at New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. Currently, Petit is professor of Pediatrics and director of the Pulmonary Vein Program at Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.



Jennifer Wambach, BS’97, MD’01, MS, associate professor of Pediatrics (newborn medicine) at Washington University School of Medicine & St. Louis Children’s Hospital, was awarded the Robert B. Mellins, M.D. Outstanding Achievement Award by the American Thoracic Society. This award is given to one individual each year who is recognized by peers as an outstanding clinician, researcher, teacher and mentor, and who has made pioneering contributions to the science or practice of Pediatric Respiratory Medicine.

Jeffrey Giullian, MD’01, FE’08, was promoted to global chief medical officer of DaVita, Inc, a Fortune 500 kidney care and dialysis company, in January 2020. Giullian credits his education and training at Vanderbilt as a major contributing factor for this promotion.

Justin Lockman, MD’03, been promoted to associate chair of Education for his department at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He also released a new album of holiday music, “Holiday Favorites,” after a 20-year hiatus from recording.

Brooke Hooper, BS’03, MD’07, was recently promoted to associate professor of Internal Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School. She was also selected for “Top 40 under 40” in Hampton Roads, Virginia.



Adam Wegner, PhD’08, MD’12, and his wife Mary Kelly Lorene Baldwin, BS’04, PhD’12, welcomed a son, Nash Thomas Adam Wegner, on Feb. 15, 2020.

Alexandra Schmidt, MD’12, a plastic surgeon, started her first attending job in Raleigh, North Carolina, last year with Blue Water Plastic Surgery Partners.

Laura Ballenger, BA’10, MD’14, completed her fellowship training in pediatric rheumatology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital/The Ohio State University and joined their faculty as an assistant professor of Pediatrics.

Jeffrey Bennett, PhD’13, MD’15, has accepted a fellowship in inherited cardiovascular disease at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.

Samantha (Gridley) Haley, MD’17, joined Woodinville Pediatrics in January, where she loves taking care of children of all ages, but especially teens and LGBTQ youth. Her son, David Robert, is 4 months old.

Daniel Markwalter, MD’18, has matched into the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship at UNC and will be staying there after his final year of residency. Markwalter and his wife, Christine Markwalter, PhD’18, welcomed their first child, a daughter named Ellis Theresa Markwalter, on Sept. 2, 2020.

Katie Geck, MD’19, has won an award for her oral abstract presentation titled, “Scurvy and other Complications of Treatment for Self Reported Mast Cell Activation Syndrome,” from the Society of Hospital Medicine at the Washington chapter meeting for the American College of Physicians.



Andrew W. Kuhn, MD’20 and John E. Kuhn, MD, FAC, have written a publication titled “Upper Extremity Pain and Overuse Injuries in Fly-Fishing: A North American Cross-Sectional Survey and Implications for Injury Prevention,” which was published in the October 2020 edition of The Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine.

Renee Rosati, DO, PGY-4, has created an innovative rehabilitation program at the Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital involving art, music and gardening. Rosati specializes in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and is in her last year of training at VUMC.