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VOL. 77, NO. 1, USPS, 413-060 Digest Magazine is produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications under the direction of Wendy W. Romano, chief marketing and communications officer. EDITOR Jennifer Schaffer Leone, MA PUBLICATION DESIGN Abigail Harmon CONTRIBUTORS – FEATURES Janice Fisher Jennifer Kengeter, MS/Psy ’12 (PsyD ’17) Jennifer Schaffer Leone Aishwarya Rajagopalan (DO ’18) Celine I. Thompson, PhD Nancy West CONTRIBUTORS – UPDATES Renee Cree Barbara Myers CONTRIBUTORS – CLASS NOTES Institutional Advancement Staff Laura Hilbert CONTRIBUTORS – MY TURN Aaron Terry, Esq. David Zedeck, Esq. PHOTOGRAPHY Bruce Fairfield Melissa Kelly SEND QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS ABOUT DIGEST MAGAZINE TO: Marketing and Communications, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine 4180 City Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19131-1695 215-871-6300 SEND INFORMATION FOR CLASS NOTES AND ADDRESS CHANGES TO: Institutional Advancement, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine 4180 City Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19131-1695 215-871-6120 Periodical postage is paid at Upper Darby, PA, and at additional mailing offices.

Opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by the College or the editor.


© 2016 Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. All rights reserved. 2

Dear Alumni and Friends: As this issue of Digest Magazine considers the significance of humanistic health care, it does so not only through inspiring content, but also through palpable branding. Redesigned, Digest Magazine is the first alumni publication to introduce the concept of PCOM +, a pivotal facet of the College’s new branding campaign. The +, engineered by 160over90, a national branding firm, propels our institution from its mission to its vision. It conveys that PCOM is indeed an educational and research institution that stands apart. A myriad of + programs and ventures—in totality—build the unique differences of our institution. The + conveys that PCOM is a place that is influential and transformative, a positive force for health in Philadelphia, in Georgia and across the nation. At the same time, the + intimately ties the lives of our alumni, faculty, staff and students to this institutional success. So, in the case of humanistic health care +, you will see how members of the PCOM community are health professionals who care about their patients as much as they care for them. They understand that empathy can be a powerful catalyst for healing. They respect patient autonomy and the reality that health care is a partnership between the patient and his or her practitioner. They embrace diversity and strive for equity. They uphold key values of their practice. They cultivate collegiality. And they espouse idealism for their profession and for its future.

Jay S. Feldstein, DO ’81 President and Chief Executive Officer





Founders’ Day 2016

12  Patient-Centeredness:

Empathy in an Interdisciplinary Context



18  What our Patients Teach Us

22 Mourning in Medical School

24  Treated Unequally:

Addressing Racial and Ethnic Bias in Health Care

26 Class Notes 32 My Turn Essay








NEW PRIMARY CARE INNOVATION FUND SEEKS TO DRIVE ADVANCES IN HEALTH CARE Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine has committed, through its foundation, the allocation of $5 million to a new venture capital fund designed to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship in the healthcare field, with a specific focus on primary care. The Primary Care Innovation Fund is the first such endeavor in the College’s 117-year history and will invest in companies with established products and services that are healthcarerelated and focused on primary care. PCOM is the first osteopathic medical school to establish such a fund. “The osteopathic philosophy focuses on prevention and maintaining wellness, and seeing the patient as a whole person,” says Jay S. Feldstein, DO ’81, president and chief executive officer.

“Through the Primary Care Innovation Fund, PCOM can extend that philosophy by investing in innovative opportunities nationally to improve and maintain patients’ quality of life.” He added that he was hopeful the more than 13,000 osteopathic physicians and other healthcare professionals PCOM has educated could benefit from these innovations by addressing the quality access to and affordability of health care for their patients. The fund will also provide myriad benefits for the College’s students, faculty, staff and alumni by opening doors financially to those who have a product or service appropriate for funding, and by connecting those individuals to learning and networking opportunities within the investment community. The fund will focus on producing finan-

PCOM APPOINTS INAUGURAL LEGAL OFFICER David F. Simon, JD, joined the College as its first chief legal affairs officer in February. He oversees all legal, risk management and compliance matters for the College and serves as primary legal advisor to the president and chief executive officer as well as to College administration, senior management and board members.



cial returns and, as a result, offers the College a potential revenue stream that is not tuition-based. Investments from across the country will be considered, with a focus on the Philadelphia and Atlanta metro areas. Dean Miller, a private equity and venture capital investor with strong regional and national ties to the healthcare and technology sectors, will manage the

fund. Mr. Miller also serves as president and chief executive officer of the Greater Philadelphia Alliance for Capital & Technologies and as partner at Evergreen Industries, LLC. An advisory committee composed of physicians and business executives from Philadelphia and Atlanta will assist Mr. Miller in determining the feasibility of and market demand for each potential invest-

Most recently, Mr. Simon was executive vice president and chief legal officer of the Jefferson Health System (JHS). As part of his responsibilities at JHS, he also served as the founding president of Delaware Valley ACO, the area’s largest Medicare Shared Savings Plan. He previously was chief counsel of the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, chief legal officer of U.S. Healthcare, and a partner at Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen. Mr. Simon currently serves as chairman of the Pennsylvania eHealth Partnership Authority, the state agency responsible for the Commonwealth’s electronic health information exchange. He is an honors graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the University at Buffalo School of Management.


ment. PCOM’s Executive Committee will serve as the fund’s Board of Managers and, along with Mr. Miller, will make the final determinations on investments. “The primary care clinician is the point person for chronic conditions that patients face,” says Mr. Miller. “To that end, it is a natural fit for PCOM to lead the way in promoting innovation within primary care by investing in products and

services that can address and prevent those conditions, connecting those investments to the individuals who treat chronic conditions on a daily basis.” The fund is currently seeking investment opportunities. More information can be found by visiting innovation-fund/ or emailing dmiller@

David McCleskey, whose career in public education and community service spans 40 years, was recently elected to Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Boards of Trustees. Mr. McCleskey has been an advocate for quality education and health care in Georgia through his many leadership roles at local and state levels. With a bachelor’s degree from Mercer University Atlanta and a master’s degree from Atlanta University, Mr. McCleskey began his career as a teacher. After 14 years in the classroom, he became the coordinator of business education partnerships for Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS). In 2002, Mr. McCleskey moved into his current role as governmental liaison and community ombudsman for GCPS. He has served as an executive on loan to Georgia Governor Roy Barnes, who appointed him as the executive director of the Georgia State Board of Education. During Governor Sonny Purdue’s administration, Mr. McCleskey served as lead staff and assistant policy director to the Governor’s Education Finance Task Force. He then held the position of chief operating officer for the Georgia Teachers’ Retirement System. Since 2004, Mr. McCleskey has served on the Gwinnett Medical Center Board of Directors (presiding as chairman from 2010 until 2015). His leadership led to the opening of the North Tower, the Strickland Heart Center and the Center for Surgical Weight Management. He also led negotiations leading to discussions of a partnership between Gwinnett Medical Center and Northside Hospital.

BREAKING MENTAL HEALTH STIGMAS Research has shown that rates of suicide are much higher among doctors than among other professionals; what’s more, some studies have pointed to medical school as the time when the trend begins. Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine offers several resources for students who are coping with mental health stressors. But for many medical students, a stigma surrounding mental health issues persists. To mitigate that stigma, Victoria Lawn, DO ’15; Matt Jaffa, DO ’14; and Catherine Babbitt Cook, DO ’14, launched a program in 2012 to help medical students feel safe and supported. Now called the Student Wellness and Academic Transition Team Initiative (SWATTI), the program comprises students and faculty committed to the mental health and well-being of all students.

The SWATTI program grew out of a yearly seminar in the Patient Perspectives course block, where DO students shared their own experiences with mental health issues. Many students realized that they had the same thoughts and feelings as their classmates, says Joe Chiaro (DO ’18), the current chair of SWATTI. “Disclosure is a big help,” he says. SWATTI has grown to include a panel discussion for first-year DO students after they take their first medical school exam, and a celebration marking the end of the Structural Principles of Osteopathic Medicine course block. The students hope to expand and include graduate students. “Many graduate program students have similar levels of stress and anxiety,” says Mr. Chiaro. “We’ve been working to encourage students from all programs to participate. No one is an island here, and we’re all in this together.”




THE ART OF HEALING An arts organization at Georgia Campus – PCOM works to provide a platform for students to participate in the arts and promotes a healthy balance during their time on campus. The Art of Healing provides this opportunity through song, dance and various forms of art. “I had a vision of how to bring a community feeling to the campus through the arts—and thought how wonderful it would be for the students to have an opportunity to interact with faculty and administration on a different level,” says Linda Williams, administrative assistant. With an extensive background in music, Ms. Williams organized the effort with the help of like-minded students. “The arts are universal and speak to every nationality, age and gender.” Ms. Williams hopes that the organization will “take our students to the community in hopes of lifting spirits, allowing these future healthcare professionals to incorporate their talents into the art of healing.”

WORKING TO PREVENT HIV TRANSMISSION IN ALABAMA Two osteopathic medical students from Georgia Campus – PCOM are working to lessen the number of people diagnosed with HIV in central Alabama by advocating for a treatment that would help prevent transmission. Participating in medical rotations at Medical AIDS Outreach of Alabama (MAO) in Montgomery, TeKesha Henry (DO ’16) and Darval Hutchinson (DO ’16) are working with the clinic to foster education about HIV transmission. “Lowndes County in Alabama has an astonishingly high new diagnosis rate per capita for HIV,” says Ms. Henry. “Poverty



and lack of access to health care and education are the major culprits in this trend.” Historically, preventing the transmission of HIV focused on safe sex practices and avoiding high-risk behaviors. Today an additional preventive care treatment can help reduce the risk of infection. Pre-exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP, combines two drugs that are used for the treatment of HIV/AIDS patients. In 2014, this pill, branded as Truvada, was included in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ guidelines for preventing HIV in healthy people at high risk. Under the direction of Laurie Dill, MD, MAO began offering services in March from its new PrEP clinic. Overseen by preceptors, the GA–PCOM students developed presentations and materials to educate healthcare providers about PrEP with the goal of expanding access. A major challenge, however, is medication cost; the students plan to consult with other programs in order to learn the logistics of funding the drug.

AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD Kerin Claeson, PhD, assistant professor, anatomy, traveled to Antarctica in March as part of the Antarctic Peninsula Paleontology Project, a group of researchers from institutions around the country who have pooled their collective expertise to study fossils from the Late Cretaceous and Paleogene periods in Antarctica. The ultimate goal of the project, which is funded in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation, is to fill in some of the evolutionary gaps in knowledge of Antarctic species, to gain a better understanding of how life overall develops and evolves on this planet. The researchers included experts in birds, mammals and dinosaurs. Dr. Claeson lent her expertise in prehistoric fishes to learn more about what life was like in those time periods, and how it has changed since. Dr. Claeson traveled to Antarctica to dig for specimens of ancient fish.


The Alumni Association of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine recently hosted the College’s firstever Match celebrations, honoring students who placed into residencies during one of three matches: the National Resident Matching Program; the American Osteopathic Association Intern/Resident Registration Program; and the Military Graduate Medical Education Match. Students bowled, ate and celebrated with friends at Lucky Strike Lanes in Philadelphia and at Stars and Strikes in Dacula, Georgia, while sporting specially branded “I Matched!” T-shirts.

DID YOU KNOW? Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine is a recipient of the 2015 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. PCOM is the only osteopathic medical school to receive this award. In 2016, the publication also named PCOM a “Diversity Champion.”




GA–PCOM AND GCPS: TOGETHER WE’RE BETTER The headquarters for Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS), the largest and most diverse school system in Georgia, is less than half a mile away from Georgia Campus – PCOM. The relationship between the two entities continues to grow. This year, GA–PCOM was the presenting sponsor of the Gwinnett Regional Science, Engineering + Innovation Fair. GA–PCOM faculty and administrators served as featured speakers and judges and provided demonstrations of pharmacy techniques and participated in award ceremonies.

At Central Gwinnett High School in Lawrenceville, GA–PCOM students from the DO, Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences programs provided mentorship and engaged high school students in a health curriculum/health careers exploration opportunity through a nationwide outreach program, the Health Career Academy. A high school student learns to check the blood pressure of a GA–PCOM student during the Health Career Academy program.


The transgender community has many unique health needs, but this population often faces difficulties finding care. In April, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine hosted its firstever Transgender Medicine


Symposium, which brought together local and national experts in the field of transgender health. The event addressed topics including counseling services, hormone therapy and surgical treatments. Among the speakers was Rachel Levine, MD, physician general for the state of Pennsylvania and the first transgender woman to hold the title. Dr. Levine spoke about the health issues of transgender children and adolescents. The event was designed to provide primary care providers with a better understanding of this patient population in order to provide more effective care. PCOM’s Transgender Medicine Symposium aimed to provide a better understanding of that population’s unique health needs.


AT THE INTERSECTION OF MEDICINE AND LITERATURE “The Literature of Prescription: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and ‘The Yellow Wall-Paper,’” a National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health traveling exhibit, was on display at Georgia Campus – PCOM this past spring. The exhibit explores the American author’s indictment of the medical profession and the nineteenth-century

social conventions restricting women’s professional and creative opportunities. “The Yellow Wall-Paper,” published in 1892, depicts the effect of the “rest cure” on the narrator’s mental health and her descent into psychosis. The short story remains a classic of medical discourse as well as feminist literature.

COLLABORATING TO PREVENT DRUG ABUSE H. William Craver III, DO ’87, dean and chief academic officer, Georgia Campus – PCOM, was invited as a guest of the White House to attend the National Rx Abuse and Heroin Summit held in March in Atlanta. Earlier, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine had pledged to join other medical schools across the nation in support of the White House’s initiative on chronic pain opioid prescription education. The initiative includes incorporating new federal guidelines that urge doctors, especially those in primary care, to be more cautious when prescribing potentially addictive narcotics. GA–PCOM has been working on this initiative for some time; through its Interprofessional Education (IPE) program, the campus has developed a curriculum that involves DO and pharmacy students working together throughout all four years of their education. The curriculum teaches future healthcare professionals the importance of collaborating and communicating to deliver the best patient-centered care, and focuses especially on the issue of drug addiction. In April, a team from GA–PCOM including Paula Gregory, DO, MBA, past assistant dean of clinical education; Bonnie Buxton, PhD, professor and assistant dean for curriculum; and Jennifer Elliott, PharmD, assistant professor, pharmacy practice, presented the College’s IPE data at the annual meeting of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine in Washington, DC. Dr. Craver joins Stephen Shannon, DO, president and chief executive officer, AACOM, and Barbara Walker, DO, member, AOA Board of Trustees, at the National Rx Abuse and Heroin Summit.

CELEBRATING THE “DREAM” The Office of Diversity and Compliance hosted its annual “I Am the Dream” awards ceremony on February 26, held in honor of the lives and legacies of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and William M. King, DO ’62, who worked tirelessly to improve the lives of his patients and the larger Philadelphia community. Regina Benjamin, MD, the 18th U.S. surgeon general, served as the keynote speaker at the ceremony, which recognized students, faculty and alumni who have made a positive impact on the lives of others, and who have demonstrated excellence in their own personal and professional lives. Olivia Menardy (DO ’16) and Jameel Shareef (DO ’16) were recipients of Student of Merit awards at the “I Am the Dream” event.


A pilot program at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine called “Water Your Child’s Brain” aims to provide parents with the skills and social network to support effective brain development in their children. The program, run by PCOM’s Robert Berger Pediatrics Society, consists of four sessions, each focused on a different topic. Each week, parents participate in an informational session—led by a DO or psychology student—and learn evidence-based strategies related to that week’s topic. Meanwhile, their children participate in an activity that mirrors that topic. The need for the program was identified by Rosemary Vickers, DO, associate professor and chair, pediatrics, who found that many of her patients’ parents lacked the resources to provide these developmental strategies for their children. She discussed her concerns with Sarah Allen, PhD, assistant professor, psychology, who specializes in pediatric brain development and education. Dr. Allen had also been approached by Dana Neumann (DO ’18) and Nicole Ferrigno (DO ’18) about unique opportunities to which they could apply their medical skills. Dr. Allen thought a program like “Water Your Child’s Brain” could address all those needs through collaboration of the DO and Psychology programs. “It’s both interdisciplinary and community-oriented, which is what I love about it,” says Dr. Allen. “I really think that’s PCOM’s niche—the ability to quickly combine students in classes or educational activities like this. It’s a lot of work and a lot of fun, and they get to quickly see the benefit of a collaborative approach to health care.” Participants at a “Water Your Child’s Brain” session learn about becoming more centered through yoga.





During the past 22 years, Dr. Pascucci has played a vital role in the graduate medical education of more than 700 osteopathic physicians at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. As vice dean for clinical education, he has made it his mission to ensure that residents receive a top quality graduate medical education that leads them to become competent and caring high quality physicians. He has accomplished this mission despite some considerable challenges along the way.



by Nancy West

Soon after Dr. Pascucci was recruited by PCOM in 1993 to return to his alma mater as director of medical education and associate dean for graduate medical education, the College learned that City Avenue Hospital was being sold. Dr. Pascucci wondered if he still had a job. “Not only did he still have a job, but it had become more challenging than ever with the loss of ownership of our teaching hospital,” says Kenneth J. Veit, DO ’76, MBA, provost, senior vice president for academic affairs and dean. “It took someone with a tremendous amount of intelligence, creativity and likability to run a high quality graduate medical education without any ownership in a hospital. Rich is that person and he rose to the challenge.”

At the same time, Dr. Pascucci also rose to the challenge of developing an OPTI consortium that has grown to comprise 45 partner hospitals of the highest caliber, including Lankenau, Lehigh Valley Medical Center, Einstein and Pennsylvania Hospital to name a few. In the early years, Dr. Pascucci faced the reluctance of some hospital administrators who felt they were being forced to partner with PCOM under regulatory pressure from the American Osteopathic Association. “Rich was able to break down the barriers with his congenial nature and his ability to communicate effectively with all people,” says Dr. Veit. “He was the right person with the right personality and leadership skills at a time when we were—and still are—dealing with a difficult environment as hospitals merge, form affiliations or close. Rich has been in the middle of it all, maintaining the quality of our GME. I can’t imagine anyone who could do it better.”

“Now that there is a single accreditation system (ACGME and AOA) for graduate medical education programs, we expect to continue our relationships with nearly all of our clinical teaching partners, even though it’s no longer required by the standards,” says Dr. Pascucci. “Our partners value the services PCOM students provide at their institutions because they know they are top quality medical students. They want to be able to recruit our students for their own residency programs.” In addition to strong relationships forged within PCOM’s MedNet program, Dr. Pascucci has successfully maintained PCOM’s own residency programs with about 140 residents every year. “We’ve preserved high quality residencies in neurosurgery, internal medicine, family medicine, otorhinolaryngology, plastic surgery and ophthalmology, among others,” he relates. One PCOM resident, Kevin Mosca, DO ’10, now a plastic and reconstructive surgery fellow, says, “Dr. Pascucci understands the value of having great residencies in subspecialties. He assured us that he would never let anything happen to the programs and he has kept his word.” Dr. Pascucci also contributed to the development of highly regarded, accredited residents as a member of the American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine for which he submitted questions and developed exams for medical residents for 18 years, nine as the primary rheumatology consultant to the board. He considers this to be one of the highlights of his career. In addition to his role in graduate medical education, Dr. Pascucci enjoys didactic teaching. A specialist in rheumatology, he has taught medicine to medical students, physician assistant students and residents, as well as attending physicians at Grand Rounds and continuing medical education conferences. Dr. Mosca recalls Dr. Pascucci as a teacher: “Dr. Pascucci was always available to talk with you and he welcomed feedback,” he relates. “He consistently encouraged honesty and openness.” What does Dr. Pascucci consider the most important lessons he taught his students?


Dr. Pascucci has served PCOM for more than two decades in increasing capacities; he presently serves as vice dean for clinical education, chief academic officer of PCOM MEDNet, and professor of medicine.

 r. Pascucci has been recognized for his many D contributions to the osteopathic medical profession—including his work as an educator, mentor and physician. Among his many accolades, he received the Outstanding Teaching Fellow from the University of Louisville (1980), the Distinguished Teaching Award from Suburban General Hospital (1984), the Golden Apple Teaching Award from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (1992), and the Certificate of Honor from the PCOM Alumni Association (2015). He was named a Founding Fellow by the American College of Rheumatology and a Fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Internists.

 r. Pascucci has contributed his time and serD vice to the American College of Osteopathic Internists, the American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine, the American Osteopathic Directors and Medical Educators, and the Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists of the American Osteopathic Association. He served as a member, and for a year, as president of the Board of Directors of the PCOM Alumni Association.

 r. Pascucci has published a number of scholD arly articles in his field, and he has presented at more than 40 professional conferences on the topics of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, gout and inflammatory muscle disease.

 r. Pascucci holds a bachelor’s degree from D Saint Joseph’s University and a doctor of osteopathic medicine degree from PCOM. He completed his rotating internship and internal medicine residency at Suburban General Hospital and his fellowship in rheumatology and clinical immunology at the University of Louisville.




“What’s most important is to treat every patient as if they’re a member of your own family,” he says. “If you do that, you won’t let other factors distract you from doing what is best and you’ll take excellent care of your patients. “A close second is to remain diverse,” he continues. “Don’t spend your entire life simply being a doctor. It’s an important calling, and my occupation as a physician and my role as a teacher has been very important to me, but family comes first. I always preach that to the residents.” Dr. Pascucci has walked the talk. Married for 42 years to his wife, Patricia, he has always been active with their four children, coaching their baseball and soccer teams for a number of years. A fan of all Philadelphia sports teams, Dr. Pascucci also enjoys playing golf, bowling and playing guitar. Now blessed with eight grandchildren, spending quality time with his wife and family is more important than ever.

“I fear that sometimes physicians can lose track of that,” he reflects. “They get distracted with their reputation, the high honor of being a physician, money and prestige to the detriment of their family life. I’ve tried to find a balance between the two.” Although he retired from his clinical practice in 2015, Dr. Pascucci plans to continue teaching and participating as chief academic officer of the OPTI program while continuing to work closely with Clinical Education and GME at PCOM. “I still enjoy what I am doing,” he says. He hopes to be remembered as a hard working, persevering physician and teacher who did his absolute best to assure residents that they would have a quality graduate medical education, and that they would become highly competent and caring physicians.

“Don’t spend your entire life simply being a doctor. It’s an important calling, and my occupation as a physician and my role as a teacher has been very important to me, but family comes first.”





Each year in the United States, on average 250 to 400 physicians die by suicide—equivalent to at least one medical school class. Suicide is also among the most common causes of death among medical students. Untreated depression is usually the root cause, and depression affects medical students and residents at a rate that is 15 to 30 percent higher than the general population. These sobering statistics compelled Mr. Herrmann to co-chair the establishment of a SWAT team, now known as SWATTI (Student Wellness and Academic Transition Team Initiative). The team’s mission is to find creative ways to lower the stress level of medical students at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, as well as to increase awareness of mental health disorders among medical students and reduce the stigma surrounding them. The SWATTI program begins at first-year student orientation, where Mr. Herrmann and his colleagues discuss mental health issues so students are better prepared to recognize and deal with them. Students are encouraged to participate in the “Patient Perspective,” a forum for increasing awareness by sharing their mental health struggles with fellow students. Through Mr. Herrmann’s leadership, SWATTI also expanded the “Bigs & Littles” peer support program for first- and second-year students to include one-on-one emotional and moral support. “If we don’t teach medical students how to deal with depression and other mental health issues now, how will they ever handle it as residents and attending physicians?” Mr. Herrmann asks. “We want to send the message that it’s okay if you’re dealing with mental health issues and help is available.” Mr. Herrmann has also been instrumental in community outreach efforts, establishing a connection between PCOM and the LifeZone HIV/AIDS Awareness Organization. Through this project, PCOM students participate in sexually transmitted disease awareness events at high schools throughout the Philadelphia area. “We present the medical side of HIV/AIDS while other participants provide the human side of living with the disease,” explains Mr. Herrmann. “The high school students ask a lot of questions and we do a lot of ‘myth busting’ because sex education is not taught in many schools these days, which makes this outreach effort even more important. Just as important, we encourage students to reach out to their family doctor and to not be embarrassed to ask for more information.” Looking ahead, Mr. Herrmann plans a residency in psychiatry and a career in academic research as well as clinical work.


Ms. Mormando is by nature a person who likes to advocate for other people. As an officer of the Georgia Campus – PCOM Student Government Association and DO Council, she has fielded many questions from her classmates and addressed many of their concerns. Among the most pressing concerns she found was, “Why don’t we have a structured mentoring program for medical students?” Why, indeed? Ms. Mormando took the proverbial bull by the horns and over the course of one year, developed a structured mentoring program with faculty support. She singlehandedly recruited more than 100 resident and attending physicians to serve as mentors. “It was very much about getting into the trenches, calling and emailing physicians individually,” she relates. In September 2015, the mentoring program officially began with a structure of “mentor families” developed by Ms. Mormando. Each family includes one resident, one attending physician, a first-year student and a second-year student. Some third-year students also participate. “Many first-year students say they wouldn’t have made it through the first semester without the guidance and support provided by their second-year mentors,” notes Ms. Mormando. And many students say that the encouragement and support they received from the participating physicians and upperclassmen has been as valuable as the information they provide. The attending physicians also arrange networking opportunities and shadowing opportunities for first- and second-year students that are specialty specific. “If a student is interested in emergency medicine, for example, a shadowing experience gives the student an inside look at what it’s like to be an EM physician and the different career paths within that specialty,” explains Ms. Mormando. In addition to the highly successful mentoring program, Ms. Mormando is currently developing a professional development series of panel presentations that she hopes will be incorporated into the GA–PCOM DO curriculum beginning in fall 2016. The panels will include residents and attending physicians who will offer advice and answer questions about the residency match process. As Ms. Mormando moves on to a residency in general surgery, she hopes that the mentorship program and professional development series she has established will continue to help make the osteopathic medical school experience less stressful for future GA–PCOM students.






by Janice Fisher Before Robert DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP, professor and chairman, Department of Psychology, came to PCOM about 20 years ago, he taught in a family medicine residency in a University of Pennsylvania affiliated program. Part of his job was to observe encounters between doctors and patients. “I watched the residents and coached them about how to be more empathetic, how to paraphrase, how to be supportive and accept patients ‘where they are,’ ” he recalls. “The doctors who came to discuss their cases with me might be angry or frustrated with a patient; you can’t help patients that way. If you’re not present in the moment with patients and don’t convey a true sense of understanding to them, they feel less satisfied and less connected to you and may not have as good an outcome as they might otherwise.” The lessons learned about empathy resonate for Dr. DiTomasso today in his teaching and mentoring at PCOM. Citing the work of psychologist Carl Rogers, who developed the model of person-centered therapy, Dr. DiTomasso describes the importance of seeing the world through the patient’s eyes. “We think that empathy exerts its power by positively impacting the physician-patient relationship and providing opportunities for patients to learn. When we feed information and reflect feelings back to patients, more self-understanding is stimulated; patients get more meaning out of their experience, and we can help them look at how they are perceiving things. For example, if a patient says, ‘I’m never going to be able to lose weight’ or ‘I’ll never be able to get my blood pressure

down,’ that’s a pretty powerful statement. We want them to know we understand why they feel that way, and that there are strategies that can help.” Practitioner empathy—not only for their patients, but for their colleagues—is another area of interest. “The big initiative of the College today is interprofessional education,” says Dr. DiTomasso. “A significant proportion of people who come to see family doctors are having some psychological distress, so it’s been a great opportunity to train students together and teach integrated care.” PCOM 2020, the strategic vision initiated by Jay S. Feldstein, DO ’81, president and chief executive officer, PCOM, calls for the College “to create a model for training practitioners of the future who can effectively collaborate,” says Dr. DiTomasso. “Patients benefit by having an interdisciplinary team. A biomedical–psychological–social approach is what integrated care work and patient-centered medical homes are all about.” Patient satisfaction measures play an increasingly prominent role in health care, and “a significant component of patient satisfaction has to do with patient trust in the physician,” says Dr. DiTomasso. Under the Affordable Care Act, patient satisfaction scores are used to calculate Medicare reimbursement. And more than 70 percent of hospitals and health networks use such scores in determining how to compensate physicians. “Is the physician seen as dependable, warm, friendly and understanding?” asks Dr. DiTomasso. “Does she respect me? Am I able to speak to her about anything? In the end, it’s ‘I can talk to my DIGEST 2016



HOW DO YOU MEASURE EMPATHY? An article based on part of Dr. McTighe’s dissertation, coauthored with his advisors, appears in the June 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. It finds that self-reported empathy levels were significantly lower for third-year DO students compared to first- and second-year students. (This pattern has been found in studies of allopathic medical students, while a handful of other studies have found that DO students’ empathy does not decline in year 3.) Dr. McTighe’s work used the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy Student (JSPE-S version, since renamed the Jefferson Scale of Empathy Student [JSE-S]), a validated, 20-item scale that measures empathy in medical students (variations of the scale target other categories of healthcare professionals and students). The JSE has been translated into 53 languages and has been used in more than 80 countries. It was developed at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College’s Center for Research in Medical Education & Health Care at Thomas Jefferson University, and draws primarily on the work of Dr. Hojat, director of Jefferson’s Longitudinal Study of Medical Education. These are some of the statements used to measure student empathy: •

“Patients feel better when their physicians understand their feelings.”

“Physicians’ understanding of the emotional status of their patients, as well as that of their families, is one important component of the physician–patient relationship.”

“Attention to patients’ emotions is not important in history taking” (negatively scored).

doctor. The doctor is interested in and able to hear what I’m saying.’ You want to produce practitioners who not only have a great deal of knowledge but also know how to communicate with a patient.” Patients who are not satisfied with medical care, Dr. DiTomasso says, “are more likely to ‘doctor shop’ and delay seeking care, even if they have a serious medical condition. Satisfied patients are more adherent, seek out their doctors and stay with them, and are less likely to engage in malpractice suits.” He adds, “Patients change for their own reasons, not the doctor’s. If you tell a patient what to do, without eliciting their own barriers to change and reasons for change, you’re missing the boat.” Here Dr. DiTomasso invokes Carl Rogers’s concept of “unconditional positive



regard,” which invites practitioners “to accept patients for who they are and where they are without judging.” Dr. DiTomasso’s student Jennifer K. Olivetti, MS/Psy ’13, PsyD ’15, wrote her dissertation on the Professionalism Assessment Rating Scale (PARS), a scale developed by PCOM to assess the quality of DO students’ interpersonal and communication skills. Standardized patients (SPs) rate the students on eight criteria that have been linked in the literature to patient outcomes, patient adherence, patient satisfaction and malpractice. Besides demonstration of empathy, the criteria items cover rapport, confidence, appropriate body language, effective eliciting of information, active listening, timely feedback, and a thorough and careful exam or treatment. Dr. Olivetti’s research showed not only that students’ PARS scores improved over their three years at PCOM, but that all of the PARS criteria correlated strongly with a single underlying factor or dimension: perceived quality of the provider-patient interaction. “PCOM puts a lot of focus on training students in interpersonal skills,” says Dr. DiTomasso, “and that will carry us into the future. In the end, let’s face it: When you refer a patient to your own personal physician, you judge your doctor’s caring, understanding, genuineness.” Samantha Welsh (PsyD ’19), one of Dr. DiTomasso’s students, is planning on studying burnout in PCPs, who face the challenges of increasing patient volume as well as managing patients with psychological distress. Christina Pimble, MS/Psy ’14, (PsyD ’18), a student of Barbara Golden, PsyD, professor of psychology and director of the Center for Brief Therapy at PCOM, has studied burnout in psychologists. “When we talk about burnout,” says Dr. DiTomasso, “we’re talking about role stress in the workplace. People experience emotional exhaustion, pessimism, depersonalization, less of a sense of personal accomplishment. … If you start getting burned out, you start to potentially undermine your effectiveness with the patient. If you’re emotionally drained, you may not listen as intently, making clinical judgments as you normally would. You may feel less sense of professional accomplishment. You can lose focus and empathy.” Moreover, studies have linked empathy to decreased physician burnout. Can you teach people to be more empathetic? The leading researcher in the field, Jefferson University’s Mohammadreza Hojat, PhD, says yes—that while some people may find it easier than others to be empathetic, empathy is a cognitive attribute rather than a personality trait. Dr. DiTomasso was a fellow graduate student at Penn with Dr. Hojat. When Adam McTighe, Ms/Psy ’12, PsyD ’14, MBA, undertook a dissertation on “Effect of Medical Education on Empathy in Osteopathic Medical Students,” Dr. DiTomasso asked Dr. Hojat to join him as a member of the dissertation committee, along with Stephanie H. Felgoise, PhD, ABPP, professor, vice-chair and director, PsyD Psychology program, PCOM.


Dr. McTighe, who completed his fellowship at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland and is now a clinical and forensic psychologist at Georgia Regional Hospital Atlanta in the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, notes that “empathy doesn’t teach people to feel more, but rather to understand the right questions that help others verbalize what’s going on.” His dissertation concludes with a call for more research on “what can be done to maintain empathic attitudes during the critical transition from the classroom to the exam room.” At Georgia Regional Hospital, Dr. McTighe is responsible for criminal forensic evaluations on individuals admitted to an inpatient state forensic psychiatric unit. In this setting, he notes, Dr. Hojat’s distinction between “cognitive empathy”—an understanding of experiences, concerns and perspectives of the patient and the ability to communicate that understanding—and sympathy—the emotional response that a physician might experience in response to a patient—is especially germane. Since these patients have “serious persistent mental issues,” Dr. McTighe’s goal is “connecting to them and understanding their norms, treating individuals with respect and dignity, which they may not have experienced.”

“Empathy doesn’t teach people to feel more, but rather to understand the right questions that help others verbalize what’s going on.” For 12 of his 15 years as a mental health practitioner, Dr. McTighe reflects, he primarily worked with children and families when he had no children of his own. He recalls the first time he saw a mother and her little girl, and wondering how he could help them. “You try to be attuned to what they are going through; you don’t pretend you have that experience. You’re human, and sometimes you have to be willing to say you don’t understand.” Dr. McTighe, after being the first PCOM psychology student to join the DO/MBA program with St. Joseph’s University, received an MBA in 2012, which affords him insight into aspects of organizational culture including the teaching and modeling of empathy. For example, administrators “understand the bottom line, but may not under*M. Hojat et al. (2009). The devil is in the third year: A longitudinal study of erosion of empathy in medical school. Academic Medicine, 84(9):1182-1191.

stand the assessments you need to pay for, or the need to train the staff that would benefit from enhanced empathy.” He is also attuned to the possible barriers to empathy created by what Dr. Hojat and colleagues have called “students’ gradual overreliance on computer-based diagnostic and therapeutic technology [, which] limits their vision for the importance of human interactions in patient encounters.”* Dr. McTighe says, “If technology seems to be taking you in the opposite direction from empathy, you can’t fight it; you have to get ahead of it, while practitioners are still in school. Urgent care can cut ER costs in half, for example. What might that model look like for mental health? Telehealth, for example, is an exciting new possibility for a practitioner and client to connect via videochat while still providing meaningful relationship opportunities.” In the long term, Dr. McTighe hopes to combine his clinical expertise with a business management role so that he can work on a broader scale, especially to enable community outreach at a higher level so that individuals have a better chance to get the help they need. Most recently, Dr. McTighe has helped create course materials for the company Help Each Other Out (, a nonprofit organization that “addresses community needs through education on simple, yet effective, strategies to empower, support and empathize with people in need.” Another project is a grant proposal to better understand patient satisfaction and patient perceptions of osteopathic distinctiveness and physician empathy. He stresses that DOs already “have been doing things differently for 125 years! This is their bread and butter, the core of the osteopathic identity.”


“Empathy is integrated into all medical disciplines” at PCOM, says Kenneth J. Veit, DO ’76, MBA, provost, senior vice president for academic affairs and dean, “and into all steps of the four-year process (didactic and clinical).” Dr. Veit points out that students especially learn empathy in Anatomy (showing respect for the cadaver and attending a postdissection ceremony), in Family and Internal Medicine, in Geriatrics/Palliative Care, in working with standardized patients and with real patients in the Healthcare Centers, and from modeling faculty, staff and clinical mentors. “Students also learn empathy in the way they are treated by faculty and staff,” he says, “and students are selected by Admissions (in part) for their empathetic potential.” Adds Robert G. Cuzzolino, EdD, vice president, graduate programs and planning, “Empathy is essentially a component of the patient-physician relationship that centers on communication. Much of that material is in the Primary Care Skills courses and their corresponding patient simulation, particularly in the first year. Community-based Medicine also deals with the patient-physician relationship, along with ethics, patient rights and end-of-life decisions.” At PCOM School of Pharmacy – Georgia Campus, the required Pharmacy Communications course (PHAR 119G) is taught by Jennifer Elliott, PharmD, CDE, assistant profes-




sor of pharmacy practice. About half of the course involves communicating with patients, she says, and that’s where empathy comes in. Empathy is conceived in the course as a teachable, learnable skill with tangible benefits for both healthcare provider and patient. These benefits include improved health outcomes, better patient compliance, reduction in medical-legal risk, and improved satisfaction of clinicians and patients. In contrast to sympathy, characterized by the notion of “sharing” a patient’s emotion (which could lead to a lack of objectivity and emotional fatigue), empathy is a kind of “compassionate detachment,” in which a professional can “imagine” a patient’s emotion. Empathy is also distinguished from pity, “a relationship which separates physician and patient…[and] is often condescending and may entail feelings of contempt and rejection.” Dr. Elliott makes the course as practice-based as possible, with students working in groups through a variety of patient scenarios in class. The biggest challenge for the students, she says, is “dealing with things they haven’t seen or dealt with before, such as a patient who is dying— and there’s no one right answer.” A student in the course last year, Hilda Alvarez (PharmD ’18), presented with colleagues on “Showing Empathy to a Diverse Group of Patients in Various Pharmacy Settings,” which discussed how to convey empathy in such pharmaceutical settings as retail, free clinics, ambulatory care, hospitals, long-term care facilities, VA hospitals and hospices. Ms. Alvarez covered long-term care: both independent living/partially supervised apartments or senior housing, and nursing homes with 24-hour medical care/supervision. The most prevalent disease states in such settings are Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, and depression. The best practices Ms. Alvarez recommended, based on her research, were to communicate compassionately and



consistently, to be patient and supportive, and to not make assumptions about patients’ conditions. Ms. Alvarez notes that for any number of reasons, patients may not be eager to come into a pharmacy to get a medication; if the pharmacist takes account of that reality, and builds trust with patients, “hopefully they’ll come back and ask for advice and recommendations.” She adds, “Regardless of the setting, you need to realize where you are working—what type of patients you’re seeing, their economic status, their literacy level. Even within the same city, you must be able to adapt to different patient populations and be able to empathize with them.”


In 1998, Gary L. Saltus, DO ’73, underwent two neck surgeries, followed by heart surgery in 1999. “I could no longer be a heart surgeon,” he says. “I lost my identity—and my immortality. But I had a wonderful opportunity to find out who am I and what I want to do with life.” Dr. Saltus found his passion: trying to get members of the healthcare community to come together empathically. “I’m a far better executive coach than I ever was a heart surgeon,” says Dr. Saltus, “because I’m open to the world and what the world will offer itself up to me.” Dr. Saltus describes his coaching work as “more transformational than oriented toward performance.” Rather than change behavior, he says, his job when working with a client is to find out who that client is; then “behavior will automatically change.” In the healthcare arena, Dr. Saltus works with departments and other groups to develop an empathetic cooperative culture, using the “outward mindset” model promulgated by the Arbinger Institute as well as his osteopathic empathetic philosophical core. Arbinger

“By shifting to an outward mindset, healthcare providers can work as a collaborative team, yielding better patient outcomes and sustained empathy.”

( “provides training, consulting, coaching, and implementation tools that move individuals, teams, and organizations from the default self-focus we call an inward mindset to the results focus of an outward mindset.” “In an inward mindset,” continues Dr. Saltus, “my focus is on how others are impacting me personally, and whether I think they can help me with my objectives. In contrast, in an outward mindset, the focus is on what others are able to achieve as a result of my efforts.” In the realm of health care, providers with an outward mindset focus on what can be achieved by their patients, peer caregivers and staff and administrators. By shifting to an outward mindset, healthcare providers can work as a collaborative team, yielding better patient outcomes and sustained empathy. “Behavior yields results,” says Dr. Saltus, “but mindset drives behavior. So empathetic behavior is really an outward mindset. I’m more interested in supporting another person’s success, understanding another’s perspective without judgment.” Dr. Saltus recalls his “heart surgeon” outlook: “‘I can understand everyone’s perspective, but they are wrong.’ The inward mindset focuses on the self, so as a surgeon, I asked, ‘How can everyone help me obtain my objectives and meet my challenges?’  “We call ourselves a team,” says Dr. Saltus of healthcare professionals, “but we’re all doing our individual objective tasks, thinking ‘I am all alone.’ How do you empathically create a collaborative culture, where each individual is focused on the success of others?” Take, for example, discharge instructions, which Dr. Saltus describes as “down to a science in clinical pathways.” If patients fail to comply with the instructions, “we say, ‘Why didn’t you follow them?’ instead of the team asking itself, ‘What are we missing?’  What if we came together and tried to find out how we need to tweak discharge instructions? We have a

silo culture. The silos would break down if everyone was invested in everyone else’s success.” Dr. Saltus was far from uncaring as a heart surgeon. “I did a good job of sitting with my patients, for 45 minutes or an hour. I’d ask them if they’d like to see their imaging films; I would go through complications, mortality and morbidity; I’d review what we had to watch out for after surgery—I would try to win their trust so that we got to know each other. If I could have them on my side, that was a lot of the battle.” But in the operating room, on the floors, in surgical intensive care, “I feared failure,” says Dr. Saltus. “I was afraid of change if I went into the ER. Now I look forward to disruption. I used to be afraid of controversy. Now I know that something different will give me an opportunity to learn. … Fear of change is fear for myself, a very inward mindset. Empathy requires that we experience vulnerability, which is very difficult for healthcare workers even though we require our patients to do it whenever they come into a healthcare setting.” It’s estimated that over 400,000 deaths occur annually as a result of preventable hospital errors. Dr. Saltus asks, “Just think about what would happen to sentinel events”— unexpected occurrences involving death or serious physical or psychological injury—“if the system offered a reward for helping the other members of the team be successful? Creating an empathetic collaborative culture is the answer.” Dr. Saltus says that Arbinger “gave me the language that helps me describe empathy and the osteopathic philosophy—because they are one and the same. Osteopathic philosophy is holistic; we’re taking care of the whole patient. With external forces, we’ve drifted away from our osteopathic empathetic core. I’m inviting people to come back. We need a rebirth of empathy.”




Rafael Campo, a celebrated physician-poet, has identified that, “Every interaction with a patient is in some sense a form of poetry.”


In the five vignettes that follow, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine alumni invite us into an empathetic space. They give a literary voice to their patients, and subsequently reveal the sadness, hopelessness, and joyfulness of being a physician.



met her as she sat at her daughter’s bedside. Although she looked as horrified, disheveled, and confused as any family member I’d seen coming to terms with unexpected loss and spending a night in the intensive care unit, I felt her expression grip my soul. Her daughter was nearly a decade younger than me and—as she thought until that day—emerging from a past of drug use to a future of opportunity. I couldn’t confirm for her why her daughter’s heart had stopped beating, even though she repeatedly asked me over the course of the following weeks. It may have been triggered by respiratory arrest associated with a severe asthma attack. Regardless of the cause, her daughter had diffuse anoxic brain injury and would never regain all of her prior faculties.


Alumni—from across the country—share expressions of patient healing on a path towards empathy. Edited by Jennifer Schaffer Leone

I watched the mother grieve, and I joined her on this path of many questions and not-as-many answers. Our morning encounters at the bedside invariably included a mixture of half-smiles and tears; a description of events at her home with the rest of her family in an attempt to maintain normalcy; and a commitment to give her daughter at least six months with a tracheostomy and PEG tube to declare herself and the full magnitude of her neurologic deficits before any discussions of withdrawing care. She demonstrated extraordinary hope to confront a challenging reality. I struggled with that reality and, internally, questioned whether her optimism subjected her daughter to greater pain than benefit if—in a not-so-distant future—her daughter might suffer from decubitus ulcers and recurrent urinary tract infec-

tions. She wouldn’t give up (and, seemingly, neither would her daughter). I encountered her a few months after her daughter left the intensive care unit. The tracheostomy is now gone; her daughter appears to be smiling and, perhaps, laughing in response to familiar faces and conversation; and she found her daughter a residence at a skilled nursing facility with capacity for water therapy. I won’t forget her. I won’t forget the charge to merge realism and optimism into a realistic optimism.


Physician, Internal Medicine, Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, Pennsylvania





ish color. I click on the email and am hit with a selfie— an image of a vibrant young woman in an urban park. Far from where I sit in sunny California, she reports, “Dr. Davis, this is me in Washington Square. I’m doing a lot of yoga these days. I am almost through my first semester at NYU, and I am loving it. I feel great—thanks to you. I wouldn’t be here without you. Love, M.” When people ask me how I can do this job, I answer that I can’t imagine doing anything else.

s a pediatric oncologist, when I reply to casual questions about what I do for a living, I am accustomed to hearing responses like this:

“Wow. That sounds so depressing. I could not even imagine!” Stomp, stomp, stomp! I’m sitting on the rolling stool in the exam room, playing hide-and-seek with a threeyear-old boy dressed in his finest white cowboy boots and cowboy hat. He is smiling and giggling as he tries to hide from me behind the exam curtain. I can see his little feet moving up and down and hear his boots hit the tile floor. How can this be the tiny baby I knew with the sarcoma growing inside his cheek? He couldn’t eat because it affected his ability to suck. Failure to thrive, nasogastric feeds, central line infection, status post chemotherapy, 54 cGy of radiation—you’d never know it today. Together, we are talking about preschool, futbol, and games of hide-and-seek. We are all smiling as we are bathed in the light of his joy. He is thriving. This is the farthest thing from depressing.


Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist, Bass Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, Stanford University School of Medicine


s a hospice and palliative care physician, I am afforded countless opportunities to learn from my patients. There is true privilege in being present during a patient’s most vulnerable time in life, as one is allowed to bear witness to many extraordinary and often selfless acts. Learning to be present with my patients during these times has taught me much about what empathy means. Hilde was in her 90s and had suffered a fall resulting in a hip fracture. I learned from hospice staff that she was a Holocaust survivor and that her name was among those on Schindler’s list. Given her life’s history, I entered the room with humble respect. She put me at ease with a gentle smile and, with her family, we discussed her goals. She was not a candidate for surgery, and she accepted this with grace. She declined steadily after this but lived her last days in comfort and with dignity. I visited her multiple times in the hospice unit before her passing, was reminded that the simple act of holding someone’s hand is often just as effective a therapy as a medicinal one. I am always reminding myself that my patients all have their own stories, having sacrificed, loved, laughed and said goodbyes to their loved ones just as their grieving families do with them now. Sometimes, if I find a patient is alone and in their final days or hours, I will sit at their bedside to provide some kind of presence for them, hoping it is worth something. I think about the privilege it is to play even a small part in this person’s life journey, and often I will think of Hilde and thank her for that lesson.

“How can you possibly deal with kids dying?” I hate this. I don’t want to do this. I am filled with emotion as I walk up to the PICU to talk with his parents. The death talk, DNR/DNI decisions. Dread. This is the last thing I want to do at 7:30 p.m., after a long day in the hospital. This is the worst part of my job. “Thank you for being so honest with us,” says his mom as she wipes tears from her eyes an hour later. We have both cried. His dad squeezes my hand. As I walk out, I take a deep breath and consider what a privilege it is to do this work. Remember, Kara: you are walking with people during the most difficult times in their lives. Be grateful. Be honored. Breathe in. Breathe out.

“When people ask me how I can do this job, I answer that I can’t imagine doing anything else.” “That must be the worst job in the world. How can you do that?” Ping. Another email hits my inbox. Some new task to attend to, no doubt. But wait—this is a name I haven’t seen for a while. My mind flashes back to her sitting in her hospital bed, wearing a hot pink wig, looking as sassy as ever. The room is covered with teen paraphernalia. She has been living here for the past six months. Throughout all the bad news—“acute myeloid leukemia,” “not responding as well as we would like,” “we’ll need more intense chemo,” and bouts of nausea, rigors, fevers—there was, more often than not, a smile under that wig, and a desire to chat about her favorite nail pol-



Medical Director, Blue Ridge Hospice, Leesburg, Virginia



ne of the attributes of being a “good doctor” that I learned as a resident was taking time with my patients. As a junior resident, I often found this “extra” time spent explaining and educating not construc-

tive to my growth as a physician. However, as I grew in my discipline and became a private practitioner, I realized that this additional time was beneficial not only for my patients, but also for me. Recently, I saw Mrs. May, as I will call her, in consultation for postmenopausal bleeding. She was very nervous about seeing me because she had not seen a gynecologist in several years, and she felt that this one episode of vaginal bleeding was insignificant. After an ultrasound, I explained the need for an endometrial biopsy and possible surgery. During the procedure, she was tense and not easily distracted. Afterwards, she tearfully told me about having a similar surgical procedure for a miscarriage and being terrified of a cancer diagnosis. I know God was with us at that moment. I grabbed her hands. We did not talk about the results or plans for follow-up. Instead, we talked about how good God was, how He never places us in situations that are too great for us, how we are victorious regardless of what we may face. Mrs. May told me she felt so much better afterward. But perhaps she did not know how much our encounter was a blessing to me. I do not talk about faith and spiritual beliefs with all of my patients, but I do recognize the impact that spiritual empathy plays in the lives of many who allow me to care for them.


Physician, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Carlisle OB/GYN and Carlisle Regional Medical Center, Carlisle, Pennsylvania


have been volunteering at the Women Against Abuse shelter at an undisclosed location in Philadelphia for the past eight years. I say “undisclosed” because the women who are accepted to this shelter have passed an extensive lethality screening, a screening that determines a women’s risk of dying at the hands of their abuser. They are asked questions such as “Has he ever choked you?” and “Has he ever had a weapon possession charge?” Over 8,000 callers last year did not reach this level of danger and had to find other forms of shelter, which leaves only about 60 kids and their mothers occupying a temporary safe haven. What the lethality review doesn’t take into account, but is implicit in each of the 20 questions it asks, is the effects on the children who see, hear, feel, sense, the dangers in their home, the place that is supposed to protect them, to shelter them from evils and fears outside, not within. Will (not his name) was 13 at the time, the same age as my middle daughter. He and his mother stood out immediately. Reserved, quietly awaiting their turn to see the doctor on our monthly “Doctor’s Night,” he had his face in a book, oblivious to the frenetic children running around, climbing on chairs, begging for attention. Will really didn’t have any medical issues, but his mom wanted him to get

“checked out.” His past medical history and physical exam were perfect, but my knowledge of how early childhood trauma adversely affects the developing body and mind did not reassure me that all would be well. I asked about his favorite author. “Rick Riordan,” he said without hesitation. “The Percy Jackson Series,” he blurted out. These were my daughter’s favorites as well; she had recently met the author and had a signed copy of his latest book. I asked Will if he would like me to bring back a few books in the series that he hadn’t read yet, and he agreed, not as excitedly as I would have thought—but then I remembered the empty promises that so many of the children we care for here must have heard over the years. I told him I would come back in the morning, before school, with the books. He looked at the floor for several seconds, then looked up at me with his light brown eyes that had seen more than any child should, and walked away. The next morning, I signed in at the security desk of the shelter and had the guard call Will’s room. My daughter, having heard his story, had given me the signed book to give to him. As I waited for Will to come down, I watched as child after child signed out to go to school, some in donated clothes that I recognized from our clothes drive, some with backpacks filled with homework and the secrets of living in a domestic violence shelter that each one of these children brings to school each day. Will finally came down with his mother and, this time, looked deeply into my eyes, saying without a word that I had not let him down. I gave him the signed book as well as a few more, and he immediately went back into the trance from when I first met him, book in hand, transported to a fantasy place where children his age had immense powers and were heroic. He opened the signed copy last, and traced his forefinger over the signature from the author as if he were signing it himself. “Thanks,” he said, as he prepared to go to school. “Keep this safe,” he said to his mother as he gave her the signed copy. “I promise,” his mother said, as she kissed him goodbye, and tucked the books under her protective wing. I stood there motionless as they walked in separate directions, the security guard my only companion, both of us knowing that we were in the presence of young heroes and their mothers, who will hopefully, someday, be safe.


Associate Professor, Drexel University College of Medicine, and Director, Community Pediatrics and Child Advocacy, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania







room so that every grandchild could fit, and we could pester our grandparents through each and every night and by Aishwarya Rajagopalan (DO ’18) drift off to sleep as Chandru Thatha regaled us with tales On October 11, of growing up in pre-Independence India. I woke up a normal That night, as I lay in my bed, I realized that my Chandru second-year medThatha would not be there for my medical school graduaical student. I was tion or for my wedding—or even for the engagement cerebehind in studying mony. I felt shattered. for my exam—and In the days that followed, I did the best I could to care rushing to catch up for my family and for myself. At the same time, I faced a because my famtough decision: should I go to India for the formal twoily had planned a week mourning period, or should I stay at PCOM and brunch to celebrate complete the trimester? I had already contemplated this my engagement. scenario; before medical school had even begun, my Type Family was coming A personality drew me to measure virtually every dreadful into town from scenario I could imagine. If faced with a death in my famNew York; friends were arriving from across the country. ily, I had decided that I would take time off and attend to “Just remain calm and enjoy this special moment,” my the mourning. But because Chandru Thatha had passed in sister suggested. the middle of October, the end of the trimester was rapWhen brunch was over, I packed my bags and returned to idly approaching, and it was highly unlikely that I would be my apartment. I spent the evening as I always did, replying able to go to India, return and fulfill all of the requirements to emails and studying. I realized that in all the chaos, I had for first trimester by the end of the term. not had a chance to Skype with my Chandru Thatha that Should I stay, or should I go? How could I live with myself morning. I reminded myself that next weekend I would have if I missed mourning this profound death with my family? all the more to discuss with him: the election news cycle How bad would it be to take a leave of absence from mediwas beginning to ramp up, I was already having an existencal school? If I remained at home, would I be able to study? tial crisis about my career path, and I needed his help to At last, my dad reminded me that what my Chandru Thatha plan my formal engagement ceremony in Chennai the next would have wanted was incredibly clear. A staunch advocate month. My mind buzzed with thoughts, but around 10:30, I and devotee of learning, he always stressed the importance of pulled the blankets over my head and drifted off to sleep. pushing on with our education—regardless of the circumstance. A little over an hour later, I was stirred by vibrations from my With my heart torn in a million pieces and directions, I Fitbit and sounds from my cell phone. Chandru Thatha had chose to stay. passed away from complications of diabetes—and it felt It certainly has not been easy. There are days where I feel that my world was collapsing in around me, too. crushed under the weight of the guilt I carry for choosing to Nearly 25 years ago, my dad was working to complete complete the trimester and progress in second year. I wonhis fellowship, my mom was working multiple jobs, and my der if the reason I have not yet found a place of healing is Chandru Thatha and Annees Patti had come from India because I never had the chance to properly grieve, or if that to make sure that their first grandchild would be spoiled is simply how everyone feels when they lose a loved one— beyond measure. Over the years, they made countless that as humans, we do not know how to properly grieve. trips to the States to witness piano recitals, dance perforConstant reminders of the sequelae of diabetes in virtumances and graduations; to teach Tamil to my siblings ally every course continue to test my emotional fortitude. I and me; and to provide us with the same extended family recall, especially, that parts of the neuroscience block were experience our cousins in India had growing up. In the simply painful to endure—learning about Broca’s aphasia summers, we visited them in Chennai. I used to count the and about what science still does not understand about days to each trip starting the moment we left them, and neurodegeneration. There were (and still are) days when I waited with bated breath to arrive at my grandparents’ would go home from class and wrap myself up in my blanhouse. It was obvious they were excited to see us, too, kets and cry for hours, wondering how my Chandru Thatha putting together two king-size beds to occupy an entire could suffer so much, but still smile every time we saw each 22


other; how he could always laugh on the phone even when he struggled to find words; and how from what felt like a million miles away, I could still feel his love. Yet what has made an otherwise unbearable experience prove to be meaningful is the community I found here at PCOM. From the time I told my classmates about my Chandru Thatha’s passing, they have sprung into action, offering messages of support in person and via social media and through gentle smiles in the hallway. They have taken me to lunches and dinners “just because.” Administrators helped me set up a realistic plan to complete the requirements for the trimester and beyond. Interestingly enough, my grades have improved significantly, despite my suffering sleepless nights and deep sadness. I attribute this to human kindness.

COPING WITH LOSS AT THE END OF A CANCER JOURNEY by Jennifer Schaffer Leone Hippocrates once offered, “Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.” Comforting courage was perhaps all the Georgia Campus – Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine community could provide as students and faculty donned shades of pink in early February—and together raised $1,000 for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. They did so in honor of Minister Sarah Edwards, the mother of Denaya Edwards (DO ’18), who passed away the previous month. Moreover, they did so to support Ms. Edwards. For four years, Ms. Edwards witnessed her mother’s laborious struggle with breast cancer: a double mastectomy, radiation, rounds of chemotherapy and the disabling side effects of medications. Ultimately, the disease progressed from stage 1 to stage 4, and she died of metastatic disease. “As a daughter, I often felt anguished. As a future physician, I felt helpless,” Ms. Edwards recounts. Her mother’s cancer journey was Ms. Edwards’ first foray into authentic clinical medicine. And she saw the good, the bad, the ugly. “I learned—in real practice—the importance of being thorough and detailed in obtaining and assessing a patient’s history. I grasped the significance of patient autonomy and how much honest communication from physicians and other medical staff, paired with compassion, means to patients and to their families. And I understood that patients deserve to be respected as human beings even at their most vulnerable moments, and not as diseases. For each is someone’s parent, a sibling, a child, a spouse. “My mom was the most selfless woman; she was gentle, warm and kind. She was a devoted wife, mother, sister,

When I published a piece about grief during medical school on a blog, I was surprised to receive so many messages from peers. Their shared stories have empowered me to continue to find balance in my loss. I am slowly reaching a place where, though I know I can never fill the void of my Chandru Thatha, I possess an empathy I never had before. I believe this empathy is a gift—one that will allow me to compassionately communicate with my patients and their families. Because of my experience, I will be more attentive to their private moments and personal rituals—be they filled with hope, fear, love, loss. I will facilitate these moments and recognize the importance that they hold in the process of healing. This essay is dedicated to KS Chandrasekaran, my maternal grandfather, and one of the most incredible souls I will ever know. 

minister and friend. She never hesitated to help or to pray for anyone in need. Her sacrifices were endless. As a result of her personal journey, I met so many heartbroken, rejected and isolated people who my mom ‘spoke life into.’ They were part of her ministry. As a result, these individuals called her a blessing to their lives. They are a part of her legacy.” While Ms. Edwards has not fully resolved her feelings of loss, she realizes that her mother’s death gives her fresh courage and a sense of commitment. “Ever since I was a little girl, my mom would remind me that I could achieve anything I put my mind to. She was always supportive about my desire to become a physician. My mom’s death has only strengthened my choice of anesthesia as a medical specialty. I will think of my mom, especially, as I manage my future patients’ acute, chronic and cancer-related pain.” At the same time, Ms. Edwards remains encouraged by her classmates and the larger GA–PCOM community. “My mom urged me not to take any time away from my studies,” says Ms. Edwards. “She wanted me to remain focused.” By working closely with Student Affairs and individual faculty, Ms. Edwards was able to remain on track with her coursework. Her peers offered personal support as well. “The ‘Pink Out’ in honor of my mom—and in support of families whose lives have been affected by breast cancer—is but one example of the care shown to me. I am so appreciative—and forever grateful—to be a part of a College that values the emotional health of its students.”





by Celine I. Thompson, PhD, assistant professor, psychology, and Jennifer Kengeter, MS/Psy ’12 (PsyD ’17)

As the United States continues to acknowledge its rich diversity, evidence persists that it lags in adequately addressing the healthcare needs of the entire population, despite attention to this issue in recent decades. This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the creation of the Office of Minority Health (OMH) and the sixth anniversary of passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) legislation. While OMH and ACA efforts to eradicate health disparities have made significant progress in improving overall healthcare quality and access, little progress has been made in reducing health inequalities. This suggests that tackling the problem of health disparities requires interventions that go beyond simple structural and systemic changes and involve integrative strategies that reach into medical education curricula and private practices. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services created OMH in the aftermath of its 1985 Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Black and Minority Health (known as the Heckler Report). The theme of HSS’s April 2016 National Minority Health Month, “Accelerating Health Equity for the Nation,” suggests that the Heckler Report’s evidence of the health disparities experienced by underrepresented minorities remains relevant and warrants expeditious attention. The 2013 CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report highlighted several racial/ethnic, socioeconomic and geographic health disparities 24


in the prevalence of conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and infant mortality. Social determinants of health such as race, socioeconomic status and geographic residential status drive many prevention and interventions strategies to address health disparities with a bottom-up approach. These strategies target the behaviors of affected populations (i.e., minority groups) with initiatives designed to change behavior to prevent disease or encourage the seeking of treatment. While such initiatives and programming can be effective, they alone cannot “accelerate health equity” without a significant focus on healthcare access and quality. Such needs have been recognized at the federal level through the passing and implementation of the ACA. The ACA addresses a significant structural issue that affects health disparities: the ability to afford and access healthcare services. Since its implementation, millions of previously uninsured individuals have been able to obtain health insurance coverage and services through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Reductions in the percentages of uninsured women, African Americans and Latinos have been achieved as a result of ACA implementation. ACA also aims to improve the quality of health care provided. In 2003, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare, drawing attention to the role of the healthcare system and

providers in these disparities. The IOM report highlighted the need for education programs to combat biases and stereotypes that impact clinical interactions between culturally diverse populations and healthcare professionals through programming in the form of medical education curriculum and training modules and professional development. As noted in the IOM report, eliminating racial/ethnic health disparities involves a multi-systemic approach. In addition to addressing interactions between patients and healthcare professionals, health disparities can be targeted at multiple levels of healthcare legislation, administration

and provision. Because health disparities are pervasive and multi-faceted, integrative efforts that engage organizations and communities along with private physicians, healthcare providers and medical students may likely yield more productive gains. A number of organizations have published evidencedbased protocols for reducing racial bias and health disparities. Many of these are available online or for nominal fees. Awareness and use of resources such as these, is our current best hope for eliminating bias that feeds the continued existence of health disparities.

Evidence-Based Protocols for Reducing Racial Bias and Health Disparities, Categorized by Healthcare Approach/Setting COMMUNITY ACTION


National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities: Toolkit for Community Action (Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)

Health Disparities Toolkit (American Medical Association) eliminating-health-disparities/

HOSPITALS AND LEADERS Equity of Care: A Toolkit for Eliminating Health Disparities (Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence, American Hospital Association) Improving Quality and Achieving Equity: A Guide for Hospital Leaders (Institute for Health Policy, Massachusetts General Hospital) A Roadmap to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) StrategyOverview_final_MSLrevisions_11-3-14%20%284%29.pdf A Train the Trainer Guide: Health Disparities Education (Society of General Internal Medicine) Disparities/SGIM-DTFES-Health-Disparities-Training-Guide.pdf

A Physician’s Practical Guide to Culturally Competent Care (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) Multicultural Health Care: A Quality Improvement Guide (National Committee for Quality Assurance) ORAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS Culturally Competency Program for Oral Health Professionals (Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) PRACTITIONERS HELPING THOSE WITH OBESITY Health Equity Resource Toolkit for State Practitioners Addressing Obesity Disparities (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Improving Patient Safety Systems for Patients with Limited English Proficiency (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) mghdisparitiessolutions.files.wordpresscom/2015/12/lep-guide.pdf DIGEST 2016




Andrew F. Drake, DO,

Woodbine, NJ, joined Cape Regional Physicians Associates on October 1, 2015. He has been an active member of the medical staff at Cape Regional Medical Center and has practiced medicine in Cape May County for 37 years.


Ralph E. Aldinger, Jr., DO,

Fisher Lectureship Focuses on Neuromuscular Disease The 14th annual Naomi and Bernard Fisher, DO ’52 Distinguished Lectureship at PCOM was held on January 29, 2016. Kenneth H. Fischbeck, MD, distinguished investigator of the Neurogenetics Branch of the National Institutes of Health, presented “Developing Treatment for Hereditary Neuromuscular Disease.” This annual lectureship is presented by the Fisher family, made possible by a gift from the late Bernard Fisher, DO ’52, in memory of his wife, Naomi Fisher. The purpose of the lecture is to bring nationally prominent speakers to PCOM, to broaden the academic horizons of the students. Pictured at the lecture are Jay S. Feldstein, DO ’81, president and chief executive officer; Kenneth J. Veit, DO ’76, MBA, provost, senior vice president for academic affairs and dean; Dr. Fischbeck; Denah Appelt, PhD, professor, bio-medical sciences; and Lynn and Scot Fisher, DO ’82.


Lazarus M. Kirifides, DO,

Wilmington, DE, was honored at the 25th Hermes Expo on April 5, 2016. Now retired, Dr. Kirifides specialized in obstetrics and gynecology, and is a community leader and philanthropist. He practiced at the Riverside Hospital, Wilmington General Hospital and Christiana Medical Center for over 36 years and delivered more than 3,000 babies. Dr. Kirifides also served as chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and chief of staff of Riverside Hospital. He is a life member of the Delaware Academy of Medicine and is physician emeritus of the Medical Society of Delaware. He was also as president of the Delaware State Osteopathic Medical Society.


Joseph M. Hassman, DO, Cherry

Hill, NJ, was featured in an article, “In His Footsteps, All Together” (philly. com, January 13, 2016), about his family practice, which is truly all in the family. Dr. Hassman practices with his four children at Advocare Berlin Medical Associates. Dr. Hassman is also an active member of his community, serving on the Cherry Hill Council and volunteering at Ronald McDonald House in Camden. Additionally, he established a clinical studies program as part of the practice. All four of Dr. Hassman’s children earned their osteopathic medical degrees at PCOM. 26


Gary Zisk, DO, Roslyn, NY, was

elected a fellow of the Obesity Medicine Association for excellence in obesity medicine and service to the American Society of Bariatric Physicians.


Donald V. J. Sesso, DO,

Gwynedd Valley, PA, was a speaker at the inaugural lecture series of Suburban Community Hospital in Norristown. His topic was “Care of the Acutely Ill Addicted Patient.”

Samuel Strauss, DO, MPH,

Round Rock, TX, retired from NASA Johnson Space Center as a flight surgeon for astronaut training. He has accepted a faculty appointment from the Texas A&M College of Medicine as clinical associate professor of medicine, and will be teaching a course in Aerospace Medicine.


Robert C. Luderer, DO,

Clarion, PA, was featured in the article “Clarion Hospital: Keeping Quality Care Close to Home” (Jefferson Democrat, January 28, 2016), highlighting his 41 years of experience in internal medicine and medical oncology. Dr. Luderer heads the medical oncology side of the Cancer Center at Clarion Hospital, providing expert care to cancer patients.


Belleville, PA, is returning to J.C. Blair Health System from a position at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center – Bedford, where he was chief of the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Surgery, and also president of the medical staff. He has also practiced in Tyrone and Lewistown, was director of the Lewistown Hospital Maternity Center, and opened his own practice. Additionally, he will continue to practice at Fulton County Medical Center once a week. Dr. Aldinger is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology and maternal-fetal medicine.

Theodore S. Eisenberg, DO,

Philadelphia, PA, was first-place podium award winner and second-place poster winner in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the 2015 Annual Clinical Assembly of Osteopathic Surgeons. He won the award with Stacey L. DonFrancesco, DO ’11. Their poster was entitled “Tuberous Breast Deformity: A Simpler Surgical Approach.” John C. Prestosh, DO, Nazareth, PA, was recently installed as the 20th president of the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians (ACOEP). Dr. Prestosh has been a member of the ACOEP board of directors since 2006, serving as secretary and president-elect. He has been the director of the Osteopathic Emergency Medicine Residency at St. Luke’s University Hospital in Bethlehem since 2001.


Norman E. Vinn, DO, San

Clemente, CA, was the keynote speaker for Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine’s annual White Coat Ceremony, held on September 19, 2015. Dr. Vinn is the founder of Housecall Doctors Medical Group, Inc., a home care network that provides on-site clinical services to more than 2,000 homebound elderly in Southern California.


William F. Murphy, DO, Sarasota,

FL, was invited to a symposium at the White House to address the need for postgraduate medical education and to help educate medical professionals about the disease of addiction. He developed the first and only osteopathic fellowship in addiction medicine approved

by American Board of Addiction Medicine. Dr. Murphy is the family practice residency director for Largo Medical Center as well as medical director of their continuity clinic.

William B. Swallow, DO,

Lewistown, PA, joined the Geisinger Medical Group at the Geisinger-Lewistown Clinic.


James Fanning, DO, Medina,

OH, a board-certified gynecologic oncologist, joined Michiana Hematology Oncology’s Advance Centers for Cancer Care. Jay S. Feldstein, DO, president and chief executive officer, PCOM, Conshohocken, PA, was featured in an article, “Schools, Others Must Take on Looming Doctor Shortage,” published in the Philadelphia Inquirer (October 7, 2015).


Vincent S. Fierro, Jr., DO, Erie,

PA, is the program director of the three-year gastroenterology fellowship at Millcreek Community Hospital in Erie. He is among the 21 gastroenterologists who serve as directors of osteopathic GI fellowship programs across the country.


Steven M. Evans, DO, Chester

Springs, PA, will be continuing his practice at the new state-ofthe-art Keystone Spine & Pain Management Center (KSPMC) in Spring Ridge. Dr. Evans is a board-certified physician specializing in the non-operative treatment of the spine. He is the director of non-operative spinal care and occupational medicine at KSPMC. Kenneth E. Wood, DO, Danville, PA, was named associate chief medical officer for the University of Maryland Medical System; director of the Maryland Critical Care Network based out of the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center; and professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.


David R. Birch, DO, Lewes, DE, a

board-certified family physician with more than 28 years of experience caring for patients in and around Sussex County, has moved his practice to a new multispecialty office. The office is affiliated with Beebe Medical Group in Milford and provides expanded care to northern Sussex County.


John W. Paulish, MPH/DO,

Towanda, PA, has joined Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre.


Anthony D. Aquilina, DO, Mountain Top, PA, was a

CLASS NOTES panelist in the Sunday Times, discussing the most urgent issues facing Northeast Pennsylvania’s health care industry and promising advances in the industry. Dr. Aquilina previously served as associate chief medical officer of Geisinger Northeast, as well as medical director of Health Services, Quality and Performance at Geisinger. W. Kevin Kelly, DO, Norristown, PA, was appointed to the Scientific and Medical Advisory Board of Tyme Technologies, Inc. He is director of the solid tumor division in the Department of Medical Oncology and associate director of translational research at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Kimmel Cancer Center, specializing in urological malignancies.


Mark A. Haggenjos, DO,

Portland, IN, was awarded the Doc Hollywood Award by Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA) at the IRHA Annual Conference Awards Luncheon. The Doc Hollywood Award recognizes individuals who provide quality health care for rural and underserved communities. Dr. Haggenjos began his practice, Family Practice of Jay County, in 2001. In addition, he is chief of staff, chief medical information officer and the only obstetrician at Jay County Hospital.


Craig Turner, DO, Merritt Island, FL, has joined Trinity Mission Health and Rehab of Rocky Mount. Dr. Turner practices general cardiology, with a focus on preventive cardiology, heart failure arrhythmias and coronary artery disease.


J. Steven Blake, DO, MSc ’94,

Philadelphia, PA, was awarded the William M. King, DO Award at the “I Am the Dream: The Past, Present and Future” award ceremony on February 26, 2016, at PCOM. The award recognizes the actions of individuals who have made an extraordinary impact in the healthcare community and whose acts reflect dedication to excellence in their area of expertise beyond the scope of their profession.

Gregory McDonald, DO, Philadelphia, PA, presented at

Osteopathic Medical Conference and Exposition 2015 on postmortem changes and forensic entomology and on the pathology of drug abuse as part of several practice groups led by the American Osteopathic College of Pathologists. He was also featured as an expert in a Philadelphia Inquirer article that discusses the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, symptoms and how to

protect yourself. Dr. McDonald was named chair of Forensic Medicine and Pathology at PCOM in July 2015.

Mark A. Nartatez, DO,

Philipsburg, PA, spoke at a workshop focusing on injury prevention and treatment for local youth sports programs in Clearfield. Dr. Nartatez specializes in orthopedic surgery and has a special interest in sports medicine.


Pauline Hricisak Kostelac, DO, Dillsburg, PA, was named a

medical director at Susquehanna Township–based Capital BlueCross. She is a family practice physician with 22 years of clinical practice, most recently with Washington Heights Medical Practice in Lemoyne.

Henry R. Schuitema, DO,

Medford, NJ, chief of emergency medicine and a leader in Kennedy Health’s Sepsis Prevention Program, earned national recognition when the program was featured as an American Hospital Association online case study.


Douglas P. Dietzel, DO, Dewitt, MI, was featured in State News for

his accomplishments as head of orthopedic surgery at the Michigan State University (MSU) Sports Medicine Facility in the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and with the MSU football team. In addition to this work, he serves as a board member of the American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine and as a member of the Arthroscopy Association of North America. He also works at Lansing Community College as medical director for the Orthopedic Surgery Residency Program and at Holt High School with Holt Athletics.

William S. Hirsch, DO,

Newtown, PA, has been named chair of the Department of Cardiology at Deborah Heart and Lung Center. He most recently served as the president and managing partner of Mercer Bucks Cardiology. Judith A. Rippert, DO, Dover, DE, was mentioned in the Smyrna/ Clayton Sun-Times (December 9, 2015) in an article titled “Partners for a Healthy Life.” Dr. Rippert is part of a team of skilled heart and vascular experts at Bayhealth Medical Center. She opened Delaware Heart & Vascular, along with a colleague, in 1997. The practice has since grown to include three additional cardiologists.

Felecia S. Waddleton-Willis, DO, Silver Spring, MD, was hon-

ored at the 2015 Mid-Atlantic Permanente Baltimore Region Annual Awards and Dinner Event


Physician by Day, Winemaker at Heart by Laura Hilbert

Joseph Gunselman, DO ’82, MBA, Spokane, WA, may be a proud graduate of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and an anesthesiologist affiliated with Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children’s Hospital in Spokane. Dr. Gunselman may also have been in practice for over 20 years, board-certified in anesthesiology, pediatric anesthesiology and pain medicine. But what Dr. Gunselman really enjoys is wine. At the end of the day, he heads to the hillside to attend to his very own vineyard. For Dr. Gunselman and his wife, Rebecca [whose family is a PCOM legacy itself: her father is the late Robert Greer III, DO ’57; her brothers are Robert Greer IV, DO ’77, and Jordan Greer, DO ’82; and her nephews are Robert Greer V, DO ’12, and Jordan Greer DO ’16], winemaking is more than just a process. It is an art that the couple mastered with the aid of Dr. Gunselman’s extensive scientific background, paired with his background in business/marketing. In 1999, the Gunselmans opened Robert Karl Cellars, a boutique winery producing handcrafted, premium Cabernet Sauvignon, Claret, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, and a dry Cabernet Franc Rosé, among others. Theirs is a multi-award-winning brand, for which much of the credit belongs to the locally grown fruit, which comes from Horse Heaven Hills. The Gunselmans chose this area in Washington because of various environmental elements, including irrigation, temperature variation and unique soil composition. “When we decided we wanted to plant grapes, we moved to where the best grapes are,” says Dr. Gunselman. When asked how Dr. Gunselman balances the winery and medical practice, Mrs. Gunselman says, “We just make the puzzle pieces fit. My husband schedules his vacation time during the harvest each year, and the rest is done after work and on the weekends. The whole family helps, too, including our three boys, Joe, Sam and Karl.” “It is a real labor of love,” the Gunselmans agree. “It is so gratifying when you walk into a restaurant and see a bottle of your wine on the table, or you get a review that someone loves your wine.” That is what makes it all worth to the Gunselmans, along with their belief that wine is an essential part of every meal. with the Baltimore Region Quality Performance Award for Most Improved in Primary Care.


Lisa L. Croft, DO, West Chester,

PA, has been elected to the Board of Directors for the Brandywine Health Foundation. She also serves as medical director for a national managed care company.

Kathleen M. Heintz, DO,

Delanco, NJ, was an expert panelist in a live webchat for 6ABC to discuss the diagnosis, treatment and management of cardiovascu-

lar disease. Dr. Heintz is a clinical cardiologist at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, and an assistant professor of medicine at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University. Judith A. Lightfoot, DO, Sewell, NJ, was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Award at the “I Am the Dream: The Past, Present and Future” awards ceremony on February 26, 2016, at PCOM. The award recognizes the actions of individuals who have made an extraordinary impact in the healthcare community and whose acts DIGEST 2016


CLASS NOTES of individuals who have made an extraordinary impact in the healthcare community and whose acts reflect dedication to excellence in their area of expertise beyond the scope of their profession.


Kimberly Legg Corba, DO,

President’s Reception Honors Joseph Kuchinski, DO ’86 The President’s Recognition Reception was held on November 5, 2015, at Hilton Philadelphia City Avenue. Jay S. Feldstein, DO ’81, president and chief executive officer, PCOM, presented the annual award to Dr. Kuchinski. Dr. Kuchinski is an attending physician at Tully Urgent Care Center/Clinic 21 in Norwalk, Connecticut, at Samaritan Hospital in Troy, New York, and at Memorial Hospital in York, Pennsylvania. He is board-certified in emergency medicine, and he has been involved in postgraduate education. A loyal supporter of his alma mater, Dr. Kuchinski has served on PCOM’s Alumni Association Board of Directors, including as president, and currently represents the PCOM Alumni Association on the PCOM Boards of Trustees. New members of the 1899 Society were also recognized during the reception, including Ronald Blanck, DO ’67; Joanne Hullings, DO ’96; Gary Kolarik, DO ’89; and Harvey Spector, DO ’63. 1899 Society members are donors whose cumulative giving exceeds $50,000. Dr. Kuchinski and Mrs. Andrea Kuchinski. reflect dedication to excellence in their area of expertise beyond the scope of their profession.

George N. Spyropoulos, DO,

West Chester, PA, was appointed medical director of The Clinic in Phoenixville.

Barbara T. Williams-Page, DO, Drexel Hill, PA, received the

Distinguished Alumni Award at the “I Am the Dream: The Past, Present and Future” awards ceremony on February 26, 2016, at PCOM. The award recognizes the actions


Orefield, PA, has opted to follow a new business model, direct primary care, for her practice. Dr. Corba’s practice, Green Hills Family Health Care, was founded 12 years ago and was top-ranked for four consecutive years by the Achieving Clinical Excellence program of Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Physician Health Organization.

Edward M. Marici, DO, MSc ’98, Red Hook, NY, earned his

board certification in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery from the American Osteopathic Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The new certification focuses on a specialty that is commonly called urogynecology and deals with disorders of the pelvic floor. Dr. Marici practices at Columbia Memorial Health in the Women’s Minimally Invasive Center.


Marnie P. O’Brien, DO,

Bethlehem, PA, was included in an “ask the doctors” (Morning Call, March 13, 2016) to discuss and provide her expertise on LASIK. George J. Seretis, DO, Woolwich Township, NJ, was elected as a new member of the board of trustees at The Memorial Hospital of Salem County, where he is currently on staff. Dr. Seretis is also in private practice in Logan Township, at SeretisCare Family Practice.


John B. Bulger, MBA, DO,

Danville, PA, was named chief medical officer for Geisinger Health Plan (GHP). In this role he is responsible for working with Geisinger Health System and community providers to improve the quality of medical care for GHP members. Dr. Bulger joined Geisinger in 1998 in the Department of General Internal Medicine. He developed Geisinger Medical Center’s Hospitalist Program and led the program’s development to include six hospitals and more than 100 physicians and advanced practitioners. Most recently, he served as the chief quality officer, a position he held since 2011.

Gerald V. Maloney, DO,

Hanover Township, PA, was appointed to the board of directors for the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute. Dr. Maloney is the chief medical officer for Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center and its Geisinger South WilkesBarre campus.


Christine N. McGinn, DO, New

Hope, PA, founder and chief executive officer of the Papillion Gender Wellness Center, recently consulted on the film The Danish Girl. Dr. McGinn has appeared on Dr. Oz, CNN with Anderson Cooper, and “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to discuss a variety of issues in transgender medicine. Jill C. Snyder, DO, Sugarloaf, PA, has joined Lehigh Valley Physician Group–Hazleton. She has relocated her office from to Brookhill Plaza, Conyngham; her practice is known now as LVPG Gynecology–Brookhill Plaza.


David J. Addley, DO,

Philadelphia, PA, was recognized by the Council of the City of Philadelphia as a 2016 Philadelphia Living Legend. Dr. Addley receives this honor for his more than 14 years of service as a cardiologist at Mercy Fitzgerald and Mercy Philadelphia hospitals, specializing in cardiovascular disease. Those honored as Philadelphia Living Legends are also recognized for their dedication to their patients and to “the preservation of life, limb, health, healing and happiness.”


Jonathan Eckstein, DO, Valley

Stream, NY, was presented with the American Osteopathic Foundation Caring for Communities Award for his work at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital and for his extraordinary humanitarian work in the Rockaway Peninsula providing compassionate medical care that will improve health outcomes for area seniors. Dr. Eckstein teaches at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine. Simona C. Eng, DO, Salisbury, MD, was elected vice president of medical staff at Peninsula Regional Medical Center (PRMC). She has been a part of the medical staff at PRMC since 2001 and is board-certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine. Jan E. Gavis, DO, West Chester, PA, joined the Family Medicine Department at Saint Francis Healthcare in Brandywine. Dr. Gavis previously practiced family medicine at Family Physicians in Media, and completed her residency at Crozer-Keystone Health System.


Kelly C. Baldwin, DO,

Coral Springs, FL, joined the Murfreesboro Medical Clinic in the Urology Department. He is board-certified in urology and is also a member of the American Medical Association, American Osteopathic Association and

American College of Osteopathic Surgeons. Kristen A. Berry, DO, Ardmore, PA, had her article “Make Adequate Hydration a Habit All Year” and a column “True and False about the Common Cold” published in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Dr. Berry is a family medicine physician at PCOM.

Brendan M. Flynn, DO,

Leesburg, VA, joined the Blue Ridge Hospice as its new medical director. Dr. Flynn will oversee patient care, procedures and programs at Blue Ridge. Previously, Dr. Flynn worked as a staff physician with Good Shepherd and Lifepath Hospices. He also served with Denver Hospice and volunteered with Project Angelheart, where he delivered meals to chronically and terminally ill patients. Joseph J. McComb, III, DO, Broomall, PA, graduated with a master of business administration degree from Villanova University.


Deepak N. Deshmukh, DO,

Yorktown, VA, was pinned Lieutenant Colonel by his father, Colonel Deshmukh, during the formation of the 48th Combat Support Hospital in Fort Story, Virginia Beach. Dr. Deshmukh joined the US Army in 2001 after graduation. He has been deployed to Afghanistan twice and Iraq once as a member of forward surgical teams, and is now a member of the Combat Support Hospital unit. Both Dr. Deshmukh and his father are vascular surgeons as well as war veterans. Carl R. Hoegerl, DO, Forest, VA, published an osteopathic study card and app (Borm Bruckmeier Publishers) to help osteopathic medical students, residents and physicians after he saw students struggle in their rotations because they didn’t have a single, concise and complete tool to reference.


Nicole Heath Bixler, MBA/ DO, Land O’ Lakes, FL, was

elected president of the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association (FOMA) during its 113th annual convention. Dr. Bixler previously served as trustee and president of FOMA District 13. She was also appointed to the Florida State Physician Workforce Advisory Council by the State Surgeon General. Dr. Bixler is a full-time family physician, practicing with her husband in Spring Hill.

Joseph M. McGinley, Jr., DO,

Lehighton, PA, joined the primary care provider team at St. Luke’s Lehighton Family Practice. Peter Ojuro, DO, Utica, NY, has joined the Mohawk Valley Health System Medical Group at its new Gastroenterology and Advanced


Endoscopy Group. He is a gastrointestinal specialist and has privileges at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare and St. Elizabeth Medical Center.


Patrick C. Kilduff, DO, Dallas, PA, was named Best Family Doctor in the Back Mountain by Dallas Post and Times Leader readers. Keith L. Leaphart, MBA/ DO, Philadelphia, PA, recently

co-hosted the Philadelphia Academies Inc. (PAI) Fundraiser, Academies rED, to raise awareness and funds for PAI programs that were established to assist students in their career choices when they head to college. He also shared the story of his journey from West Oak Lane to a decorated career that defies industry boundaries at a December 15 Smart Talk session at the University City Science Center.


Mathew J. Devine, DO, Rochester, NY, was listed in the Rochester Business Journal as a 2015 Forty

under 40 Honoree. He is the associate medical director and chief quality officer for the Department of Family Medicine at Highland Family Medicine, and an assistant professor at the University of Rochester.

Elizabeth A. Gebhard, DO,

Norfolk, MA, has joined Plainville Family Practice, and will provide comprehensive health care for male and female patients of all ages. Dr. Gebhard is board-certified in family medicine. Joseph David Love, DO, Missouri City, TX, was named medical director of Life Flight by Memorial Hermann Texas Trauma Institute. In this post, he provides clinical oversight for flight crews by developing and maintaining best practice medical protocols, reviewing patient records for appropriate application of medical care, preparing for flight review, and mentoring where appropriate. He is also responsible for educating crews and setting the tone for research, quality improvement and development. Dr. Love is also a trauma surgeon and associate professor of surgery at UTHealth.


Erika E. Jennings, DO, Gates

Mills, OH, has joined Saint Thomas Medical Partners in Hermitage, Tennessee. Dr. Jennings completed her medical residency in Family Medicine at Fairview Hospital, a Cleveland Clinic Hospital. Chad P. Walker, DO, Clarks Summit, PA, was elected to the House of Delegates of the State of Pennsylvania Medical Society. He has been a member for 10 years and currently serves as the secretary/ treasurer for the Lackawanna County Medical Society (LCMS). He will con-

BARBARA PARKER-BELL, PSYD ’08 Fulbright Scholarship Allows for Unique Study in Siberia by Laura Hilbert Barbara Parker-Bell, PsyD ’08, Clarks Summit, PA, an associate professor at Marywood University, was recently awarded a Fulbright Scholarship from the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, which provides funding for individuals to undertake graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools. Dr. Parker-Bell will embark upon her study in Siberia, Russia, conducting research at Tomsk State University and teaching art therapy. Dr. Parker-Bell’s research project, “Understanding and Supporting Development of Art Therapy Use in the Russian Federation,” will help assess training needs for psychologists who utilize art therapy techniques in practice. While at Tomsk, she will receive visiting professor status and will teach introductory courses related to art therapy and family art therapy. In an academic seminar, she will review cases to provide guidance in exploring how an art therapist may respond to clinical concerns. On the research end, Dr. Parker-Bell plans to develop a survey to send to practitioners who are practicing art therapy in Siberia—to discover where they are in their practice and what they need in terms of support. This will lead to designing a curriculum that will assist development of art therapy use and training. Dr. Parker-Bell’s Siberian journey first began when she mentored and helped facilitate faculty members and students from Tomsk in the United States. Ultimately, she hopes to create a cross-cultural relationship between art therapists/psychologists from the United States and Russia. She also hopes to provide more practical applications and ethics training in Siberia, which will allow psychologists to feel more properly prepared and supported, avoiding professional burnout. Dr. Parker-Bell will leave in September and return in December. “I will have to expect the unexpected and be flexible, and learn to go with the flow,” she says, as she knows that most of her study will occur during winter in Siberia. “It will be an adventure.” tinue to serve on the LCMS Board of Directors representing Lackawanna County Physicians. He will also represent physicians from Carbon, Monroe, Pike and Wayne counties at the State of Pennsylvania Medical Society. Dr. Walker is a partner with Professional Orthopedic Associates, Ltd., in Scranton, and chief of Rheumatology at Regional Hospital in Scranton.


Jonathan R. Kaufmann, DO,

Honolulu, HI, was appointed to chief medical information officer at Bayhealth after working in the same position at the Queen’s Health System in Honolulu.

Leanne T. Labriola, DO,

Champaign, IL, was featured in a spotlight article discussing her entrepreneurship and a device she is developing that could make a difference in how eye injuries are discovered. Dr. Labriola, an ophthalmologist and professor at University of Illinois College of Medicine, is the cofounder of InnSight Technology. The company is developing OcuCheck, an objective testing device that detects a chemical that usually is found inside the eye, and if found on the tear film, reveals that an eye injury has occurred. This product will be user-friendly, handheld and affordable, and is currently in the test phase. Jason A. Mihalcin, DO, Yucca Valley, CA, joined Visalia Medical Clinic as an orthopedic surgeon. He completed his orthopedic sur-

gical residency and internship at Memorial Hospital in York.


Deidre Kathleen Kathman, DO, Sudbury, MA, recently joined

Tri-County Medical Associates at Tri-County’s Lung, Allergy and Sleep Specialists. She also holds an appointment as assistant professor of medicine at UMass Medical School. Previously, Dr. Kathman was a public health intern at Bridging the Gap in Philadelphia. Dr. Kathman is a member of the American College of Chest Physicians, the American Thoracic Society and the Massachusetts Medical Society, and she is board-certified in internal medicine, pulmonary disease and critical care medicine. Erik G. Polan, DO, Cherry Hill, NJ, was featured as an expert in an article, “Why Your Nose Runs” (Philadelphia Inquirer, February 27, 2016). Dr. Polan discussed various causes for cold-like symptoms, and when to notify a physician. Dr. Polan is a general internist and instructor in the Department of Internal Medicine at PCOM. Lusia S. Yi, DO, Newtown, PA, opened a new dermatology practice, Alliance Dermatology Associates, in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.


Gretchen R. Aquilina, DO,

Philadelphia, PA, joined the John Randolph Medical Center in Hopewell, Virginia. Dr. Aquilina

is a bariatric and gastrointestinal surgeon, specializing in minimally invasive colon and rectal surgery; surgery for inflammatory bowel disease, colon and rectal cancer; surgery for incontinence; rectal prolapse; and screening for diagnostic and therapeutic colonoscopies. Nicholas C. Avitabile, DO, New York, NY, was appointed clinical instructor in the Department of Radiology at PCOM.

Stacey Carpenter, MS/Psy ’03, PsyD, Blackwood, NJ, has been

appointed director of integrated behavioral health at the Family Practice and Counseling Network, a program of Resources for Human Development. In this capacity, Dr. Carpenter will be responsible for the administrative direction of all behavioral health consultants across four Federally Qualified Health Centers, in addition to clinical supervision and training. Dr. Carpenter was a doctoral psychology intern at the PCOM Center for Brief Therapy in 2007–2008.

Stephen D. DeMeo, DO,

Durham, NC, has been appointed campus director for the Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine, based at WakeMed Health and Hospitals in Raleigh. In his new role, Dr. DeMeo will provide coordination, oversight and direction of Campbell medical students’ educational activities at WakeMed and the surrounding community. He will also represent the WakeMed faculty and serve as DIGEST 2016


CLASS NOTES gynecology residency at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Odessa.


Kelli Quercetti Farrell, DO,

Philadelphia, PA, has joined Beebe Medical Group’s ENT and facial plastic surgery practice located at Beebe’s Rehoboth Beach Health Campus as an ear, nose and throat specialist.

Kris Shallcross Gordon, DO,

Bailey baby

Katie A. Bailey, DO ’12, and

husband William Bailey, Atlanta, GA, announce the birth of their son, Liam, born on October 31, 2015.

Stacey Lea DonFrancesco, DO ’11, Cranston, RI, was

married on June 13, 2015, to Adam Neil Strodel in a ceremony at St. Augustin’s Church, Newport. Dr. DonFrancesco is a plastic surgery fellow at PCOM. Her husband graduated from Syracuse University and is a financial adviser at Vanguard. William H. Greenhut, DO ’08, and wife Sharon, New City, NY, welcomed daughter Vienna the liaison to Campbell University. Dr. DeMeo joined the Division of Neonatology at WakeMed in 2015.

Nicole M. Geissen, DO,

Portland, ME, is a new member of the cardiothoracic surgery team at Maine Medical Partners, a physician practice affiliated with Maine Medical Center in Portland. She completed her cardiothoracic surgery residency at Rush University Medical Center. William H. Greenhut, DO, New City, NY, was appointed adjunct clinical assistant professor of emergency medicine at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine. Richard A. Lopez, DO, Yardley, PA, joined Geisinger Community Medical Center as a trauma surgeon. He also completed a critical care fellowship at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in 2015. Most recently, he served as a trauma, critical care and emergency surgeon at Aria Health, Philadelphia. He is a member of the Society of Critical Care Medicine and the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma.


Amy Lee Curry, DO, Salisbury,

MD, joined Peninsula Surgical Group in Salisbury. She completed her general surgery residency at


Haughton wedding Lily, born on December 13, 2015. Vienna joins big brothers Brayden and Caleb.

Amber L. Haughton, MS/ Psy ’15, Bensalem, PA, married

David Edmond on September 18, 2015, in Newtown. Michael L. Lunn, DO ’05, and Dr. Carah Bernice Santos, Portland, ME, were married at Saints Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco. The couple works at Allergy and Asthma Associates of Maine, in Portland, where Dr. Lunn is a partner. Claire E. Otteni, DO ’15, Raleigh, NC, married Dr. Jake

Pumerantz baby Michael Dorfman on May 23, 2015. at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Dr. Otteni is completing her internship at Delaware County Memorial Hospital. Dr. Dorfman, a graduate of Penn State University and Temple University Kornberg School of Dentistry, is an orthodontic resident at Temple University. Aaron W. Pumerantz, DO ’09, and wife Christa Pumerantz, MS/ODL ’09, Rockville, MD, celebrated the birth of their daughter, Gracyn Marie, born on August 25, 2015.

PCOM, where she was awarded intern of the year and resident of the year, and in her final year was given the responsibility of chief resident. She then went on to a fellowship at the Colon and Rectal Clinic, Orlando, where she specialized in minimally invasive colon and rectal surgery.

Monique A. Gary, MS/Biomed ’05, DO, Wyncote, PA, breast

surgical oncologist, has joined Grand View Surgical Associates in Sellersville, a Grand View medical practice.

Michael Kaminsky, DO, Gainesville, FL, was named chief

resident of the anesthesia program at the University of Florida, UF Health, Shands, in Gainesville. Marissa Magid, DO, Egg Harbor City, NJ, opened Verona Women’s Health in Verona after completing her OB/GYN residency at South Jersey Healthcare. George P. Margetas, DO, Dover, PA, has joined OSS Health. He completed his residency at Memorial Hospital in York, and his fellowship training in orthopedic surgery at Baltimore’s Sinai Hospital.

Carmella C. Marshall, MS/ PA-C, Parkville, MD, joined

Scotland Health Care System at the Scotland Urgent Care Center as a full-time physician assistant.


Kevin J. McHale, DO, Mount

Laurel, NJ, joined PinnacleHealth System as non-invasive cardiologist at the Pinnacle Health Cardiovascular Institute.

Aaron W. Pumerantz, DO,

Rockville, MD, was stationed at Fort Bliss as the chief of rheumatology.

Christa Marie Pumerantz, MS/ODL, Bethesda, MD,

accepted a position as an inpatient occupational therapist at Providence Hospital–Sierra Campus in El Paso.

Stephanie R. Straka, DO,

Orchard Park, NY, joined University of Buffalo UBMD Pediatrics. She is also a clinical assistant professor at the UB Medical School.


Candice L. Abrahams, DO, Los

Angeles, CA, joined the internal medicine team at Visalia Medical Clinic. She completed her internship and residency at Georgia Regents University and is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine.

Kaysi Shawn Benefield, DO,

Odessa, TX, has joined Johnston Health’s Southeast Women’s Center. Dr. Benefield completed an osteopathic internship at St. Petersburg General Hospital in Florida and an obstetrics and

Sag Harbor, NY, has joined Southampton Osteopathy as a board-certified physician in family practice. Dr. Gordon completed his residency at Southampton Hospital. Daria Lin Guelig, DO, Wellsboro, PA, has joined Dr. Darius Adabi and Emily Solow at Susquehanna Health General Surgery in Wellsboro.

Jennifer Elaine Hanson, DO,

Moosic, PA, joined the medical group of Geisinger-Moosic as an internal medicine physician. She is board-certified in internal medicine and completed her internal medicine residency at Abington Memorial Hospital in 2013.

Matthew John Stanishewski, DO, Bennington, VT, joined

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center’s Rheumatology Department. He recently served as a rheumatology fellow at Roger Williams Medical Center, Rhode Island Hospital and the VA Medical Center in Providence. Dr. Stanishewski also worked as a clinical trial investigator with the Center for Medical Research in Providence.


Joanna D. Bayles, DO, Bay Saint

Louis, MS, joined Hancock Medical Center’s family medicine practice in Diamondhead, Georgia.

Christopher M. Burritt, DO,

Philadelphia, PA, will be graduating in June from his fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Dr. Burritt plans to open a psychiatry private practice in Chester County, where he will see children, adolescents and adults.

Stacey Lea DonFrancesco, DO,

Cranston, RI, was a first-place podium award winner and second-place poster winner in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the 2015 Annual Clinical Assembly of Osteopathic Surgeons. She shares the award with Ted S. Eisenberg, DO ’75. Their poster was entitled “Tuberous Breast Deformity: A Simpler Surgical Approach.”

Justin Lyons Guthier, DO,

Coopersburg, PA, was named chief cardiology fellow for the Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown.

Hajra Mohammad Hasan, DO,

Martinez, GA, has joined St. Mary’s Medical Group, Inc. and will provide primary care services at Johnson and Murthy Family Practice in

CLASS NOTES Greensboro. Dr. Hasan has a special interest in adolescent care and women’s health. She previously practiced family and emergency medicine at St. Mary’s Medical Group in Augusta. Jaime L. Nemeth, DO, Lewiston, ME, is the program director of the new Palliative Medicine Program at St. Clair in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where her focus is to develop the palliative care service and build relationships with primary care physicians, specialists and homecare providers. Dr. Nemeth completed her residency in family medicine at Central Maine Medical Center and a fellowship in palliative and hospice care at Maine Medical Center/ VA Hospital. She became interested in palliative care after spending time volunteering in Uganda after medical school. Brian Minh Tran, DO, Berwyn, PA, joined Trust Pediatrics in Fulton. Dr. Tran completed his residency in pediatrics at SUNY Upstate Medical University.


Joseph T. Candelore, DO,

Williamstown, NJ, has joined Internal Medicine Associates. Dr. Candelore specializes in internal medicine and the treatment of non-surgical diseases. He completed his internship and internal medical residency at Inspira Health Center in Vineland.

Tara L. Frankhouser, DO,

Royersford, PA, has joined the staff of Piedmont HealthCare in Statesville. Her practice areas include chronic disease management, wellness and preventive health care, gynecological care, pediatric and adolescent health, care for adults and seniors, dermatology, health screenings and immunizations.

Rajkamal N. Harricharan Singh, DO, Dandridge, TN, joined Newport Medical Center with his brother, Kabir Harricharan, MD, to begin their medical practices. Dr. Harricharan Singh completed his internship and residency at Floyd Medical Center in Rome, Georgia. His interests are in sports medicine and osteopathic manipulative treatment.

Nicholas J. Madden, DO,

Hollidaysburg, PA, was a first-place poster winner and first-place podium winner in general vascular surgery at the 2015 Annual Clinical Assembly of Osteopathic Surgeons. His poster was entitled “Primary Debridement Versus Revascularization Does Not Affect Limb Salvage in Critical Limb Ischemia.”

Laura E. McCourt, MS/Biomed,

Lewisburg, WV, is attending West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg.

KellyRose M. Nichols, DO,

Le Roy, NY, has joined Vladimir

Gaspar, MD, at Le Roy Medical Associates, offering primary care.

Bethany N. Pinkham, MS/PA-C,

Waldoboro, ME, was honored for her work at Regional Medical Center at Lubec as the recipient of the 2015 Physician Assistant Award for Clinical Excellence. She was presented with the award at the annual Maine Primary Care Association Conference in Bar Harbor.

Carolyn R. Smallwood, DO,

Marietta, GA, joined the WellStar Medical Group at WellStar Internal Medicine in Marietta.

Catherine Lee Spiker, DO,

Dandridge, TN, joined Newport Medical Center after completing her residency at St. Vincent Family Medicine Center in Jacksonville, Florida.


John Raymond Dahdah, DO,

Danville, PA, was recognized as the 2015 Outstanding Resident of the Year in Internal Medicine from the American Osteopathic Foundation and the American College of Osteopathic Internists. Dr. Dahdah serves as a member of Geisinger Health System Osteopathic Medical Education Committee, is a published author and has presented at several professional conferences.

Gregory Scott, MS/ODL, Norristown, PA, made his-

tory being elected as one of Montgomery County’s District Justices, the first African American to hold this post and youngest sitting judge in Pennsylvania. Judge Scott was the borough’s first junior borough councilman as well as volunteer first responder and EMT. Mr. Scott also worked as a congressional aide, a special assistant to Universal Companies CEO Rahim Islam, and most recently as senior staff to U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah.

IN MEMORIAM Thomas J. Bell, DO ’89,

Trenton, NJ, September 18, 2015. Richard F. Cain, DO ’51, MD, Spring Hill, FL, December 15, 2015. Ettore R. Castiglioni, DO ’57, Philadelphia, PA, September 8, 2015.

Ernest A. Christensen, DO ’65, New Smyrna Beach, FL, September 14, 2015.

Kenneth P. Cicuto, DO ’76,

Portland, ME, October 25, 2015. Lloyd E. Eslinger, DO ’52, Macungie, PA, October 03, 2015.

Anthony J. Giaimo, DO ’49, Palm Beach Gardens, FL, December 2, 2015.

Joseph L. Greenberg, DO ’43, Pleasantville, NY, January 21, 2016.

Jerome A. Greenspan, DO ’54, Boca Raton, FL, December 6, 2015.

Tom H. Kilmer, DO ’63,

Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, July 27, 2015. C. Glen Kramer, DO ’66, Quakertown, PA, October 9, 2015. Howard Levin, DO ’58, Cherry Hill, NJ, December 16, 2015.

William Lozinger, Jr., DO ’65, Bangor, PA, September 25, 2015.

John O. Marshall, DO ’99,

Spokane, WA, January 26, 2016.

Louis W. Martini, DO ’58,

Naples, FL, February 02, 2016.

R. Thomas Newell, II,

DO ’67, Palm Springs, CA, June 26, 2015. Paul A. Parente, DO ’59, Farmington Hills, MI, May 26, 2015. Charles P. Pritchard, DO ’56, Bettendorf, IA, November 12, 2015.

Murray Schreiber, DO ’50,

Park, PA, December 24, 2015.

Scottsdale, AZ, August 20, 2015. James W. Sillaman, DO ’44, Latrobe, PA, December 23, 2015. Norbert L. Silpe, DO ’55, Philadelphia, PA, October 13, 2015.

J. Grant Kehler, III, DO ’72,

Frederick Uberti, DO ’65,

Bertram Greenspun, DO ’59, Philadelphia, PA, October 7, 2015.

Elliot C. Kane, DO ’49, Elkins Woodbury, NJ, November 12, 2015.

Farrell, PA, February 20, 2016.


Kathryn F. Byers, DO, Glenshaw, PA, joined Latrobe Family Medicine’s residency program.

Ashley Pachutski, MS/PA-C, Mount Carmel, PA, is a board-cer-

tified physician assistant and has accepted a position at Geisinger Health System.

Lauren S. Saltzburg, DO/MBA,

Philadelphia, PA, was inducted to the board of directors for a threeyear term at The Hill School in Pottstown. Dr. Saltzburg will direct the school’s Health & Wellness Committee, creating a sex education curriculum for students.

Mary E. Zorechak, DO,

Peckville, PA, was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Navy and is in residency at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Save the Date for the 2016 PCOM Golf Classic The 24th annual PCOM Golf Classic will be held on September 12, 2016, at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club in Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania. All proceeds raised from this outing will support the PCOM Healthcare Centers, which provide critical health services to underserved and at-risk populations in North and West Philadelphia, Wynnefield Heights and Laporte, Pennsylvania, in rural Sullivan County.  For sponsorship opportunities and registration information, please contact Marianne Mancini at 215-871-6121 or

PCOM at OMED Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine will host an exhibit booth at the 2016 Osteopathic Medical Conference and Exposition in Anaheim, California, from September 17 to 20. Additionally, on September 19, the PCOM Alumni Association will host a reception for alumni and their families. To register, please visit the alumni event page on the PCOM website: DIGEST 2016




MORTON TERRY, DO ’45, AND MURRAY ZEDECK, DO ’62 by Aaron Terry, Esq., and David Zedeck, Esq.

Imagine suffering a heart attack, but no doctor would treat you simply because of the color of your skin. Think about visiting a doctor’s office and being forced to sit in a separate waiting room for “colored” people. And contemplate how this would make you feel as a patient who needed care.

MORTON TERRY, DO ‘45 Grandpa was my hero. He passed away in January 2004, but I still think about him all the time. He was a white, Jewish, Brooklyn native who grew up during the Great Depression. His lifelong dream was to become a doctor. Back in the 1940s, there were no student loans, so he went to medical school during the day and worked as a waiter at night to pay the bills. I could write pages about Grandpa and his accomplishments. He had an extremely successful internal medicine practice from 1949 to 1975, before retiring to pursue his dream of starting a medical school. In 1981, he founded



Southeastern College of Osteopathic Medicine in Miami, Florida, and served as president until 1994. During his tenure, colleges of Pharmacy and Optometry were added, and Southeastern University was formed. In 1994, he engineered the merger of the university with Nova University to form Nova Southeastern University. He served as chancellor of the Health Professions Division of NSU until his death in 2004. He accomplished a lot, but the one thing I’m proudest of is Magnolia Hospital. Grandpa made, as he told me, the best decision of his life and married a nurse named Geraldine Rafferty, RN ’45. My grandparents visited South Florida on their honeymoon in 1948, and never returned North. They loved everything about South Florida except for one thing: segregation.

When Grandpa began his practice in 1949, most hospitals would not treat black patients. I remember talking to him about this as a child. I assumed that perhaps this meant that hospitals would not treat people on an outpatient or elective basis, but would certainly treat someone with a life-threatening condition. But Grandpa said no; they would not treat a person of color even if the patient were suffering a heart attack. This was unacceptable to my grandparents, and they set out to fix it. They founded the first hospital in the area that was open to black patients, in Opa Locka, Florida, in 1953. And so for the first time, countless people had access to medical treatments that they had previously been denied simply because of the color of their skin. As you can imagine, not everyone liked this, and it was not an easy road. My grandparents were insulted (intellectually) and threatened (physically). But they never backed down. I believe the prejudice and bigotry made them more resolute and unwavering. As a young person I asked Grandpa why he was put himself through so much. He said, simply, “Aaron, the people needed care.” I will never forget his words. Looking back, I think my grandparents had a number of reasons for doing what they did. Grandpa and I used to sit and read books about World War II together. I learned from him how millions of people were killed by the Nazis simply because they were Jewish. I think one of his proudest moments was when we played golf on a golf course that he had not been allowed to play on as a younger man because he was a Jew. I suppose, in the end, all that matters is that my grandparents did what they felt was right as human beings. I recently thanked my 92-year-old grandmother for what she and Grandpa did, and how they raised me to oppose bigotry in all forms. It is a lesson I’m proud to be passing down to my four-year-old daughter. My grandmother was gracious—as ever—in her response: “Aaron, we’re all equal. Just go through your life and always do the right things for other people.”

TWO PIONEERS Dr. Terry and his cousin Dr. Zedeck practiced osteopathic medicine during the era of segregation. We will always be proud of them because, even when it was unpopular, they stood up for the rights of all people.

MURRAY ZEDECK, DO ’62 I’m extremely proud of my Father, Dr. Zedeck. He followed in my Uncle Mort’s shoes—both in terms of being a pioneer for the osteopathic profession and being a pioneer in race relations as a physician. He interned at Osteopathic General Hospital in Miami, Florida—which coincidentally was founded by my Uncle Mort in 1961—and completed his internship in 1963. He then opened Norwood Medical Clinic in North Miami and had a very successful practice until retiring in 1988 to serve as Chairman of a bank he founded, TransFlorida Bank, which is now Regions Bank. My Father taught me that most people want to do the right thing, but sometimes history and circumstance offer us a chance to give an extra push to make a difference in the lives of many people. My Father did just that when he ended segregation in a medical practice in 1963. Shortly after completing his internship, my Father took a job at a practice to cover for another physician in South Florida who was going on vacation for a week. My Father was shocked to find that the office was segregated. There were separate waiting rooms for black and white patients. My Father did not like this at all. As circumstance would have it, the other physician suffered a heart attack on vacation and was hospitalized for nearly a month. My Father recognized his chance to make a change. He pushed a big couch against the “colored” entrance and directed all of the patients, white or black, into the white entrance and waiting room. The lead nurse was aghast at my Father’s actions and told him that the head physician would be very angry. My Father responded that he had been asked to cover the practice while the other physician was recuperating, and that he refused to work in a segregated practice. The practice lost a few white patients who would not sit in a waiting room with black people. About a week before the head physician was slated to return, my Father visited with him in the hospital, and was asked how the practice was doing. My Father told him how he had introduced new procedures and lab testing and how the practice was growing. As a young physician, he then hesitantly said to the much more senior physician that he had closed the “colored” entrance because he could not practice under those circumstances, and he hoped his colleague would understand. The senior physician responded, “You did the right thing. I had practiced for so long in that way that I didn’t know how to end it. You saved me from having to make a hard decision. Thank you.” I’m proud of my Father for doing his part, as a physician, to end segregation and to stand up for the rights of—and healthcare access for—all people.



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2016 Digest Summer  

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2016 Digest Summer  

For alumni and friends of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine