Class of 2016
Class of 2016 Mission Statement
Mila D'Cunha, MD
St. George's University
Born and raised in Montreal, the “Paris of Canada”, I am fluent in French, a “foodie”, enjoy winter activities, and relish maple syrup. I attended McGill University where I majored in Biochemistry and received a M.Sc. in the area of Diabetes research. After completing my Master’s, I flew south to the island of Grenada for two years where I attended St. George’s University for medical school. In Grenada I had a tremendous hands-on clinical experience participating in several health fairs for underserved communities which sparked my interest in primary care. While I was there, I met my husband (a fellow classmate), Matt. We both enjoyed the pristine beaches, snorkeling, yoga outdoors while watching the sunset, going to the numerous festive carnivals, and simply integrating with the local lifestyle. Next, we moved to NYC to complete our clinical clerkships and founded an outreach program providing health education and screening to over a thousand individuals in the Brooklyn community for heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses. Through my volunteer work I gained a passion for health education and disease prevention. It was natural for me to choose a career in family medicine. My current interests in family medicine include full spectrum women’s health, complementary and alternative medicine, and preventive medicine.Outside of medicine my hobbies include being an instructor for Bollywood-Bhangra aerobics; a fitness program that I created 6 years ago and that I am excited to introduce to the Rochester community! I also love traveling internationally, the arts (singing, piano, painting), cooking, and most of all, spending time with my husband and our new little Boxer pup ‘Lola’. I am thrilled to be training at University of Rochester and look forward to enjoying what the city and community has to offer!
Ji Kim , MD
Eastern Virginia Medical School
I grew up in Fairfax County, Virginia, went to Brigham Young University in Utah for my undergraduate studies in biology and chemistry, and then completed my M.S. and M.D. degrees from Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, VA. In between studies, I have led clinical and bench research projects on medical education, transitions of care, diseases of the eyes, and lipoxygenase involvement in type 1 diabetes. I have worked in the operating room as a technician, assisted ophthalmologists, processed pathology specimen, and volunteered to help better my community in many ways. I enjoy playing golf, tennis, basketball, and most other sports.
Anastasia Kolasa-Lenarz, MD
University of MInnesota Medical School
Always a curious and adventurous young girl, Ani spent her childhood playing outside, building forts, singing as much as possible, and incessantly asking “why”- all things she continues to do as a (sort of) adult. Ani was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where her parents and two younger brothers still live.
She attended St.Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, where she received degrees in Spanish and Women’s studies and also sang and toured with the St.Olaf Choir. After college, she decided to take time away from academics and moved to Madrid, Spain where she taught English to 2nd graders in a public school, and learned to embrace the four-day workweek, the two-hour siesta, and long evenings at tapas bars. After getting her fill of the European life, she moved back home and jumped into medical school at the University of Minnesota. Outside of class and studying, she volunteered as a Spanish interpreter at a free clinic, co-chaired Medical Students for Choice, and spent lots of time de-stressing by skiing, running, climbing, and doing yoga. During medical school she also met her boyfriend Cole, who came to Rochester last year to start his Emergency Medicine residency! Yay!Although Minnesota has always been home, Ani is excited to meet new people and see new places in Rochester. She’s very excited to begin work as a family medicine physician, and is especially interested in women’s health and working with Spanish-speaking patients. She’s also excited to explore the Adirondacks, and is always up for impromptu camping trips!
Michelle Kosmalski, MD
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
I was born and raised in rural central Wisconsin, the fifth of eight children. I attended the University of Wisconsin—Madison for undergraduate, majoring in Spanish and Molecular Biology. During undergrad, I worked in a research lab for multiple sclerosis and enjoyed studying abroad in Alcalá de Henares, Spain. I worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant prior to attending medical school at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison. I was a part of the Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine program, and I completed my clinical training in the Green Bay area. I enjoy cooking and baking, cross country skiing, backcountry backpacking, volleyball, yoga and running. I also like to travel and attend local farmers' markets. I'm hoping to learn more about horseback riding. I'm excited to start my family medicine residency training at the U of R/Brown Square Clinic!
Elizabeth Meehan, MD
Creighton University School of Medicine
Growing up in small-town Iowa, Liz spent her days playing barbies with her older sister and babysitting her younger siblings. In high school she played volleyball, sang in show choir and agonized over what to do with her life before deciding to attend Iowa State University. After changing her major a couple of times, Liz settled on Biochemistry and worked in a research lab during her time in Ames. While the research was interesting, Liz was fascinated by the human body and her time volunteering at the hospital convinced her that becoming a doctor was the way to go. Continuing the theme of moving to larger and larger cities, Liz began medical school at Creighton University in Omaha, NE. Outside class she was mentoring chair for SNMA, volunteered at a student run free clinic, and taught physical exam skills to first year medical students. Visiting Rochester for a friend's wedding in the summer before 4th year, Liz realized that not only was Rochester a larger city than Omaha, but also a place that she could see herself living. After her interview, Liz knew that the residency program at Highland would allow her to pursue her many interests in medicine. These include preventive medicine, women’s health, working with underserved populations, and palliative care. Liz, her husband Pat, and their dog Ginger are all excited to be moving to their new home.The new New Yorkers look forward to finding a new favorite coffee shop, exploring the city's bicycle trails, touring the Finger Lakes wineries, and making new friends.
Morgan Mihok, MD
University of Michigan Medical School
When my Slovak-American father consulted the I Ching, a Chinese classic text, before my birth, it predicted a joyful daughter. Fortunately, that seems to be correct. I was born and raised in Moon Township, PA (a suburb of Pittsburgh) by a teacher and an emergency room physician who taught me to take care of my fellow creatures, to be kind, and to have a good time all the while. I started my adult adventures at Penn State University as a chemist, and continued in that vein through graduate school in physical chemistry at Columbia University in New York City. I left graduate school to pursue environmental work for several years before settling into family medicine, where I feel I can best combine my interests in wellness, food, community, and a healthy environment.
When I'm not at work, you can usually find me out and about at a farmers' market, on a run or hike in the woods, or helping friends with a DIY adventure/project. I'm also a fan of story-telling (I've told a couple stories at the Moth in Detroit), and hope to continue that in Rochester.
One last thing - I've had many friends and mentors help me along my adventures, so I try to pay it forward when I can. As such, my home (and most especially my kitchen) is always open - so if you're interested in the program and passing through, please stop by!
Sarah Porter, MD
University of Rochester School of Medicine
I grew up in a small town in upstate New York, where my youthful summer days were spent in the fields, helping my family around our organic vegetable farm. A hereditary interest in science and nature led me to pursue an undergraduate degree in biology from Cornell University, with a minor in development sociology. My academic pursuits were balanced by participation in wind ensemble (oboist), steel drum band, and volunteer work with local museums and elementary schools. I began medical school at the University of Rochester immediately after graduating from Cornell, with the last intervening summer spent working on the farm and attending concerts and festivals with friends. I kept myself busy with many extracurricular pursuits throughout medical school, including Spanish and french horn lessons, participation in squash and kickball leagues, and volunteer work with the local food bank on an urban farm stand project.I am excited to be staying in Rochester for residency, and am looking forward to continuing to develop my knowledge and interest in reproductive health, adolescent medicine, and complementary/alternative therapies. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, biking, swimming, and vegetarian cooking, and am looking forward to sharing these interests with my new colleagues!
Assunta Ritieni, DO
Touro University – California College of Osteopathic Medicine
I was born and raised on Long Island, New York. After venturing off to the University of Virginia to study biology, Johns Hopkins to pursue a public health masters, and then across to California to work and go to medical school, I am excited to be returning to my home state where my entire family including five nephews and four seasons await me. Having been raised in a bilingual household, I developed a strong interest in foreign languages and cultures leading to my decision to study abroad in Latin America. There, my exposure to life in impoverished conditions fueled my passion for and subsequent work in global and community health. During one of my first jobs out of college, as a clinical research assistant at Georgetown University, I became interested in public health epidemiology and statistics and decided after obtaining my masters to work in this field. I designed and conducted HIV/AIDS research among at-risk populations in California and later led efforts to reduce worker exposure to carcinogenic chemicals. I look forward to incorporating public health work into my clinical practice with underserved communities locally and globally.In my free time, I enjoy running, biking, and tennis - basically anything outdoors. Having grown up with two brothers, I enjoy sports and sporting events. Over the years, I have remained loyal to the New York Giants and Eli Manning despite my hiatus from New York, having found other ‘displaced’ New York team aficionados in California with whom to cheer. I enjoy being creative with gift making and using tools to repair anything. I love the sand and beach and recently found during my visit to Lake Ontario in January, that even frozen, it gives me the same sense of calm. I’m looking forward to experiencing springtime in Rochester as well.
Sandra Rodriguez, MD
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School - Camden
I am a native of Colombia, South America and immigrated to the United States with my family at the age of 4 to a small town in New Jersey. I am the second eldest of 4 and have 3 wonderful brothers! I attended Lafayette College in Easton, PA (home to the Crayola Factory) where I majored in Biochemistry with a minor in Spanish. Three years into college, I realized that although I like bench work, I could not envision myself just solely working in a lab. After college I returned to New Jersey to pursue my interest in medicine. During medical school I confirmed my passion for primary care because it focuses on the family as a whole, rather than just the individual. My professional interests include women’s health/reproductive medicine, adolescent medicine, and global health. In my free time I enjoy music, teaching, playingstrategyboard games, running, traveling, trying new cuisines and being adventurous. I am really excited to move to Rochester and to explore a new city!
Nicole Tetreault, MD
University of Rochester School of Medicine
I grew up in the town of Guilderland, which is located right outside of Albany, NY. From there, I began my slow migration into western New York by attending Hamilton College. As a student athlete, I found it to be the perfect setting to cultivate both my scholastic as well as athletic endeavors. I graduated magna cum laude with an honors major in chemistry, though I probably spent more time catching butterflies for my “Butterfly Project” thesis than I did in the laboratory. Outside of the classroom, I was a member of the varsity soccer and lacrosse teams, and served as captain for both squads. During my senior year, we took home the college’s first national championship by winning the Lacrosse DIII National Title (GO BLUE!!!) After graduation, I spent a year working at an Albany area hospital doing patient care work, volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House, and enjoying some down time before medical school.
I continued my trek westward by coming to Rochester for medical school, largely because I was drawn by their ‘biopsychosocial’ approach to medicine. As a medical student I served as a student representative on the school’s honor board, was involved with the SPECTRUM student group, and volunteered as a rape crisis counselor for the local Planned Parenthood. I even got the opportunity to spend a summer in rural Peru, where I conducted a field study on cervical cancer. I still enjoy staying active and play both indoor and outdoor soccer, ultimate frisbee, and most importantly, adult league kickball! My passion for primary care has led me to follow in my father’s footsteps and become a family doc. Rochester is a fun and vibrant city but is also super affordable, and I couldn’t be happier about staying here for Family Medicine training while my partner will be joining the General Surgery program. Please feel free to email me with any questions about Rochester, the program, or the wonders of the couples match!
Matthew Thomashefski, MD
New York Medical College
I am very excited to be coming back home for residency! I was born in Rochester and grew up on a small dairy farm in York, New York, about 30 minutes south of the city. I lived there with my mother, stepfather and three older brothers until going to college at Syracuse University where I studied Biochemistry and Political Science (and Syracuse basketball). After graduation, I attended New York Medical College in Westchester County. With any vacation time, I enjoy visiting my father and stepmother in Chicago. Looking towards the future, I plan to practice family medicine in a small town somewhere in Western NY. Outside of work, I enjoy playing basketball, golf, and am always on the lookout for a game of chess. GO BILLS!
Sarah Vengal, MD
Northeast Ohio Medical University
- I was born and raised on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio in a small town called Orange. Nevertheless, my favorite color is not orange, nor is it my favorite fruit (blue and strawberry are the correct answers). I have always had the desire to become a physician, and had the wonderful opportunity to attend a 6 year medical school program in Northeastern Ohio where I met my fiancé, Vijay Pandya, a fellow NEOMED Akron BS/MD grad from Columbus, Ohio.I have always enjoyed working in a team environment and always love to play a pick-up game of basketball. I have been the team leader of a quality improvement project, and look forward to continuing to be involved in improving patient safety and satisfaction in the coming years. I am also interested in sports medicine and pediatrics. Outside of medicine, I believe you should always be willing to try new things. I enjoy dogs, movies, food, crocheting, playing sports, travelling and other stuff depending on the day you ask me. Although I will be leaving my home of 23 years, I am excited to explore all that Rochester has to offer with my boxer/golden retriever/german shepherd/ whoknowswhat dog of 9 years, Goliath.