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Our Residents


Bryon Blanchard, MD

Bryon Blanchard, MDHow do you like your coffee?: Free coffee is the best coffee. When I have the option to choose, I like Sugar-Free French Vanilla creamer and artificial sweeteners, I prefer the pink one but, the blue or yellow ones are great too. 
Previous lives: Directly after high school in Fayetteville, NC, I worked as a certified nurse assistant while attending firefighter/EMT training. I found that I loved rescue and patient care far greater than firefighting so I retrained as a paramedic. I met an amazingly strong willed, funny, and perfectly matched to me nurse in the emergency department so I relocated to Ft. Myers, FL after we got married. While attending under graduate I left the ambulance and began working in an emergency department. First, as a patient care transporter, while waiting for my paramedic license to transfer to FL, then as an emergency department technician. 
Reason for choosing Rochester: I was first introduced to Strong Memorial by my wife. I researched the program and knew that I would gain more from this program. Also, I have family and friends living in the Finger Lakes, between Lake Seneca and Lake Cayuga.
Medical School: American University of Antigua
Favorite spot in Rochester: I love to cook. Whether it is new foods or a new technique I love to cook. Everything from the gathering, to the prepping, the cooking, the presentation, and especially the eating. That is why Wegmans is my favorite spot. I had never been to a Wegmans until Rochester and my first Wegmans experience was euphoric.
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: I have a chronic case of wanderlust for tropical destinations that all started as a child when I read Treasure Island.

Nicholas Contento, MD

Nick ContentoHow do you like your coffee?: All coffee is good coffee. But from September-January you’ll see at least one pumpkin cream cold brew in my hands at all times.
Previous lives: Clinical researcher, wannabe anthropologist, organic chemistry TA, competitive road/trail runner, lifeguard. I was definitely a border collie in my past life.
Reason for choosing Rochester: The clinical training is just outstanding here with a very diverse patient population — you really see everything. There are numerous research projects, fellowship opportunities, and tracks to pursue your interests, whether academic or not. The faculty are incredibly kind and wonderful instructors, and are committed to helping you get wherever you want to go. I also went to college and medical school in Rochester so it feels like a second home!
Medical School: University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
Favorite spot in Rochester: Any of the parks/trail running spots! Some of my favorites are Oatka Creek, Black Creek, Mendon Ponds, and the Seneca Trail.
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: How Forests Think (Eduardo Kohn), The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down (Anne Fadiman), the Harry Potter series.

Forrest Gresser-Baker, DO

Forrest Gresser-Baker, DOHow do you like your coffee?: Black or Irish
Previous lives: Occupationally I was a support counselor, phlebotomist, and ED scribe. On off days I have been a skier, mountain biker, subpar piano player, and cheesecake baker. 
Reason for choosing Rochester: Rochester is closer to the family in Vermont and has great critical care training. I'm looking forward to helping my parents winterize the house and eventually head towards a fellowship!
Medical School: Pacific NW Col Osteo Med
Favorite spot in Rochester: So far Mendon Pond Park and Dryer Park have been a blast. Looking forward to exploring more!
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: The Wheel of Time series has been an absolute blast of nostalgia lately. Also anything by Neil Gaiman.

Zachary Hackett, MD

Zachary Hackett, MDHow do you like your coffee?: Warm with the regret of knowing I won't be able to sleep that night.
Previous lives: Pharmacy Tech, Tutor, Chemist, Avid pet petter
Medical School: Among the many reasons for me are the people, the culture and the environment. Everyone truly has a passion for what they do, and it resonates throughout all aspects of this program. Residents and faculty treat each other like friends and family rather than simply colleagues which speaks volumes. The location is also a great blend of lakes and parks while still being closer to home.
Reason for choosing Rochester: Ross University
Favorite spot in Rochester: With sunblock: pretty much anywhere outdoors. Without sunblock: the same but now my skin hurts
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: I am more of a music and movie type of person

Allison Havens, DO

Allison Havens, DOHow do you like your coffee?: In great quantities and with lots of milk and caramel
Previous lives: Medical Scribe, Dog Walker, Professional Student
Reason for choosing Rochester: Everyone I've met at URMC has been super supportive and encouraging! It's also nice to be back home and around my friends and family in the area.
Medical School: New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine
Favorite spot in Rochester: Half Pint, all the coffee shops and the public market
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: I'm more of a Netflix fan but favorite books will always be the Harry Potter series

Richard Hesselbarth, DO

Richard Hesselbarth, DOHow do you like your coffee?: Outside on a nice morning with my dog 
Previous lives: SLP, PA, lifeguard, Blockbuster cashier 
Medical School: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Reason for choosing Rochester:  High volume and acuity were important to me when choosing a program. On top of that, the faculty and residents were welcoming, kind, and genuinely fun to be around! It was the combination of getting a great education and enjoying the people around me. 
Favorite spot in Rochester: Any place with live music, Canandaigua lake, Letchworth state park 
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: When Breath Becomes Air 

Andrew Howell, MD

Kenneth Felsenstein, MD, PhDHow do you like your coffee?: Cream added first so you don't have to stir.
Previous lives: Ski bum, biomedical engineer, house framer, landscaper
Reason for choosing Rochester: I had visited friends in Rochester before, so I knew it was a cool city with lots to do. The bike paths are great, the Lake Ontario beach is awesome, and there are tons of amazing restaurants and breweries. Once I realized how awesome the other residents and faculty were at the EM program here, I knew it would be an amazing fit. I really can't say enough great things about the people I've met here, there is a strong sense of community.
Medical School: Tulane University
Favorite spot in Rochester: So far it's gotta be Ontario Beach Park!
Favorite book besides Tintinalli:​ Endurance - Alfred Lansing (SO good!)

Rohsennase Dalton LaBarge, MDRohsennase Dalton LaBarge, MD

How do you like your coffee?: Light Roast 1L Bolus
Previous lives: Poet, Yoga Teacher, Community Organizer, Land Steward, Mohawk Language Instructor, Wampum Artist 
Reason for choosing Rochester: There’s no place like home!
Medical School: University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry
Favorite spot in Rochester: At the base of Lower Falls in the Genesee River Gorge
Favorite book besides Tintinalli:​ One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Márquez

James Pirraglia, DO

Holland Garbacz, DOHow do you like your coffee?: Iced with cream and coffee syrup from Rhode Island
Previous lives: ED scribe, Biotech TA, Movie theater usher, Minister of the Universal Life Church
Medical School: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Reason for choosing Rochester: I did my core rotations in Rochester and I love the area. There is a lot to do and the people here are great. The faculty, staff, and residents at Strong are all extremely nice and welcoming.
Favorite spot in Rochester: Youngs Korean Restaurant
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

Emma Snyder, DO

Emma Snyder, DOHow do you like your coffee?: as an iced vanilla oat milk latte
Previous lives: biochemist; cross country collegiate athlete; iPad kid
Reason for choosing Rochester: Getting treatment for a childhood cancer at URMC was what initially inspired me to go into medicine, so it was a no-brainer to come back.
Medical School: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Favorite spot in Rochester: Genesee Valley Park & trail system; Cafe Sasso; wherever my dog is.
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: The Disappearing Spoon; Being Mortal; The Emperor of All Maladies; Calvin & Hobbes.

Devin Spivey, MD

Devin Spivey, MDHow do you like your coffee?: In small quantities. More of a water kind of person. That may or may not change.
Previous lives: Rock climber (previous/current?), Caterer, Analytical Chemistry TA, HVAC Assistant, McDonald's super chef
Medical School: Northeast Ohio Med University
Reason for choosing Rochester: It was absolutely the interview day that did it for me. Everyone was very approachable and friendly. More so than anything the whole process felt genuine in that people were passionate when talking about medicine/residency and it wasn't just going through the motions. That said, at the end of the day I really wanted a program where I would be challenged and to become a more than competent physician. In every regard the program has exceeded my expectations thus far.
Favorite spot in Rochester: Definitely the Red Barn Climbing Gym next to RIT. Something about no air conditioning/heating in an old historic barn is just a vibe.
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: I used to really enjoy Stephen King books, but I have such a short attention span now that podcasts are the best I can do

Kaylee Stepanski, MD

Kaylee Stepanski, MDHow do you like your coffee?: My daily drinker is a medium roast with just flavored creamer but if I had the money to drink it daily my absolute favorite is a butter pecan or caramel brulee latte
Medical School: St. George's University School of Medicine
Reason for choosing Rochester: This was one of my favorite interviews and social hour with the residents. I connected with everyone so easily and they made me feel so welcomed. My gut just kept telling me I was meant to be in Rochester for some reason.... still trying to figure out that reason. But I was also super excited about all the bodies of water near me and all the outdoor activities this area offers!
Previous lives: Baker, ED scribe, Surgical scribe, world traveler
Favorite spot in Rochester: To be determined - still exploring as I moved here 5 days before orientation started! I have to say, the food at Old Pueblo Grill is my favorite food spot so far!
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: The Alchemist, When Breath Becomes Air


Tyler Wilson, DO

Tyler Wilson, DOHow do you like your coffee?: I like to keep it simple. Hot in the winter. Iced in the summer. Always with milk.
Previous lives: Lifeguard, Patient Transporter, Lab Technician in UR Biology Dept.
Medical School: New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine
Reason for choosing Rochester: Rochester is an awesome city with a vibrant and supportive culture for people from all walks of life. There are things to do in every season no matter the weather. During my away rotation in the ED at URMC, I got a feeling that everyone in the program truly wanted to be there and look out for each other. The attendings were supportive and the residents were tight-knit and friendly. Could not be happier to join the family!
Favorite spot in Rochester: The Vesper for cocktails, the canal trail for a peaceful run, Frontier Field for a Redwings game, and Comedy at the Carlson for a good laugh.
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: The Nix by Nathan Hill

Tarek Yamout, MD

Tarek Yamout, MDHow do you like your coffee?: Black as the universe intended it...bonus points for the gasoline that is Arabic coffee.
Medical School: Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences - SUNY Buffalo
Reason for choosing Rochester: Having spent my formative years in Rochester after moving to the US and then sticking around for undergrad at the University of Rochester, I never thought I would be coming back to spend another formative part of my life journey here as a resident. But, I couldn't be happier. The program is fantastic, the curriculum is broad and in-depth, and having the opportunity to serve a community that has given so much to me is a reward in and of itself.
Previous lives: Medical scribe, spine researcher, possibly a secret agent who knows
Favorite spot in Rochester: At my parents' dinner table eating whatever my mom made.
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: The Prophet by Khalil Gibran



Kassaundra Amann, MD

Kassaundra Amann, MDHow do you like your coffee?: I like tea better! Right now, iced chai is my favorite
Previous lives: Research Coordinator in Children's Nephrology, Cabin and Trail Crew Leader, Interfaith Undergrad Adviser
Reason for choosing Rochester: I did an away here and was really impressed by how warm, welcoming, and interested in teaching everyone was. I also liked the strong academic nature of the program and how I'd be able to pursue lots of my special interests in EM. Plus my family's from the area and I love Rochester!
Medical School: University of Utah School of Medicine
Favorite spot in Rochester: Highland Park during lilac season or swimming in Lake Ontario
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner or pretty much any book set in the western U.S., fiction or non-fiction

Kristina Awan, MD

Kristina Awan, MDHow do you like your coffee?: Creamy and delicious!
Previous lives: I've been a lifelong student! Growing up I was a competitive cheerleader and spent a lot of time horseback riding. My sisters and I used to compete in local rodeos.
Reason for choosing Rochester: I really connected with the people I spoke to during my interview. They described how this program offered an uplifting, supportive learning environment where residents and faculty viewed each other as family.
Medical School: Nova Southeastern University
Favorite spot in Rochester: Dave's Ice Cream in Batavia
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: I'm always reading new things! I recently read The Alice Network and really enjoyed it.

Michael-John Beltejar, MD, PhD

Michael-John Beltejar, MD, PhDHow do you like your coffee?: The way I like our universe: black with infinite volume and sprinkled with some intrigue
Previous lives: The details of my life are quite inconsequential…very well, where do I begin? My childhood was typical. Summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring we’d make meat helmets.
Reason for choosing Rochester: Curriculum is fantastic, co-residents are awesome, this is a great place to raise a family
Medical School: University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry
Favorite spot in Rochester: Where ever my wife and kids happen to be; The Auditorium, Velvet Belly, Pittsford Canal and our secret fishing hole are all tied for second place
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: World War Z, Batman and Philosophy, The Best of the Journal of Irreproducible Results, Anonymous Rex, American Gods, Death:the High Cost of Living

Nia Botkin, DO

Nia Botkin, DOHow do you like your coffee?: Iced with an extra shot of expresso
Previous lives: Waitress, Nanny, EM Scribe
Medical School: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Reason for choosing Rochester: Close to family, the people in the program are amazing and very supportive
Favorite spot in Rochester: Bristol Mountain, Finger Lakes
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Cullan Donnelly, MD

Cullen DonnellyHow do you like your coffee?: I aspire to be a coffee snob someday, but for now whatever is in my hands, warm, and highly caffeinated will have to do.
Previous lives: I feel like given my love for the water and recently discovered vitamin D deficiency, I was definitely a pirate in another life. And I need more sunlight.
Reason for choosing Rochester: The residency leadership and culture were among the highest factors, along with the fact that nothing gets referred out of Strong Memorial Hospital. I firmly believe that this program is going to make me a highly competent attending. Also, the proximity to large bodies of water, Wegman's, and the fact that Bills Mafia is still highly represented here. I'm from Buffalo and am pretty familiar with the area.
Medical School: Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences - SUNY Buffalo
Favorite spot in Rochester: : Dinosaur Barbecue
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Kaila Druetto, DO

Kaila Druetto, DOHow do you like your coffee?: With just enough cream to stave off the GERD that is associated with the gallons I drink a week.
Previous lives: Mosquito hunter, health benefits advocate, program coordinator for post-secondary success, community gardens manager, sustainable farm-er, waitress, ice cream scooper
Medical School: Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Reason for choosing Rochester:  I chose Rochester because I felt like, more than any other program I interviewed with, the people here were genuine about their mission. They care deeply about their patients and are committed to providing us with everything we need to become socially-conscious physicians ready to better the field of emergency medicine. Since being here, that has only been proven true. On top of that- everyone really seemed down to earth and kind. My expectations have only been exceeded on that front!
Favorite spot in Rochester: So many options to be outside and near or on the water! The beaches on Ontario Lake, walking/running/biking along Genesee river. The Rochester Public Market. Can't wait to find more!
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: Wait - do people still read books? Ask me about my podcast lineup.

Kenneth Felsenstein, MD, PhD

Kenneth Felsenstein, MD, PhDHow do you like your coffee?: Strong
Previous lives: Many years of school and research- PhD, Biotech Masters, Cancer Research Fellow. Coolest job I had before EM was one summer when I was paid to walk around town, look at trees, and ride a boat around the Baltimore Inner Harbor... Before Rochester, I previously lived in San Francisco (briefly), Denver/Boulder/Aurora Colorado, Los Angeles, outside Washington DC, Baltimore, New Jersey, and England.
Reason for choosing Rochester: Above all I felt that I connected really well with the people I met on my interview day and got a strong sense that this was a very family friendly program where I would be nurtured and supported on a personal as well as professional level. My partner and I plan to build our family during residency. In terms of program structure, I was excited about the research opportunities and the critical care bay shifts as a PGY 2/3, since I am interested in critical care fellowship.
Medical School: University of Colorado School of Medicine
Favorite spot in Rochester: Durand Eastman Beach is quite beautiful. Also a big fan of the Public Market! Super cheap veggies!!
Favorite book besides Tintinalli:​ Rosen's, of course ; ) I also am a fan of The Good Earth by Pearl Buck.

Abby Frank, MDAbby Frank, MD

How do you like your coffee?: I like when my coffee is actually Red Bull
Previous lives:Trampoline park enthusiast, waitress, preschool camp counselor, amateur trapeze artist, college diver, Emergency Department Research Associate and PAL in the Strong ED (where I fell in love with EM!)
Reason for choosing Rochester: I moved here for undergrad, and Rochester has become my home over the past 10 years.
Medical School: University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry
Favorite spot in Rochester: At home playing board games with my husband
Favorite book besides Tintinalli:​ Anything by C.S. Lewis; the Gift of Pain by Paul Brand

Holland Garbacz, DO

Holland Garbacz, DOHow do you like your coffee?: With cream, although I could always go for espresso!
Previous lives: Gymnastics coach, office manager, still a cat-mom
Medical School: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Reason for choosing Rochester: This program has the family atmosphere / spirit that I was looking for and also happens to be my home! I am so excited to be training in my home community.
Favorite spot in Rochester: I have many, but Leaf and Bean in Chili has my heart.
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: Pet Sematary by Stephen King

Matthew Lambrych, MD

Matthew-LambrychHow do you like your coffee?: With lots of sugar and no coffee
Previous lives: Dog enthusiast, dog walker, dog dad
Reason for choosing Rochester: The faculty and sense of community
Medical School: University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry
Favorite spot in Rochester: Durand Eastman Beach
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: Sherlock Holmes

Hannah Norton, DO

Hannah NortonHow do you like your coffee?: Usually black and strong, but every now and then go for something super sweet!
Previous lives: Travel Scribe, Office Manager, Dog Walker
Medical School: Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine in North Carolina
Reason for choosing Rochester: On my interview day, everyone seemed so supportive and encouraging. I loved the sense of community that permeates this program as well as the huge number of opportunities that are available here. No matter your interest, the leadership here will help you find a way to cultivate it. This was an early interview for me, and I compared every other program to it - it just felt like the right fit!
Favorite spot in Rochester: I'm new to the area, so still discovering all the options! You can usually find me somewhere hanging out with my dog, Bear. Mendon Ponds has been a recent go-to for hiking! I'm looking forward to exploring more of the beer and wine scene too!
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: To Kill A Mockingbird, Anne of Green Gables, Jurassic Park, also love a murder mystery

Daniel Petroccione, MD

Daniel Petroccione, MDHow do you like your coffee?: Black with lots of sugar
Medical School: SUNY Upstate
Previous lives: Hockey coach, Teacher, Food scientist, DEC representative and State Fair worker
Favorite spot in Rochester: Ontario Beach
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: Jurassic Park

Cole Schailey, DO

Cole Schailey, DO / Class of 2025How do you like your coffee?: Deconstructed (as a bowl of beans & a glass of sugar milk)... uh... next question! 
Reason for choosing Rochester: After doing my one away rotation for the year here (thanks COVID), it was really a no-brainer. The attending physicians were all extremely patient, kind, and eager to teach. The patient population was extremely diverse, and usually very sick/complex. The camaraderie was second to none, as the residents clearly all loved being together and always had each other's backs. With the large number of opportunities and resources available here, and the constant support the program leadership gives you, there was not much more you could ask for in a program!
Medical School: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Previous lives: I'm like 78% sure I was a Pterodactyl at some point.
Favorite spot in Rochester: Rochester Public Market, Ellison Dog Park with my dog, any place with a good garbage plate, Young's Korean Resturant, sometimes Buffalo Rd Tinseltown movie theatre if there's a new Marvel movie out
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: Stuff that makes me sound smart: Think Again/Originals by Adam Grant. Stuff that I actually read because it has pictures that appeal to my ape brain: One Piece, Jujutsu Kaisen, Chainsaw Man, occasional dc/marvel comic

Neel Tarikeri, MD

Neel Tarikeri, MDHow do you like your coffee?: Iced Cold Brew
Reason for choosing Rochester: URMC has a lot to offer, especially with its critical care bay and high patient volume and acuity, but it was my experience during my interview day that truly sold me. I could tell that everyone in the program (from the program leadership to the new interns) loved that they were here. Every place that you interview at tells you that their program is very supportive of their residents and that they’re extremely tight-knit, but I left the interview day feeling that they really meant it. 
Medical School: SUNY Upstate
Previous lives: Lifelong student
Favorite spot in Rochester: Still exploring, but Beer Park and Ontario Beach Park are early frontrunners
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: ​Sparknotes


Swetaleena Dash, MD

Dash_SwetaleenaHow do you like your coffee?: Iced with lots of creamer
Previous lives: Medical assistant, translational medicine researcher
Reason for choosing Rochester: Great academic emergency medicine program with the friendliest people! Everyone only had nice things to say about the program and city.
Medical School: University of Texas Medical Branch
Favorite spot in Rochester: Mendon Ponds
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: To Kill a Mockingbird

Austin Ferrier, MD

Austin FerrierHow do you like your coffee?: Black cold brew or homemade lattes
Previous lives: Installing pools, chemistry TA, bar bouncer
Reason for choosing Rochester: Clicked with faculty/residents on interview day and love the balance of city, suburb and rural all within 20 minutes. It's also within a reasonable distance to my family and I have some friends who live in the area.
Medical School: Stony Brook School of Medicine
Favorite spot in Rochester: Beer Park, being on the boat in Irondequoit Bay or Lake Ontario and Hungry's plate wraps
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: Harry Potter series and going down the Wikipedia rabbit hole

Spencer Foutz, DO

Foutz_SpencerHow do you like your coffee?: Personally I prefer the kids menu - a good caramel apple cider always hits the spot!
Previous lives: I worked in residential construction for a long time, mostly in drywall doing the finishing work. Other than that I was a custodian, patient care tech, and research assistant. I also spent a semester in Shanghai as an English Teacher.
Reason for choosing Rochester: The people here are just awesome and the area is beautiful! I felt welcomed from the start and was very impressed during virtual events with how much everybody liked each other and the program - EVEN with all the stress and unknowns of COVID! It's also a really fun area for my family and the schools are great.
Medical School: Touro University Nevada
Favorite spot in Rochester: Getting ice cream at the famous Pittsford Dairy and working it off kayaking or hiking at Mendon Ponds
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: Either the Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg or Multipliers by Liz Wiseman

Demi Galindo, MD

Demi GalindoHow do you like your coffee?: Lots of cream, could honestly probably drink coffee all day long
Previous lives: Scribe, lab instructor, diamond slinger
Medical School: University of Washington
Reason for choosing Rochester: Leadership was super down to earth and made what could have been a super awkward Zoom interview feel like I was in Rochester. Residents talk of the critical care bay got me super excited too.​
Favorite spot in Rochester: The beach! Beer park is also a great place to take your dog and hang
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: Outliers, Becoming by Michelle Obama, White Coat Investor was super informative

Christopher Howard, DO

Christopher HowardHow do you like your coffee?: Vanilla latte with cinnamon
Previous lives: Patient care technician, D1 wrestler
Reason for choosing Rochester: Great program with a fun group of residents. The faculty is very supportive and awesome to work with. Rochester is home for both my fiancé and me and it is nice to be around family.
Medical School: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM)
Favorite spot in Rochester: : I have many. In the summer you can find me on a boat in Irondequoit bay. For dinner - Good Luck. For cocktails - Daily Refresher. For best pancakes - McCann’s local meat market (I’m not joking)
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: The White Coat investor books

Josef Ianni, MD

josef IanniHow do you like your coffee?: Room temperature or cold/iced black coffee
Previous lives: Intramural sports player, youth mentor, lifeguard, trombonist
Medical School: St. George's University School of Medicine
Reason for choosing Rochester:  The people are supportive, kind, and approachable. Rochester is close to home (Toronto) and experiences all four seasons. Great program with high volume and a diverse patient population. A ton of bars and restaurants.​
Favorite spot in Rochester: Any of the beaches in Rochester, Unter Biergarten or Half Pint Pub
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: Where's Waldo?, Guinness World Records and Spot The Difference

Luke Johnson, MD

Luke JohnsonHow do you like your coffee?: Without sugar or cream, or until GCS is at least 13
Previous lives: Air sample technician, package sorter, waiter, interpreter for my parents
Medical School: University of Washington
Reason for choosing Rochester: The Deaf community, exploring the East Coast, and the faculty here.​
Favorite spot in Rochester: On the couch with my dog and a good book (2nd place is the Beer Market with our department)
Favorite book besides Tintinalli:​ To Kill a Mockingbird, A Catcher in the Rye, Kingkiller Chronicles, Slaughterhouse-Five, and When Breath Becomes Air

Trent JohnsonTrent Johnson, MD

How do you like your coffee?: I’m more of an herbal tea or juice kind of guy
Previous lives: English teacher, chemistry TA, CNA, cancer researcher, Spartan racer
Reason for choosing Rochester: The faculty, staff, and residents were all great to work with during my rotations - friendly, eager to teach, and fun to be around.
Medical School: University of Rochester
Favorite spot in Rochester: Mendon Ponds, Lake Ontario, the many running trails nearby.
Favorite book besides Tintinalli:​ Fiction: The Name of the Wind
Non-Fiction: Mindset

Melanie Montano-Brooks, DO

Melanie MontanoHow do you like your coffee?: Black
Previous lives: Paramedic
Medical School: Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine - Middletown
Reason for choosing Rochester: Location, tons of things to do inside and outside, Letchworth State Park, Finger Lakes, also fairly close to in-laws.
Favorite spot in Rochester: New York Beer Project
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: Brain on Fire

Shelby Parker, MD, MPH

Shelby ParkerHow do you like your coffee?: With cream and sugar, or nitro cold brew.
Previous lives: Server x8 years, ED chief scribe, paramedic
Reason for choosing Rochester: URMC offers all the perks of a well-resourced academic medical center with plenty of opportunities to explore community and rural practice settings, as well as time to explore my professional interests within EM. I was also very impressed with the faculty and residents on my (virtual) interview day - the close family vibe was definitely something I wanted to be a part of.
Medical School: St. George's University SOM on the beautiful Caribbean island of Grenada
Favorite spot in Rochester: I'm new to the area so still exploring all the local spots, but so far I'm a big fan of Radio Social and Marge's Lakeside Inn!
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: To Kill A Mockingbird

Stefani Schmitz, MD

Stefani SchmitzHow do you like your coffee?: Black and in large quantities
Previous lives: Kayaking guide, lifeguard, swim instructor, tutor
Medical School: SUNY Upstate
Reason for choosing Rochester: Rochester had been my #1 since early in med school. I wanted to stay in the northeast, and Rochester's reputation is unparalleled. I did a virtual rotation here and really loved the faculty and residents. Everyone was so welcoming and made me feel at home! I couldn't be happier to be here!
Favorite spot in Rochester: Public Market and Pittsford Dairy
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: When Breath Becomes Air (Paul Kalanithi)

Sarah Smetana, MD

Sarah SmetanaHow do you like your coffee?: With lots of whipped cream and sugar!
Medical School: University of Texas Medical Branch
Previous lives: Scribe, Dancer, Pokémon trainer
Favorite spot in Rochester: Barnes & Noble at University of Rochester – What better way to show my enthusiasm for my new home than to buy all the branded merch!
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: The Lord of Rings, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Fahrenheit 451, The Princess Bride

Andrew Smith, MD, PhD

Andrew SmithHow do you like your coffee?: None. Strong loose leaf black tea with a little milk every morning. Just pure Ceylon or Assam.
Reason for choosing Rochester: Fun, smart, and supportive faculty and residents. People who make coming in to work a joy.
Medical School: University of Rochester
Previous lives: A life-long student Virology PhD, finished in the spring of timed it perfectly.
Favorite spot in Rochester: My wood-shop and my garden.
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: Empire of the Summer Moon. It is a shocking ice-bath of 19th century reality on the Texas Frontier for both Settlers and Native Americans.

Gymar Vargas, MD

Gymar VargasHow do you like your coffee?: Strong
Reason for choosing Rochester: I was thrilled to couple's match here along with my fiance. The people here are welcoming, genuine and supportive. I liked how engaging and friendly the faculty was during my interview; I felt that I could connect perfectly with the program. Also, the ability to be exposed to high acuity and diverse patient populations makes the program, for me, a hidden gem.
Medical School: San Juan Bautista School of Medicine
Previous lives: Chef, Poet, Astronaut
Favorite spot in Rochester: The Finger Lakes, Ontario Beach and Beer Market
Favorite book besides Tintinalli: ​The Harry Potter series, When Breath Becomes Air


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