We pride ourselves on the diversity of our residents. Please check out the biographies of our current residents and recent graduates. Here is a brief snapshot of the Class of 2016:
History, biochemistry, psychology, physiology, bioengineering, life sciences, human development and family studies, physics, biology, computer science
International travel, handspinning, crochet, organic farming, bowling, National Health Service, hiking, music, horseback riding, reading, outdoors, spending time with their children, piano, writing, pets and home ownership (5 of 12 residents own their own homes)
Amanda Pannu, MD
Northeast Ohio Medical University
I was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, the product of a community family physician and a nurse. Realizing at a young age that medicine was the field for me, I was accepted into a combined BS/MD program in Northeast Ohio, where I met my husband and fellow resident, Navraj Pannu. At NEOMED, I explored many areas of medicine before finally deciding family medicine was the perfect field for me. I have enjoyed many leadership positions, both in clubs and in the University, and dream of one day becoming an academic family physician. My passion is patient education and I have written educational curricula and been involved in many volunteer activities over the years. My professional interests include women’s health and underserved care.
Outside of medicine, I enjoy reading, yoga, running and travel. My favorite hobby, however, is indulging my caffeine addiction and drinking a delicious cup of coffee while chatting with a friend. I collect coffee cups and have many from all over the world. I love international travel and cannot wait to be involved with the Global Health Curriculum here at Rochester. Navi and I are so excited to be starting our new lives in such a vibrant and welcoming city!
Anna Jack, MD
Boston University School of Medicine
Born and raised in Seekonk, MA (“see-konk” being the sound made by Canadian geese), I am the middle child of a much-loved family of five, and the daughter of a family physician and a legal aid lawyer. I attended McGill University in Montreal, QC, where I received a BA in Art History, with a minor in the Social Studies of Medicine. After an influential semester abroad in Kenya, and a four-month long backpacking trip through Eastern and Southern Africa after graduation, I decided to pursue a career in medicine. I completed my post-baccalaureate at the Harvard Extension School, while working at a therapeutic after-school program for teenagers with HIV, and as a research assistant for an author writing a book on the history and politics of malaria. While in medical school at Boston University, I co-chaired an organization to promote the strong network of community health centers in Boston, and I participated in a continuity clinical experience at a largely Vietnamese FQHC in Dorchester, MA. During my 4th year, I spent time in Lesotho as part of the Lesotho-Boston Health Alliance, a program that aims to increase human resources needed to improve and sustain quality comprehensive care in Lesotho. My interest in Family Medicine developed early on in medical school, and my specific interests in Adolescent Health, Family Planning, Global Health and implementation of PCMH are always growing and evolving. In my free time, I enjoy reading (preferably books from a public library- they just feel and smell better!), group exercise classes, and spending time with family and friends. Since starting residency, my husband, and I have welcomed not one but two children, who have made our new life in Rochester feel complete.
Class of 2018
Class of 2018 Mission Statement
We the Family Medicine Residents of the Class of 2018 come together as diverse beings with the shared goal of devoting ourselves to our new community.
We will continue to be:
• both educators and life-long learners
• use evidence-based “medicine of the highest order” while remaining compassionate and empathetic
• we will aim to provide holistic care to our patients throughout their lifespan as individuals comprised of mind, body and spirit
• we will provide quality care for our patients regardless of their backgrounds and beliefs
• we will passionately advocate for our patients and our profession
• we will recognize our own limitations and utilize resources and each other to save our local and global communities
• we will strive to collaborate with and support each other as we continue to evolve throughout our own careers
We pledge this on June 15, 2015
Lindsay Balceniuk, MD
Sidney Kimmel Medical School at Thomas Jefferson University
I was born and raised in Newark, Delaware with wonderful parents, a brother and sister, and two poodles. Because I wanted to experience more than the second-smallest state in the country, I attended the University of Virginia for college (go ‘Hoos!). I had many meaningful experiences there, including volunteering as an EMT for two years and traveling to Honduras on a medical mission trip. If I weren’t in medicine, I would definitely be a teacher, which is why I used my year in between college and medical school teaching science and math to middle school students. I also helped to develop the science program and wrote the curricula for Human Biology and Anatomy and Genetics courses.
I attended Jefferson Medical College for medical school and loved my time in Philadelphia. I continued my passion for volunteering and spent a good amount of my free time working in homeless shelters as both a medical provider and mentor to homeless children. During my third year rotations, I developed a specific interest in women’s health within family medicine and am excited to pursue that further during residency. I met my now fiancé at Jefferson and we were fortunate enough to have matched together at Rochester.
When I’m not working, I enjoy running and training for races, playing with my adorable cavapoo, trying new restaurants, and experiencing the arts, whether it be an orchestra, play, or concert. My fiancé and I are excited for this next chapter of our lives in Rochester!
Juliana Berenyi, DO
University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine
I was born in New York City and grew up in Connecticut in a suburb of NYC. I attended college at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY where I majored in Nutritional Sciences. While at Cornell, I was exposed to the field of International Nutrition which sparked my interest in Global Health. Interested in medicine, but wanting hands-on experience abroad prior to medical school, I joined the Peace Corps. I served as a Health Volunteer in Southwestern Uganda in a district called Ntungamo for 2.5 years. While in Uganda, I helped start an HIV/AIDS testing, counseling and care program in the villages surrounding where I lived.
After returning from Uganda, while applying to medical school, I worked at Mount Sinai School of Medicine as a Research Assistant on a community-based diabetes project in East Harlem, NY. Medical school took me to the beautiful coast of Maine where in addition to learning, I was able to take advantage of all of wonderful outdoor activities the state has to offer.
Within Family Medicine, I am interested in Global Health and Palliative Care and chose Family Medicine for the continuity of care it offers to patients and physicians. In my free time I enjoy anything outdoors! especially hiking, biking, running and skiing. I also enjoy traveling, yoga and cooking. I'm really excited to be heading back to Upstate NY for residency!
Megan Betteley Wang, MD
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
I originally hail from Perry, OH. I majored in biology at Marietta College (Marietta, OH) and subsequently attended Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. As a member of the National Health Service Corps, I hope to pursue my professional interests in preventive care, women’s health and refugee medicine. Outside of medicine, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, hiking, rock climbing, gardening, curling up with a good book and a cup of tea, and eating my husband’s cooking! We look forward to joining the Rochester community!
Mary Bonnet, MD
Sidney Kimmel Medical School at Thomas Jefferson University
I was born in Fort Worth, Texas where the majority of my family still resides but I grew up in a very small town in Western Massachusetts. I loved attending school with the same classmates kindergarten through high school and knowing all my neighbors. I'll always be a small town girl! Medicine sort of runs in my family (I was the ninth person to graduate medical school in three generations!) so I always knew I wanted to be involved in healthcare. During my time at the College of the Holy Cross, I developed a strong interest in serving others through community work. I volunteered much of my time at a women's shelter, spending nights overseeing the entire shelter and encountering many women with remarkable stories of bravery and resilience. My four years at Holy Cross made me realize I wanted to be play a vital role in any community I may live in. It was also at Holy Cross that I met my now husband Joe, who turned out to be a lawyer (insert cliche lawyer joke here). I went straight to medical school after college, finding my way down to Philadelphia to study at Jefferson Medical College. Philly was a whole new world for me and a very diverse community. After getting over the shell shock of living in a big city, I discovered I LOVED working with people from all different backgrounds. It was also there that I discovered my love for family medicine. My mentors and faculty showed me that family medicine brings all my passions together, from serving the whole family to taking care of the whole person. I am very excited to start my career as a family physician and I am very excited to do so here in Rochester. My husband is from the area and I love being with his family. I am excited to integrate myself into this booming, diverse, and festive community!
I am always willing to try new food and drink and love going out with friends to restaurants and bars! I never stop listening to country music and I enjoy a good board game here and there! I love my miniature dachshund, Lincoln, more than almost anything in this world and I can't wait to participate in the annual Rochester Dachshund Parade this year!! Excited to explore Rochester and continue my development here as a family doc!
Rebecca Cooper-McCann, MD, MPH
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
I was born and raised near Detroit, Michigan in a city called Hazel Park. I ventured to Chicago for college where I studied Social Policy at Northwestern University. After college, I spent a year with AmeriCorps working at a family resource center near Detroit, and then worked at a Women's Health Center as a jack of all trades helping with medical assisting/pregnancy counseling/coordinating care for gynecology patients. My time there solidified my interest in medicine, so I headed back to school to complete pre-medical requirements with the Post-Baccalaureate program at Goucher College in Baltimore. While I applied for medical schools, I completed a research fellowship at the NIH in the National Human Genome Research Institute working primarily with genetic counselors. This sparked an interest in research and ultimately led me to the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Case Western Reserve University for medical school. During my five years there, I pursued an MPH along with my MD and completed another year-long research fellowship at the NIH. Like many family medicine residents, I enjoy aspects of many fields in medicine and have a strong interest in preventive and psychosocial elements of care. I'm excited to be training with Highland Family Medicine for the next three years, and in the future, I hope to balance clinical practice with work in public health.
Ryan Cummings, MD
New York Medical College
I grew up in Springville, NY, a rural farm town south of Buffalo. There I was homeschooled through middle school by my mom, an RN, who sparked my interest in science. I attended a small high school where I graduated with a whopping 11 other students, then moved on to the “big city” and obtained a B.S. at the University of Buffalo in Pharmaceutical Sciences. During my undergraduate years, I had the opportunity to participate in a medical mission trip to the Philippines, which solidified my desire to pursue medicine. After graduating, I took a year off from school to do research at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo before attending medical school at New York Medical College in the greater New York City metropolitan region. After many varied experiences, I realized that Family Medicine was my passion. There are so many aspects of family medicine that interest me: specifically global health, OB-GYN, sports medicine, and integrative medicine, to name a few. I am excited to return to western NY and begin my new chapter of life in Rochester.
Outside of medicine, I have many hobbies and passions. I love any activity that involves the outdoors, especially hiking in the mountains. Art has always been a big part of my life, and when I have time, I enjoy painting, drawing, jewelry making, and pretty much any other form of art. Other hobbies include attending music events, cooking and eating good vegetarian food, reading, exploring new places, and my two cats! Of course, I also love spending time with my family and friends, who mean the world to me.
Nidun Daniel, DO
New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine
I was born in Kuwait, located in eastern Arabia by the Persion Gulf. Due to the Gulf War, I spent only about a year before eventually coming to Rochester, where I grew up primarily. I attended both Brighton and Rush Henrietta Central Schools, from kindergarten through twelfth grade, becoming very accustomed to our winter months.
I joined URMC first as a Patient Transport Assistant and then as a Pharmacy Technician at Strong Memorial Hospital. I developed a strong interest for patient care during this time while also continuing my undergraduate studies at Saint John Fisher College. At Fisher, I majored in Biology and Religious Studies, in particular I was interested in exploring spirituality and health. During my junior year of undergrad I was blessed with an opportunity to work with underserved populations through Koinonia Ministries India Medical Outreach project in East Rochester. The following year, I moved to Long Island to begin medical school at New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine. Numerous research projects in India, Ghana and Guatemala drew me closer to various avenues of global medicine. Some of my works involved examining child nutrition and malaria prevention in rural Ghana.
Outside of medicine, I enjoy cooking and learning various types of cuisines. I like to travel, especially to visit friends and family across the globe. I’m thrilled to be coming back to Rochester, my home and the community I hope to serve moving forward.
Elizabeth Gabel, MD
Rush Medical College of Rush University Medical Center
I spent my childhood in Denver, CO before moving to the small town of Clinton, IL. This turned into the first move towards a career in medicine as I fell in love with science and anatomy in high school. I chose to be a nerdy pre-med at Millikin University where I also played volleyball (Go Big Blue!) Along with winning a conference championship, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Ecuador to work in various hospitals, malaria and diabetes clinics. This helped confirm my decision to go into medicine and sparked my interest in global and community health. After college, I headed north to the Windy City to attend Rush Medical College. I was drawn to family medicine because it allows me to see a patient grow from infancy to adulthood to old age, including all the milestones and challenges in-between. I have a wide array of clinical interests including community and global health, adolescent care, women’s health and teaching. Outside of medicine, I love camping, playing volleyball, cheering/crying over the Chicago Bears and Cubs, eating at new restaurants, and anything that combines mint and chocolate. I’m very excited to be starting this next phase in my life at University of Rochester and can’t wait to explore the Adirondacks, Finger Lakes and everything the city of Rochester has to offer. email Lizzy
Stephanie Jordan, DO
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
I was born and raised right here in Rochester, and I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to take care of people in my hometown! I spent my college years at St. Bonaventure University where I studied biology and played 4 years of college lacrosse. I took a couple of years off after college to do some coaching and traveling, and I was eventually drawn to the city of Philadelphia for medical school where I attended Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. My experiences there sparked a love of primary care, as well as furthered my interest in sports medicine. My years at PCOM were highlighted by a 4th year trip to Nepal where I was able to work in the maternity ward of a government hospital as well as spend time at a remote village clinic. Now that I am back in Rochester I am enjoying spending time with friends and family, sailing on Lake Ontario and Sodus Bay, running, cooking, and traveling. Even though I already know and love this city, I am looking forward to discovering new places and things to do with my fellow residents!
Bohdan Klymochko , DO
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
As a Rochester native, I was raised not too far west of the city in a small town called Hamlin. As the oldest of three brothers, in a neighborhood full of kids, I had plenty of excitement and outdoor adventures throughout my childhood. After graduating from Brockport High School, I decided to move from one small town to another and began working on my undergraduate degree at SUNY Geneseo. After graduating from college, I decided to work at Unity Hospital in order to gain more insight as to how hospitals and healthcare providers function. During this time I proposed to my beautiful wife, Shannon, and was accepted to Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. In between studying and preparing for exams, my wife and I found some time to get married during my second year of medical school and married life has been exciting ever since. Outside of medicine, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, soccer, snowboarding / skiing, golf, working out, and other outdoor activities.
I have always been interested in Family Medicine and I am honored to be a part of this well respected residency program. I hope to stay in the area after residency and become involved in academics in addition to delivering excellent patient care. I am looking forward to the hard work, intellectual growth, and challenges ahead!
Lauren Nicholls, MD
Sidney Kimmel Medical School at Thomas Jefferson University
I grew up in Jermyn, Pennsylvania (a small, formerly coal mining town just north of Scranton) and am the youngest of three sisters and daughter of an attorney and elementary school teacher. I attended the University of Scranton and graduated in 2011 with my degree in Biology and Philosophy. While at Scranton, I was heavily involved in our Community Outreach office, worked on many service projects ( Ask me about End of the Year Drive!) and was heavily involved in political advocacy. I moved down the Pennsylvania turnpike from Scranton to Philadelphia, where I attended Jefferson Medical College for medical school. I was accepted into the Physician Shortage Area Program, and was able to focus on under-served and rural medicine. I lead the Women’s History Month programming through the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) and was a national Programming Chair for AMWA. I was also a tour guide at Jefferson, and met my fiancé, Sean- my upper class co-tour leader- through campus tours!
I discovered Rochester via my fiancé, who is currently a year ahead of me in his Anesthesiology residency at Rochester, and couldn’t be happier with our choice to come north! I am so excited to bring my passion for under-served medicine and political advocacy to Rochester and the Brown Square clinic. Outside of medicine I love reading, singing, playing flute and piano, and food- eating, cooking, and baking! I am also a huge animal lover and trivia nerd – I take the Jeopardy test every year (some year I’ll meet Mr. Trebek!) My favorite activity is sitting down with a cup of tea and good book, so I can’t wait to check out all of the amazing coffee shops in Rochester! email Lauren
Jocelyn Young, DO, MS
New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine
I was raised in the town of Vestal, NY where I learned to endure the long cold winters and relish the short but beautiful summer months. I moved to the even chillier city of Buffalo for my undergraduate degree in International Studies which included a formative semester studying in Rome, Italy. Along the way I came to the conclusion that I did not want to be a foreign ambassador as I had always thought, and instead I wanted to be a physician. My undergraduate background suited me well for involvement with the American Medical Association – Medical Student Section and the Medical Society of the State of New York throughout medical school; where I have been helping to enact policy to change the face of medicine for the better.
My interest in Family Medicine stemmed from several areas. I was born while my Dad was a 3rd year medical student and was a toddler while he completed his Family Medicine residency – so you could say it’s in my blood. But it actually wasn’t until my 3rd year of medical school that I settled on this path. I’m passionate about building long term relationships with patients and their families, OB, end of life care, HIV medicine, teaching, and political advocacy.
In my free time I enjoy being active. I compete in triathlons when I have enough time, and when I don’t I focus on swimming, group exercise classes, and being outdoors. I’m always up for trying a new restaurant or activity and I’m looking forward to moving to Rochester where can explore a new cultural scene!
Class of 2019
We, the class of 2019, commit to the following:
For ourselves we shall:
● Maintain optimism and passion for life
● Find joy in every day
● Strive to improve “meliora”
● Embrace the challenge of growth
● Celebrate our strengths while acknowledging our weaknesses
For each other we shall:
● Make each other laugh
● Stop, collaborate, and listen
● Create a safe and trusting environment
● Embrace our diversity
● Be honest with one another don’t fear criticism!
For our patients we shall:
● Challenge convention
● Prioritize social justice
● Be humanitarians
Tyler Batey, MD
University of Texas Medical Branch School of Medicine
Alicia Bell, MD
Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine
Greetings! I am an African-American female feminist raised in St Louis, MO as one of three girls. I also have ties to the South, Southwest, and East Coast, but most recently traded the geckoes and desert landscapes of Arizona to become part of the Highland Family Medicine family. I earned my MD from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, a MS in Physiology with a focus on Complementary and Alternative Medicine from Georgetown University, and a BA in Classics and BS in Biology at “the real HU,” Howard University…Bison, you know! I love to read, play multiple instruments, listen to all kinds of music, and eat good food. My myriad interests include health policy, women's health, patient safety and quality, medical informatics, history of medicine, community-based participatory research in underserved communities, physician-pharma relationships and medical education. I see Family Medicine as the ultimate blend of evidence-based, culturally competent and community-focused holistic health care for the entire lifespan. It is the specialty most suited for advocacy and for those who aim to effect change. Personally, I try to live by the words of Dionne Farris, “matter not how many trees that you see, matter how beautiful the ones you see be” mixed with a little Monty Python, “we are the Knights Who Say ‘Ni!’”
I have been honored and blessed to have served as: Treasurer on the Board of Directors for both the SNMA and the NWHN; National Medical Education Coordinator with AMSA; founding Project Manager of PharmedOut, an independent project that empowers physicians and other prescribers to identify and counter inappropriate pharmaceutical promotion practices; pre-IRTA assisting with HIV/AIDS research at the NIAID; and a Barbara Jordan Scholar working on health policy issues on Capitol Hill. At VCU I also participated in the International/Inner City/Rural Preceptorship (I2CRP), which exposes medical students to didactic, community-based, clinical and research experiences addressing underserved populations. And as a co-president for the VCU Student Medical Legal Partnership, I organized lectures and recruited peers to join Legislative Advocacy Day at the Virginia General Assembly. With the VCU SNMA, I coordinated a health policy panel and co-organized two conferences that each attracted media attention and over 100 pre-medical and medical students from DC, VA, and MD. During my first year in medical school, I earned the Best Paper in Human Genetics Award for the creation of consumer-targeted educational material. I have also co-authored articles in consumer health literature and on physician-pharma interactions in the peer-reviewed journals Academic Medicine, PLoS Medicine, and the Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions. I am so elated to serve as a Family Medicine physician in this city and to become part of the Rochester community
Scott Biehl, DO
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
I was born and raised on the west side of Cleveland, OH and naturally am a diehard Cleveland sports fan (your condolences are appreciated, but not accepted). I attended St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland and I am the middle of 7 kids (6 boys and 1 tough as nails girl). After high school, I came to Rochester which captured my heart the moment I stepped foot in this great city. I attended St. John Fisher College located in near-by Pittsford where I majored in biology and spent some unforgettable years playing college football before having to jump into the real world. It was at Fisher where I met my now wife Abby who is a native of Pittsford and a Mendon High School graduate. We got married here in Rochester in June of 2015 as I started my fourth year of medical school and she continued to teach in the Fairport school system. It was evident to both of us very early on in our relationship that Rochester was where we wanted to plant our roots and we look forward to being in Rochester for many years to come.
Majoring in biology and spending the better half of my first 2 years at Fisher dealing with football injuries (reconstructed ankle, broken leg, and a couple broken ribs to highlight the collection) nudged me into pursuing medicine as a career. It was during those years that I spent a good amount of time with our team doctors and I realized I could see myself doing the same thing. After college I spent a year working as a scribe in the emergency department at Rochester General Hospital before beginning medical school. Throughout my clinical years of medical school, I spent many months on both family medicine and primary care sports medicine rotations during which I was able to further foster my passion for preventative medicine and encouraging healthy and active lifestyles. I could not be prouder to be completing my residency training here with the University of Rochester/Highland Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program! I look forward to taking care of the Rochester community and helping people live healthy and happy lives.
Lauren Hobbs, MD
University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
I grew up in the village of Williams Bay, WI, where most of my family still lives. I felt the need to explore for college and ventured out to the University of Virginia (Wahoowa!). During college, I had the adventure of a lifetime on Semester at Sea and followed my new interest in global health to work at the ICDDR,B in Dhaka, Bangladesh after I graduated. After that, I was ready to come back closer to home for medical school at the University of Chicago where I had wonderful opportunities to continue my interests in Peru and China as well as through work with underserved areas of the US. My experiences at Rosebud, in particular, have shaped my future career plans, and I hope to work with IHS after residency. In Chicago, I also began to feel more passionate about advocacy (broadly defined), and I joined the single payer bandwagon.
My partner, Paul, and I are looking forward to seeing a different part of the country and being interns together. I'm excited to develop my interests in global health, rural medicine, women's health, advocacy, and teaching at the University of Rochester. Outside of medicine, I love all outdoor activities and sports and can't wait to explore the Adirondacks, Finger Lakes, etc. Before starting intern year, Paul and I are biking from Bucharest to Barcelona! email Lauren
Chanh Huynh, MD
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
Greetings! My name is Chanh Huynh. I grew up in Saigon, Vietnam, and moved to Phoenix, Arizona, with my family at the age of thirteen. Because of the Vietnam war, neither of my parents finished their education, so I have the privilege of being the first in the family to graduate high school, go to college, and becoming a family physician. I obtained my doctor of medicine degree from the University of Rochester, where I fell deeply in love with the city (it’s never the place; it’s the people!). I am delighted to continue my training here in Rochester among some of the most awesome family doctors on the planet.
In my previous lives, I was a tutor (teaching is awesome!), chemical engineering intern, and custodian. Outside of medicine, I spend most of my time building relationships with: Jesus, family, housemates, and friends! My favorite book is the world’s best-selling and most widely distributed book: the Holy Bible. I love going to church to worship, pray, and learn. I also enjoy running, biking, hiking, and playing racquet sports. My favorite location in Rochester is a house on top of the Furman hill. Since I have received freely, my goal is to freely give, especially by serving the impoverished in the community.
Zoe Kostarellis, MD
State University of New York Upstate Medical University
I was born and raised in Rochester, NY, where the majority of my family still resides. After graduating from Spencerport High school, I attended college at the Rochester Institute of Technology where I majored in Molecular Bioscience and Biotechnology. While in undergrad, I received a grant to work on a research project sequencing DNA from Galapagos iguanas. I am a big animal lover and currently have a 5 year old Galapagos tortoise named Prince Zuko. I also had the opportunity to volunteer at Strong Memorial Hospital as a friendly face for elderly patients to converse with while in the hospital. These volunteer experiences helped fuel my journey to fulfill my lifelong goal of becoming a physician.
After graduating from RIT, I attended SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY. During my fourth year, I participated in the Rural Medical Scholars Program, where I was sent to Batavia, NY for 10 months to complete clinical experiences in a rural community. There, I solidified my decision to pursue family medicine, with a special interest in geriatrics and hospice/palliative medicine.
I am beyond thrilled to be able to stay in my home town and join the family medicine team at the University of Rochester. I look forward to building lasting relationships here in Rochester and raising my young family (including Prince Zuko, my husband, and my 4 month old son) in this wonderful community! email Zoe
Rashida Mengi, MD
Medical University of the Americas
Hello! I was born and raised in Burlington County, New Jersey. I am the only child and daughter of a retired law enforcement officer and middle school teacher. I attended Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania where I nurtured my love for science and developed a love for traveling abroad. I was heavily involved in ministry, disaster relief, and other various mission opportunities. I visited Egypt, Holland, Dominican Republic, Kenya, South Africa, and a host of other countries. I chose to individualize my major of Medical Missions and completed a post-bac pre-medical program at Temple University. Desiring a bit more sun, I moved to the Caribbean for the first two years of my medical school training, attending Medical University of the Americas, where I founded a tutoring organization in which the medical school students helped the local youth with math and science. I was also president of the Black Student Association, an organization active in preventative health, holding blood pressure screens and providing education throughout the community. The remainder of my medical school training was completed in Chicago, IL.
I am excited to continue my journey at University of Rochester! I plan to pursue my clinical interests in Geriatrics, Community and Global Health, and Urgent and Emergency Care. I am thrilled to serve the great community of Rochester!
Outside of medicine, I enjoy going to church and small group, reading the Bible, learning more about God, and spending time with my husband and daughter. Other interests include home renovation, interior design, and really good movies.
Amanda Morrison, MD
University at Buffalo School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
I grew up in Bradford, PA, a small town in Northwestern Pennsylvania. It’s the type of town where no matter where you go, you are sure to see at least a few people that you know well. I loved growing up in the small-town atmosphere, but decided to go to a “bigger city” for undergrad – Buffalo, NY. I went to the University at Buffalo, where I majored in Biomedical Sciences. As my experiences volunteering, working as a medical assistant, and tutoring had only further solidified my desire to go into medicine, I stayed at the University at Buffalo for medical school. It was during medical school that I came to the realization that Family Medicine was my calling. I love that I will be able care for the whole person, the whole family, and work towards the better health of the community in which I live and work; I suppose that relates back to my upbringing in a tight-knit family and small-town community. I could not be more excited to begin my training at Rochester!
While in medical school I met my now husband, Sean, and became the “mother” of our Australian Cattle dog, Red. We love doing anything that requires being outdoors and active with our pup. Sean and I grew up in families that love to cook, but love to eat, share and laugh even more, and so we try to maintain that tradition. I will never turn down the opportunity for good food and good music. I am looking forward to exploring all that Rochester has to offer and calling it our new home! email Amanda
Sonya Narla, DO, MA
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
- Hi everyone! I hail from the Steel City of Pittsburgh, PA, where I grew up making forts with my brother and cousins, playing soccer, basketball, and lacrosse, and spending Sundays at my grandparents. I am also a life-long Gold Award Girl Scout and community service has been an integral part of my life since I can remember. I love my family and have two amazing parents, an older brother & sister in law, and a myriad of aunts, uncles, and cousins that I'm very close with. And I can't forget my two dogs, Muschu and Bugs. I also love a good book (nerd alert!), a better cup of coffee, hiking and exploring the outdoors, trying new foods, and traveling. I've had an interest in medicine from a young age, but I consider myself a humanities girl at heart. I majored in English (BA) at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. I was accepted to Case's integrated graduate studies program my junior year and was able to graduate with my Master's degree in Bioethics, with a thesis on End of Life Decision Making. Before medical school, I served as the Executive Director for a global health non-profit called MedPLUS Connect focused in northern Ghana. I actually flew straight from Ghana to Erie, PA to begin the whirlwind of medical school at LECOM. I love family medicine because of the truly multifaceted bio/psycho/social nature and look forward to developing trusting, collaborative relationships with my patients. My partner, Vincent, will be starting his Emergency Medicine residency at Strong Memorial, and we are so excited to start intern year together and explore Rochester!
Izabela Subczynska, MD
Jagiellonian University Medical College
I was born in Germany to Polish parents (my name might have given that away!) and moved to Canada as a baby where our family was completed by my younger brother and our two wiener doggies, Oscar and Maya. I grew up an hour and a half west of Rochester on Lake Ontario in St. Catharines, Ontario. After my junior year at Brock University in my hometown, I finally ventured out on my own and spent a month volunteering at a hospital in India. My travel bug bite led me to reconnect with my roots and eat an abundance of pierogi and cabbage rolls in Krakow, Poland during my medical studies at Jagiellonian University. Studying in the heart of Europe for four years also allowed me to explore many beautiful European countries and unique cultures, while meeting some wonderful people along the way.
In my final year of medical school, I had the opportunity to complete visiting electives in Rochester. I felt so welcomed by residents, faculty and staff at the University of Rochester and fell in love with the warmth of the Rochester community, and the Public Market. As great of an experience as living in Europe has been, I’m thrilled to start the next chapter of my medical career with this move to Rochester. I look forward to being part of the resident team at Highland Family Medicine and focusing on Women’s Health and Global Health. Over the next three years, I also plan on enjoying the Lilac Festival, doing some hiking at Letchworth State Park, and seeing how the Finger Lakes wineries compare to those back home in Niagara-on-the-Lake wine country!
Janeta Szczepanik, MD
Jagiellonian University Medical College
I was born across the river from Detroit because few people know where Windsor, Ontario is and I grew up in a very recently emigrated Polish household. I went on to finish my undergrad degree in Forensic Science with an emphasis on biology at the University of Windsor. Next thing I knew, I was leaving to Krakow, Poland to study medicine and reconnect with my roots. It was an exciting experience but as much as I enjoyed my life studying in Poland, it didn't quite feel like home the way North America does. I really wanted to come back and practice Family Medicine; my favorite part of which is adolescent medicine. Outside of medicine, I enjoy watching movies, spending time with my family and friends, and trying new foods, though I am by no means a good chef! I am a huge animal lover and a great listener. Most of all, I am thrilled to be here and to meet new people as well as to discover what Rochester has to offer.
Yuan Yao, MD, MBA
Tufts University School of Medicine
I was born in China and hail from Boston, MA, where the traffic is impossible and the snow doesn't help. I attended Brandeis University where I majored in Biochemistry. During high school and college, I spent my spare time between photojournalism for school newspapers and volunteer work at Newton Wellesley Hospital, and I occupied my summers with research at Brandeis and pharmaceutical companies. During college and medical school, I worked with the Student Immigrant Movement, a Boston-based student-run organization focused on immigration reform for undocumented minors at both the legislative and grassroots level. I studied at Tufts University School of Medicine, where I completed the four-year MD/MBA program. My passion for working with the underserved made my decision to enter family medicine a no brainer. My professional interests include pain and addiction medicine, sports medicine, and preventative care. Outside of medicine, I enjoy photography, painting, racket sports and outdoor activities. I am excited to be a part of the Rochester family and look forward to providing comprehensive care to the community.
Class of 2020
The mission of the class of 2020 is to best serve our patients by bringing our passion, integrity, humility, empathy and openness to our work. We will strive to become the model physicians that we were inspired to be by advocating for our patients and keeping a holistic view of their beliefs, cultures, and community. We commit ourselves to continue learning to support each other and to maintain joy and balance in our lives.
Rachel Bian, MD
University of Michigan Medical School
Hi everyone! I was born in China and my family moved to the US when I was 3 years old so that my dad could complete his graduate degree in Ohio. After he got his PhD, we moved to Connecticut, where I grew up. I have two younger sisters, and both of my parents are involved in biomedical research. I went to Yale for college, where I quickly decided that basic science research was not the life for me. Summer after freshman year, I did a summer of volunteer work in Ghana working with eye clinics, where I found my passion for medicine and the joys of serving others through healthcare. I subsequently went to University of Michigan for medical school, where I cemented my interests in primary care. I am very excited to be joining the family medicine residency family at U of R! In my free time, I enjoy top roping, nature walks, and hanging out with friends.
Caroline Brotzki Donohue, MD
Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Science at the University at Buffalo
I was born in Syracuse, New York but moved to southern New Hampshire with my parents and sister when I was four years old. I grew up in New Hampshire skiing, hiking, and making occasional trips to Boston, the beach, and (more than occasionally) back to Syracuse to visit my extended family that still lives there today. I made my way back to upstate New York for college at Binghamton University where I majored in chemistry. I attended medical school at University at Buffalo where I realized my passion for full spectrum primary care, serving the underserved, and global health. My first year in medical school I was part of a group of students who were the first to go to a small village in Haiti and run a makeshift clinic out of a high school. I continued to return to this village each year of medical school and have enjoyed creating lasting friendships with the people of the community and watching the goals and successes of the clinic expand over the years. While in medical school I also met my now husband, Patrick, who is from the Rochester area, made me into a bills fan, and always challenges me to look at the bright side of every situation.
In my free time I enjoy running, hiking, and reading. My form of “art” is cooking and I can’t think of anything more relaxing than creating a new dish with a glass of wine and some music playing. I also love spending time with my husband and friends and visiting my family in Syracuse and New England.
Jingnan Bu, MD
New York Medical College
I was born in a city of Northeast China called Jilin. Soon thereafter, my family and I immigrated to North America, where we moved around oh-so many times before settling in Richmond, Virginia. I grew up with my amazing parents and a cheeky younger sister. Eventually, I made my way down to Emory University in Atlanta, GA to study Biology and French Language and Literature. My interest in primary care grew from volunteering at a humble blood-pressure clinic after college, where I first learned to appreciate the social determinants of health. I attended medical school at New York Medical College in Valhalla, NY. There, my interest in women’s health took many forms. I am a member of the American Medical Women’s Association, and led a toiletry drive for a local emergency domestic violence shelter. Within family medicine, I am particularly interested in women’s health, palliative medicine, and advocacy.
I met my partner, Frank, in medical school. We start our journey in Rochester together, where he is an Internal Medicine resident at UR. Beyond medicine, I love any activity surrounded by greenery or on the water. I enjoy eating new foods, live music and comedy, dancing, and dreaming about owning a dog!
Jacob Castiglia, MD
Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo
I grew up in Horseheads, NY, a small town in the Southern Tier where I spent my childhood playing baseball and pretending to be a Jedi. After high school, I attended Canisius College in Buffalo, NY majoring in biochemistry. I took this time to both learn the basic sciences and to see different parts of the world by going on various service trips. I spent time in El Salvador learning about its history and in Poland, volunteering at an orphanage. Before medical school, I also spent a year with AmeriCorps working at St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center right here in Rochester, helping provide healthcare to those without insurance. I continued this commitment during my second year of medical school by co-managing the Lighthouse Free Clinic at the University at Buffalo.
I have always been drawn to family medicine so that I can provide care for people of all ages, as well as play an active role in my community. My additional interests in medicine include palliative care, addiction medicine, and healthcare policy. Outside of medicine, I enjoy spending time with my wife, Sandy, who is an elementary school teacher, and engaging in various nerdy activities, as alluded by my childhood hobbies. I enjoy anything science fiction related, table tennis, disc golf, fencing, and cooking. Also, my wife and I are big animal lovers. We have a cat named Gimli and hope to soon be adopting a puppy. Both of us are incredibly excited to be back in Rochester and begin a new chapter!
Alissa Correll, MD
University of Vermont Medical School
I spent my childhood in the small hill town of Conway in the pioneer valley of Massachusetts. There, I split my time between chasing cows and bothering the artists that populated father’s glassblowing studio while learning the craft myself. Though I haven’t been able to work with glass often during medical school, I still enjoy making marbles and (lumpy) mugs for my friends and family. It was also as a child in a rural arts town that I developed a deep appreciation of close community that is primary to the philosophy of family medicine, well as my interest in politics.
I completed my undergraduate degree at Mount Holyoke College studying both biological sciences and religious studies, then took a year off to work, travel and rest prior to medical school at the University of Vermont in Burlington. During my time in medical school I worked extensively on political advocacy projects with both state and national organizations involved in healthcare and health insurance reform as well as women’s health—pursuits that I hope to continue as much as possible during residency.
Outside of medicine I enjoy international travel, reading, group exercise, and music of any and all kinds. My newest goal for residency—outside of learning from my colleagues, attendings and patients—is to learn to cook! I’m thrilled for the new opportunities that Rochester will offer for me both personally and professionally, and am excited to make it my new home.
Jeffrey Geisendorfer, MD
State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Binghamton
Hey everyone! I grew up around Albany, New York, and was fortunate enough to be encouraged to do many things. I grew up playing multiple sports, but I seemed to stick with hockey, volleyball, frisbee, and basketball. I have played clarinet since the third grade and enjoy going to see live music. I also was able to get out and hike in the Adirondacks, visit many museums, go to Civil War Battlefields, pick apples/berries, and garden with my family. I continued these interests throughout my life and still enjoy them all today.
I went to undergrad at SUNY Geneseo (Go Knights!) where I majored in biology and kept my nose in a book for four years. I was also an EMT-Basic there, and did fun research on past tree populations in the Northeast and how their population densities changed due to climatic variation. I volunteered consistently in a local assisted living facility and with local elementary schools. After four short years I took a year off to catch my breath and unwind with friends and family. I somehow got into SUNY Upstate where I met many amazing people who are very important in my life today. While there I spent time volunteering in the refugee clinic and shadowing geriatricians in the area. I also was able to be apart the Integrative Medicine, Dermatology, and PM&R clubs at Upstate. Even though my campus was based in Syracuse, one-third of our class spent our third year in Binghamton. During this time, I had a longitudinal family medicine clerkship, where I got to help manage patients throughout the entire year, one half-day a week. I had a fantastic mentor, who I aspire to be more like everyday. Being around family physicians in Binghamton made me realize that family medicine was the area for me.
Luckily I was accepted to the University of Rochester, and will be at the Brown Square clinic. I am so excited to return to a part of the state that I only got a taste of during undergrad, Geneseo being just south of Rochester. The city has so much to offer and the people here at this program are amazing. When not doing medicine I can be found playing video games, watching wonderful television, playing my clarinet, attending live music, playing sports, playing board games, reading (not medicine related), hiking, lounging in the sun, playing with my new puppy (Penny is a cockapoo), and spending time with friends and family. I also love to go out for some food and/or good beer.
Zoe Gravitz, MD
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
I’m thrilled to be spending three more years in the vibrant city of Rochester as a family medicine resident! I grew up in Maryland near DC. After receiving a degree in History at Oberlin College, I worked at an HIV/AIDS Clinic in Brooklyn, NY then a neuropsychiatry lab in Boston, before moving to Rochester for medical school.
Within family medicine my passions are reproductive health, pain management, mindfulness, and mental health. Growing up close by the political center of our country made me feel that I have an obligation to use my voice for change, which is why I’m so excited about gaining knowledge and experience through the PALT Pathway. My commitment to reproductive health started in high school when I interned at Planned Parenthood Global and has continued ever since. I have missed working as a Birth Doula and look forward to laboring with ladies and catching babies at Highland Hospital. During college I lived in Santiago, Chile for a semester and enjoy speaking Spanish every opportunity I get.
Outside of medicine I enjoy shopping at farmer’s markets, preparing creative vegetarian meals, practicing yoga and meditation, hiking, listening to podcasts, making and seeing live music, and spending time with family and friends.
Michael Hudson, MD
University of Vermont College of Medicine
I’m from all over eastern Massachusetts originally, and have had the great fortune to have lived in many places, from Spain to New York City. Looking at my CV, I’ve apparently spent the last nearly twenty years working in computer security, but I can’t possibly be old enough for that to be true, so hmm. I’ve always been interested in medicine, but when I started volunteering at a free clinic for the homeless, I found my passion and I found my true love in family medicine. Actually, that’s doubly true, since my wife Sarah Hudson is also a family doc!
Throughout med school, I found that I love everything in medicine, and my interests are diverse, from working with addicted homeless to researching the use of artificial intelligence in managing population health. I have also realized that one of the greatest impacts I can have on my patients’ lives is through policy and advocacy. To that end, Sarah and I founded Doctors for Social Justice, an organization that partners with and advocates for local groups to improve our patients’ social determinants of health. All this makes me very excited for the political advocacy track at Rochester.
Outside of medicine, I’m a dad to three kids, ages almost 5, just about 2 and barely one month. When I’m not playing with them, I’m usually in the kitchen (my favorite room in the house) or in the woodshop working on some crazy project or another (current project: bunk beds for the oldest two!)
Sumaiya Kabir, DO
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
I was born and raised right here in Rochester, and I am happy to be returning to my hometown! I grew up in Fairport with one older brother, and after graduating from Fairport High School I moved not so far away to study biology at SUNY Geneseo. After four memorable years, I decided that after graduation I wanted to spend a year doing research, and so I had the opportunity to work as a laboratory technician at the Center for Musculoskeletal Research at Strong Memorial. During this time I was able to not only build my skills as a professional, but also to gain a better understanding of the importance of medical research in the advancement of patient care.
After I was accepted to LECOM, I moved to Erie for my first two years of medical school, during which I married my wonderful husband Bobby. We moved to Long Island and I completed my third year clinicals in Queens. Although I loved living in Long Island, Rochester has always drawn me right back, and by the end of that year my husband had accepted a position as a Family Physician for Thompson Health, and I was heading home once again! I am very excited to be staying right here to complete my residency training, and I am ready to give back to this wonderful community that has given me so much.
Timothy Smilnak, MD
SUNY Upstate Medical School
Hi! My name is Tim Smilnak. I grew up in Binghamton, NY, and went to college at the University of Scranton. There I discovered that learning is fun and that I had an interest in becoming a doctor and working in an underserved community. After college, I worked with FrancisCorps at a refugee resettlement program in Syracuse, NY. The next year, I lived at Casa de Esperanza de los Niño’s, a foster care community in Houston, TX.
I came back to Syracuse for medical school at SUNY Upstate. Some of the highlights were completing the MD/MPH program, working on a medical education research project, doing six months of clinical rotations in a rural town in northern NY, and my involvement in our school’s medical student mentoring/advising program.
I decided to become a family physician because I enjoy the challenge and variety of our work. Also, I feel that the specialty of family medicine will most nurture my desire to care for the underserved and my interests in health systems and policy. I’m excited to be coming to Rochester because there are people here who share my specific interests in family medicine, and I’m also very drawn to our biopsychosocial approach and the sense of community and enthusiasm for learning among the residents.
A few tidbits about me. I love hiking and camping, especially in our awesome national parks. I’m an avid and semi-aggressive fan of the Cleveland Indians baseball team. And I enjoy American history – two items on my bucket list are to read a biography of every U.S. president (6 down, 39 to go), and to go back to school for a bachelor’s degree in history
Shivani Sockanathan, MD
Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science
I was born in New Jersey and grew up with two very supportive parents, an older sister as a role model, and a large pseudo-family in the Sri Lankan community. I had the opportunity to travel internationally quite a bit from a young age, as I have family in all corners of the world. This really opened up my eyes to the disparities in healthcare, developing my interest in community service and medicine. I attended college at Tufts University in Boston, where I majored in Child Development and Biopsychology. During medical school in Chicago, I was involved in “Cooking Matters” through which I taught cooking and nutrition classes to children at a local boys and girls club. I also led an organization that conducted health screening clinics in surrounding low income communities, and I had the opportunity to provide screenings/healthcare in Cusco, Peru as well. These experiences solidified my interest in preventative medicine and led me to choose Family Medicine as a career. I know the residency program at Rochester will allow me to explore my interests within Family Medicine, specifically women’s health, OB, and global health. I’m very excited to be a part of the Rochester team and glad to be back on the east coast!
Apart from medicine, I love traveling and take any chance I get to explore new places! I also enjoy running- I had the opportunity to run the Boston Marathon during my senior year in college and also went on the run the Chicago Marathon during medical school. Although I may be done with marathons for now, I’m looking forward to discovering some running trails in Rochester!
Natasha Vadera, MD
New York Medical College
Hi everyone! I grew up in King of Prussia, PA (yes it is indeed a real place, and yes, it does in fact have the largest mall on the East Coast!). Since my parents are both from India, I traveled back often and lived with my aunt, a family physician there. Seeing her welcome patients to her home at any time of the day or night inspired my interests in the realm of primary care medicine.
For college, I attended Brandeis University and double majored in Biology and HSSP (Health, Science, Society & Policy). This interdisciplinary focus taught me how to address the underlying socioeconomic issues that contribute to a patient’s health status. At Brandeis, I worked in a variety of free clinics and developed a global health internship at an HIV/AIDS NGO in a North Indian village. I also started an undergraduate South Asian Dance Team, and spent a summer traveling with a dance company to perform and tour internationally.
I took two years off after graduating to work as a clinical research associate, and then came to New York Medical College in Westchester, NY. The ability to work with a wide range of patient populations, to further explore global health, and to pursue a career filled with so much versatility and creativity drew me to Family Medicine. I was also recently certified to teach Bolly-X, essentially Bollywood Zumba, and I’m so excited to start classes here at Rochester! I’m also thrilled that I was able to come to Rochester with some of my closest friends from medical school, and to now be engaged to my best friend, Nayan Patel, who’s starting as an Internal Medicine intern!