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Residency Program Director

Alec B. O'Connor, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. O'Connor

Dr. O’Connor is the Program Director for the Internal Medicine Residency. He was a resident and then chief resident in the Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Rochester (1996-2000) before becoming an Associate Program Director for the Medicine and Medicine-Pediatrics residencies in 2003. He became the Program Director for the Internal Medicine Residency in 2012. He is a Hospitalist at Strong Memorial Hospital, where he attends on the Inpatient Teaching Service 12 weeks/year. He has published on a variety of topics related to improving prescribing practices and residency education, and he serves on two national committees within the Alliance of Academic Internal Medicine. His outside interests include cycling, running, skiing, and watching soccer.

Vice Chair of Education

Brett W. Robbins, M.D.

Dr. RobbinsDr. Robbins has recently started in the role of Vice Chair for Education.  He has served as the Director of the Internal Medicine-Pediatrics residency program at URMC since 1999, currently serving as president of the national Med-Peds Program Directors’ Association.  He has dedicated his career to graduate medical education at both the local and national levels. 

His clinical work combines outpatient primary care practice for adults and children, and as an inpatient hospitalist at Strong Memorial Hospital.  His outside interests include travel and the live local music scene in Rochester. Dr. Robbins Profile

Associate Program Directors

Catherine F. Gracey, M.D., M.S.

Dr. Gracey

Dr. Gracey serves as Associate Program Director for Ambulatory Education and directs our Primary Care Program. She chairs the residency program’s Clinical Competency Committee and directs the Medical Educator Pathway. In addition to having her own primary care clinical practice, she precepts residents in the residency continuity clinic practice and develops curriculum for the Ambulatory Block Education Thursdays.

Her research interests include teaching humanism and communication skills, in part through her work with the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare. Outside of work, she enjoys cooking, running, and playing with her family.

Joseph Nicholas , M.D., M.P.H.Joseph Nicholas

Dr. Nicholas serves as Associate Program Director for Highland Hospital,overseeing all residency education activities at Highland Hospital. He is trained in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Preventive Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine. His current educational focus is on physician cognition, medical decision making and individualizing guideline-directed care. He attends on the Highland Inpatient Geriatrics teaching service, and also serves as the Medical Director for the URMC Highlands at Brighton Skilled Nursing Home. His interests include cycling, skiing, and fiction.

William Novak, M.D.

novakDr. Novak was a resident and then chief resident in Internal Medicine at the University of Rochester from 1999-2003.  He then completed an Infectious Diseases subspecialty fellowship at the University of Rochester from 2003-2005, and was an Associate Program Director for the Medicine–Pediatrics Residency Program from 2009-2015. 

Dr. Novak serves as Associate Program Director for Inpatient Services at Strong, and he developed and runs our Point of Care Ultrasound program. He attends regularly as a Hospitalist on the inpatient teaching service at Strong Memorial Hospital.  His other interests include all things outdoors, particularly off road cycling, sailing, kayaking, and skiing.

Assistant Program Directors:

Jason Mendler, M.D., Ph.D. Jason Mendler

Dr. Mendler is responsible for overseeing the Internal Medicine Residency’s Research Pathway Program.  He was an MD/PhD student at the University of Rochester School of Medicine (1997-2005), then a Resident (2005-2008), and Chief Resident (2009) in the Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Rochester.  He completed an Oncology fellowship at The Ohio State University (2009-2012) and then joined the Hematology/Oncology faculty in 2012 as an Assistant Professor.  He has an active clinical practice caring for patients with hematologic malignancies and a laboratory focused on the study of acute myeloid leukemia (AML).  His outside interests include swimming, running, and spending time with his family.

House Staff Clinical Directors:

Marc Berliant, M.D.Berliant

Dr. Berliant is the Associate Chair for Clinical Affairs in the Department of Medicine and Chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine. He is also the Director of the Internal Medicine Faculty-Resident Practice. He has had a longstanding interest in medical education and he has received numerous teaching awards. He served as Chief Resident after completing his internal medicine residency at the University of Rochester. He previously led hospital initiatives to enhance the quality and safety of care for patients across the Medical Center. His research interests include transitional health care and new models of primary care delivery. Outside of work he enjoys biking, sailing and cross country skiing.

Melissa Mroz, M.D.

Melissa MrozDr. Mroz is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology.  She joined the faculty in 2012 after completing her residency and chief residency at NYU.  She is the site director for the Resident Practice at Highland.

Her clinical role includes her primary care practice, working as a clinical preceptor, and a consultative role with ambulatory Obstetrics and Gynecology. She has been involved in initiatives to improve health care delivery to high risk populations. 

Her research interests include quality improvement and health care delivery.  Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her family in the Finger Lakes.