Last Updated: Jun 27, 2018
FOR RELEASE: June 27, 2018
CONTACT: Jeff Wirick, Pennsylvania Medical Society, (717) 909-2651
(HARRISBURG, Pa. – 6/27/18) This year’s Pennsylvania Medical Society Top Physicians Under 40 winners come from a diverse range of backgrounds.
Winners were nominated by colleagues and selected by a committee of Pennsylvania Medical Society member physicians.
The 38 physicians on this year’s list represent 19 different medical specialties and live in 18 different cities. They include 20 women and 18 men who work in practice settings that range from large health systems to smaller medical practices.
Here are this year’s winners:
Brian Abaluck, MD, Paoli
Dr. Abaluck is a sleep medicine physician who started his own practice in late 2013. Since that time, his team has treated more than 5,000 patients with sleep disorders. He has worked with industry sponsors to bring clinical studies, including trials of devices for sleep apnea and insomnia, to his community. He serves on the Chester County Medical Society Board and is involved in the planning of community-based public health programs.
Philip Carullo MD, Pittsburgh
Dr. Carullo is a resident at the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Anesthesiology. While still in medical school, he was awarded for his research on death certificate completion. Dr. Carullo has received grants to develop and patent a medical device to prevent aspirated products from entering the lungs during intubation. In 2018, he organized a “Medical Providers Against Opioid Addiction” fundraiser that raised more than $8,000 for the Pittsburgh Light of Life Mission.
Christopher Connor, DO, Wilkes-Barre
Dr. Connor is a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician with Northeastern Rehabilitation Associates. He serves on the Luzerne County Medical Society Board and is active in community efforts to address issues surrounding pain and addiction. Dr. Connor is dedicated to finding alternatives to opioids for addressing chronic pain. He has taken part in several regional workshops and panel discussions on finding solutions to the opioid crisis.
Jennifer Corbelli, MD, Pittsburgh
Dr. Corbelli is an internist with UPMC Montefiore and an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. She also serves as Program Director for the University of Pittsburgh’s Internal Medicine Residency Program. She leads her program’s resident recruitment process and, in her first year as Program Director, was responsible for the best match in the program’s history. Through her work with medical students, she mentors individuals interested in primary care for underserved populations.
Lucas DeJohn, DO, Reading
Dr. DeJohn is a neuroradiologist with Reading Hospital and West Reading Radiology Associates. He is recognized by colleagues as a forward-thinking physician who understands the larger picture of the continuum of care, especially as it relates to the acute evaluation and treatment of patients with stroke. Dr. DeJohn has participated in his organization’s initiatives to improve the accuracy and timeliness of diagnostic imaging assessment.
Vanessa Elliott, MD, Camp Hill
A urologist with Urology of Central Pennsylvania, Dr. Elliott has dedicated her career to caring for women with urologic issues, an area that has been historically underserved. She is known for her compassionate care and emotional support for patients. Dr. Elliott works to improve care for her practice’s patients through her efforts to create treatment algorithms and by providing advanced care options within the practice.
Todd Felix, MD, Harrisburg
Central Pennsylvania native Todd Felix, a family physician with Penn State Health Medical Group Nyes Road, was nominated by a patient for going above and beyond in his care for a serious condition. He teaches evidence-based medicine and information mastery to medical students. Dr. Felix was recently appointed the Director of Core Clinical Medicine through the Penn State College of Medicine and, in that role, oversees the third and fourth years of medical training.
Benjamin Fogel, MD, Hershey
Dr. Fogel serves as Medical Director for the largest pediatric primary care center at Penn State Health. He had led several quality improvement efforts for primary care pediatrics at Penn State, including projects that have improved HPV vaccination rates, recognition and follow up of elevated blood pressure, and screening for depression and anxiety. Dr. Fogel helped to lead a successful integration of mental health providers into the pediatric primary care center at Penn State Health Pediatrics.
Michael Gaspar, MD, Philadelphia
Dr. Gaspar is a clinical research fellow with the Philadelphia Hand to Shoulder Center. He also teaches students studying medicine at Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Gaspar serves as a voluntary faculty advisor for Jefferson’s Catholic student group and, in that role, he mentors students and organizes service projects to help the community. He specializes in orthopedic surgery and has written, co-authored, or presented dozens of scientific studies.
Maria Koenig Guyette, MD, Pittsburgh
Dr. Guyette is the Chief of Emergency Medicine Services for UPMC Shadyside and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine for the University of Pittsburgh. She recently served as President of the Pennsylvania College of Emergency Physicians, where she proved herself to be a strong advocate on behalf of Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable patients. She has been involved with patient-focused initiatives on issues like appropriate opioid prescribing for ED patients and bystander CPR training for middle- and high-school students.
Nikhil Jaik, MD, Harrisburg
Dr. Jaik, a cardiothoracic surgeon with UPMC Pinnacle, is known for his skill as a surgeon and his compassion for patients. His caring bedside manner and focus on advocating for his patients’ best interests have been noticed by colleagues and patients alike. He is involved in efforts to build community awareness about heart disease. Dr. Jaik is dedicated to improving his practice through quality review and bringing research projects to improve patient care in the community.
Angelica Kloos, DO, Williamsport
Dr. Kloos is a child and adolescent psychiatrist with UPMC Susquehanna who has provided patient care to children in the Williamsport area for more than five years. She has been instrumental in developing innovative models of care to manage the needs of the rural community she serves. She is a member of the Lycoming County Medical Society Board.
Erik Kochert MD, York
Dr. Kochert is an emergency physician with UPMC Pinnacle. He has served as a physician champion for the venous thromboembolism clinical effectiveness team and the hospital chest pain center, efforts which help ensure that the clinical care offered by his organization is evidence-based, safe, and efficient. As the York County Medical Society Immediate Past President, Dr. Kochert serves as a role model to colleagues and advocates for addressing public health issues in his community.
Adam Luginbuhl, MD, Philadelphia
Adam Luginbuhl, an otolaryngologist at Jefferson Health, specializes in surgery for patients with head and neck cancer. He has received grant funding to study ways to protect normal tissue from the effects of radiation and has designed clinical trials to study immunotherapy in patients with head and neck cancer. He is also an Associate Professor and Director of Medical Student Education at Thomas Jefferson University’s Sidney Kimmel Medical College. Dr. Luginbuhl participates in mission trips to Haiti and leads a coalition whose goal is to bring a cancer center to Haiti.
Andrew Lutzkanin III, MD – Middletown
Andrew Lutzkanin is a family medicine physician with advanced training in obstetrical care. In his role with Penn State Health Medical Group Middletown, he provides care for the whole family’s needs before, during, and after pregnancy. He is a leader in organized medicine, striving to better his profession though involvement with PAMED, the American Medical Association, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians. He serves as Chair of PAMED’s Early Career Physicians section.
Mina Makary, MD, Scranton
Dr. Makary is a hospitalist who sees patients at Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton. He serves as Director of Clinical Documentation Improvement and Associate Program Director for Graduate and Undergraduate Medical Education at his facility. He was designated by the American Society of Hypertension as a specialist in clinical hypertension. Dr. Makary was recently appointed as Clinical Assistant Professor at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.
Tani Malhotra, MD, York
Dr. Malhotra recently completed her residency with WellSpan York Hospital’s OB/GYN Residency Program. She has participated in Wellspan’s Perinatal Addiction Workgroup to develop policies and procedures to assist patients with substance abuse disorders. Dr. Malhotra contributed to the development of Pennsylvania guidelines for medically-assisted treatment of opioid use disorder. She also served in a leadership role as the Residents & Fellows Section representative on PAMED’s Board.
Amanda Michael, DO, Pittsburgh
A physician with Pittsburgh Infectious Diseases, Ltd., Dr. Michael is an “antimicrobial steward” who looks to promote coordinated interventions designed to improve and measure the appropriate use of antimicrobials at the hospitals she attends as well as outpatient settings. She has special interests in the treatment of HIV and hepatitis C and the administration of adult vaccines for vaccine-preventable diseases. She serves as Chair of the Antibiotic Stewardship Committee at St. Clair Hospital.
Stefania Nolano DO, Abington
A thought leader in the surgical treatment of breast cancer, surgeon Stefania Nolano is Director of Abington–Jefferson Health’s Breast Program. Dr. Nolano is dedicated to offering compassionate, cutting-edge care to her community. She is active with the American Society of Breast Surgeons and frequently presents her work at meetings and symposiums. Dr. Nolano works with Abington-Jefferson Health residents in surgery, OB/GYN, and family medicine.
Dimitrios Papanagnou, MD, Philadelphia
Dr. Papanagnou serves as Assistant Dean for Faculty Development, Vice Chair of Education for the Department of Emergency Medicine, and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University’s Sidney Kimmel Medical College (SKMC). Dr. Papanagnou helped to revise SKMC’s faculty development curriculum. He is involved with numerous educational initiatives at the medical college, including development of an Emergency Medicine Medical Education Fellowship Program.
Ashley Pence DO, Williamsport
Dr. Pence is a pediatrician with UPMC Susquehanna Pediatrics who practices full-scope general pediatrics. She recognized the need for obesity care in her community and recently became a diplomate with the American Board of Obesity Medicine. She is a faculty member with the Williamsport Family Medicine Residency Program and, in 2016, received the Teacher of the Year award. As a volunteer with the Junior League of Williamsport, she has helped organize several fundraisers to benefit her community.
Michael Pfeiffer, MD, Hershey
Dr. Pfeiffer is a cardiologist with Penn State Health Medical Center’s Heart and Vascular Institute. He is the imaging leader for his organization’s structural heart disease program and, for the past five years, has served as the Quality officer for the echocardiology lab. Dr. Pfeiffer has developed expertise in areas such as 3D imaging, CT, and MRI and teaches these modalities and new techniques. He has supported residents and fellows through research studies, case reviews, and poster presentations.
Leigh-Anne Piechta, DO, Allentown
Physiatrist Leigh-Anne Piechta has opened three acute inpatient rehabilitation units on behalf of Lehigh Valley Health Network, serving as Medical Director of the units. She has helped her organization to increase the community’s access to the resources they need to recover from strokes, spinal cord injuries, and other debilitating injuries and illnesses. Her leadership and team-building skills have provided a strong foundation of practice for many clinicians.
Danielle Pineda, MD, Abington
Dr. Pineda is a vascular surgeon with Abington-Jefferson Health. She also serves as Assistant Program Director for Abington-Jefferson Health’s General Surgery Residency Program. She displays technical excellence in open and minimally invasive vascular surgery, and her colleagues note the compassionate care she provides to patients. Dr. Pineda is involved with numerous research projects on topics such as quality improvement to resident education and making sure patients receive appropriate follow-up care.
Hyma Polimera, MD, Hershey
Dr. Polimera is a hospitalist at Penn State Health Medical Center who serves as a role model for younger academic hospitalists. At her organization, she plays an active part in developing a national model for anti-bias policies that protect providers. She led a breast cancer community outreach program which significantly improved the screening mammogram rate in South Bethlehem, Pa., especially in lower socioeconomic groups. Dr. Polimera has presented her research at multiple national conferences.
Rachael Polis, DO, Chester
Dr. Polis, a physician with Crozer Keystone Health System, specializes in pediatric and adolescent gynecology (PAG). In her role with Crozer Keystone, she helped expand their PAG service line called “Tots to Teens.” Dr. Polis is a dedicated advocate for improving adolescent health care and participates in speaking engagements at local schools. She serves as a member of the Adolescent Health Care Committee for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Karina Reed, MD, Allentown
Dr. Reed is an OB/GYN with Lehigh Valley Physician Group (LVPG) Obstetrics and Gynecology. She serves as assistant practice leader where she works to implement innovative ideas to provide better and more efficient patient care. One of her initiatives involves helping to develop and support the expansion of LVPG’s midwifery program. She is also the obstetrics rotation leader for her organization’s OB/GYN residency and co-directs its obstetrics simulation curriculum.
Klara Roman, MD, Erie
Dr. Roman is a family medicine physician with Saint Vincent-AHN Health & Wellness Pavilion. She recently became a regular preceptor at her institution’s family medicine residency program, where she is expected to be a key figure in the training of future primary care physicians in her community. Dr. Roman takes a holistic approach to patient care and is dedicated to creating a strong physician-patient relationship.
Vinti Shah, DO, West Reading
Dr. Shah has proven herself to be a dynamic leader in the palliative medicine department at Tower Health Medical Group. At her institution, she has raised awareness of the need for palliative medicine and has led community-wide initiatives to offer education on advanced directives. Dr. Shah is helping to spearhead a mentorship program for women in medicine at Tower Health. In 2017, she was one of five young professionals recognized by the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce as a “Rising Star” in her region.
Richard Tosti, MD, Philadelphia
Dr. Tosti, an orthopedic surgeon with the Philadelphia Hand to Shoulder Center, specializes in traumatic and post-traumatic reconstruction of the hand and upper extremity. He performs complex microsurgical procedures such as limb salvage surgery. Dr. Tosti is an Assistant Professor at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. He has appeared as the hand & upper extremity orthopedic specialist on the “Doctors Show” on Sirius/XM radio.
Lydia Travnik, DO, Erie
Dr. Travnik is a family medicine physician who provides care in the outpatient setting at Saint Vincent-AHN Health & Wellness Pavilion. Dr. Travnik is an office preceptor at the Saint Vincent Family Medicine Residency Program and is also training primary care residents in ambulatory medicine. She is dedicated to providing personalized, one-on-one care to the patients in her community.
Amit Varma, MD, Lancaster
Dr. Varma is a cardiologist with The Heart Group of Lancaster General Health, a member of Penn Medicine. He specializes in advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology. Dr. Varma has presented his research at national and international meetings and has shared his expertise at local educational sessions. He designed a documentation template for patients seen throughout the Penn Medicine system that allows for multi-disciplinary alignment of the treatment process for cardiology and oncology.
Valerie Vilbert, DO, Exton
Dr. Vilbert is a family medicine physician with Exton Family Medicine, a part of Bryn Mawr Specialists Association. After completing her residency, she was able to realize a dream of practicing with her mother who is also an osteopathic physician. Together, they founded Exton Family Medicine. She is a martial arts enthusiast who teaches healthy lifestyles and serves as a role model for her patients. Dr. Vilbert has shown herself to be an emerging leader within the Chester County Medical Society.
Christopher Wenger, DO, Lancaster
Christopher Wenger, a cardiologist with The Heart Group of Lancaster General Health, part of Penn Medicine, is dedicated to preventive care for his community. He serves in the Preventive Cardiology and Lipid Apheresis clinics at The Heart Group, treating metabolic and genetic cholesterol issues with nutrition counseling and drug-therapy. He is involved with numerous health initiatives, including creating a wellness committee at Manheim Township School to improve the nutritional quality of school lunches.
Rachel Wilkerson, DO, Erie
Dr. Wilkerson is an internal medicine physician with Apogee Physicians, the staffing hospitalist group for Saint Vincent Hospital in Erie. She serves as a role model for colleagues, who note her compassion for patients, positive approach, and willingness to go the extra mile to ensure proper care for her patients.
Amanda Wincik, DO, Erie
A resident with the Saint Vincent Family Practice Residency Program, Dr. Wincik has become a leader in medicine in Erie. She is the resident member of the Erie County Medical Society Board. She has participated in the Stop the Bleed program which provides education on bleeding control techniques to treat people injured during emergencies like active shooter incidents. She served as a volunteer for Docs on Call, a TV news broadcast on which local physicians speak with callers about health care topics.
Mark Woodburn, MD, Pittsburgh
Dr. Woodburn is a family medicine physician with Genesis Medical Associates, Inc. He provides care in outpatient, inpatient, and skilled nursing care. Dr. Woodburn has become a leader in his organization, serving on the Board of Directors. He played an instrumental role in helping Genesis Medical Associates develop an Accountable Care Organization and high quality standards recognized by most insurance quality programs.
Joannie Yeh, MD, Media
Dr. Yeh is a pediatrician with Nemours duPont Pediatrics. She has become a community speaker to parents, teens, and health care professionals, and she works to spread the message about healthy lifestyles and reducing mental health stigma. Dr. Yeh is active on social media and uses her online presence as a platform to support parents and other physicians. She is a co-founder of the non-profit group Girl Med Media which was created to support women in medicine.
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