Last Updated: Jan 11, 2018
(Harrisburg, Pa. – 8/22/17) When it comes to the practice of medicine and caring for patients, 41 physicians from throughout Pennsylvania who are under the age of 40 won't allow their youth to be a hurdle in what they can accomplish.
In fact, the 41 physicians named to this year's Pennsylvania's Top Physicians Under 40 by the Pennsylvania Medical Society have demonstrated a significant amount of success for someone so early into a medical career.
Those selected were chosen by a committee of physicians after being nominated for outstanding contributions to the practice of medicine and the delivery of patient care, despite being early in their medical careers. Nominations came from colleagues.
According to Charles Cutler, MD, president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, this award is one of several efforts by his organization to recognize the special place Pennsylvania has in training physicians and to encourage physicians to stay and practice in Pennsylvania.
Among other projects at the Pennsylvania Medical Society to encourage early career physicians to stay in the state are advocating for physician-led team-based care, meaningful tort reform, increased medical residency training positions, and medical school student loan forgiveness programs for those willing to practice in rural and/or underserved areas of the Commonwealth.
"In a state like Pennsylvania, the young talent we have throughout the health care spectrum is outstanding, but these 41 individuals are going to be the ones to watch in upcoming years," says Dr. Cutler.
The 41 young physicians selected include (in alpha order by county medical society)
Kristin Bibee, MD, PhD (Allegheny County) – Practicing dermatology in Pittsburgh, Dr. Bibee was described in nomination papers as "among the brightest individuals I have ever met" and "has a bedside manner that rivals that of our hospital's spiritual leaders." She is credited as being a member of a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center team that created from scratch a robust clinic for complex, immunosuppressed, solid organ transplant recipients to offer patients the appropriate time, education, and dermatologic resources they need while being at least 65 times higher risk for nonmelanoma skin cancer.
Jared Knickelbein, MD, PhD (Allegheny County) – An ophthalmologist practicing at Retina Vitreous Consultants in Monroeville, Dr. Knickelbein has received numerous honors for his ongoing research efforts as well as patient care. He has published more than 30 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals in addition to authoring numerous book chapters. He is a co-investigator for several clinical trials evaluating novel treatments for retinal diseases.
Srinivas Kondapalli, MD (Allegheny County) – Dr. Kondapalli is an ophthalmologist who specializes in the treatment of retinal diseases and practices at Everett and Hurite Ophthalmic Association in Pittsburgh. He has presented at several educational meetings for general eye care providers. In addition, he plays a role in Vinrant Pittsburgh, a group that promotes recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce in Western Pennsylvania.
James Reilly, MD (Allegheny County) – An internal medicine specialist and nephrologist at Allegheny General Hospital, Dr. Reilly is described as being committed to education. He is the director of the internal medicine residency program at AGH in addition to being an assistant professor for Temple University and Drexel University.
Adam Susmarski, DO (Allegheny County) – Dr. Susmarski is a physical medicine and rehabilitation resident with University Health Center in Pittsburgh. His military and medical careers were noted as part of his nomination, particularly the many leadership roles he has held. Also, Dr. Susmarski has volunteered thousands of hours to organizations like the American Cancer Society, Make A Wish, and several animal shelters.
Nicole Wheeler, MD (Allegheny County) – An infectious disease specialist with Romano Pontzer & Associates in Pittsburgh, Dr .Wheeler was described in her nomination papers as being dedicated to the good health of Pennsylvania residents, who is always advancing her knowledge of infectious diseases. Recently, Dr. Wheeler had an article published in a medical journal.
Sarah Luber, DO (Berks County) – Dr. Luber is an internal medicine specialist and hospitalist with the Reading Health System. She has a strong sense of outreach both locally and internationally. She organized three medical mission trips to South and Central America as well as one to rural Tennessee. Locally, she developed and managed a 4,500-person Fitbit walking challenge.
Lorraine Rosamilia, MD (Centre County) – A dermatologist in State College, Dr. Rosamilia was recently honored by Geisinger Health System for ranking in the top 10 percent in patient experience nationally at the health system's annual Top Patient Experience Clinicians Awards Dinner. In 2018, she will serve as president of the Pennsylvania Academy of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery.
Autumn Bridger, DO (Crawford County) – Dr. Bridger is a urologist in Meadville. She is described as "a dynamic young physician" who is "tremendously skilled in surgery." Most notable was an initiative she took within her medical community to create a physician task force to engage physicians in improving their practice of medicine.
Thomas Clements, MD (Cumberland County) – A urologist with Urology of Central PA in Camp Hill, Dr. Clements not only rates high in patient satisfaction surveys, but is also recognized for his volunteer work with ZERO and the Pennsylvania Prostate Cancer Coalition. To further raise awareness of prostate cancer, he is often an expert source for local television stations and newspapers.
Shannon Grap, MD (Dauphin County) – Dr. Grap practices pediatric anesthesiology at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. At Penn State, she also serves as the director of medical student education in the anesthesiology department in addition to being the director of curriculum development. She is a member of multiple professional organizations, and in her spare time has volunteered for medical mission trips to the Dominican Republic.
MaryEllen Pfeiffer, DO (Dauphin County) – Dr. Pfeiffer is an internal medicine specialist with York Hospital Hospitalists. She is credited with leading the Active Bed Management project for WellSpan Health to redesign patient flow through the emergency room as well as incoming direct admissions and transfers. She is also the first physician at WellSpan to serve as Director of Patient Safety.
Ravi Chekka, MD (Erie County) – A pediatrician in Erie, Dr. Chekka is actively involved in local medical leadership. At Saint Vincent Hospital, he serves as Chief of the Division of Pediatrics, ensuring pediatric care is undertaken with a high level of compassion and quality.
Dawn Karns, DO (Erie County) – Dr. Karns is a family medicine specialist, practicing with the Allegheny Health Network / Saint Vincent Hospital via East Harbor Primary Care in Erie. She is a leader in office-based procedures and the education of residents. Recently Dr. Karns became a faculty member for her hospital's family medicine residency. She routinely volunteers at local homeless shelters.
Patricia Salvador, MD (Erie County) – An infectious disease specialist with Infectious Diseases of Northwestern PA in Erie, Dr. Salvador was nominated for being a young leader at her institution. She has taken on the education of infectious disease to family medicine residents.
Philip St. Julien, DO (Erie County) – Dr. St. Julien is a family medicine and sports medicine specialist with Saint Vincent Sports Medicine. He is a regular along the sidelines of many Erie-area sporting events. He is also involved in graduate medical education and is the course director for an annual primary care conference in the county.
Saima Siddiqui, MD (Fayette County) – A neurologist with UPMC Physician Services Division in Uniontown, Dr. Siddiqui was nominated for her ability to expand services. Many patients in her local area are unable to travel due to costs or lack of transportation. Dr. Siddiqui has worked to address this concern and has been successful in reducing the number of no-shows. She is also dedicated to promoting awareness of neurological disease especially stroke.
Jeffrey Montgomery, DO (Lackawanna County) – Dr. Montgomery practices family medicine at Physician Health Alliance in Clarks Green. He serves as the chairman of the board of trustees for the NEPA Quality Health Alliance. He is also a member of the Physicians Health Alliance Advisory Board.
Chad Walker, DO (Lackawanna County) – A rheumatologist with Professional Orthopaedic Associates in Scranton, Dr. Walker serves as the Third District Trustee on the Pennsylvania Medical Society's Board of Trustees. In this position, he represents hundreds of physicians from Carbon, Lackawanna, Monroe, Pike, and Wayne counties. In addition, he's a mentor to medical students at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.
Bryan Cicuto, DO (Lancaster County) – Dr. Cicuto is a plastic surgeon with Plastic & Aesthetic Surgical Associates in Lititz. He is credited with developing the plastic surgery service at Heart of Lancaster Regional Medical Center and Lancaster Regional Medical Center. His efforts has enabled breast cancer patients to stay local to receive reconstructive services.
Mrinalini Meesala, MD (Lancaster County) – A cardiovascular disease specialist with the The Heart Group of Lancaster General Health, Dr. Meesala has led educational events for providers, nurses, and residents regarding health health in women. A dedicated clinician, she is described as a hardworking physician who is energetic and perseverant with her campaign to help women fight back against heart disease.
Justin Roberts, DO (Lancaster County) – Dr. Roberts is an advanced heart failure and transplant cardiologist with The Heart Group of Lancaster General Health. He was nominated for his ability to bring clinical trials to the community setting, providing access to advance care that was previously unavailable outside of major academic centers.
David Somerman, DO (Lancaster County) – Dr. Somerman is a nephrologist with Hypertension and Kidney Specialists in Lancaster. It was noted in his nomination papers from a colleague that he has become one of the area's leaders in recognizing an increasingly identified cause of acute kidney injury called atypical HUS. He has successfully diagnosed several cases, which often would go undiagnosed and untreated. Those patients he has been able to identify with this condition have regained renal function and have been able to come off dialysis.
Amy Depuy, MD (Lehigh County) – As an OB/GYN at Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, Dr. Depuy has demonstrated outstanding leadership within her department. She is credited with being an electronic medical records champion during a recent implementation. It was also noted that she led an effort to implement a pathway for maternity care in the ambulatory setting to standardize testing and antenatal education across 10 offices and a division of more than 30 physicians.
Jeffrey Radecki, MD (Lehigh County) – A physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist with the Lehigh Valley Health Network, Dr. Radecki was nominated for advocacy work at the Capitol to improve patient access to comprehensive rehabilitative care. Through his legislative initiative, he often provides volunteer leadership in the areas of strategic planning and media planning. Clinically, Dr. Radecki is considered by his peers as a leader in spinal conditions.
Allen Chiang, MD (Montgomery County) – Dr. Chiang is an ophthalmologist at Wills Eye Hospital Retina Service in Philadelphia. He is actively involved in teaching and training ophthalmology residents and retina fellows at Wills Eye and is a clinical professor at Thomas Jefferson University. He is also engaged in numerous clinical research projects including clinical trials for novel therapeutics for conditions such as diabetic macular edema and wet macular degeneration.
Kandan Kulandaivel, MD (Montgomery County) – A neurologist with Abington Neurological Associates Ltd. in Willow Grove, Dr. Kulandaivel has received multiple awards for research projects. His patient care, particularly his ability to help patients understand very complicated disorders and diseases, was noted as one of his strengths.
Jennifer Lorine, DO (Montgomery County) – Dr. Lorine practices non-narcotic pain management using osteopathic manipulative medicine and integrative medicine in Blue Bell. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Montgomery County Medical Society, where she oversees member communications. Actively engaged in the treatment of pain and greatly concerned about the country's opioid epidemic, Dr. Lorine is an advocate for the use of non-opioid approaches in helping patients with chronic and unexplained pain.
Jason Ojeda, MD (Montgomery County) – An internal medicine specialist with Thomas Jefferson University, Dr. Ojeda was credited with building the Thomas Jefferson University's Primary Care Track. He has also helped to set up partnerships in Philadelphia's city health centers to help vulnerable patients in the city.
Kelly Scollon-Grieve, MD (Montgomery County) – Dr. Scollon-Grieve is a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist with Premier Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in Havertown. She has presented research at multiple national conferences and authored a chapter in a textbook in Rehabilitation Medicine entitled "Therapeutic Programs for Musculoskeletal Disorders."
Christopher Buzas, DO (Montour County) – A colon and rectal surgeon at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Dr. Buzas is also president-elect of the Keystone Chapter of the American College of Surgeons. He has published multiple articles on colon and rectal surgery and is active in research.
Michael Ascher, MD (Philadelphia County) – Dr. Ascher is a clinical assistant professor of Psychiatry in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. An accomplished clinician and educator, Dr. Ascher is also an established writer with frequent mental health columns in Huffington Post. He also serves on the editorial board for Clinical Psychiatry News, and is co-editor of "The Behavioral Addictions." Among his other editorial works are educational materials and books for medical students.
Nadia Awad, MD (Philadelphia County) – Dr. Awad is a vascular surgeon from Philadelphia, who is known within her medical community as an outstanding mentor, particularly for women in medicine. Most notable of her work is her frequent presentations at national surgical conferences including at the Society of Clinical Vascular Surgery's annual meeting.
Jason Fodeman, MD (Philadelphia County) – An internal medicine specialist with Drexel University Medical Offices in Philadelphia, Dr. Fodeman was nominated for his volunteer work with the Early Career Physician Section of the Pennsylvania Medical Society. In addition, he has been published numerous times regarding the intersection of medicine with law and policy.
Rahul Kapur, MD (Philadelphia County) – Dr. Kapur is a family medicine and sports medicine specialist with Penn Family Care in Philadelphia. Described as a consummate teacher of students, residents, and fellows, it was also noted that amidst his busy clinical daytime schedule, he has committed countless evenings and weekends to care for athletes.
Wayne Lau, MD (Philadelphia County) – Nominated by several medical students, Dr. Lau is a role model by example for those studying to become a physician. An emergency medicine specialist with Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, he also finds time to serve as co-director of the Chinatown Free Clinic in Philadelphia. He was described as an exceptional physician, professor, and mentor who goes above and beyond in every role to help patients and medical students.
Pak Leung, MD (Philadelphia County) – Dr. Leung is a trauma surgeon and associate chairman of trauma and surgical critical care at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. While known for helping the medically underserved of North Philadelphia, he also plays an active role in global surgery and medicine, providing medical care in war-torn and underdeveloped countries as a member of Doctors Without Borders.
Henry Lin, MD (Philadelphia County) – A pediatric gastroenterologist with Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Dr. Lin already has a long list of leadership positions with the American Medical Association (AMA) and Philadelphia County Medical Society. With the AMA, he serves as chair of the Young Physicians Section Governing Council. In addition, he is a regular volunteer with the Pennsylvania Medical Society's and KYW TV's "Doctors on Call" program.
Kory London, MD (Philadelphia County) – Dr. London is a Thomas Jefferson University physician and clinical instructor. He specializes in emergency medicine and at his hospital led the Emergency Medicine/Internal Medicine Practice Improvement Work Group. He is also credited with leading the charge for the adoption of the HealthShare Exchange of Southeastern Pennsylvania's patient portal and clinical data repository, allowing physicians from across Southeast Pennsylvania to see insurance records of their patients to avoid redundant care.
Kristin Rising, MD (Philadelphia County) – An emergency medicine specialist with Thomas Jefferson University, Dr. Rising has been responsible for achieving more than $1 million in research funding awards. Her work on the acute care delivery system has been presented at several national meetings and she has authored many peer-reviewed publications. She also serves as a mentor for the American Medical Women's Association Faculty Mentor Program.
Loren Robinson, MD (Philadelphia County) – Dr. Robinson is the deputy secretary of health at the Pennsylvania Department of Health. She is medically trained in internal medicine and pediatrics. In her role with the state, she is often a spokesperson on important state health issues including lead poisoning, immunizations, Zika, and teen health. She has conducted research on interventions to improve social determinants of health and provide sustainable improvements in health outcomes.
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The Pennsylvania Medical Society was founded in 1848. To learn more about PAMED, visit its web site at www.pamedsoc.org or follow on Twitter @PAMEDSociety.