Alumni Updates

Alumni Updates

Interested in seeing where your fellow MSIH classmates are now?

Here are a few updates, organized by graduating class. We’re always happy to hear from you, so please get in touch to keep us up-to-date on moves and accomplishments of your own.

Dr. Mark Clarfield and Lt. Col. Brian Neese (class of 2005)



Class of 2016


Nathan Douthit, M.D., is an intern in internal medicine at Brookwood Baptist Health.
Dr. Douthit presented a case at the Southern Regional Meeting for the Society of General Internal Medicine on diagnostic error in syncope and pulmonary embolism. He has also written a case report on copper, silver and lead toxicity from ingestion of colloidal metals, which won the Brookwood Baptist Health “Research Week” case report contest for Internal Medicine.
Dr. Douthit recently participated in a Medical Jeopardy event, and his residency program team progressed to the final round at the southern meeting for the Society of General Internal Medicine. He looks forward to competing again in the Alabama-Mississippi State American College of Physicians (ACP) meeting.

Sara Teichholz, M.D., is an intern in psychiatry at George Washington University in Washington, DC.
Dr. Teichholtz chose her residency program because of its unique emphasis on global mental health and policy. She became interested in working with refugee populations while at MSIH, and was drawn to George Washington University’s opportunities that encourage residents to perform asylum evaluations and work with refugee populations. The program also has numerous international connections, including many in the Middle East. Dr. Teichholtz plans to join the Global Mental Health track of her residency program as a PGY-II.

Class of 2015


Amanda Norwich, M.D., is a second-year surgery resident at the University of Connecticut in Hartford.
Dr. Norwich started a research project with a bariatric surgeon at one of the University of Connecticut’s affiliate hospitals that will examine the effect of eating habits on outcomes in bariatric surgery.
Starting this summer, Dr. Norwich will begin a two-year research project with a plastic surgeon at Yale University, who is analyzing gene therapy to prevent conversion of giant congenital nevi to melanoma.

Julia Rubin-Smith, M.D., M.S.P.H., is a third-year pediatric resident at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Dr. Rubin-Smith chose the UMN residency program because of its strong global medicine and pediatrics program, which operates both in the Twin Cities and with collaborating sites across the globe. Practicing in the Twin Cities offers myriad opportunities for local global health. Minneapolis and St. Paul are major refugee resettlement areas, and there are large populations of Somalis, Liberians, Hmong, and Karen, among others.
Dr. Rubin-Smith is part of the residency program’s Global Health Pathway and serves as one of two global health class representatives for the class of 2018.
Earlier this year, Dr. Rubin-Smith spent a month in Washington, DC completing legislative advocacy internship at the AAP’s Department of Federal Affairs. I learned a lot about the legislative process and was able to spend time on Capitol Hill with other dedicated pediatricians advocating for kids

Shimon (Gabriel) Farkas, M.D. is an anesthesiology resident at New York Medical College in Westchester, New York. In December 2016 he exhibited a poster at teh New York State Society of Anesthesiologists Postgraduate Assembly. He presented a case report describing the use of a novel type of nerve block called the PEC I and II block that anesthetizes the nerves that innervate the chest wall, which helps with post-operative pain control.

Class of 2014


Martin Gibbs, M.D., is currently completing a Global Health/Hospital Medicine Fellowship with the University of Florida. His year-long program will allow him to provide healthcare to under-served communities in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and Gainesville, FL. He will alternate between these locations every two months.
In Florida, he will work as a staff/faculty hospitalist at UF Health Shands Medical Center. In Haiti, Dr. Gibbs will work on public health projects and spend time doing clinical work as an internist on the wards, in the ICU, and/or in the clinic.
Dr. Gibbs’ global health project in Haiti is aimed at improving outpatient care for diabetics in Port-au-Prince through frequent follow up with community health workers.

Class of 2013


Deborah Bloch, M.D., completed her Pediatrics residency at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, PA. While a resident, Dr. Bloch organized two “Helping Babies Breathe” training courses, which teaches neonatal resuscitation in the first golden minute of life. The courses were to certify residents and attendings to be able to train health care providers in low-resource settings, who could then not only utilize the training in daily practice but also train other providers.
Dr. Bloch has started a pediatric infectious diseases fellowship at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. Though she is still developing her fellowship project, she is confident it will involve a cohort of mother-baby pairs in Kenya and examine transplacental transfer of antibodies towards vaccine-preventable diseases and infant response to BCG vaccine in the setting of maternal parasitemia, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control.

Paul Kim, M.D., is a palliative medicine fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). In his current role, he is exploring an interest in utilizing technology to support positive patient outcomes. MSKCC has started an innovative telemedicine program that allows outpatient follow-up for patients who live outside of Manhattan. The commute from to New York City entails a long ride for some, which would not be conducive for people who have intractable pain from metastatic disease.
Dr. Kim is involved in the initial pilot of this program, and is planning to measure patient satisfaction and report ideas to determine if telemedicine visits can be as successful – if not more – at managing patient’s systems as seeing physicians face-to-face.
Dr. Kim is excited to see how the use of new technology will further palliative care.

Class of 2012


Katherine (Kate) Horan, M.D., fulfilled her lifelong dream and joined Doctors Without Borders after completing her residency. Over the past two years, she has served as the managing physician in a malaria and malnutrition ward in rural Chad, the director of a refugee camp hospital in South Sudan, and a technical adviser for a 300-bed pediatric hospital in Mali.

Jonathan (JD) Drew, M.D., joined Doctors Without Borders after completing a fellowship in wilderness medicine and disaster medicine. He is currently serving on his first mission in war-torn Central African Republic, considered to be one of the most dangerous and challenging environments for humanitarian missions. “I’ve never been happier; this is the kind of medicine you dream about practicing as a kid,” he says. “It’s challenging, yes, but I really believe my training at MSIH was the perfect way to prepare for this.”

Class of 2011


Scottie Bussell, M.D., M.P.H. is a medical officer of family practice in the Indian Health Service.
Previously, Dr. Bussell was a Fogarty Global Health Fellow, National Institutes of Health, and was placed at the National Center for HIV/AIDS in Beijing, China. During his fellowship, Dr. Bussell explored Hepatitis C and HIV co-infection and screening for fibrosis and Hepatitis C treatment eligibility, as well as liver disease.
Dr. Bussell produced publications that examined health disparities in HIV care and treatment, long-term outcomes of antiretroviral therapy in an adult HIV program, as well as the global burden of pulmonary hypertension in sickle cell disease.

Rachel Pope, M.D., M.P.H. is an assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baylor Medical College in Houston, TX. She spends the majority of her time in Malawi.
Dr. Pope recently completed a two-year fellowship in Malawi, where she learned how to repair obstetric fistulas, and worked with the next generation of Malawian residents at the newly created Malawian OB/GYN residency program.
During her fellowship, Dr. Pope also traveled to Madagascar, Sierra Leone, and to Benin providing clinical care at partner sites there, including most recently on the Mercy Ships.

Class of 2010


Olga Charnaya, M.D., is in her final year as a fellow in Pediatric Nephrology at Children’s National Health System. In October 2017, Olga will be joining the Pediatric Nephrology faculty as assistant professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University.
In May 2017, Dr. Charnaya published an article in Frontiers in Pediatrics entitled, “Hypertension in the Pediatric Kidney Transplant Recipient.”

Ariela Orkaby, M.D., M.P.H., is an advanced geriatric research fellow at VA Boston Healthcare system, associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School.
In July 2017, Dr. Orkaby received a Career Development Award from the National Institute on Aging’s Boston Older Americans Independence Center. The award amount of $100,000 will further Dr. Orkaby’s research on frailty to examine the hypothesis that aspirin use is associated with lower risk of frailty and functional limitation in older adults.

Class of 2009


Connie Keung, M.D., is a physician at the Indiana University at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), a national referral hospital in Kenya. She also represents the surgical program of the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare. Dr. Keung completed her residency in surgery at Columbia University Medical Center. She spends her time operating, teaching surgery to medical students and residents, and assisting with the development and evaluation of the surgical curriculum.

Shaun Gruenbaum, M.D., is a board-certified anesthesiologist at the Yale School of Medicine, where is both a practicing physician and neuroscientist. He serves on the Education Committee for the Society of Neuroscience in Anesthesiology and Critical Care (SNACC), and was recently appointed the Assistant Director of Neuroanesthesia Research in the Department of Anesthesiology at Yale.
Since graduating from MSIH in 2009, Dr. Gruenbaum completed his residency in Anesthesiology at the Yale School of Medicine. After completing his residency, Dr. Gruenbaum completed a fellowship in clinical neuroanesthesia, as well as an NIH-funded, T32 research fellowship. During this time, he also worked towards earning a PhD in Investigative Medicine at Yale, which he will complete in September 2017.
Dr. Gruenbaum has research interests in understanding the biological mechanisms of cerebral metabolism and neuroprotection after an acute brain insult, and he collaborates with a multidisciplinary team that includes biomedical engineers, pathologists, neurosurgeons, and anesthesiologists.

Class of 2008


Gupreet Kaur, M.D., is a family medicine physician who has completed field assignments with Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders in Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Tanzania.
Dr. Kaur arranged independent public health electives during her family medicine residency (The Christ Hospital/University of Cincinnati Family Medicine Residency Program), which took her to Pakistan and Bangladesh. This path later led to her application to work with Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF).
To date, Dr. Kaur has completed four assignments with Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders and has just started her fifth in Nigeria.

Miriam Rahav, M.D., is founder and medical director of Rahav Wellness, the Center for Collaborative Healing, an integrative health center she opened in March 2017. Previously, Dr. Rahav was a physician at the Kellman Center for Functional and Integrative Medicine. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center

Class of 2007


Bathany Sweet, M.D., is a family medicine physician at Yelm Family Medicine in Yelm, Washington. She is also a medical volunteer with “Friends of Haiti”, a nonprofit whose mission is to serve the people of Haiti by providing medical, dental, development and educational services.
Dr. Sweet spends a great deal of time in Haiti. She has taken three mission trips to Haiti, and she administers healthcare in the same clinic each time. Dr. Sweet enjoys getting to see the families again each time she visits.

Javeed Sukhera, M.D., is an assistant professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada where he is also Senior Designate Physician Lead for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at London Health Sciences Centre.
Dr. Sukhera currently sits on the AAMC’s Council of Faculty and Academic Societies and is a member of the American and Canadian Academies of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the Canadian Association of Medical Education and he is also a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Dr. Sukhera recently began pursuing a PhD program in health professions education at Maastricht University

Class of 2006


Sigalit Hoffman, M.D., completed her fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Hoffman participated in a relief mission in Haiti, where she treated patients in the Sacré Coeur tent hospital in Milot, which is 150 miles northwest of Port-au-Prince. Currently, Dr. Hoffman works as a clinician in the Child Trauma Clinic at Floating Hospital for Children in Boston, Massachusetts.

Jeremy Fowler, M.D. is a medical director at a clinic for Tuberculosis and chest diseases in Northern Jordan. Dr. Fowler visited MSIH in November 2017, and lectured to a packed room of fascinated students about his experiences working with refugees and other under-served populations. Dr. Fowler’s clinic treats nearly 20,000 people each year, and serves patients from Jordan and surrounding Middle Eastern countries.

Class of 2005


Lt. Col. Brian Neese, M.D., M.P.H., is currently a family physician in the U.S. Air Force. He is the immediate past president of the MSIH Alumni Association and was the alumni speaker at the 2016 Physicians Oath Ceremony. In 2010, Dr. Neese hosted a roundtable discussion on global health medical education at the Global Health Education Symposium at BGU, entitled “The U.S. Air Force’s Cross-Cultural and Global Health Activities.” Dr. Neese discussed how his position as an international health specialist enables him to be at the forefront of policy and stability operations, helping to improve the flow of aid and assets to underserved countries in Latin America during a disaster or war.

Dr. Neese has published a book, “Living and Dying in the Fourth Year,” describing his experiences during medical school.

Melissa Dawalt Klein, M.D., M.P.H., is an internist at the Cleveland Clinic. She previously worked with Unity Health Care Program, which delivers health care to federal correctional facilities in Washington, D.C. The Unity Health Care Program’s “Applying Lessons Learned in Correctional Medicine and Re-Entry” exposes the tremendous difficulty that the prison population and newly-released prisoners face in receiving timely and adequate health care. Federal statistics estimate that the U.S. prison population suffers from substance abuse problems, severe mental illness and homelessness at much higher rates than the general population (upwards of 50% of all inmates suffer from mental health problems such as depression, mania and psychotic disorders), and tends to receive subpar care or no care at all.

Henry Welch, M.D., is a clinical associate in pediatrics at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He also serves as a Consultant in Pediatrics & Internal Medicine with the National Department of Health in Papua New Guinea, where he is a faculty member at The University of Papua New Guinea, and a Pediatrician at the Port Moresby General Hospital.
Dr. Welch is working to implement a new child-friendly tuberculosis medication at Port Moresby General Hospital. The twelve-month project will support the distribution of the new TB treatment that is dissolvable, better tasting and requires children to take fewer pills each day. The ultimate goal of this project is to fight the spread of TB by simplifying treatment options.

Class of 2004


Daniel Urbine, M.D., completed a three-year fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Urbine has also completed four medical missions, most recently to Zambia, where he worked primarily in rural villages to treat malaria and other infectious diseases such as tuberculosis. He led a medical team from Detroit’s Oak Pointe Church, which has sponsored international medical missions for the past 13 years. “You can save a child’s life for three dollars, the cost of malaria medication,” he says. Dr. Urbine is also involved in the construction of a medical clinic in rural Zambia through Living Hope International. For more information on his trip to Zambia, visit the Oak Pointe Church website. Dr. Urbine is currently a pulmonary and critical care physician at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida.

Lashawn Worsley-McIver, M.D., M.P.H., is the senior vice president of government affairs and advocacy at the American Diabetes Association. She heads public policy efforts at the federal and state levels and serves as the senior staff person for the Tri-Council (African American Diabetes Action Council, Asian Pacific American Diabetes Action Council and Latino Diabetes Action Council). Dr. Worsley-McIver was the first recipient of the prestigious Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Foundation’s Health Policy Fellowship to study HIV and AIDS in African-Americans. This two-year fellowship enabled Dr. Worsley-McIver to provide important data used to develop health policy and strategy for the members of the CBC.

Eric Barna, M.D., M.P.H., completed his master’s degree in public health at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and was named chief resident at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Jacobi Medical Center. He is currently the associate program director and sub-internship clerkship director at Mount Sinai Medical Center in the internal medicine division. Dr. Barna has also served as resource for fourth-year students who are preparing for sub-internships.

Class of 2003


Erica Spatz, M.D., M.H.S., is a general cardiologist and clinical investigator at the Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation in New Haven, Connecticut. Previously, Dr. Spatz was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at Yale University School of Medicine. Her work to expand the safety net for the uninsured in New Haven includes a study of the difficulties underserved populations face in receiving care and continuing care and the options to improve timely and coordinated care. In August 2016, Dr. Spatz presented a lecture at Columbia University Medical Center entitled “Misdiagnosing Patient Preference,” which centered on patient engagement and shared decision-making, as well as new government policies and laws that are helping patients collaborate with their physicians. Read more about Dr. Spatz’s lecture.

Gary Asher, M.D., M.P.H., is the director of integrative medicine services at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and assistant director of the Chatham Hospital Emergency Department in Siler City, North Carolina. Dr. Asher has been a practitioner, teacher and researcher in the field of integrative medicine for over 20 years. He was recently granted a K Award for his research on curcumin for colorectal cancer chemoprevention.

Patrick O’Connor, M.D., M.P.H., served as clinic manager for the International Rescue Committee in Darfur, Sudan, before starting a residency in family practice at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. O’Connor was a regional advisor for polio and vaccine preventable disease surveillance with the World Health Organization in their Southeast Asia regional office in New Delhi, India. Prior to joining the WHO, Dr. O’Connor worked for the International Rescue Committee in refugee camps and health clinics in Darfur and southern Sudan. Currently, he specializes in preventive medicine in Gap, Pennsylvania.

Class of 2002


Ryan Carroll, M.D., M.P.H., is a pediatric critical care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Uganda program director for the Global Health Collaborative. Dr. Carroll oversees 100 staff and researchers in Uganda, as well as 15 research projects, 14 departmental partnership development programs, and more than 150 research and development visitors each year. He also serves as a medical consultant for MGH’s Consortium for Affordable Medical Technology (CAMTech), assisting in the design of medical devices for low- and middle-income countries, primarily India and Uganda. Previously, Dr. Carroll’s research on pediatric cerebral malaria led to the development of a treatment that reverses symptoms using nitric oxide, with few adverse effects.

Craig Blinderman, M.D., M.A., is an associate professor of medicine and the director of adult palliative medicine at Columbia University Medical Center/New-York Presbyterian Hospital. In February  2017, Dr. Blinderman led a Palliative Care Conference at Columbia University Medical Center. Additionally, Dr. Blinderman received the prestigious Columbia Public Voices Fellowship for 2017-18. This fellowship trains under-represented experts to take thought leaderships positions in their specialties through connections with a large network of top-ranking media mentors.