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Preetam CholliPreetam Cholli – Med-Peds

Medical School: University of Massachusetts Medical School
College: University of Chicago
Hometown: Chelmsford, Mass.

Preetam was raised in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. He attended the University of Chicago as an undergraduate where he majored in Biology and minored in Philosophy. After graduation, he spent one year working with non-governmental organizations in Pune, India to develop and lead a malnutrition project in the city’s slum communities. Preetam attended the University of Massachusetts Medical School where he discovered a love for the care of adults and children. He has a passion for medical ethics, global health, international development and the intersection of medicine, research and public policy.
Preetam’s other interests include the arts, philosophy and comparative religion.

Ben FrushBen Frush – Med-Peds

Medical School: University of North Carolina School of Medicine
College: Duke University
Hometown: Durham, N.C.

Ben was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina. He graduated from Duke University where he studied Psychology. He then matriculated to the University of North Carolina for medical school, where he remained an unapologetic Duke basketball fan. In between his third and fourth years of medical school, Ben spent a year at Duke Divinity School. He was a fellow in the Theology, Medicine and Culture Fellowship and completed his Master of Arts degree in Christian Studies.

Ben is interested in bioethics, specifically how both theology and moral philosophy can inform current conversations involving disability, moral formation in medicine and end-of-life care. In his free time, Ben enjoys pickup basketball, Pittsburgh Steelers football, re-watching episodes of The Office ad nauseam and figuring out how to spend time with other people’s dogs until he breaks down and gets his own. He is both honored and excited to be in Nashville and join the Med-Peds family at Vanderbilt.

Rita HurdRita Hurd – Med-Peds

Medical School: University of Wisconsin
College: University of Minnesota
Hometown: Mankato, Minn.

Rita hails from the upper Midwest. Originally from Michigan's upper peninsula, she spent the remainder of her childhood in the small Minnesota town of Mankato. She attended the University of Wisconsin, where she studied Psychology and Global Health and developed an allegiance to Wisconsin athletics (go Badgers!). Following college, she returned to Minnesota where she attended the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Rita's medical interests include hospital medicine, medical education, the role of social media in medicine and the experiences of women in medicine. Her non-medical interests include long-distance running (including two marathons during medical school), cooking and baking (especially a carrot cake recipe that has become well-known in her medical school class), spending time outdoors with her husband Grant and goldendoodle Jack and listening to podcasts of all genres. She is looking forward to venturing south to a warmer climate and living in SEC territory!

Rachel KlausnerRachel Klausner – Med-Peds

Medical School: Yale School of Medicine
College: University of Florida
Hometown: Tampa, Fla.

Rachel was born and raised in Tampa, Florida where she spent much of her free time playing volleyball, scuba diving or on the beach. She attended the University of Florida where she majored in Biochemistry and Nutrition, developing her passion for medicine in between tailgating Gator football games. Rachel went to Yale for medical school, where she decided to pursue Med-Peds after becoming interested in caring for patients of all ages with congenital heart disease.

Rachel spends her free time experimenting with new recipes, finding any excuse to be outdoors, explaining college football to her northern friends and convincing people that Tampa actually has a great hockey team. After her short stint in the Northeast, Rachel is thrilled to be moving back south to warmer weather, country music and SEC football. She is excited to explore Nashville and join the Vanderbilt community.

Jonathan KooimanJonathan Kooiman – Med-Peds

Medical School: University of Illinois College of Medicine – Rockford
College: Wheaton College
Hometown: Virginia Beach, Va.

Jon was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia to a family with an international background. His father is from the Netherlands and his stepmother is from Kenya. Jon spent his childhood planning to become president of the United States, but decided that politics was not for him after working as an aide in the State Capitol during high school. Thankfully, he switched to medicine and has never looked back.

After completing high school, Jon volunteered for a non-profit organization that engages in community development. He served in Costa Rica, the Philippines and Indonesia. Later, he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry at Wheaton College, where he also met his wife, Olivia. During his undergraduate education, Jon continued serving the international community through community development in the Dominican Republic and Mexico. Given his interest in strengthening underserved communities, he attended medical school at University of Illinois and discovered Med-Peds.

Jon and Olivia are both passionate about global health and correcting health disparities in developing countries. Specifically, Jon would like to start residency programs in developing countries to contribute to a self-sustaining physician workforce within those countries. When Jon is not practicing medicine, you might find him running a 5K, reading a book on space exploration, cooking ethnic Lebanese food with his wife or enjoying a glass of California Cabernet Sauvignon or Italian Barbera. Jon and Olivia are excited to make Nashville their home and join the Vanderbilt family.

Ashley WuAshley Wu – Med-Peds

Medical School: Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
College: University of Pennsylvania
Hometown: Princeton, N.J.

Ashley was born a southerner in College Station, Texas, transitioned to toddlerhood as a Californian in the Bay Area, and eventually converted to an East Coaster for the remainder of her childhood in suburban New Jersey. In college, she fell in love with the City of Brotherly Love. Outside the lab, she spent as much time as possible walking around Rittenhouse and eating her way through the city. But after blowing through two pairs of snow boots during the polar vortex of 2014, she decided to head back down south for medical school at Vanderbilt. Bachelorette parties aside, Ashley is proud to be a Nashvillian. She is excited to be joined by her fiancé Seth in Nashville as she embarks on a new journey as a Double Dore!


blankStacy Blank, M.D.

Medical School: Indiana University School of Medicine
College: Indiana University
Hometown: Hebron, In.

Stacy Blank was born in Dover, Delaware, but quickly moved back to her parents’ hometown of Hebron, Indiana by the age of one to ensure Chicago sports fandom. She played a variety of sports in high school, but was a science nerd at heart so she packed her running shoes and softball cleats away when she headed for Indiana University where she studied Chemistry and Spanish. Continuing as a Hoosier, Stacy attended IU medical school in Indianapolis where she developed her interest in academic medicine and a future career in Med-Peds. Outside of medicine, Stacy enjoys reading, running, hiking, watching IU basketball, and trying new restaurants. She is very excited to explore Nashville and be part of the Vanderbilt community.

KnittleEmily Camp, M.D.

Medical School: University of Louisville School of Medicine
College: New York University
Hometown: Louisville, Ky.

Emily was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee and moved to Louisville, Kentucky when she was 10 years old. She moved north to New York University for college where she studied French and Sociology and spent a year studying and eating croissants in Paris. During her time at NYU, she developed interests in community health and social determinants of health. After graduation, she went west to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she worked at as a case manager at an HIV clinic and found her love for both medicine and hatch green chili. Emily then moved back to Louisville where she attended medical school and became passionate about primary care and healthcare for the underserved. In her free time, Emily loves to run, bike, and spend time with her husband and their rescue mutt. She is thrilled to train in Med-Peds at Vanderbilt and can’t wait to get back to her Tennessee roots. 

ChambersMichael Chambers M.D.

Medical School: University of Central Florida College of Medicine
College: University of Central Florida
Hometown: Cocoa Beach, Fla.

Michael was born in Cocoa Beach, Florida, and grew up watching space shuttle launches and oddly avoiding the beach. For college, he attended the University of Central Florida, majoring in molecular and microbiology with a minor in piano. Throughout his time there, he developed a passion for teaching while instructing undergraduate labs in immunology, microbiology, and anatomy, and temporarily lost his passion for music while playing piano for weddings. He remained at UCF for medical school, where he enjoyed tutoring, leading UCF’s own a cappella group “Residual Volume,” and volunteering to bring healthcare to underserved areas. He enjoys hiking, craft beer, strong coffee, and cooking various permutations of food served on tortillas.


Catherine Mannon, M.D.

Medical School: University of Kentucky College of Medicine
College: Centre College
Hometown: Lexington, Ky.

Catherine was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky, and like most Lexingtonians, she bleeds blue for UK. She stayed close to home for college, attending Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. While at Centre, she majored in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. Catherine returned to Lexington to attend medical school at the University of Kentucky. While at UK she developed an interest in medical education and is passionate about wellness in medicine for physicians and physicians-in-training. Outside of medicine, Catherine enjoys hiking (and most other outdoor activities), spending time with friends and family, and hanging out with her pup, Cooper. She loves traveling and has a personal goal to visit all of the national parks. Catherine is looking forward to exploring both the Tennessee parks and all that Nashville has to offer.

ParkerJ.J. Parker, M.D.

Medical School: University of Illinois at Chicago
College: Bucknell University
Hometown: Lake Bluff, Ill.

J.J. grew up in a town north of Chicago, where you’d be hard pressed to find him inside; you’d have had better luck if you checked the neighborhood field, court, park, or ravine. He played football and basketball in high school and then headed to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania to attend Bucknell University. While at Bucknell, J.J.’s biggest accomplishment was winning over his amazing wife, Morgan. J.J. took a gap year in Managua, Nicaragua, where he learned how to sweat and speak Spanish. During his year in Central America, “Hota Hota” affirmed a strong passion for global health. During medical school, he continued to work in Nicaragua, conducting a study on barriers to contraceptive use among adolescents. Recently, J.J. and Morgan expanded their family by adding Champ, a lovable golden retriever. Speaking of champs, now that the Cubs have won a World Series, Morgan and J.J. are ready to leave Chicago and couldn’t be more excited to be to Nashville. They look forward to live music, friendly people, Southern cooking, and exploring the outdoors of Tennessee.


Alicia Stallings, M.D.

Medical School: Cleveland Clinic College of Medicine
College: Washington University
Hometown: River Forest, Ill.

Alicia grew up in River Forest, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago. She is the youngest child of three and the only girl, and has thoroughly enjoyed this distinction. For her undergraduate studies, Alicia attended Washington University in St. Louis, where she majored in Women and Gender studies and minored in French. Prior to medical school, Alicia worked as the electronic medical records transition manager for her father’s primary care practice in Chicago, and served as the health education and screening coordinator for a small public health organization in the area part time. Interested in a career of public health research and policy, Alicia attended the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine for medical school, during which she was awarded the American Society of Hematology Physician Scientist Career Development Award to support her thesis research on health services administration in the pediatric sickle cell population. Alicia is passionate about healthcare outcomes and cost-effectiveness research, intra-professional collaboration, and breaking the cycle of disease and poverty through high quality patient care.


Azang-NjaahNdang Azang-Njaah, M.D.

Medical School: University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
College: University of Maryland at College Park
Hometown: Westminster, Md.

Ndang was born in Arlington, Virginia, but was raised in Westminster, Maryland, just 1.5 hours north of Washington, D.C. He attended the University of Maryland at College Park where he was involved in various campus communities, ranging from Honors Humanities to the Maryland Men’s Chorus. While at Maryland, Ndang also studied abroad in Cameroon where he had the opportunity to volunteer with a local NGO that served young adults living with HIV/AIDS. The experience piqued his interest in public health and made a future career in medicine tangible. After graduating with degrees in biochemistry and nutritional science, he made the transition from the Old Line State to the Land of Lincoln for medical school at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. While at Pritzker he cultivated his interests in community health and primary care, which also included a brief detour through Chapel Hill, North Carolina for an MPH degree at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Outside of medicine, Ndang enjoys reading, staying active, and singing baritone. Ndang plans for a career in Med-Peds primary care where he hopes to capitalize on his training in public health and clinical medicine. He looks forward to spending the next chapter of his life here in Nashville.

BayefskySarah Bayefsky, M.D.

Medical School:  Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine
College: Harvard University
Hometown: New York, N.Y.

Sarah originally hails from Toronto, Canada. When she was 12 years old, her family relocated to New York City, but she maintained a strict use of Celsius and a deep loyalty to the Blue Jays baseball team. During high school, she played volleyball and softball and studied bat echolocation. She attended Harvard University, where she completed her premedical requirements while majoring in government, with a focus on Latin America. She enjoyed working at the intersection of policy and medicine at the Harvard Center on the Developing Child, an organization dedicated to using our knowledge of child development to influence public policies relating to children. Sarah spent a gap year working in early childhood education and mentoring high school students before returning to New York for medical school. A new school with an innovative curriculum, Hofstra fostered Sarah’s interests in medical education, medical ethics, and care for the underserved. She has relished the opportunity to explore other parts of the world through global health rotations and health policy courses in China, Chile, and Uganda. She loves to learn languages and may try to speak with you in Spanish, Hebrew, or French. Sarah looks forward to living in one of the friendliest cities in America and to introducing her family and friends from home to the South. 

ChuPatricia Chu, M.D.

Medical School: Duke University School of Medicine
College: University of Chicago
Hometown: Solon, Oh.

Patricia is a proud Midwesterner who was born in Iowa and grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland. Looking to explore a bigger city, she headed to the University of Chicago for college. While in Chicago, she discovered a love for working with middle and high school students from the surrounding South Side neighborhoods, and particularly enjoyed mentoring teens with sickle cell disease. These experiences got her interested in adolescents and young adults with chronic childhood illness, their transition into adult healthcare, and ultimately led her to the field of Combined Internal Medicine-Pediatrics or “Med-Peds.” Next, Patricia made her first move to the south by moving to North Carolina to attend medical school at Duke. She became a Blue Devils fan and enjoyed rooting for a team that actually won a national championship (remember she's from Cleveland!). During med school, she also completed a Masters in Clinical Research and did outcomes research focused on infants with congenital heart disease. She is excited about residency at Vanderbilt and figuring out how to combine her many interests which include transitions of care for youth with chronic illness and adult congenital heart disease. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking for friends, yoga, listening to NPR, nerding out at museums, and exploring the different neighborhoods in Nashville.

KrantzMatthew Krantz, M.D.

Medical School: University of North Carolina School of Medicine
College: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Hometown: Chapel Hill, N.C.

Matthew grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and he is one of four siblings who all attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is second oldest of the four, so he technically went to UNC before it was cool. As an undergraduate, he majored in biology and minored in screenwriting. Matthew went on to pursue medical school at UNC where he relied mostly on his biology background but employed his screenwriting skills for his medical school’s annual skit nights by making short films. His favorite film was a black and white, French-themed, silent comedy called, “La Chirurgie” (Surgery) about the third year medical student surgical clerkship experience. His main hobbies include writing, filmmaking, playing soccer, hiking, and following Tar Heel sports. He is excited to move to Nashville and wants everyone to know this isn’t his first time traveling outside of Chapel Hill. It’s his second. Actually, traveling is one of his hobbies too and some of his favorite places are New York City, Berlin, and Galway. For his career plans, he is interested in academic Med-Peds and medical education.

RichardsonLee Richardson, M.D.

Medical School: University of Louisville School of Medicine
College: Transylvania University
Hometown: Nicholasville, Ky.

Originally from Nicholasville, Kentucky, Lee had spent his entire life within the Bluegrass state until live music and the Vandy Med-Peds program convinced him to migrate south to Nash-Vegas. While in Kentucky, Lee grew up loving ultimate Frisbee, Space Jam, and mix-tape CDs.

For college, Lee attended the mighty Transylvania University (1,100 students!) in Lexington, Kentucky, where he majored in Spanish and Biochemistry. While there, he traveled to Mexico, Ecuador, and Costa Rica, which helped foster his interest in global health. Next, Lee ventured an hour westward and spent four years studying the art of both medicine and road navigation via bicycle. While in Louisville, he met his favorite dance partner-in-crime who also decided to mosey on down to “Music City” for her residency training (McKenzie Vater – Peds). Together, they love cheering on the UK Wildcats, attempting to camp, and running 26.2 more miles than they ever thought they would.

Lee is thrilled to do his Med-Peds training at Vanderbilt. Although not 100 percent sure what he will do long term (#medpeds), Lee has interests in global health, academic medicine, and hospital medicine.

TownsleyElizabeth Townsley, M.D.

Medical School: University of Massachusetts Medical School
: Case Western Reserve University
: Topsfield, Mass.

Elizabeth grew up in Topsfield, Massachusetts just north of Boston. She attended Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio where she completed a B.S. in Biology. Elizabeth then returned to Massachusetts to attended University of Massachusetts Medical School where she completed an M.D./Ph.D. Her Ph.D. research focused on human immune responses to dengue virus. Elizabeth hopes to pursue a fellowship in infectious disease with a focus on tropical infections. In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys ballroom dancing, baking, international travel, and trying to learn new languages. Elizabeth has enjoyed being close to her family over the last eight years, but is excited to explore Nashville and join the Vanderbilt family.


ByrneRyan Byrne, M.D.

Medical School: Baylor College of Medicine
College: Texas A&M University
Hometown: Dallas, Tx.

Ryan was born and raised in the great state of Texas where his single greatest childhood achievement was arguably rocking the chili-bowl haircut for far too long. It was growing up in the Dallas suburbs where he was spoiled by the success of the 1990’s Dallas Cowboys and now subsequently believes, in vain, that every year they are destined to win another Super Bowl. As a third generation Aggie, Ryan was happily brainwashed since birth to attend Texas A&M University where he majored in psychology. As a part of his secondary education, he would stand proudly as a member of the 12th Man, become very involved in community service, and meet his future wife, Brittany. Despite being completely out of his league, Ryan somehow convinced Brittany to marry him in his second year of medical school at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. It was at BCM that Ryan would find a passion for adult congenital heart disease, and he looks forward to serving this ever-growing population.

In his spare time, Ryan enjoys playing intramural sports, caring way too much about fantasy football, spending time with his wife as well as their dog, Dixie, and being frequently caught at red lights jamming out to music, most likely classic 90’s boy bands. Ryan and Brittany are excited to two-step their way from Texas to Tennessee to join the Vanderbilt Med-Peds family!

CassiniThomas Cassini, M.D.

Medical School: University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
College: University of Wisconsin
Hometown: Milwaukee, Wi.

Thomas was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is an avid sports fan who has been involved in organized sports since grade school, playing soccer, baseball, basketball, track, and football. He attended the University of Wisconsin for undergrad, where his role switched from player to helping the football team prepare for games as part of his job as a student manager for the Badgers. He earned his undergraduate degree in Neurobiology, and for the following year worked as a research assistant, studying the epigenetic mechanisms involved in central nervous system regeneration. Thomas has always enjoyed traveling, and during this time he travelled to Africa with other lab staff to tour hospitals and meet with African medical students. They also worked in some time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. He loved his first four years in Madison so much he decided to stick around for medical school. During medical school, he became interested in genetics and had the opportunity to do a medical genetics rotation at the NIH and work with their Undiagnosed Diseases Program. He plans to pursue a fellowship in medical genetics with the ultimate goal of incorporating a program like that into his practice. In his free time, he still enjoys participating in anything sports related and watching Packer and Badger games with family and friends. Thomas is excited to join the Vanderbilt medical team and call Nashville home.

GilmanAlana Gilman, M.D.

Medical School: University of Pittsburgh
College: Indiana University
Hometown: Telluride, Colo.

Alana grew up in Telluride, Colorado, amid the beautiful rocky mountains, where she loved rollerblading, acting in local plays, singing in the choir, and ski racing. Realizing that becoming the next Picabo Street was a long shot, she moved to Hollywood, California to pursue her passion for acting, where she studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Not surprisingly, the only thing tougher than a career as a professional ski racer is becoming the next Natalie Portman.

So, Alana packed her bags again and moved to Bloomington, Indiana to fulfill her legacy as a fourth generation Hoosier graduate at Indiana University. She majored in Neuroscience and discovered the rewarding field of medicine. She spent a summer in Nashville as part of a pre-med educational experience and has wanted to train at Vanderbilt ever since.

Prior to medical school, Alana spent two years in Quito, Ecuador working as the Medical Brigade Coordinator for Timmy Global Health, an Indianapolis-based non-profit that sends undergraduate-led medical aid teams to underserved areas of Latin America. Then she began medical school at the University of Pittsburgh, where she met her "media naranja", Rahul Shah, who will be starting as a co-intern in Pediatrics. They are both so excited to start the next chapter of their lives in Nashville!

KiserStephanie Kiser, M.D., MPH

Medical School: University of North Carolina School of Medicine
College: University of North Carolina
Hometown: Shelby, N.C.

Stephanie was born and raised in Western North Carolina before moving across the state to the triangle region where she’s been for the last 11 years. She became a triple Tarheel this year after completing her undergraduate degree in biology, MPH, and medical degrees at UNC-Chapel Hill. During medical school, Stephanie became interested in underserved medicine and medical education, and she hopes to incorporate those into her training at Vanderbilt. When she’s not watching UNC basketball (and always believing they are national championship bound), you can find her hiking, listening to live music (she’s been to CMA fest four times), checking out the local food scene, taking dance classes, or traveling (recent trip was three weeks in Southeast Asia!). After making many trips to Nashville with her family growing up, she is excited to make Nashville her home for the next four years!

KostelanetzSophia Kostelanetz, M.D.

Medical School: Tufts University School of Medicine
College: Tufts University
Hometown: Boston, Mass.

Sophia was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and at the age of five moved to the United States where she lived in Missouri, Indiana, Louisiana, and Massachusetts. Through her exposure to diverse cultures and lifestyles while growing up, she discovered a passion for both medicine and global health. This drove her to work with Partners In Health during her undergraduate and graduate years, including most recently a year working in Haiti in quality improvement and operational research. Having conveniently missed two Boston winters while in Haiti, she was eager to find a warm locale for residency. Given her imminent marriage to a Commodore Alumnus, Vanderbilt turned out to be the perfect fit! Sophia loves to travel, meet and build communities, potluck with friends, dance, and enjoy the great outdoors.

LaneTara Lane, M.D.

Medical School: University of North Carolina School of Medicine
College: University of Pittsburgh
Hometown: Havertown, Penn.

Tara grew up in Havertown, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. She traded in an Eagles jersey for a Steelers one when she moved to attend college at the University of Pittsburgh, where she double-majored in Rehabilitation Science and Spanish. After graduation, Tara moved to Houston to teach middle school science through Teach for America. While in Houston, she learned that she loves working in education as well as living somewhere that doesn't require a snow shovel. Not ready to leave the South, she attended the University of North Carolina for medical school. Tara loved her time as a Tar Heel and especially enjoyed her participation in the Honduran Health Alliance, a student-run women's clinic in Southern Honduras. In her free time, Tara loves running, playing volleyball, making recipes from her favorite food blogs, and checking out local restaurants. Her fiancé, Nick, currently works as a lawyer in Atlanta, and they’re looking forward to their wedding in October 2015. Tara is still undecided about her career plans, but she is interested in primary care for under-served populations as well as medical education.

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