BTG Network Faculty and Staff Biographies
Erika N. Allen, PhD, LECOM Program Co-Director, the Bridging the Gaps Program Co-Director for Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), is an Assistant Professor of Pharmacology in the College of Medicine at LECOM. Dr. Allen received her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, and her doctorate degree in Pharmacology from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After graduation, she spent two years at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, as a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Biological Sciences. At LECOM, Dr. Allen is also co-advising a student mentoring club for underprivileged youth.
Louis M. Bell Jr., MD, joined the medical faculty of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1986 after a three-year fellowship in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). He is currently a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania and the Associate Chair of Clinical Activities; Division Chief of General Pediatrics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; and the holder of the Patrick S. Pasquariello Jr. Chair in Pediatric Medicine. He attends on the General Pediatrics Inpatient Service and the Inpatient Infectious Disease services. He has subspecialty board certifications in Pediatric Infectious Diseases. Dr. Bell has published more than 70 peer-reviewed research publications and over 40 chapters and reviews with a focus on understanding the epidemiology and improving the treatment and management of pediatric infectious diseases. Over the years, he has won numerous teaching awards including The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Faculty Teacher of the Year Award in 1990 and again in 2005, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Dean's Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching in 1997, the School of Medicines’ Blockley-Osler Award for Excellence in teaching clinical medicine at the bedside in 1999, and the 2009 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. In 2007, the Division of General Pediatrics won the Jean A. Cortner Divisional Teaching award at CHOP.
Oliver C. Bullock, DO, is Professor of Family Medicine at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), where he serves as the Chairman of the Department of Community Medicine and as Medical Director of PCOM's Cambria Medical Center. A graduate of Philadelphia's Central High School, he earned his BS degree from Pennsylvania State University and MEd degree from Temple University. Prior to receiving his medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, he taught biology and coached the track team at Abington High School. Dr. Bullock was Chair of the Pennsylvania State Board of Osteopathic Medicine from 2000 to 2003, and has served on boards of a wide variety of foundations and civic, health, and neighborhood development organizations, including the Kynett Foundation, the Philadelphia chapter of the American Cancer Society, Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Center Association, and Allegheny West Development Association. Dr. Bullock is a highly regarded teacher. He has received numerous awards for teaching excellence and community service, including the Christian and May Lindbach Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching, the Outstanding Service Award from the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine, and the Family Physician of the Year Award from the American College of Physicians.
Dianne Butera, MSW, the Bridging the Gaps Program Director for Temple University, is the Associate Director in the Office for Student Affairs at Temple University's School of Medicine. She also teaches graduate social work courses in social policy, socio-cultural issues, and community development. Her experience includes facilitating community-based learning experiences for doctors in training; participating in a range of community development projects; managing youth counseling services; coordinating community arts programming; and assessing “participatory action research” conducted in the Philippines and Thailand for the Canada Asia Partnership Project.
Mario Cruz, MD, is a graduate of Union College and Albany Medical College. He completed his pediatric residency training at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children (SCHC) and chief residency at the Albert Einstein Medical Center. He is an assistant professor of Pediatrics at Drexel University College of Medicine (DUCOM) and is a member in the Section of General Pediatrics. Dr. Cruz is currently receiving further educational training in the Academic Pediatric Association's Educational Scholars Program. At SCHC, he serves as an associate pediatric residency program director and as principal investigator for a domestic violence screening and intervention program. He is recognized as a regional leader for his violence prevention efforts. In recognition of his community service and humanistic approach to patient care, Dr. Cruz has received several awards, including DUCOM's Vincent Zarro Community Outreach Award. Dr. Cruz is also a highly regarded mentor and teacher. He is the past recipient of, and a frequent nominee for, DUCOM's Golden Apple Award, which recognizes his outstanding teaching abilities.
Denise Curran, MS, PCOM Program Director, the Bridging the Gaps Program Director for Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), is the Director of Student Affairs Administrative Services and Coordinator of Student Disability Services at PCOM. Ms. Curran received her Bachelor of Arts in Natural Science and Mathematics from Dowling College and her Master of Science from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Thistle Elias, DrPH, MPA, is BTG Program Coordinator for the University of Pittsburgh. She collaborated with the program for 15 years as academic coordinator, developing the weekly didactic and reflective sessions for students. Ms. Elias received her masters in public administration in 1991 with a certificate in nonprofit management and a special interest in community-based initiatives, followed two decades later by a Doctorate of Public Health. In between she worked for the City of Pittsburgh launching a city-wide community enrichment program (utilizing school buildings in underserved communities) and later joined the University of Pittsburgh as a research analyst. Ms. Elias has participated in community-based research with elderly to improve healthy aging, with pediatric practices to prevent child neglect and abuse, and with training of faculty to support service learning. Ms. Elias coordinates multiple programs for the Graduate School of Public Health to encourage interaction with underserved populations, in addition to conducting evaluation research for the Family Foundations Early Head Start program, and teaches in the graduate schools of social work and public health.
Elissa Goldberg, MSS, LSW, the Bridging the Gaps Program Director for Drexel University, is Program Director in the Office of Community Experience at Drexel University College of Medicine. Along with her work with Bridging the Gaps, her responsibilities include co-directing the Community Health Experience courses for Drexel’s first-year medical students and facilitating student volunteer projects and fourth-year medical student rotations. She received her Master of Social Services degree in 1995 from Bryn Mawr College School of Social Work and Social Research. She worked as a geriatric social worker for a number of years in Portland, Ore., and in Philadelphia, Pa. She is an adjunct professor at Chestnut Hill College in the Administration of Human Services graduate program.
Maggie Hadinger, MS, is the Manager of Student Affairs & Admissions at Lehigh Valley Health Network. She earned a Bachelor of Arts at Kutztown University, graduating with a degree in Spanish, and she completed a Master of Science in global and international education at Drexel University. Ms. Hadinger is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, undertaking qualitative research on the experience of underrepresented minorities in medical school admissions. Her team at LVHN coordinates educational experiences for over 3,000 medical, physician assistant, nursing and other health care professional students as well as high school, undergraduate and graduate students. Ms. Hadinger also serves as an admissions liaison to the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine/Lehigh Valley Health Network SELECT MD program.
Joan Harvey, MD, currently serves as Director of the Bridging the Gap Program at the University of Pittsburgh, where she also holds the positions of Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Associate Professor of Internal Medicine. She received her Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry from Harvard-Radcliffe College and her medical degree from Johns Hopkins University. She completed her residency training in Internal Medicine at Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, N.Y., and was a Senior Resident at Massachusetts General Hospital. Following a position in the National Health Service Corps in Onamia, Minn., and the Mille Lacs Chippewa Reservation, Dr. Harvey pursued a Fellowship in Rheumatology at Johns Hopkins Hospital and subsequently became an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine. In 1977, she joined the U.S. Navy as a Lieutenant Commander at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., where her scholarly efforts focused on clinical skills evaluation and medical education. For the past 18 years, in the position of Associate Dean, Student Affairs, Dr. Harvey has been actively involved in all student activities, both within and outside of the curriculum. She oversees the Student Advising Program and Residency Application Process and is co-director of the Global Health Area of Concentration.
Maria Hervada-Page, MSS, the Bridging the Gaps Program Director for Jefferson Medical College, is the Clinical Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine and senior social worker/community resources specialist for the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University. Ms. Hervada-Page earned her Bachelor of Science from St. Joseph’s University and her Master of Social Sciences from Bryn Mawr College. Her recent publications include Perkel RL, Kairys MZ, Diamond JJ, Chambers CV, Rosenthal MP, Plumb JD, Valko GP, and Hervada-Page M. Eleven Years of House Calls: A Description of a Family Practice Residency Program’s Experience from 1981-1992 with an Urban Home Visit Program for the Elderly. Journal of Long-Term Home Health Care. 1994; 13(4):13-26; Hervada-Page M, Fayock, KS, Sifri, R, Markham, Jr FW. The Home Visit Experience: A Medical Student’s Perspective. Care Management Journals. 2007; 8:4, 206-210. Her presentations include "Academic and Community Partnership: Workshops to Improve the Health of Residents in an Urban Neighborhood," Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Ga., May 2004; “Direct Observation – A Tool for Evaluation,” Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, Atlanta, Ga., May 2005; “A Geriatric COPC Experience,” Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, New Orleans, La., May 2007; “A COPC Response to Murder,” Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, Chicago, Ill., July 2009; “Homeless Mental Health and Addiction, Bridging the Gaps, Skill Building Workshop,” April 2010; and “Home Visits Revisited: Linking Residency Training to the Patient Centered Medical Home” and “Center for Refugee Health: Teaching and Evaluating Communication Skills,” Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, Vancouver, Canada.
Walter Hu is the Administrative Assistant for the Bridging the Gaps Program at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM). His main role at LECOM is to assist with the administrative duties of the Post-Baccalaureate and Master of Science in biomedical sciences programs.
Leah Labranche, MSc, LECOM Program Co-Director, the Bridging the Gaps Program Co-Director for Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), is an Instructor in the Department of Anatomy at LECOM. Ms. Labranche received her Bachelor of Science in Bio-Medical Sciences from the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario, and her Master of Science in Clinical Anatomy from Western University in London, Ontario. Prior to Bridging the Gaps, her commitment to community service included (but is not limited to) coordinating elementary school outreach trips for medical students, organizing teams for charity walks such as March for Babies and Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and co-advising a student mentoring club for underprivileged youth.
Pat Anthony Lannutti, DO, PCOM BTG Faculty, is Professor of the Department of Internal Medicine and Chairman of the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM). He is a graduate of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Lannutti currently serves as Director of Medical Education at Roxborough Hospital, Core Director, and Junior Medicine Course at PCOM. He served on PCOM’s Board of Directors from 2003-2004 and as faculty representative to PCOM’s Board of Directors from 2004-2005.
Abby S. Letcher, MD, Faculty Associate/Medical Director of Caring Place Family Healthy Program, was a lecturer for the University of Michigan Department of Family Medicine, prior to moving to the Lehigh Valley area. Dr. Letcher earned her bachelor’s degree in English and African studies from Yale University. She completed a doctorate degree in medicine from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1995. Dr. Letcher is an alumna of the Family Medicine Residency Program at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. After graduating, she participated in the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program and was also a NIMH/Measey Fellow. She is a member of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine and the North American Primary Care Research Group. Her special interests include adolescent health care and healthy communities.
Ellen Martinak, MS, is the Associate Director for the Bridging the Gaps Program and the University of Pennsylvania Bridging the Gaps Program Director. Ms. Martinak received her Bachelor of Science in education from West Chester University and her Master of Science degree from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, SMART (Statistics, Measurement, Assessment, and Research Technology) Program. Prior to her work with Bridging the Gaps, Ms. Martinak taught Middle and High School in the New Jersey public school system.
Sarah A. McCarthy, PhD, Director of the Bridging the Gaps program, is an assistant professor of anatomy at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM). She graduated from Mercyhurst University with a BS in applied forensic science. She went on to earn her PhD in anatomy at The Pennsylvania State University, where she studied the development of prostate cancer bone metastases. Dr. McCarthy is also an active member of the American Association of Anatomists. Recently, she became a volunteer board member for the American Cancer Society's Erie unit and a member of the board of directors for the Northwestern PA division of JDRF.
Bridget McCormick, BS, is a Program Coordinator for Bridging the Gaps at the University of Pennsylvania. Bridget earned her bachelor's degree in business management with a minor in accounting at the University of Scranton. After graduation, she worked in the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine's business office for two years within the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, before assuming her role in BTG.
R. Patrick McManus Jr., MD, is Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University. He is the Residency Director in the Department of Family and Community Medicine where he began residency in 1991, was chief resident, and completed fellowship in 1995. He received his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston and completed his undergraduate work at the University of Notre Dame. He serves as the director of the Urban Underserved Program at Jefferson’s Medical College and is Medical Director at Youth Emergency Service shelter for homeless adolescents where he created a community clinical outreach and training site for students and residents from TJU in 1995. He is also the founding director of Jeffmentors, a longitudinal mentoring program for urban youth in North Philadelphia where he trains youth in anger management. He is a member of the Philadelphia College of Physicians. He has published and presented nationally in the field of adolescent health, homeless youth, child abuse, domestic violence and community-oriented primary care. In 1996 and 2007 he received Youth Service Inc’s outstanding volunteer award. In 2005 he received the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians exemplary teaching award, and in 2009 he received the Gold Humanism in Medicine Award from Jefferson’s graduating class.
Mary Ellen T. Miller, PhD, RN, is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at DeSales University. She earned a PhD in Health Studies from Temple University and her MSN and BSN from LaSalle University. Dr. Miller is a co-chair of the Wellness Committee of the National Nursing Centers Consortium. She is a member of the American Public Health Association, the American Nurses Association and the Pennsylvania Nurses Association. Her research interests include Health Communication and adolescent risk behaviors.
Susan Primavera is the Administrative Coordinator of Bridging the Gaps. She also serves as the Coordinator of the University of Pennsylvania’s FOCUS on Health and Leadership for Women Program and is the administrative support person for women’s health research projects.
Kathleen Reeves, MD, is Associate Dean of Student Affairs and a member of the pediatric faculty at Temple University School of Medicine. Dr. Reeves completed her pediatric residency at University of Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital, attended medical school at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and received a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in philosophy and religious studies from Juniata College in Pennsylvania. She was the first program director of the Crozer Pediatric Residency Program, where she worked for eight years. Her experience as a pediatrician has contributed to a strong commitment to community health issues. She believes that in order to be effective, health professionals need to understand and work within a broad definition of children’s health that includes the impact of social, economic, cultural and environmental issues. Her teaching ability has been recognized with awards from University of Cincinnati, Crozer Keystone Health System, Temple University, and Hahnemann/MCP School of Medicine.
Steven Rosenzweig, MD, is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine where he directs the Service Learning and Social Medicine curriculum. He is Director of the Bioethics and Professionalism courses and the Medical Humanities Program. He also leads initiatives to develop and implement curricular content in palliative care and integrative medicine. Dr. Rosenzweig graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, completed his residency in emergency medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, and is a diplomat of the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is clinically active in the areas of integrative medicine and palliative care.
Anthony L. Rostain, MD, MA, is Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where he serves as Director of Education for the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Rostain is also Chief of the Penn Adult Developmental Disorders Section, which includes the Adult ADHD Treatment and Research Program and the Social Learning Disorders Program. Dr. Rostain is Director of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Behavioral Health Center’s Developmental Neuropsychiatry Section, which includes the Complex Neurobehavioral Disorders Clinic and the Social Developmental Disorders Program. He is triple boarded in pediatrics, adult psychiatry, and child and adolescent psychiatry, and is considered an expert in developmental neuropsychiatry across the lifespan.
Michael A. Schmidt, PhD, Assistant Director of Bridging the Gaps Program at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), is an assistant professor of biochemistry. He received his BS in biochemistry from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and a PhD in biochemistry from Miami University. Dr. Schmidt is also the community service coordinator for the student government association at LECOM.
Claudia H. Siegel, MA, MPA, has worked with Bridging the Gaps for 17 years. She is the Associate Director of the Geriatric Education Center of Greater Philadelphia and brings expertise in a variety of health-related areas, including health professions training, program management and evaluation, and data collection and analysis. Ms. Siegel has served as a consultant to the Indiana Health Care Professional Development Commission, the Indiana Governor’s Commission on Long-Term Caregivers, the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, the Lehigh Valley Hospital Measurable Enhancement of the Status of Health (MESH) project, the Robert Wood Johnson Colleagues in Caring Data Taskforce, the American Nurses Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the USDHHS Bureau of Health Professions. She has also served as Director of the Primary Care Institute at Temple University School of Medicine, Director of Medical Programs at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and Executive Director of the Texas Center for Rural Health Initiatives.
Lucy Wolf Tuton, PhD, serves as Executive Director of Bridging the Gaps, a program linking the training of health professionals with the provision of health-related service for vulnerable populations. The program is jointly administered by eight academic health centers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and one in New Jersey. Bridging the Gaps provides health-related service in underserved communities while training community-responsive health and social service professionals. The Philadelphia Bridging the Gaps Program has developed a Bridging the Gaps Clinical Scholars Program, which is made up of the Bridging the Gaps Community Health Internship Program, Bridging the Gaps Seminar Series and Bridging the Gaps Clinical Program. At the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Tuton is Adjunct Professor of Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Prevention and Population Health in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology. She is the Director of Professional Development for FOCUS on Health & Leadership for Women, a program that promotes advocacy, education and research in women’s health and the advancement of women in academic medicine. Dr. Tuton is a co-investigator on the NIH RO1, “Achieving Success for Women & Academic Medicine: A Randomized Multilevel Trial,” one of only 14 grants awarded to examine causal factors and interventions that promote women's careers in science and medicine. She is also an Associate Director of the Perelman School of Medicine's Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program. In this capacity, she is co-leader of both the community and leadership curricular components.
George P. Valko, MD, is the Gustave and Valla Amsterdam Professor of Family and Community Medicine and Vice-Chair for Clinical Programs at the Department of Family and Community Medicine of Jefferson Medical College. He is certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and registered with the American Society of Clinical Pathologists. He is a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and a member of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, as well other local and national organizations. He was a subcommittee member to the Chronic Care Commission of Governor Rendell’s Health Care Reform Commission. Dr. Valko earned his Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., and his Doctor of Medicine from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, where he completed his residency training. He has lectured extensively, both locally and nationally, about teaching and improving the clinical office environment, and he is the author of several medical journal and book articles. Dr. Valko acts as a peer reviewer for multiple medical journals and serves on the editorial board of the American Journal of Medical Quality. His devotion to patient care and love of teaching are interwoven and have earned him awards such as the Jefferson Family and Community Medicine Residency Teaching Award and the Jeff HOPE award for precepting at the Jefferson Medical College student-run homeless shelter clinics. He has also received recognition as “Top Doc” from Philadelphia Magazineand U.S. News & World Report from his peers. He finds his work at Bridging the Gaps among his most rewarding. He continues to feel “truly inspired” by the Philadelphia Consortium and the students who participate in the program.
Bernadette West, PhD, serves as BTG Program Director at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, where she also holds the positions of Associate Dean of the School of Public Health in Stratford, Associate Dean for Community Health, and Associate Professor and Interim Chair in the Department of Health Systems and Policy. She received her MA in Sociology from American University and her PhD in Urban Planning and Policy Analysis from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Before joining the University in 1997, she served as Executive Director of a regional health planning agency in New Jersey. For the past 15 years, she has worked with community agencies on a variety of health planning and health assessment projects. In addition to community health assessment, her scholarly efforts have focused on violence and disability. She is Faculty Advisor for SPH- V.O.I.C.E.S., Volunteer Opportunities in Community Engaged Service, the student service organization at UMDNJ-SPH. She co-directs the course International Applications in Public Health, which includes a field experience in the Dominican Republic where students work in poor villages with Haitian migrant sugarcane workers and their families. Since 2001, she has served as a member of the US/Split, Croatia Partnership project focusing on building public health systems in Split, Croatia, which address adolescent alcohol prevention.
Vincent J. Zarro, MD, PhD, is the BTG Clinical Program’s Medical Faculty Director. He is Assistant Dean for Student Services and Community Outreach Projects and Associate Professor of Medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine. Dr. Zarro is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. He is a member of the American College of Physicians and a fellow of the American College of Rheumatology. He has received much professional recognition over the years, including awards for teaching, the Drexel University Humanism in Medicine award, and the Rheumatologist of the Year award from the Arthritis Foundation of Pennsylvania. Dr. Zarro received a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degree in pharmacy from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science (now University of the Sciences in Philadelphia). He received his MD and PhD degrees in pharmacology and trained in internal medicine at Hahnemann University College of Medicine (now Drexel University). For more than 10 years, Dr. Zarro has been medical director of the Chinatown Clinic at Holy Redeemer Chinese Catholic Church. The Clinic serves uninsured underserved populations, especially those in which culture and language impede access to care.
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