BTG Network Faculty

"Creating genuine trust can only be built through true investment in a community. When there is trust, clients, patients and communities all benefit."
BTG Community Preceptor
Home >

BTG Network Faculty and Staff Biographies

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. Dr. Bell has published more than 80 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 2013, the Division of General Pediatrics won the Jean A. Cortner Divisional Teaching award at CHOP.

Robert Dustin, MA, PCOM BTG Program Director, is the Program Director for Bridging the Gaps at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Along with his work with BTG, he also serves as PCOM’s Associate Director of Student Affairs for Campus Life and is responsible for student government and club advising, student leadership development, community service programming, student wellness initiatives, and campus event planning. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English/Communications from Le Moyne College and a Master of Arts in Student Development Administration from Seattle University. He lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with his wife and two children.

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.

Meshonea Fox, BS, PCOM BTG Staff, is the Program Coordinator for Bridging the Gaps at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Although she has diligently worked with the Bridging the Gaps program for several years, Ms. Fox is also a Program Coordinator in the Office of Student Affairs at PCOM and is responsible for helping to execute all events related to Student Affairs as well as supervising the work-study students. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Thomas Jefferson University. She resides in Philadelphia.

Annette B. Gadegbeku, MD, Drexel BTG Faculty Director, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Family, Community and Preventative Medicine and Associate Program Director of the Drexel University College of Medicine/Hahnemann University Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program. As a community medicine liaison, Dr. Gadegbeku has implemented a longitudinal community medicine curriculum for the residency and coordinates family medicine resident participation in health programs at various community sites in the Philadelphia region. She also serves as the Medical Faculty Advisor for the Drexel University College of Medicine Health Outreach Projects (H.O.P.) student-run clinics at Eliza Shirley Women’s Shelter and Salvation Army Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center. Dr. Gadegbeku received her MD from Temple University School of Medicine and completed her family medicine residency training at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. She currently serves as the Clinical Site Director of Drexel Family Medicine at Center City where she specializes in primary care for all ages.

Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, PHDHP, Dental Mentor. At Penn Dental Medicine (PDM), Dr. Joan Gluch, Division Chief and Professor, Clinical Community Oral Health, serves as course director for four academically based service learning community health courses and oversees dental students’ participation in PDM’s five community-based clinical rotations. Dr. Gluch’s research interests focus on expanding access to oral health promotion and clinical care in community-based settings. She is the principal investigator for the training grant to expand pediatric and community-based training for pre-doctoral dental students, received from the Health Resources and Services Administration, 2017-2022.  Dr. Gluch also serves as dental school coordinator and program faculty for the Penn community health interprofessional education program, Bridging the Gaps. Additionally, Dr. Gluch serves as Associate Dean for Academic Policies at PDM and has been a member of the Penn Dental Medicine faculty since 1991. She completed her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, School of Arts and Sciences, in a multidisciplinary program in education, culture and society with a concentration in community health.  She received a master’s degree in education with a concentration in organizational management and group process from Temple University and the bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene from Columbia University.  A member of both Sigma Phi Alpha and Omega Kappa Upsilon honor societies, Dr. Gluch received the University of Pennsylvania Dental Hygiene Alumni Special Achievement Award. She also received the ADHA Irene Newman Award and the ADHA/Warner Lambert Award of Excellence. Dr. Gluch currently serves on the Board of Directors for Kids Smiles, a nonprofit dental facility in Southwest and West Philadelphia, and she is President of the Advisory Board for the Dental Hygiene Program at Montgomery County Community College.

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. 

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, Jefferson Program Director, the Bridging the Gaps Program Director for Jefferson Medical College, is the Clinical Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine and senior social worker and 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. As an Assistant Residency Director, Ms. Hervada-Page has been an integral member of the department’s residency program for over 20 years. Her behavioral science background and extensive work in the Philadelphia community has proven to be invaluable when working one-on-one with residents to strengthen their interpersonal communication and cultural competency skills with patients and peers. Throughout her career, Ms. Hervada-Page has always been passionate about passing on her knowledge and experiences to students. She takes great pride in being able to teach and mentor the next generation of social workers, who are eager to improve the lives of the patients they work with every day. She has presented at national and local conferences in the fields of behavioral health, refugee health, resident advising and mentoring, home visits, and addiction. Ms. Hervada-Page strives to improve the work-life balance of the physician, residents, nurses, and support staff that she interacts with daily. She has been instrumental in the department’s efforts to combat physician burnout. Working closely with department administrators, Ms. Hervada-Page has been able to identify concerns voiced by physicians, and has developed innovative solutions addressing those concerns. Ms. Hervada-Page was the recipient of the Sidney Kimmel Medical College Dean’s Award for Excellence in Education, which is presented to members of the faculty who “demonstrate superior effectiveness as a teacher.” During Bryn Mawr College’s Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research centennial celebration, Ms. Hervada-Page was recognized for her extraordinary career achievements, which “represent the positive social change and impact our students, faculty, and alumni make with individuals and within society.”

Sarah W. Kelly, MPH, Rutgers University, School of Public Health, is a Graduate Practicum Director at the Rutgers School of Public Health. In this role Ms. Kelly supports and supervises MPH students in their fieldwork projects. Ms. Kelly is also the staff liaison to the Rutgers Foundation where she works with the Alumni Association and the SPH Advisory Board members. She also is a Board Member on her local Board of Health.

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.

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.

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.

Maria B. Pellerano, MA, MBA, MPH, Rutgers University, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, is an Assistant Professor in the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. As a community health faculty member, Ms. Pellerano has responsibility for facilitating the Alliance for a Healthier New Brunswick and coordinating a shared data evaluation project for Healthier New Brunswick.  In addition, Ms. Pellerano is the faculty coordinator for the practice management curriculum for the Rutgers Family Medicine Residency at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.  Ms. Pellerano’s research and teaching focuses on effective interventions in the community and primary care practices that improve community health outcomes.  Prior to coming to the medical school, Ms. Pellerano worked in environmental and community health.  She serves on the medical school’s Distinction in Service to the Community advisory committee, volunteers in the greater New Brunswick community, and is on the board of directors of a national environmental health non-profit organization.

Indhu Prabhakaran, DO, PCOM BTG Faculty, is the Academic Preceptor for Bridging the Gaps at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She is a physician and associate professor in the Family Medicine Department, working out of PCOM's Cambria Healthcare Center in North Philadelphia. She is a graduate of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

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.

Providenza Loera Rocco, JD, MSW, MBE, Temple University, is an Assistant Professor of Bioethics in the Center for Bioethics, Urban Health, and Policy, at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University. She also serves as the Assistant Director of the MA Urban Bioethics Program, the only program of its kind in the country, and heads the CBUHP’s and MAUB’s community outreach and education-community partnerships. Enza specializes in urban bioethics and legal and ethical issues in end-of-life care. She earned her master's degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice and her master's degree in Bioethics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy in the Perelman School of Medicine, and she earned her law degree from Temple University Beasley School of Law. Enza also adjuncts for the Simmons School of Social Work where she teaches courses in social policy. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband, kids, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and 4 guinea pigs..

Denise V. Rodgers, MD, Rutgers University, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, is Vice Chancellor for Interprofessional Programs at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. She is also the RBHS Chair in Interprofessional Education at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School where she is a professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. Prior to these appointments, Dr. Rodgers served as the fifth and final president of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) from January 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013. From 2006 to 2013, Dr. Rodgers led UMDNJ’s academic and clinical operations as Executive Vice President. She served as UMDNJ Chief of Staff from 2005 to 2006. From 1997 to 2005, Dr. Rodgers was Senior Associate Dean for Community Health at the UMDNJ- Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

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.

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.

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.

Support BTG With Your Gift
BTG 20 Years Video
BTG 20th Anniversary Tribute
"BTG allowed me to experience health care from a different perspective, that of the patient. I witnessed the frustration of managing chronic illness on a daily basis, appreciated the courage needed to make meaningful changes for one's health, and the difficulty in making these choices without adequate support or resources ..."
BTG Student Intern
BTG 20 Years Video
What BTG Means to Us

BTG Photo Gallery BTG Video Archives