Internal Medicine Housestaff 2020-2021
University of Iowa,
VUMC Inpatient Chief Resident
The oldest of three children, Blake was born and raised in small-town Iowa. After high school, Blake attended a liberal arts college in Decorah, a northern Iowa town known for its bluffs and beautiful scenery. Here she cultivated her love of travel, mountain biking and trail running, as well as graduating with a biology degree. After college, Blake attended the University of Iowa for medicial school and developed a love for internal medicine and global health. She continues to enjoy spending time outdoors, hike, trail running and climbing, and has enjoyed residing in a different state and city, especially one with such wonderful music, food and outdoor activities.
University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine,
Veterans Administration Ambulatory Chief Resident
Rachael grew up on Tim’s Ford Lake in Winchester, TN. She attended Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA and completed her BS in Biology. During this time, she studied abroad at St. Andrews University in Scotland and spent a summer in Thailand working in various hospitals through the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty organization (and eating way too much delicious food). She returned to Tennessee to complete medical school in Memphis, Tennessee where she developed a love for the Grizzlies, Memphis barbecue, and the field of geriatrics while working at the Memphis VA hospital. She moved back closer to home for residency and has developed some of the most meaningful relationships of her life with her medicine co-residents at Vanderbilt—a self-proclaimed “fan-girl” of VUMC IM. Outside of the hospital, Rachael enjoys running, eating out at Nashville’s plethora of fantastic restaurants, seeing the occasional magic show, and (most recently) working her way through recipes in Bon Appetit magazine. She is excited to serve the program she loves as VA Outpatient Chief for the 2020-2021 year.
University of Louisville,
Veterans Administration Inpatient Chief Resident
Originally from Nicholasville, KY, Lee spent his entire life within the Bluegrass state until live music and the Vandy Med-Peds program convinced him to mosey south to the Music City in 2016. 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, KY, where he majored in Spanish and Biochemistry. Next, he ventured an hour westward and spent 4 years studying the art of both medicine and road navigation via bicycle. While in Louisville, he met his favorite dance partner-in-crime (McKenzie Vater – Peds); they couples matched together and love cheering on the UK Wildcats, attempting to camp, and running 26.2 more miles than they ever thought they would. They are now happily married (2019) and adopted a kitten in the Fall of 2019, named after the mascot of their beloved Wildcats, Scratch (he has thus far lived up to his namesake). Lee plans to pursue fellowship in Cardiology following his chief year, and has long term interests in adult congenital heart disease, heart failure/advanced therapies, and medical education. He loved his four years as a Med-Peds resident and is thrilled to stay at VUMC as the IM VA inpatient chief for 2020-2021!
VUMC Ambulatory Chief Resident
Pierce grew up in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, a town known for its shark attacks and beautiful scenery. In 2008, he graduated from Davidson College in 2008 with a major in English. From 2008-2013, Pierce worked for the Pan American Health Organization, the regional office of the WHO, in vaccine-preventable diseases. He then attended Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, where he was involved with Choosing Wisely and Shade Tree Clinic. During internal medicine residency at Vanderbilt, Pierce has participated in high value care initiatives and care for the underserved. Outside of medicine, Pierce's interests include coffee shops, good books, gin and tonics, pick-up basketball, and spending time with friends and family. He lives in East Nashville with his wife, Frances, and their dog, Mr. Houston.
Bryan grew up in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania. He attended Muhlenberg College, where he majored in chemistry and played football. He then moved to Philadelphia to complete medical school at Penn. In his spare time, he loves reading, exercising, and sports of all kinds (go Birds!!). Bryan and his high school sweetheart, Gabby, are very excited to move to Nashville, and to finally tie the knot this fall!
Gautam was born in India but moved to the United States when he was 3 years old. He grew up in Nashua, NH and subsequently attended Dartmouth College, where he majored in Astronomy and Biochemistry. While he was always interested in space, it was at Dartmouth where he found his passion for space medicine after working with an astronaut-physician. After graduating from Dartmouth, he decided to finally leave New Hampshire and attended medical school at UT Southwestern in Dallas, Texas. During medical school, he was able to continue his space medicine research and also quickly became attached to the field of Internal Medicine during his clinical rotations. He currently hopes to pursue a cardiology fellowship and/or aerospace medicine fellowship after completing residency. During his free time, he enjoys playing basketball, lifting weights, exploring national parks, eating Japanese food, and rock climbing. He is very excited to be a Vanderbilt Internal Medicine resident and is looking forward to living in Nashville! Member of AOA.
Spurthi was born in Bangalore, India, and she immigrated to the USA at a young age when she continued to move around quite a bit before her family settled in Iowa. She moved to California to attend UC Berkeley where she double majored in Molecular Cell Biology and Practice of Art. She, again, made a large move by moving to Boston to study at Tufts University School of Medicine for her MD/MPH. It was in Boston that she continued to develop her passion for global health and equitable research in the international setting. She also continued to cultivate her love of teaching which is what ultimately led her to choose a career in Internal Medicine. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, singing, oil painting, hiking with her husky, and spending time with her loved ones. She is overjoyed to be joining the Vanderbilt family and to move closer to her family in the South.
University of North Carolina
Sub-specialty interest – Rheumatology
Robert was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in beautiful St. Petersburg, Florida along with his younger brother, Edward. They played sports year-round -- tennis, basketball, and cross country running. He studied biology at Harvard and then moved back to Florida where he volunteered at the St. Petersburg Free Clinic. He moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to join the UNC MD-PhD program and received the PhD for work focused on statistical methods for genetic mapping. He developed a love for rheumatology during his clinical work in UNC's rheumatology division. He still loves playing sports in his free time, now mainly trail running and tennis. He is thrilled to join Vanderbilt and the Harrison Society!
Julie was born in Beijing and moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina as a toddler. She grew up in the University of North Carolina’s backyard, which led to a childhood full of college basketball (Go Heels!), humid summers, and buttery biscuits. She studied Biology at the University of Pennsylvania and spent a semester at the University College of London, playing field hockey and traveling all across Europe. She returned home to UNC for medical school and decided to pursue a career in Internal Medicine. Outside of the hospital, she enjoys traveling, snowboarding, eating ice cream, and spending time with her family and friends. She is thrilled to join the Vanderbilt family and can’t wait to explore Nashville.
Sub-specialty interest – Cardiology
Michael was born and raised in central Nebraska. He attended Creighton University for his undergraduate education where he studied chemistry and biochemistry. During his time at Creighton, Michael became interested in scientific research. He ultimately joined the MD/PhD program at Duke University where he studied the role of mitochondrial bioenergetics in the pathogenesis of heart failure in the laboratory of Deb Muoio. Michael is excited to join the Harrison Society at Vanderbilt and plans to complete a fellowship in cardiology. His scientific interests focus on mitochondrial dysfunction in cardiometabolic disease. Outside of the lab and hospital, Michael enjoys reading, spending time outdoors, and tinkering.
Ally was born in Tupelo, MS and moved with her parents to the sunny beaches of Destin, FL. She attended Florida State University and graduated summa cum laude in Exercise Science. She fell in love with FSU College of Medicine’s mission to care for the underserved and remained at FSU for medical school (hopeful that the Seminoles would win another national championship). Ally developed a passion for internal medicine with an interest in cardiology due to its complex intertwining of pathophysiology, lifestyle choices, and social determinants of health. She spent an extra year during this time pursuing a master’s degree in education at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College. She is interested in learning environment research and curriculum design to support a diverse student population. Ally has been a transient Nashvillian for several years visiting her partner, Bryan, a budding Ph.D. in Biomedical Informatics. They are thrilled to make Nashville and Vanderbilt their permanent home. Member of AOA.
Jon grew up outside of Sacramento in Granite Bay, California. For undergrad he escaped to the coast at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California where he studied biomedical engineering followed by one year of working on aortic aneurysm stent graft repairs. After growing tired of the beach he went to Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine in Michigan where he discovered his interest in internal medicine. In his free time he is found doing most outdoor activities including running, hiking, camping, playing basketball, or retreating indoors to watch the Sacramento Kings struggle on the court. He is excited to explore Nashville and continue his training at Vanderbilt! Member of AOA.
Ray was born and raised in Knoxville, TN. He grew up loving Tennessee football and went to CAK high school. He went to the University of Tennessee Knoxville and majored in psychology with a minor in business administration. He did research with the department of psychology in the field of ADHD and neuropsychology. He received his MD at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. In his free time, Ray enjoys reading, skiing, new restaurants, coffee, and, above all, Volunteer football. Member of AOA.
Molly grew up outside Chicago with her twin brother and younger brother. She went to Stanford University for undergrad where she majored in Human Biology. After graduating she stayed at Stanford for a year to help teach in the Human Biology program. She then moved back to Chicago and spent two years working at a federally qualified health center before heading to the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. She got a Masters in Higher Education between her third and fourth years of medical school and hopes to become a better teacher and education researcher during residency. She enjoys hand-biking, wheelchair basketball, watching women’s soccer (international and club), traveling, and eating anything chocolate. She is looking forward to warmer weather, exploring Nashville, and becoming part of the Vanderbilt family.
Jared was born in Manchester, Connecticut. His parents and two older brothers lived in several different states before finally settling down in Jacksonville, Florida. His family cultivated his love for sports from an early age and he supports an interesting collection of teams. He attended college at the University of Florida (Go Gators!). He decided to stay another four years at The Swamp for medical school where his love for internal medicine really grew. He helped direct one of the local student run health clinics, served on the UF College of Medicine Executive Board, and went on a medical mission trip to Nicaragua. He has a passion for helping the underserved and is looking for ways he can volunteer in the Nashville community with his wife. When he is not watching sports, he really enjoys hiking, cooking new recipes, learning Spanish, and spending time with his wife. He is very excited to be moving to Nashville and joining the Vanderbilt family! Member of AOA.
Meghana was born and raised in Houston. While growing up, she enjoyed playing the piano, dancing, and running around on her grandparents’ mango farm. She attended Stanford where she majored in Bio-Mechanical Engineering. She then moved out east to attend medical school at the University of Pennsylvania. She is excited to move back to the south to join the Vanderbilt community.
University of Washington
Sub-specialty interest – Rheumatology
Paul grew up in Colorado Springs, CO and attended Stanford University where he majored in Biology. After graduating, he spent two years working on hematopoietic stem cells and the bone marrow microenvironment in the lab of Dr. Irv Weissman at Stanford. In 2011, he joined the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Washington in Seattle. He completed his graduate research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in the lab of Dr. Harlan Robins, which focused on developing computational approaches to understand the adaptive immune response to vaccination and infection. Paul is delighted to be joining the Harrison Society at Vanderbilt and plans to complete a fellowship in Rheumatology where he hopes to study the mechanisms underlying autoimmunity. In his free time, Paul enjoys cooking, skiing and watching major league baseball. He and his wife, who is also a Vanderbilt resident, recently welcomed the birth of their first child in February.
University of Florida
Sub-specialty interest- Nephrology
Obiko completed her undergraduate studies at Knox College, IL, where she majored in international studies and anthropology/sociology. She completed post-baccalaureate premedical studies at Vanderbilt University and then joined the MD-PhD training program at the University of Florida. During her PhD in Clinical Pharmaceutical Sciences, she studied pharmacogenomics and biomedical informatics with a focus on antihypertensive therapy. Obiko is excited to join Vanderbilt’s Harrison Society and plans to pursue a fellowship in nephrology. She enjoys traveling, hiking, and live music.
Jennifer grew up in Farmington, Connecticut and attended Georgetown University where she majored in both Biology of Global Health and Economics. Before starting medical school, Jennifer worked for a scientific consulting firm in the D.C. area. Jennifer then moved to Nashville for medical school at Vanderbilt University. She conducted a year of research through the Vanderbilt Medical Scholars Program, focusing on immune mechanisms of atherosclerosis. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys running, doing yoga, playing board games, and visiting breweries with her husband, Chris, and their fluffy dog, Zeus. She is excited to spend another three years in Nashville!
Kaitlyn grew up just outside of St. Paul, Minnesota with her four younger siblings, two cats, and a dog. She then migrated south to Kentucky to study biology at Berea College, a federally recognized work college. She worked as an intramurals referee and a biology teaching assistant and enjoyed living in such a unique, sustainable and socially-conscious community. While in medical school, she was very involved with Shade Tree Clinic, pre-medical student mentoring and a wide variety of research projects. In her free time, she enjoys baking, hiking, running and eating ice cream. She loved Nashville and Vanderbilt too much to leave and is incredibly grateful to be able to continue training at Vanderbilt.
Taylor was born and raised in Houston, Texas, where she grew up doing competitive gymnastics and developed an interest in the field of medicine after one too many gymnastics injuries. She stayed in Houston to attend Rice University for her undergraduate training in biomedical engineering. Before starting medical school at the University of Texas at Houston, she took a year off to work for a medical device start-up company. She developed a passion for Internal Medicine, especially gastroenterology, during her third year of medical school. Although she will miss Texas (and Tex-Mex), she is excited to join the Vanderbilt family in Tennessee. Outside of the hospital she enjoys yoga (and teaching yoga), cooking, drinking coffee and/or wine, and spending time with her husband, who is also excited to explore Nashville! Member of AOA.
Sub-specialty interest – Hematology/Oncology
Matthew grew up outside of the twin cities in Minnesota and attended Boston College where he studied chemistry. He then moved to San Diego where he received his PhD in organic chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute before coming to Vanderbilt for medical school. In his free time, he enjoys baking, basketball and spending time with his wife and dog. After 4 years as a student, he is excited to join the Vanderbilt team as a resident! Member of AOA.
Marina was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania but grew up in Richmond, Virginia with her parents and younger brother, Paul. She has had nontraditional mascots at every level of her training--first a Cavalier, then a Demon Deacon, and finally, a Commodore! She attended the University of Virginia where she majored in Biomedical Engineering before moving down to Wake Forest for medical school. During medical school, she decided to pursue Internal Medicine-Pediatrics as a path to caring for adolescent and young adult cancer patients and survivors. Her other academic interests include medical education and social determinants of health. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting with baking, eating her way through new cities, day hiking, and spending time with her family, friends, and church community. She also loves rooting for her Pittsburgh Steelers and UVA basketball (WAHOOWA!). She is incredibly excited to join the Vanderbilt family and become a part of the Nashville community!
Trent grew up in Versailles, KY, just 4184 miles from the Palace of Versailles. He attended Tulane University where he consumed excessive amounts of crawfish and occasionally studied neuroscience, Spanish, and film studies. After college, Trent joined Teach for America Appalachia, moved to the mountains of Kentucky, and succeeded in setting off the fire alarm three times while teaching chemistry and physics. Trent then returned to New Orleans, studied pharmacology at Tulane and taught environmental science at an accelerated high school. Many crawfish later, Trent migrated to his home state to attend medical school. At the University of Kentucky, Trent recognized his desire to care for all ages and populations and quickly discovered the Med-Peds community. He also became interested in medical education and best practices for cultivating community and fostering wellness during medical school. In his spare time, Trent enjoys playing soccer, traveling, and watching too many movies. Member of AOA.
Nina grew up in northeastern Ohio on her family farm, where she discovered her love for food and the outdoors. She attended Carnegie Mellon University for her undergraduate education, majoring in biology and psychology - all the while running up and down the Pittsburgh hills as a member of the women’s cross country & track teams. She then returned to the Buckeye State to attend The Ohio State University College of Medicine. As a medical student, she loved both pediatric and adult medicine, and working with underserved populations. In her free time, Nina enjoys running, hiking, crafting, and cooking and is so thrilled to explore all that Nashville has to offer! Member of AOA.
Justin grew up not far from Nashville in his hometown of Clarksville, TN. He decided to travel down the road to attend college here in Nashville at Belmont University where he majored in Biology. During his time at Belmont, Justin spent a semester abroad at the University of St. Andrews and performed research involving Acinetobacter baumannii in the lab of Dr. Eric Skaar here at Vanderbilt. After graduating from Belmont, he spent a year working as an anesthesia technician before beginning medical school at UTHSC in Memphis, TN. Outside of medicine Justin enjoys reading, brewing beer, baking bread, and spending time with his wonderful wife Sydney and their dogs Chewie and Luna. He is ecstatic to be returning to Nashville and joining Vanderbilt! Member of AOA.
Tom was born in Durham, NC, but was raised in southern Indiana where he became an avid Hoosiers fan. Despite what he felt was a promising career in basketball, he was abruptly cut from his elementary school ball club and decided to pursue a medical degree instead. He spent his four years of undergraduate education in Bloomington, Indiana where he majored in Biology and minored in Psychiatry. Tom spent the first half of medical school in Evansville, Indiana where he met his anatomy lab partner and future wife Maria. They later moved to Indianapolis to finish their education. Tom and Maria (Pediatrics) endured the couples match and were humbled to learn that they would both continue their training at Vanderbilt! They are excited to get to work with their new colleagues while hopefully saving some time to explore the parks, breweries, restaurants, and all the other perks of living in the Music City. Member of AOA.
Zack was born and raised with his two younger brothers in the suburbs of Jackson, MS, and dreamed of becoming a doctor ever since he was in junior high. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering from Mississippi State University. While at Mississippi State, Zack and a team of fellow classmates researched and built a successful prototype for an automated blood typing device and later formed an LLC to explore further uses for the technology they developed. Also while in college, Zack was very involved with the MSU Roadrunners student recruiting organization and spent a summer abroad in France, which further fueled his love of world travel. He returned to Jackson for medical school at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where he learned he had a love for all patients young and old, ultimately leading him to pursue a career in Med-Peds. While at UMMC, Zack served on the Associated Student Body and developed an interest in medical education through tutoring other students. In addition to his passion for medicine, Zack also has a great love for the performing arts, having worked as a choreographer for numerous show choirs and theater productions. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, going to shows and concerts, grabbing dinner and drinks at new restaurants, exercising and doing yoga, and spending time with friends, family, and his dog, Sadie. Zack could not be more thrilled to begin his training at Vanderbilt and looks forward to a new adventure in Nashville! Member of AOA.
Michael was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas. He is the oldest of 4, having a twin brother, Warren (Michael is older by 1 minute), and two younger sisters, Maria and Olivia. He attended the University of Arkansas for his undergraduate studies in biology and graduated Summa Cum Laude before entering medical school at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. During medical school he studied diligently and was able to graduate with the highest honors in the class. He has a passion for early morning weightlifting before clinic or class, and he enjoys football, grilling, and fishing on the weekends. He also collects interesting shirts, ties, and socks that he enjoys showing his colleagues and patients. Some of his favorite things about Nashville are the hot chicken that is readily available around the city and the country music scene that practically defines the city. Michael will leave for Oklahoma City to complete his Dermatology residency after his intern year at Vanderbilt. He hopes to return to somewhere in the South after his training. Member of AOA.
Dina was born and brought up in Amman, Jordan. At the age of 18, she moved to Edinburgh for medical school. After 6 years there, she moved to London to start post graduate training at King’s College. Last year, Dina took a year out to earn a Master’s degree in clinical neuroscience. After her prelim year in medicine at Vanderbilt, she will be moving to Chicago for her neurology residency at Northwestern. In COVID times, her hobbies have become sleeping and watching Netflix. Pre-COVID, she loved travelling, eating her way through the places she visited, and running. Dina is looking forward to clearer skies and easier access to the outdoors upon moving to Nashville in July!
Henry was born in San Diego and studied General Biology at UC San Diego. During college, he researched unnatural DNA and spent several summers helping to set up primary care clinics in rural Vietnam. He then moved out of San Diego for the first time to begin a new adventure in Nashville, specifically, medical school at Vanderbilt! He dedicated an extra year of medical school to researching cutaneous toxicities of immune checkpoint inhibitors and was even asked to model an immunotherapy textbook for the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer website. He enjoys reading mystery and thriller novels, writing short stories, playing video games, and visiting the beach (though this has been much more difficult in Nashville than in San Diego). He is excited to be staying at Vanderbilt for another year before heading to Cincinnati for his dermatology training!
Madeleine Alder grew up as an only child in Evanston, which is just outside of Chicago. For undergrad she went to Washington University in St Louis where she majored in American Culture Studies. She is very glad she found medicine, as it turns out that major is not very employable. She spent a year between undergrad and medical school working as a case manager and French translator for refugees and people seeking political asylum. She then spent four amazing years in medical school at Northwestern University. She continues to have a passion for refugee healthcare and working with underserved populations. Outside of medicine, she enjoys yoga, running, reading, and traveling. She loves working in Vanderbilt's welcoming and supportive community. In her spare time she can be found in one of Nashville's amazing plant stores.
Sub-specialty Interest – Allergy/Immunology
Sub-specialty Interest – Pulmonary/Critical Care
Pennsylvania State University
Sub-specialty Interest – Hematology/Oncology
Elliot grew up in Clearwater, Florida with his parents and younger sister. Escaping the heat, he traveled north to study molecular and cellular biology at Harvard College. He also studied abroad in Jerusalem, Israel, where he also became an emergency medical technician, which solidified his interest in clinical medicine. During a year between college and medical school, Elliot bicycled across the USA while fundraising for young adults affected by cancer, with a stop in Nashville. Little did he know it would become his future home! He received an MD and a Master of Science in Translational Research from the University of Pennsylvania, where he worked on medical device development and entrepreneurship. In his free time, he loves to cycle, cook, read a good book, and travel with friends.
Sub-specialty Interest – Pulmonary/Critical Care
Will Woodhouse was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he was instilled with a deep appreciation for basketball, vinegar-based barbecue, and sprawling pine tree landscapes. He went to Duke University for undergrad where he studied at the Sanford School of Public Policy. He then earned his MD at UNC School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. He spent an extra year during this time to study public health and earn an MPH from UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. He has special research interests and experiences in both antimicrobial stewardship initiatives and issues of health equity and policy. He and his wife, Hope, met in high school and together enjoy exploring new coffeeshops and farmer’s markets. Will also enjoys tending his patio citrus plants and exploring the city on his bicycle.
Toaa was born in New York, but mostly grew up in Tampa, Florida, where her parents moved to escape the cold. She stayed in Tampa for both undergrad and medical school where she developed a passion for healthcare disparities, global health, and both internal medicine and pediatrics! In her free time she enjoys traveling around the world and trying new foods, hiking, yoga, and photography. She is looking forward to moving to Nashville and joining the Vanderbilt community!
Originally hailing from Lebanon, Ahmad grew up in Greenville, South Carolina surrounded by the Appalachian mountains. He went to Furman University for his undergraduate degree getting a B.S. in Chemistry and Philosophy (he loves getting into philosophical debates, like does free will even exist?). Taking some time off from school, Ahmad went back home to Lebanon where he worked at the Cerebral Palsy Center before moving back to the States where he became an ABA certified therapist for children with Autism and an EMT. His experiences as an EMT, therapist, and aid at the cerebral palsy center led to his love for medicine. Ahmad’s main interests are in global medicine, particularly disaster response and refugee medicine. Outside of healthcare Ahmad enjoys most outdoor sports (particularly hiking and mountain biking), playing drums, traveling, eating shawarma, and bothering his sister and brother. He’s excited to begin his residency at Vanderbilt and discover Nashville!
Ned grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. He realized his future would entail significant schooling when he was encouraged to enroll in kindergarten…for a second time. After mastering his developmental milestones, he went on to receive a B.A. in Spanish with a minor in Chemistry from UNC Chapel Hill. He returned to UNC for medical school and to see the Tar Heels march to a sixth national championship. While in medical school, he put his Spanish major to use and traveled twice to Honduras with UNC’s Honduran Health Alliance where he developed an affinity for both international medicine and gastrointestinal pathogens. In his free time, Ned enjoys running, skiing, attempting to cook, and flying his (now 2 year old) drone. He has really enjoyed exploring Nashville thus far, especially the Warner Parks, various breweries, and strong WiFi areas amenable to Zoom meetings. In true Med-Peds fashion, Ned is still undecided on the specifics of his future career. He is interested in transitional care for children and families affected by chronic illness, global health, and medical education.
Sam is a native of Columbus, Ohio. He completed his undergraduate degree in chemistry and history at Vanderbilt. He then returned home to THE Ohio State University for medical school, where he was voted by his peers as the “Biggest Buckeye Fan” in his graduating class. At OSU he discovered his love of outpatient Med-Peds and preventative care. In his free time, Sam enjoys sports, traveling, playing chess, cooking, and running. Since returning to Nashville, he has enjoyed connecting with new and old friends. He has also frequented Radnor Lake and many of the other amazing parks in Middle Tennessee.
Joseph grew up in Charlotte, NC, but spent much of his life in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area for high school, college, and medical school. During his undergraduate years at NC State University, he majored in chemical engineering, and worked in pharmaceutical and industrial manufacturing plants where his fear of heights was really tested when he looked down at 40 foot reactors through metal grating. He also volunteered as an after-school mentor for middle and high school students. While in medical school at UNC, Joseph managed to maintain his original ACC basketball loyalty to NC State, while applying some of his engineering background to quality improvement projects. As part of the medical school’s Charlotte campus, he also volunteered with a pipeline program which introduced high school students in Charlotte to health professions careers. He enjoys traveling, eating his way around places he visits, running, and learning guitar, and is excited to explore all that Nashville and Middle Tennessee have to offer!
Laura spent most of her childhood in South Carolina where she enjoyed summers swimming at the lake or hiking in the NC mountains with her family. With a love of the outdoors, she went off to Arkansas for college where she was a member of the women’s swim team and studied Biochemistry/Molecular Biology and Religion. During college, she also spent two summers doing Alzheimer’s research at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, where she realized her interest in medicine and decided to stay in the Sunshine State for medical school at the University of Florida. She focused on sustainability, health equity, global health, and also fell in love with SEC sports. Outside the hospital, you can find her buying more plants, heading out for a run, biking or paddling with her awesome fiancé Dillon, or hanging out with her Vandy Family. Nashville feels like home now and she can't wait to keep checking off all of the awesome waterfall hikes on her Tennessee bucket list. Member of AOA.
University of Florida, Sub-specialty Interest – Hematology. Oncology
Shannon was born and raised in Orlando, FL, where she enjoyed playing basketball and going outside as much as possible. During high school, she developed an interest in oncology after ending her mediocre basketball career in favor of working on a head and neck cancer research project. After attending the University of Florida for college and medical school as part of the combined BS/MD medical honors program, she came to Vanderbilt for residency and loves living in a state with seasons. She joined the Harrison Society as a resident and will be staying here for hematology/oncology fellowship doing malignant hematology research, focusing on the phenotypes and genetic landscapes of patients with clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP) and MDS. She also serves on the High Value Care Committee. Outside of medicine, Shannon enjoys gong to yoga at Shakti Power Yoga, lifting weights, collecting wine, watching basketball, writing, and playing with her pet bunny, Muffin. These days, her hobbies have mostly been replaced by planning her wedding to fellow Vanderbilt IM resident Joe Nowatzke. Shannon and Joe love the program and living in Nashville!
Stacy Blank was born in Dover, Delaware but quickly moved back to her parents’ hometown of Hebron, IN (in The Region) by the age of 1 to ensure Chicago sports fandom. She played a large 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 join the Vanderbilt community! Member of AOA.
Emily was born in Chattanooga, TN and moved to Louisville, KY 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 as a case manager at an HIV clinic and found her love for both medicine and hatch green chili. She 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 rescue mutt and husband. She is thrilled to begin her Med-Peds training at Vanderbilt and can’t wait to get back to her Tennessee roots. Member of AOA.
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. Member of AOA.
Catherine was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky and 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 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 is looking forward to exploring both the Tennessee parks and all that Nashville has to offer. Member of AOA.
JJ grew up in a town north of Chicago, where you’d be hard pressed to find him inside; you’d have 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 JJ’s biggest accomplishment was winning over his amazing wife, Morgan. JJ 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 and during medical school he continued to work in Nicaragua, conducting a study on barriers to contraceptive use among adolescents. During third year of residency, JJ and Morgan had a son named Jack. He is a ball of joy and has been life’s best experience. JJ feels very fortunate and supported as he builds his young family in Nashville. Member of AOA.
Alicia grew up in River Forest, IL, 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.