Vanderbilt Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Residents
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 new drone. He is extremely grateful and excited to join the Vanderbilt community, as well as to explore Music City and meet Taylor Swift. 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, international medicine, 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 also discovered his love of outpatient Med-Peds and preventative care. In his free time, Sam enjoys sports, traveling, playing chess, cooking, and running. He is thrilled to be back at Vandy!
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!
Having moved all over the southeast, Laura spent most of her childhood in small town South Carolina where she enjoyed summers swimming at the lake or hiking in the mountains with her parents and sister. 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 love for medicine and decided to stay in the Sunshine State for medical school at the University of Florida. She became involved with sustainability and health equity studies, global health in the Dominican Republic, and also fell in love with SEC sports. Outside the hospital, you can find her at the nearest farmer’s market, tending to her many house plants, listening to podcasts, reading, or heading out for a run. Laura can’t wait to join the Vanderbilt family and start a new adventure in Tennessee! Member of AOA
Preetam was raised in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. He attended the University of Chicago as an undergraduate, where he majored in biology and minored in philosophy. After graduating, he spent one year working with NGOs in Pune, India to develop and lead a malnutrition project in the city’s slum communities. He attended the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he discovered a love for the care of adults and children. He has a passion for medical ethics, global health, international development, and the intersection between medicine, research, and public policy. His other interests include the arts, philosophy and comparative religion.
Ben Frush was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina. He graduated from Duke University where he studied psychology before matriculating to the University of North Carolina for medical school, where he remained an unapologetic Duke basketball fan. In between his third and fourth years of medical school, Ben spent a year at Duke Divinity School where he was a fellow in the Theology, Medicine, and Culture Fellowship there. He is interested in bioethics, specifically how both theology and moral philosophy can inform current conversations involving disability, moral formation in medicine, and end-of-life care. In his free time, Ben enjoys pickup basketball, Pittsburgh Steelers football, re-watching episodes of The Office ad nauseam, and figuring out how to spend time with other people’s dogs until he breaks down and gets his own
Rachel was born and raised in Tampa, FL, where she spent much of her free time playing volleyball, scuba diving or on the beach. She attended the University of Florida for undergrad where she majored in biochemistry and nutrition, developing her passion for medicine in between tailgating Gator football games. Rachel went to Yale for medical school, where she decided to pursue Med-Peds after becoming interested in caring for patients of all ages with congenital heart disease. Rachel spends her free time experimenting with new recipes, finding any excuse to be outdoors, explaining college football to her northern friends and convincing people that Tampa actually has a great hockey team. After her short stint in the northeast, Rachel is thrilled to be moving back south to warmer weather, country music and SEC football. She is looking forward to exploring Nashville and joining the Vanderbilt community!
Jon was born in Virginia Beach, VA. His family has always had an international flair, including his Dutch father and Kenyan stepmother. Jon spent his childhood planning to become president of the United States but decided that politics was not for him after working as an aide in the state capitol during early high school. Thankfully, he switched to medicine and has never looked back. Before pursuing an undergraduate degree, he volunteered for a non-profit organization doing community development in Costa Rica, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Later, he earned his Bachelors of Science in chemistry at Wheaton College, where he also met his wife, Olivia. Following his undergraduate education, he worked for one year in the chemical industry (where he literally had to watch paint dry as part of his job description). He then attended medical school at University of Illinois and discovered Med-Peds! Jon and Olivia are both passionate about global health and correcting health disparities in developing countries. Specifically, Jon would like to start residency programs in developing countries in order to contribute to a self-sustaining physician workforce within those countries. When Jon is not learning medicine you might find him running a 5k, reading a book on space exploration, cooking ethnic Lebanese food with his wife, or enjoying a glass of Californian cabernet sauvignon or Italian barbera. Jon and Olivia are excited to make Nashville their home and to join the Vanderbilt family!
Ashley was born a southerner in College Station, Texas, transitioned to toddlerhood as a Californian in the Bay Area, and eventually converted to an East Coaster for the remainder of her childhood in the suburbia of New Jersey. In college, she fell in love with the City of Brotherly Love. Outside of the lab, she spent as much time as possible walking around Rittenhouse and eating her way through the city. But after blowing through two pairs of snow boots during the polar vortex of 2014, she decided to head back down south for medical school at Vanderbilt. Bachelorette parties aside, she is proud to be a Nashvillian. She is excited to be joined by her fiance Seth in Nashville as she embarks on a new journey as a Double Dore!
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. Recently, JJ and Morgan expanded their family by adding Champ, a lovable golden retriever. Speaking of champs, now that the Cubs have won a World Series, Morgan and JJ are ready to leave Chicago and couldn’t be more excited to move to Nashville. They look forward to live music, friendly people, Southern cooking and exploring the outdoors of Tennessee. 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.
Ndang was born in Arlington, Virginia, but was raised in Westminster, Maryland, just 1.5 hours north of Washington, D.C. He attended the University of Maryland at College Park, where he was involved in various campus communities, ranging from Honors Humanities to the Maryland Men’s Chorus. While at Maryland, Ndang also studied abroad in Cameroon where he had the opportunity to volunteer with a local NGO that served young adults living with HIV/AIDS. The experience piqued his interest in public health and made a future career in medicine tangible. After graduating with degrees in biochemistry and nutritional science, he made the transition from the Old Line State to the Land of Lincoln for medical school at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. While at Pritzker he cultivated his interests in community health and primary care, which also included a brief detour through Chapel Hill, NC for an MPH degree at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Outside of medicine Ndang enjoys reading, staying active, and singing baritone. Ndang plans for a career in Med-Peds primary care, where he hopes to capitalize on his training in public health and clinical medicine. He looks forward to spending the next chapter of his life in Nashville!
Sarah originally hails from Toronto, Canada. When she was 12 years old, her family relocated to New York City, but she maintained a strict use of Celsius and a deep loyalty to the Blue Jays baseball team. During high school, she played volleyball & softball and studied bat echolocation. She attended Harvard University, where she completed her premedical requirements while majoring in Government, with a focus on Latin America. She enjoyed working at the intersection of policy and medicine at the Harvard Center on the Developing Child, an organization dedicated to using our knowledge of child development to influence public policies relating to children. Sarah spent a gap year working in early childhood education and mentoring high school students before returning to New York for medical school. A new school with an innovative curriculum, Hofstra fostered Sarah’s interests in medical education, medical ethics, and care for the underserved. She has relished the opportunity to explore other parts of the world through global health rotations and health policy courses in China, Chile, and Uganda. She loves to learn languages and may try to speak with you in Spanish, Hebrew, or French. Sarah looks forward to living in one of the friendliest cities in America and to introducing her family and friends from home to the South!
Patricia is a proud Midwesterner who was born in Iowa and grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland. Looking to explore a bigger city, she headed to the University of Chicago for college. While in Chicago, she discovered a love for working with middle and high school students from the surrounding South Side neighborhoods, and particularly enjoyed mentoring teens with sickle cell disease. These experiences got her interested in adolescents and young adults with chronic childhood illness, their transition into adult healthcare, and ultimately led her to the field of med-peds. Next, she made her first move to the south by moving to North Carolina to attend medical school at Duke. She became a Blue Devils fan and enjoyed rooting for a team that actually won a national championship (remember she's from Cleveland!). During med school, she also completed a Masters in Clinical Research and did outcomes research focused on infants with congenital heart disease. She is excited to start residency at Vanderbilt and figuring out how to combine her many interests. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking for friends, yoga, listening to NPR, nerding out at museums and is looking forward to exploring the different neighborhoods in Nashville.
Matt grew up in Chapel Hill, NC and is one of four siblings who all attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is second oldest of the four, so he technically went to UNC before it was cool. As an undergraduate, he majored in biology and minored in screenwriting. He went on to pursue medical school at UNC where he relied mostly on his biology background but employed his screenwriting skills for his medical school’s annual skit nights by making short films. His favorite film was a black and white, French-themed, silent comedy called, “La Chirurgie” (Surgery) about the third year medical student surgical clerkship experience. His main hobbies include writing, filmmaking, playing soccer, hiking, and following Tar Heel sports. He is excited to move to Nashville and wants everyone to know this isn’t his first time traveling outside of Chapel Hill. It’s his second. Actually, traveling is one of his hobbies too and some of his favorite places are New York City, Berlin and Galway. For his career plans, he is interested in academic Med-Peds and medical education. Member of AOA.
Originally from Nicholasville, KY, Lee had spent his entire life within the Bluegrass state until live music and the Vandy Med-Peds program convinced him to migrate south to Nash-Vegas. While in Kentucky, Lee grew up loving ultimate Frisbee, Space Jam, and mix-tape CDs. For college, Lee attended the mighty Transylvania University (1,100 students!) in Lexington, KY, where he majored in Spanish and Biochemistry. While there, he traveled to Mexico, Ecuador, and Costa Rica, which helped foster his interest in global health. Next, 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 who also decided to mosey on down to the Music City for her residency training (McKenzie Vater – Peds). Together, they love cheering on the UK Wildcats, attempting to camp, and running 26.2 more miles than they ever thought they would. Lee is so excited to begin his Med-Peds training at Vanderbilt! Although not 100% sure what he hopes to do long term (#medpeds), he has interests in global health, academic medicine, and hospital medicine.
Elizabeth grew up in Topsfield, Massachusetts just north of Boston. She attended Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH where she completed a B.S. in Biology. Elizabeth then returned to Massachusetts to attended University of Massachusetts Medical School where she completed an MD/PhD. Her PhD research focused on human immune responses to dengue virus. Elizabeth hopes to pursue a fellowship in infectious disease with a focus on tropical infections. In her free time Elizabeth enjoys ballroom dancing, baking, international travel, and trying to learn new languages. Elizabeth has enjoyed being close to her family over the last 8 years but is excited to move to Nashville and join the Vanderbilt family.