Alumni Notes

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Fall/Winter 2013 issue (pdf)

Alumni News wants to publish news of your professional and personal accomplishments and activities.

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Edward J. Winter, MD ’57, recently retired from private practice in Olympia Fields, Ill. Dr. Winter is Medical Director of the South Suburban Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse and a deacon in the Archdiocese of Chicago.


Michael J. Dunn, MD ’62, retired after 18 years at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Dunn was Dean Emeritus, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Physiology, and Director of the Translational Research Resources Office in the Clinical and Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin (CTSI). He served as dean from 1995 until 2008, when he joined the CTSI to mentor clinical investigators. Dr. Dunn received MCW’s Distinguished Service Award in 2008, which is the school’s highest faculty honor.

Allan A. Knudson, MD ’62, was awarded the 2013 Willard S. Bridwell Humanitarian Award by the Kings Regional Health Foundation. Dr. Knudson has served the rural, underserved population of Kings County, Calif., as a family practitioner since 1963.

Wendelin Schaefer, MD ’64, received the 2013 Rotary International Service Above Self Award from the Rotary Club of Tahoe-Incline, Nev. Dr. Schaefer was honored for his leadership and service on humanitarian projects in Kenya, including medical equipment acquisition, an eye care and vision restoration program and 21 years of annual visits to Kenya and Tanzania to perform orthopaedic surgery. Dr. Schaefer is a semi-retired orthopaedic surgeon and recipient of the MCW Alumni Association’s 2009 Humanitarian Award.


Edward Benzel, MD ’75, GME ’80, was named among the “89 Spinal Surgeon Device Inventors & Innovators to Know,” by Becker’s Spine Review. Dr. Benzel is Chairman of the Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Neurosurgery in Cleveland, Ohio. He holds at least nine patents for devices, including a cervical spine stabilization method and system and a spinal column retaining apparatus.

Julian Lombard, PhD ’75, will receive the Microcirculatory Society’s 2014 Eugene M. Landis Research Award. The society is honoring him for his research focusing on the mechanisms behind vascular control in salt-sensitive hypertension, the role of oxygen in blood vessel constriction in hypertension and vascular abnormalities associated with high levels of salt in the diet. Dr. Lombard’s team recently discovered that high salt diet leads to severe dysfunctional changes in blood vessels even in the absence of an elevated blood pressure. His goal is to determine the mechanisms by which elevated dietary salt intake leads to abnormal blood vessel function even before the development of hypertension. Dr. Lombard is Professor of Physiology at MCW.

Sridhar Vasudevan, MD, GME ’77Sridhar Vasudevan, MD, GME ’77, was elected to the Board of Managers of the Feith YMCA in Port Washington, Wis. Dr. Vasudevan is Clinical Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at MCW. He practices at Community Memorial Medical Commons Clinic and serves on the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board. Dr. Vasudevan also was an invited speaker at the June meeting of the International Society of Physical Rehabilitation Medicine in Beijing, China.

Thomas Hammeke, PhD, Fel ’79Thomas Hammeke, PhD, Fel ’79, received the Distinguished Neuropsychologist Award from the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology. Dr. Hammeke is Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at MCW, lead neuropsychologist for the Polytrauma Team at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center, and serves as adjunct faculty for UW-Milwaukee and Marquette University. He is former President of the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology, the Association of Postdoctoral Programs in Clinical Neuropsychology and the Society for Clinical Neuropsychology.

Jeffrey M. Weber, MD, Fel ’79, was elected Chief of Medicine at the Western Regional Medical Center of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Goodyear, Ariz. Dr. Weber previously served as Chief of Surgery and Director of Gastroenterology and Metabolism. Before relocating to Arizona in 2009, he spent 30 years in private practice in Milwaukee in general gastroenterology, and co-founded Milwaukee Digestive Disease Consultants.


Mary Horowitz, MD ’80, GME ’89, MS ’91, was inducted into the Association of American Physicians at the group’s annual meeting in Chicago. Dr. Horowitz is the Robert A. Uihlein, Jr. Chair in Hematologic Research, Professor of Medicine and Chief of Hematology and Oncology at MCW. She also is Chief Scientific Director of the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research. Dr. Horowitz studies the effectiveness of transplantation as a treatment for life-threatening diseases such as leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers.

Phillip Clifford, PhD ’85, received the Award for Innovative Institutional Partnerships in Research and Research-Focused Training from the Association of American Medical Colleges. Dr. Clifford and a nationwide team of colleagues developed the interactive career planning tool, myIDP, to help scientists prepare an individual development plan. More than 30,000 users have registered with myIDP since it launched in September 2012. Dr. Clifford is Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at MCW.

Christopher J. Coffey, MD ’88, received the 2013 Physician of Excellence Award from the North Shore Medical Center (NSMC) in Salem, Mass. It is the highest honor for NSMC physicians. Dr. Coffey was recognized for his compassion and skill in caring for obstetrics and gynecology patients. Dr. Coffey serves as Medical Director for Minimally Invasive Gynecological Surgery at NSMC and practices at North Shore Physicians Group in nearby Danvers and Swampscott. He has been named a Best Doctor by Boston Magazine since 2007.


Eric Rudnick, MD ’90, was appointed to the California Commission of Emergency Medical Services. Dr. Rudnick is a member of the Emergency Medical Directors Association of California and has been Medical Director at Northern California Emergency Medical Services, Inc. since 2010. He has been Medical Director at Santa Clara County Emergency Medical Services Agency Division of Public Health and an independent emergency medicine consultant since 2005.

Robert E. Dedmon, MD, MPH ’91, recently retired from active participation on the MCW faculty in the Masters of Public Health program. Dr. Dedmon most recently was Clinical Professor in the Institute for Health and Society. Since 1991, he served as a guest lecturer for the MPH program and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin. Dr. Dedmon previously practiced general internal medicine at Theda Clark Medical Center and served as Vice President for Medical Affairs for Kimberly Clark Corporation, both in Neenah, Wis. He also contributed significantly to global health, travel medicine and rabies prevention.

Rose Franco, MD ’91, Fel ’97Rose Franco, MD ’91, Fel ’97, was appointed Interim Chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine in the Department of Medicine at MCW. Dr. Franco is Associate Professor of Medicine and of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences. She also serves as Program Director for the Sleep Medicine Fellowship and Co-Director of the Multidisciplinary Sleep Program.

Eric Woodward, MD, Fel ’91, was named among the “89 Spinal Surgeon Device Inventors & Innovators to Know,” by Becker’s Spine Review. Dr. Woodward is Chief of Neurosurgery at New England Baptist Hospital and former Chief of Spine Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, both in Boston. He also is Chief Medical Officer of InVivo Therapeutics, a medical device company focused on finding solutions for patients with spinal cord injury.

Robert Chayer, MD, Fel ’94, was appointed the Chucker Aring Chair in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Dr. Chayer is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine and Director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at MCW. The chair provides funding for clinical, educational and research efforts that strive to prevent suicide and depression in children and adolescents, particularly those living in poverty.

Suzanne Martens, MD ’95, GME ’99, MPH ’07, received the Educational Leadership Award by Lakeshore Technical College (LTC) in Cleveland, Wis. It is the college’s most prestigious annual award. She has served as the EMS program’s medical advisor, adjunct instructor and advisory committee member at LTC. Dr. Martens is faculty, EMS and Trauma Program Medical Director at St. Nicholas Hospital in Sheboygan. She also serves as the physician medical director or co-director for 19 local ambulance services, first responder units or fire departments.

Judy E. Kim, MD, GME ’96, was appointed to the editorial board of JAMA Ophthalmology. Dr. Kim is Professor of Ophthalmology at MCW.

Rob Thomas, MD ’99Rob Thomas, MD ’99, was selected as CEO of Emergency Physicians Professional Associations (EPPA) in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn. Dr. Thomas served as a board member of EPPA and as Medical Director of Mercy Hospital’s Emergency Department. He currently serves as Chair of the Allina Health Emergency Medicine Council and is a board member of the Allina Integrated Medical Network. EPPA is a group of board-certified emergency physicians that staff hospital emergency departments throughout the Twin Cities.


Matthew Cooper, MD, GME ’00, was named Director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation at the Georgetown Medstar Transplant Institute in Washington, D.C.

Aleksey Lavery, MD ’00, lives in the California Bay Area with his wife, Desiree Labeaud, MD ’00, and their three sons. Dr. Lavery is a neurosurgeon. Dr. Labeaud recently received a grant to research arboviral outbreaks in Kenya.

Kevin Regner, MD ’01, MS ’11, was appointed Interim Chief of Nephrology at MCW. Dr. Regner is Associate Professor of Medicine (Nephrology). He is a primary investigator on a five-year National Institutes of Health-funded investigation aimed at elucidating the mechanisms of kidney regeneration following acute kidney injury.

Xiulu Ruan, MD, GME ’02, passed his record eighth medical board certification exam: the American Board of Independent Medical Examiners. That breaks his previous world record of achieving seven medical board/subspecialty board certifications in the United States. Dr. Ruan is co-owner and Medical Director of Physicians’ Pain Specialists of Alabama in Mobile, where he practices interventional pain management.  

Lance McQuillan, MD ’03, was elected to the board of directors of the Oregon Academy of Family Physicians. Dr. McQuillan is Co-Director of the Samaritan Family Medicine Residency Program in Corvallis, Ore. and is on the Samaritan Health Physician Board of Directors.

Ellen Turner Wenberg, MD ’03, is a family physician and geriatrician, and Assistant Medical Director at ThedaCare Physicians in Waupaca, Wis. Dr. Wenberg lives in the area with her husband, Neil, and two sons.

Elizabeth Thiel, MD ’04, GME ’07, Fel ’11, MS ’11, was appointed Assistant Professor of Medicine (hematology and oncology) at MCW. Dr. Thiel specializes in palliative medicine at Froedtert Hospital. She previously served as the acting Medical Director for the Aurora VNA Zilber Family Hospice and the Associate Medical Director for the Metro Aurora VNA Home Hospice Program in the Milwaukee area.

Danielle Drummond, MS ’05, was named Senior Vice President for Strategy and Growth at Lakeland Regional Medical Center in Lakeland, Fla. Dr. Drummond will oversee strategic planning business development and technology services at the medical center. She previously held leadership roles at Main Line Health System, a network of four hospitals and health centers in the Philadelphia area, and GE Healthcare.  

Ryan Hess, MD ’07, accepted the position of Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C. He previously completed a fellowship in orthopaedic sports medicine in July 2013 at the Andrews Institute in Gulf Breeze, Fla.

Virginia Homewood, MD ’07, joined Copper Canyon Women’s Center in West Valley City, Utah. Dr. Homewood is an obstetrician and gynecologist. She completed a residency at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

David P. Hughes, MD, MPH ’07, was named inaugural Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in Buffalo, N.Y. Dr. Hughes will work to optimize the clinical performance of the medical school’s academic programs. He also was named Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical Integration Officer for Kaleida Health, where he will lead the development of new care delivery processes that improve services, quality and reduce costs.

Brian Vernon, MD ’07, accepted a position in spine surgery with Intermountain Healthcare in Logan, Utah. Dr. Vernon completed a fellowship in orthopaedic spine surgery this year at the Mayo Clinic.

Yohanna S. Vernon, MD ’07, accepted a position as a pediatrician with Intermountain Healthcare in Logan, Utah. Dr. Vernon completed her residency in pediatrics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Kelly England, MD ’08, GME ’13, began a breast imaging fellowship this year at the Medical College of Wisconsin. She previously completed a residency in radiology at MCW. She and husband Mark England, MD ’08, GME ’12, have three children. Mark is Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at MCW.


Catharine Malmsten, MD, Fel ’10, was named a “Top Healthcare Professional Under 40” at the National Medical Association’s (NMA) annual conference. She was one of 40 physicians nationwide to receive this honor from the NMA, which promotes the interests of physicians and patients of African descent. Dr. Malmsten is Assistant Professor of Medicine (Cardiovascular Medicine) at MCW and Assistant Director of Cardiovascular Inpatient Services at Froedtert Hospital.

Jonathan Skarie, MD ’10, PhD ’08, was given the 2013 Jessica S. Lin Award for Clinical Excellence by a Resident Physician at MCW. Dr. Skarie is a resident in ophthalmology. The award is given in memory of neurosurgery resident Dr. Jessica Lin, who died tragically in 2010. It recognizes an individual entering the final year of residency training for his or her outstanding clinical and academic performance.

Michelle Bayer, MD ’11, received a 2013 Pilot Project Research Award from the Society for Pediatric Dermatology. Dr. Bayer received the award for her research project, Incidence of hypoglycemia in children receiving propranolol therapy for infantile hemangioma. Dr. Mayer is a first-year resident in dermatology at MCW.

Michael P. Held, DO, MA ’11, is Director of a Level III trauma center in rural Cape Girardeau, Mo. Dr. Held also chairs the hospital’s ethics committee and gives lectures on ethical issues for various organizations throughout the region.
Heather Komas (Kaminski), PhD ’11, and her husband, Steve, welcomed their first child in May, a baby girl named Gwenivere.


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