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Alumni News and Notes

The Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine is proud to publish the recent accomplishments of its distinguished alumni.

Kayvan Amini, D.O., FACC (’01), was reappointed as a member of Florida’s Drug Utilization Review (DUR) Board, which reviews and makes recommendations to the drug use criteria and standards for both prospective and retrospective drug use reviews. He was also appointed as vice chair of the board. 

Bryan A. Currie, D.O., FASA, who is affiliated with Winchester Anesthesiologists, Inc. in Frederick County, Virginia, and is the Valley Health Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee Chair, was featured on WUSA9 news in a segment titled “Virginia Doctors Urge People to Get Vaccinated As ICU Beds Fill Up, Canceling Elective Surgeries.”

Ryan Chapman, D.O. (’14), who is board certified in internal medicine and hospice and palliative medicine, joined the medical staff at St. Francis Reflections Lifestage Care in Titusville, Florida.

Linda Delo, D.O., FACOFP (’86), was appointed as chair of the American Osteopathic Association’s Council on Economic and Regulatory Affairs, which was previously known as the Bureau of Socioeconomic Affairs.

Marlow B. Hernandez Cano (’11), D.O., M.P.H., M.B.A., FACP, chief executive officer of Cano Health, appeared on CNBC to discuss the health care company he helped establish and the success Cano Health has had in reducing mortality by 60 percent among its patients with COVID-19.

Matthew Denson, D.O., M.S. (’15), who specializes in laparoscopic and minimally invasive surgery, as well as colon pathology and colon cancer surgery, joined the Mohawk Valley Health System Surgical Group in Utica, New York.

Ryan J. Enders, D.O. (’15), joined the medical staff at North Oaks Surgical Associates in Hammond, Louisiana, as a general surgeon. Enders is trained and certified in minimally invasive interventions, including advanced endoscopic, laparoscopic, and da Vinci robotics surgical techniques.

Kathryn Fitzgerald, D.O. (’15), who specializes in laparoscopic and minimally invasive surgery, as well as abdominal wall and inguinal hernia repair, joined the Mohawk Valley Health System Surgical Group in Utica, New York.

Jeffrey S. Grove, D.O., FACOFP dist. (’90), received the American Osteopathic Association’s (AOA’s) Distinguished Service Award during its 101st House of Delegates Annual Meeting on July 15 in Chicago, Illinois. The award, which is the highest honor the AOA bestows, is presented annually to deserving physicians or lay individuals for outstanding contributions to the understanding and advancement of osteopathic medicine through research, education, financial aid, or other areas that enable the profession to make a greater contribution to public health.

William Gunther, D.O. (’17), who recently graduated from the University of Michigan Hospice and Palliative Care Fellowship program, coauthored the article “Buprenorphine for Chronic Pain in a Pediatric Patient With Sickle-Cell Disease,” which was published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.

Lisa Gwynn, D.O., M.B.A., M.S.P.H., FAAP, interim division chief of child and adolescent health at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, received the Miller School of Medicine Dean’s Faculty Award for Community Engagement, which is  “awarded to the faculty member who has demonstrated commitment to the Miller School of Medicine and university’s effort to address and advance health equity in our local communities.”

Timothy N. Hembree, D.O., Ph.D. (’10), who is board certified in internal medicine, was promoted to assistant chief medical officer of patient care at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida. In this role, he serves as a liaison between physicians and Moffitt administration, nursing, and ancillary staff  members to design and promote processes to improve patient care. Hembree, who has another role as Moffitt’s division chief of hospitalist medicine, also serves as an assistant professor of medicine at the University of South Florida’s Health Morsani College of Medicine, where he received the 2020 Teacher of the Year Award.

Michael Jackowitz, D.O., CPT (’90) and fellow 1990 alumnus Jeffrey S. Grove had their coproduced show Diana The Musical open on Broadway on November 17. The musical had initially opened on Broadway in early 2020 but closed shortly thereafter when Broadway shutdown in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A filmed version was available for viewing on Netflix in October.

Randy S. Katz, D.O., FACEP (’99), was promoted to associate district medical director for emergency services at Memorial Healthcare System (MHS), the fourth largest public health care system in the United States. MHS operates six emergency departments with close to 500,000 annual emergency room visits. In his new role, Katz will oversee all emergency department operations, including trauma care, emergency preparedness, and emergency medical services integration.

Anna Mercer, D.O. (’20), received the 2021 Outstanding Resident of the Year Award in OMM, which is presented by the American Osteopathic Foundation (AOF) and the American Academy of Osteopathy. Mercer was recognized for her exemplary work, demonstrated leadership, and steadfast clinical performance, as well as her passion for, and unwavering commitment to, the osteopathic profession. Mercer, who also received a $5,000 monetary award, was recognized at the in-person and virtual AOF Honors Gala on October 22.

Jason Okuhar, D.O., FACOI (’02), who is board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease, and interventional cardiology, joined the medical team at the DeBakey Heart Institute in Hays, Kansas.

Ravin Patel, D.O. (’20), had his case study “Vaccine Administration Leading to Subacromial Bursitis” published in the Acta Scientific journal. His work takes a look at shoulder pathology during this increased time of vaccine administration.

Jacob Pennington, D.O. (’15), joined Advanced Orthopedic Center Surgeons in September at its sites in Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda, Florida. He did his orthopedic surgery residency at Michigan State University’s McLaren Greater Lansing Hospital, which he followed by completing an adult reconstruction fellowship in July at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio.

Elizabeth Arena Rook, D.O., M.P.H., M.A. (’06), is a rheumatologist and the CEO and owner of Thrive Arena Coaching, which has a mission to improve the mental, emotional, and physical health of high-achieving professional women by helping them say yes to themselves to thrive in their lives and health. She was certified as a life and weight loss coach from the Life Coach School in October 2021 and blends these tools with her other training to serve women online, as well as by volunteering her services to women with chronic illnesses living in western Colorado.

Nicolas Sikaczowski, D.O (’17), recently founded his psychiatry practice Peace Behavioral Health in Miami, Florida, which is accepting both in-person and telehealth patients.

Richard R. Thacker, D.O., MACOI (’92), was named associate dean of clinical resources for the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM). In this role, Thacker will oversee third- and fourth-year clinical training through ACOM’s expansive network of hospitals, clinics, and preceptors. He has been involved with the ACOM since the college opened in 2013, previously serving as assistant dean of clinical sciences and clinical resources. Additionally, Thacker was recently recognized as a master fellow by the American College of Osteopathic Internists for his contributions to the profession.

Michael C. Weiss, D.O., FAOAO (‘86), was named chief of surgery and chief medical officer for iRISE Spine and Joint, which is headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida. In his new role, Weiss will oversee all orthopedic, neurosurgical, and interventional pain management medical and surgical operations, as well as assist in expansion efforts.

Lauren Westafer, D.O., M.P.H., M.S. (’13), assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School-Baystate, received a $900,000 grant from the National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute to fund the project “De-Implementation of Low-Value Evaluation of Pulmonary Embolism [DELVE-PE]” to improve evidence-based care in the emergency department. Additionally, she was named one of emergency medicine’s “25 under 45” by the Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association and received the FOAMed Excellence in Education Award from the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM). The award honors a SAEM member who has made outstanding contributions to the online learning community of emergency medicine through innovative and engaging FOAMed content.

Do you have an alumni accomplishment to share? If so, please contact Sasha Saunders at and Scott Colton at

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Do you have an alumni accomplishment to share? If so, please contact Sasha Saunders at and Scott Colton at

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