Please get to know new faculty who have joined the Department of Medicine within the last six months.
- Assistant Professor of Clinical MedicineDivision of:DermatologyPrevious Institution:Meharry Medical CollegePrevious Role/Title:Assistant Professor of MedicineSpecialty:Dermatology/Pediatric DermatologyEducation/Training:M.D., University of South Florida, Tampa, FloridaB.S., Biology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FloridaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:St. Petersburg, FL
Dr. Albers has 23 years of experience in the field of dermatology. She is certified in both General Dermatology and Pediatric Dermatology. She is one of only approximately 250 board-certified pediatric dermatologists in North America. Her experience ranges from private practice, HMO-based practice, and the academic setting. She has been involved in the dermatology education of medical students, internal medicine residents, and dermatology residents for over 15 years. Her research endeavors include teledermatology, pediatric dermatology, and pigmented lesions. Special interests include pediatric dermatology, teledermatology, pigmented lesions, skin of color, and underserved populations. In her role at Meharry Medical College she enjoys her position as medical student and resident curriculum director for dermatology. She serves as a mentor to fourth year medical students aspiring to become dermatologists. Dr. Albers is a welcomed speaker at Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Occupational Medicine, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry Grand Rounds. She also is a fan favorite on the health care segment of Fisk radio. Her diverse interests within the field of dermatology has made her a well rounded medical dermatologist caring for all skin types and cutaneous diseases across a spectrum of ages.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Hematology/OncologyPrevious Institution:Henry Ford Health SystemPrevious Role/Title:Nurse PractitionerSpecialty:Hematology/OncologyInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Hendersonville, TN
In this country we have a hard time making decisions on our healthcare directives. We need to make people aware that it is "ok" to discuss end-of-life decisions along with our healthcare needs in an emergency. Discussing and appointing an advocate can bring a person's treatment in line with their wishes. We need to make the public aware of what an advanced directive can do for them and make it so people are not afraid to discuss these issues. Audrey helped build a program to identify the disparity between the way people die and the way they state they want to die, recognizing the lack of patient family perspective in decision-making. Barriers were identified along with ethical considerations and principles.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University School of NursingPrevious Role/Title:MSN Graduate StudentSpecialty:Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse PractitionerEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Vanderbilt University School of NursingInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Jackson, TN
Rachel recently received her MSN from Vanderbilt School of Nursing. Before deciding to return to school, Rachel enjoyed a career in health care as a radiologic technologist, and it was in this career that she decided to return to school in order to have a deeper impact on the lives of patients. While in school she developed a love for cardiology. She just recently joined Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute’s inpatient cardiology team. Clinically, Rachel is interested in health promotion and the role diet and exercise have on cardiac health. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, and staying physically fit. She also enjoys time spent with her family, especially her two nephews.
- Research Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Hematology/OncologyPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Postdoctoral Research FellowSpecialty:Imaging Science and Clinical ResearcherEducation/Training:Ph.D., Chemical and Physical Biology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TennesseeM.Eng., Biomedical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TennesseeInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Terrell, NC
Dr. Jennifer Amundson is a research scientist with 10 years of experience in medical imaging research with a specific focus in oncology; the last three of those years focused on the translation of advanced imaging techniques into clinical trials of cancer. Recently, Dr. Amundson has shifted her research focus to the development and implementation of oncology clinical trials where she supports physicians in the gastrointestinal, thoracic, and breast oncology disciplines. As a research scientist in the Department of Medicine, Dr. Amundson's primary focus will be assisting oncology physicians with clinical trial design, paying specific attention to the conception of study correlatives, including the use of advanced imaging technologies. Dr. Amundson has multiple years of experience with participation in clinical trials as a research coordinator, data manager, and data analyst. Additionally, she has participated in two clinical trials through the ECOG-ACRIN consortium that investigated advanced imaging technologies in patients with breast cancer. Within the past year, Dr. Amundson has written seven Letters of Intent for new clinical trials, three of which have received approval, and two are under review. One of these approved studies was a grant from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network to investigate novel treatment combinations in non-small cell lung cancer. Lastly, Dr. Amundson has a proven track record of publishing research and has authored or co-authored 20 refereed journal manuscripts in addition to 19 scientific conference abstracts.
- Nurse Practitioner in MedicineDivision of:Rheumatology and ImmunologyPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University School of NursingPrevious Role/Title:Specialty:Adult Health/RheumatologyInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Nashville, TN
Julie Barnes has 22 years of experience serving the healthcare needs of the Middle Tennessee area in various capacities. In 2004, she began her career with Vanderbilt as an advanced practice nurse in the Cool Springs rheumatology practice. As a board-certified nurse practitioner in women’s health, Ms. Barnes became an advocate for her patients, ensuring they received superior care from her healthcare team. In 2012, she completed the Adult Health Post-graduate Degree Program with the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. Supporting and ensuring the continued growth of her occupational field, Julie is a member of the American Nurses Association, the Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health Society, and the American College of Rheumatology Society. Ms. Barnes is a proponent of creating health lifestyles through not only conventional medicine, but also through behavioral and mentality changes. One passion of Ms. Barnes is women’s healthcare with a focus on partnering and educating patients on ways to improve their quality of life. Her other passion is service, volunteering her time and occupational expertise through many programs such as Meals on Wheels, Room in the Inn, and other medical missions. Julie also volunteers at the Saint Sampson Medical Clinic, providing rheumatoid care to uninsured patients.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care MedicinePrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University School of NursingPrevious Role/Title:Nurse PractitionerSpecialty:NursingEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Vanderbilt University School of NursingInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Downers Grove, IL
Ms. Sarah Bloom practices critical care as an advanced practice nurse in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She is a faculty member in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine as an Assistant in Medicine. Ms. Bloom received her BSN in nursing from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in April of 2011 and her MSN degree from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in August of 2014. She is trained in advanced cardiac life support and basic life support, as well as in fundamental critical care. She is a licensed Advanced Practice Nurse and is a board-certified Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. Prior to her current position, Ms. Bloom worked in a variety of clinical settings, primarily at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, all focused in critical care. As a nurse practitioner at Vanderbilt, Ms. Bloom participates in continuing medical education and in teaching programs for students, allied health trainees, house staff, and fellows. She is a member of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, Society of Critical Care Medicine, and the American College of Chest Physicians. She has received several awards, including a Society of Critical Care Medicine Innovation Award in February of 2016, for her work in the ICU Recovery Center at Vanderbilt. She guest lectures on critical care medicine and post-intensive care syndrome (PICS) both at Vanderbilt and at society conferences.
- Instructor in Clinical MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Palm Beach Accountable Care OrganizationPrevious Role/Title:Staff PhysicianSpecialty:Family MedicineEducation/Training:M.D., St. George's University, Great River, New YorkB.S., Psychology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FloridaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Jupiter, FL
Dr. Ana Lisa Carr grew up in Jupiter, Florida, and received her B.S. in psychobiology from the University of Miami and her medical degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine. She completed her residency in family medicine at the University of Virginia and her chief residency at the Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University. Dr. Carr then went on to Auburn University School of Business where she received her Physician’s M.B.A. with a special concentration on comparative health systems. After her residency, Dr. Carr worked in outpatient private practice for four years in South Florida and served on the Board of Directors for the Palm Beach Accountable Care Organization, one of the nation’s top Accountable Care Organizations. Dr. Carr is an avid equestrian, competing on the National USHJA/USEF circuit in both the hunters and jumpers. She is married and has one son named JJ. When away from work she enjoys time with her family, traveling, hiking, and volunteering. Dr. Carr is very excited about the opportunity to join Vanderbilt University Medical Center and is looking forward to being a part of the Nashville community.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Registered NurseSpecialty:Vascular MedicineEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Belmont UniversityInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Chicago, IL
Mrs. Kristin Davis received her BSN from Belmont University in 2010. After graduating, she completed the General Medicine Nurse Residency here at Vanderbilt and was matched to 7N, a cardiovascular step-down unit. In 2011, she transferred to the Cardiac Cath Lab, where she worked in the holding room as a pre- and post-procedural nurse. During her time working in the cath lab holding room, she completed her MSN at Belmont University, taught undergraduate labs as an adjunct faculty member, and was a member of Sigma Theta Tau. She joined the Vanderbilt faculty in the Division of Vascular Medicine in August of 2016. When away from work she adores spending time with her husband, Read, and their dog Huckleberry Finn. She is also very thankful that her parents and two sisters live close in Brentwood, Tennessee, and she loves spending time with them as well. Kristin is thrilled that she is able to continue her career at Vanderbilt.
- Assistant Professor of Clinical MedicineDivision of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:Virginia Tech-Carillion ClinicPrevious Role/Title:FellowSpecialty:Interventional CardiologyEducation/Training:M.D., Ross University School of Medicine, Dominica, West IndiesB.A., Biology, New York University, New York, New YorkInterests/Achievements:Hometown:New York, NY
Dr. Dinaram has dedicated his training and career towards the diagnosis and treatment of atherosclerotic disease. His focus is primarily in coronary artery disease, furthering the understanding of the causes, pathogenesis, and management of this disease state. Additionally, he maintains a dedicated interest in the realm of peripheral arterial disease. Through further advances in our knowledge, technology, and techniques, he hopes to continually improve our medical science and ultimately deliver unprecedented quality care to our patients.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:Carolinas Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Cardiac Transplant/Mechanic Circulatory Support Nurse PractitionerSpecialty:Acute Care Nurse PractitionerEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TennesseeB.S.N., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North CarolinaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Hendersonville, NC
April completed her BSN from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After completion of her BSN she gained solid organ transplant experience at Northwestern Memorial and then went on to become a transplant coordinator at both Stanford in Palo Alto, California, and internationally in Oxford, England. She then completed her MSN from Vanderbilt University and subsequently gained experience in cardiac transplantation, mechanical circulatory support, and advanced heart failure at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. April is a Certified Clinical Transplant Coordinator through the American Board of Transplant Certification. Throughout her career she has been passionate about health education and empowering patients to actively participate in their own care. She has a special interest in transplant infectious disease and individual modification of immunosuppressive regimens. She has recently joined the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute's Transplant and Ventricular Assist Device Program. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, as well as running, hiking, and travelling.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Hematology/OncologyPrevious Institution:Middle Tennessee Vascular, Williamson Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Physician AssistantSpecialty:Interests/Achievements:Hometown:Wellington, FL
Diagnosed with lymphoma while attending the US Military Academy at West Point, Mr. Figueroa underwent chemotherapy, radiation and ultimately three stem cell transplants over the course of seven years before attaining a long-lasting remission. Fascinated and inspired by his experiences, he left a career as a civil engineer to study medicine. He now draws upon his experiences as a cancer patient to deliver a unique degree of compassion in the care of his patients. He is dedicated to carrying on the tradition of world-class care, the same care from which he benefited so greatly. Aside from his achievements in medicine, Mr. Figueroa is an instrument-rated pilot and enjoys public speaking. Of note, he has been a guest lecturer at West Point on the topics of resilience and perseverance and has spoken to members of the special operations community at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on the topic of courage in the face of adversity.
- Instructor in Clinical MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Saint Thomas HospitalPrevious Role/Title:Staff PhysicianSpecialty:Family and Preventive MedicineEducation/Training:M.D. - University of Louisville School of MedicineInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Versailles, KY
Dr. Franey hails from the small bluegrass town of Versailles, KY, and attended the University of Kentucky for her undergraduate and graduate studies. She earned her MD at the University of Louisville and completed her family medicine training at the University of Alabama at Birmingham-Huntsville campus. She has spent the majority of her early career in practice in San Diego, CA, and moved to Nashville in 2013. She has specialized in treating eating disorders in adolescents and adults over the last ten years in both intensive outpatient and inpatient settings. Her other practice interests include women's health, adolescent medicine, dance injuries, skin disease, preventive medicine, nutrition, obesity, and diabetes management. Throughout her training and practice, she has been involved in laboratory and clinical research. Early projects included Characterizing Retinal Transplant Connectivity Using Immunohistochemistry, SSCP Analysis of Polymorphisms Within the XPA Gene, Vision Recovery Following Stroke, and Community-Acquired MRSA in Infants. More recently, she participated in over 30 Phase I clinical trials as an investigator studying new OADs and insulins in Type I and II diabetic patients. Outside of her professional life, Dr. Franey loves precious time with family and friends, most especially, her husband, two young children, and pug dog. She also enjoys oil painting, freelance and fiction writing, yoga/tai chi, guitar, dance, and is an avid Jazzerciser.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Gastroenterology, Hepatology and NutritionPrevious Institution:University of North Carolina at Chapel HillPrevious Role/Title:Social WorkerSpecialty:Gastroenterology - IBDEducation/Training:M.S.W., Adult Mental Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North CarolinaB.S., Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TennesseeInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Nashville, TN
Lindsey Franks received her Master of Social Work degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her Bachelor of Science degree from Vanderbilt University where she was an Ingram Scholar. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Tennessee. Lindsey has spent the last decade working with chronically ill individuals and their families across multiple healthcare systems including Vanderbilt, Duke, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is passionate about early psychosocial intervention with patients who have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). One of her primary interests is supporting, equipping, and empowering patients and families to live successfully with IBD and to cope effectively with accompanying stressors. Additionally, she is interested in treating comorbid depression and anxiety in IBD patients. In partnership with the IBD Support Foundation, Lindsey is currently conducting research to understand the effectiveness of psychosocial care for patients with IBD, the best way to implement it, and its economic impact in reducing overall healthcare costs.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Centegra Physician CarePrevious Role/Title:Physician AssistantSpecialty:Hospital MedicineInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Chicago, IL
Sharin Gabl returned to school in 1997 after a 20-year career in mortgage banking. Her passion has always been medicine, putting together the puzzle of disease and developing a plan for recovery and wellness. After earning her Bachelor in Science from Northern Illinois University, she went on to earn her Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies at Midwestern University in Downers Grove, Illinois. Most of her 14-year career as a physician assistant has been spent in private practice in the northwest suburbs of Chicago as a primary care PA. Sharin has two boys. Jason Gabl, graduated with his master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering and is now working in the Zukrow Lab at Purdue University in West Lafayette Indiana, as a Senior Research Engineer. Robert Grant is a Senior Financial Analyst with Ally Bank in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is married and has a growing family. In an effort to be closer to both of her boys, Sharin sought to move to the Nashville area. Here she is a car ride away for long weekends with each of them. Sharin, her husband Phil, her three dogs, Roxie, Sona, and Rizzo, along with Clark the cat, moved to the Nashville area shortly before beginning work with Vanderbilt on February 1, 2017. She looks forward to this new chapter of both her personal and professional life.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:St. Thomas Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Nurse Practitioner, heart Failure TeamSpecialty:Adult-Gero Acute Care Nurse PractitionerInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Athens, AL
Mr. Gant had the opportunity to work with many subspecialties in cardiology, and he has always found himself naturally attracted to heart failure. He is fascinated by hemodynamics and the ways in which technology has advanced our ability to care for these patients. He is truly excited and blessed to have this opportunity to join Vanderbilt’s renowned Advanced Heart Failure Program.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Genetic MedicinePrevious Institution:St. Thomas HospitalPrevious Role/Title:Genetic CounselorSpecialty:Genetic Variant Assessment and ReportingEducation/Training:M.S., Genetic Counseling, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaB.S., Biology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TennesseeInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Shreveport, LA
Heather Herrmann is a Genetic Counselor with over 13 years of clinical genetics experience including seven years of successful delivery of cancer genetics education and knowledge leading more than 700 providers to improved care for thousands of patients. She provides strong clinical genetics support of physicians, nurses, and other allied health partners across multiple specialties including medical oncology, gynecologic oncology, genetics, breast surgery, radiology, gynecology, and gastroenterology.
- Research Instructor in MedicineDivision of:Clinical PharmacologyPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Post-Doctoral Research FellowSpecialty:Inflammation, Immunity, Cardiovascular DiseaseEducation/Training:Ph.D. - University of IowaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Beirut, Lebanon
Dr. Itani’s scientific goal is to elucidate mechanisms of hypertension and its attendant end-organ damage. To accomplish this goal, she completed a PhD in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Program at the University of Iowa under the supervision of Dr. Curt Sigmund. The University of Iowa and Dr. Sigmund’s laboratory are renowned for research in hypertension and the biology of renin. In her thesis, she identified two new molecular mechanisms involved in regulation of renin gene expression. Following completion of her PhD, she accepted an academic faculty position in Lebanon, TN, and was active in training young scientists through teaching, mentorship, and supervision of graduate student projects. In recent years, it has become apparent that inflammation and immunity contribute to hypertension. She therefore decided to pursue a postdoctoral research fellowship in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology in Dr. Harrison’s laboratory at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. As a Research Fellow, she developed a research project that defined a novel role of memory T cells in the pathogenesis of hypertension. Dr. Itani’s research promises to define the immune mechanisms by which memory T cells modulate hypertension, revealing new therapeutic targets for the treatment of this important disease. She was awarded the NIH F32 individual fellowship to complete these studies. Dr. Itani delivered a significant number of invited talks at major scientific meetings and has been recognized with numerous prestigious awards from scientific societies. Her ultimate goal is to establish her own independent research laboratory in the field of inflammation-mediated cardiovascular disease.
- Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:Heart and Vascular Institute, Cleveland ClinicPrevious Role/Title:Staff Cardiologist, Associate DirectorSpecialty:Cardiovascular MedicineEducation/Training:M.D. - Duke UniversityM.P.H. - University of North CarolinaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:St. Louis, MO
Dr. Kim is a cardiologist and vascular medicine specialist in the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute. She treats patients with a range of cardiovascular disorders but has a special interest in patients with uncommon arterial disorders including fibromuscular dysplasia, spontaneous coronary artery dissection, and aneurysmal disease. She has authored several research publications and book chapters on these disorders. Dr. Kim's other major interest includes non-invasive vascular imaging using both physiologic testing and duplex ultrasound. She is a registered physician in Vascular Interpretation and has lectured extensively on vascular ultrasonography. She holds leadership positions in several national cardiovascular societies including the Society for Vascular Medicine, the American Society of Echocardiography, and the American Heart Association. She currently serves as an Associate Editor for Vascular Medicine, the premier peer-reviewed vascular medicine journal.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Clinical PharmacologyPrevious Institution:University of Tennessee Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Registered NurseSpecialty:Autonomic DysfunctionEducation/Training:M.S.N. - University of TennesseeB.S., Nursing, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North CarolinaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Knoxville, TN
Jordan Kimmet, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, is originally from East Tennessee. She graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with her bachelor’s degree in nursing. Following graduation, she moved back to Knoxville to work at the University of Tennessee (UT) Medical Center on a cardiothoracic surgical step-down unit. There she provided nursing care to patients following cardiac surgery as well as patients with heart failure, arrhythmias, and blood pressure issues. While working at UT Medical Center, Jordan served on the hospital’s professional development committee and helped promote nursing continuing education by serving on the nursing grand rounds committee. Jordan attended the University of Tennessee and graduated at the top of her class with a Master of Science in nursing in the Family Nurse Practitioner program. She is certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care MedicinePrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University School of NursingPrevious Role/Title:Critical Care Registered NurseSpecialty:Critical Care NursingEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Vanderbilt University School of NursingInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Franklin, TN
Ms. Olivia Kirkpatrick is a nurse practitioner on the MICU critical care team and functions primarily as a nocturnist. She is board-certified as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and provides critical care service to patients and families. Ms. Kirkpatrick obtained her baccalaureate degree in nursing from the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga in December of 2011. In August of 2013, she began her master’s degree program in nursing at Vanderbilt, with emphasis in Adult Gerontology Acute Care, and was selected for training in the VUSN Intensivist program. She obtained her MSN in July of 2016 from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. Ms. Kirkpatrick is a Registered Nurse (February 2012) and has certification in Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy Administration (August 2012) and Fundamentals of Critical Care Support (November 2015). She earned a Critical Care Registered Nurse certification in October of 2015. Ms. Kirkpatrick served as a Patient Care Technician in the Emergency Department of Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee (2010-2011), while studying for her baccalaureate degree. She also spent four months as a Nurse Extern (2011) in the Neuroscience Care Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. After receiving her baccalaureate degree, she entered a one-year critical care nurse residency for new graduate nurses at Vanderbilt, where she served as a Resident Critical Care Nurse in the MICU (2012). At the culmination of this program, Ms. Kirkpatrick was selected to work as a staff Critical Care Registered Nurse (2012-2016) in Vanderbilt’s MICU, where she worked prior to joining the faculty as an Assistant in Medicine.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:Advocate Health Care/Medical Group/Heart InstitutePrevious Role/Title:APRN-BCSpecialty:Acute Care/CardiologyInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Dickson, TN
Jen is a graduate of the VUSN Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program, class of 1999. She established herself as an accomplished, well respected clinician and leader during her 15-year tenure at Advocate Health Care in Chicago, Illinois, which included a position on the Advocate Medical Group Clinical Informatics Medical Directors team, as well as an elected position on the Advocate Medical Group Governing Council. She has mentored many advanced practice nursing students from various institutions throughout Chicagoland, including Rush University, University of Illinois Chicago, Loyola University, and Northwestern University. She met Ken, her husband of 15 years, while he was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, as a Captain in the United States Army. They have two daughters, Jenna (age 13) and Emma (age 10). She enjoys gardening, reading, and spends hours cheering on her daughters from the sidelines of the soccer field.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Lehigh Valley Health NetworkPrevious Role/Title:Physician Assistant in Critical Care/General and Trauma SurgerySpecialty:Physician Assistant-Inpatient CareEducation/Training:M.S., Physician Assistant Studies, DeSales University, Allentown, PennsylvaniaB.S., Health Studies, DeSales University, Allentown, PennsylvaniaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Easton, PA
Melissa C. Lehmann received her master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies from DeSales University in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, in 2002. She began her career as a PA-C doing orthopedic trauma surgery. In 2012 she left orthopedics for a career in critical care medicine for the general and trauma surgery service at LeHigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She decided to relocate to Nashville in January of 2017 with her husband, Nick, and two sons, Jacob and Nathan, to be closer to family. She is looking forward to her new career in internal medicine at Vanderbilt.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Nephrology and HypertensionPrevious Institution:Kroger Little Clinic/Hunter Lane MedicalPrevious Role/Title:Nurse PractitionerSpecialty:NephrologyEducation/Training:M.S.N., Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TennesseeB.S.N., University of Phoenix, Grand Rapids, MichiganInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Murfreesboro, TN
Toddra’s research interest involves working with primary care providers in early recognition and evaluation of chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality and affects more than 20 million adults in the United States (Shahinian, Hedgeman, Gillespie, et al., 2013). In its early stages, CKD is manageable by primary care providers. However, care of CKD patient can be very complex, which can pose potential problems with novice providers. Primary providers (novice/experienced MD, NP, PA) must properly manage CKD patients, which includes blood pressure control, lipid control, and glycemic control. A study that analyzed renal endpoints of the Multifactorial Approach and Superior Treatment Efficiency in Renal Patients with the Aid of Nurse Practitioners (MASTERPLAN) showed that additional support by nurse practitioners attenuated the decline of kidney function and improved renal outcome in patients with CKD (Peeters, van Zuilen, Wetzels, et al., 2014). Toddra would therefore like to further build upon this to determine the outcomes of CKD by nurse practitioner providers. She is also interested in depression in minority populations. Minority populations are at greater risk for developing depression mainly due to lack of medical access, the stigma associated with depression, and inadequate medical management of depression. African Americans are less likely to receive accurate diagnosis. There is a prevalence of under-recognition in Hispanics, as well. However, there are many barriers that can influence under-recognition including language differences, health literacy, and others. Toddra would like to develop this research by collaborating with local faith-based groups and community organizations to help identify ways to improve depression in minority populations.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:KindredPrevious Role/Title:Nurse PractitionerSpecialty:FamilyEducation/Training:M.S.N., Belmont College, Nashville, TennesseeB.S.N., Chamberlain College of Nursing, Addison, IllinoisInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Gallatin, TN
Erin enjoys researching the factors impacting medication adherence, hospital readmission relating to chronic illness, and the numerous cultural and societal barriers to effective chronic disease management. She generally spends her free time reading crime novels, relaxing on the lake aboard her center console boat, crafting, and making quality memories with her husband and two small children. Erin obtained an undergraduate degree in nursing and worked for eight years in the intensive care and emergency room settings. She is a certified critical care nurse. Erin decided to further her education with the end-goal of improving chronic disease management and preventing repeat hospital admission. She earned a MSN from Belmont University in 2015 and is now a board-certified family nurse practitioner. Erin is currently enrolled in Vanderbilt University’s graduate program in pursuit of a post-master’s certificate in adult-gerontology acute care and plans to take the board certification exam in August of 2017. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society, the American Nurses Association, the Tennessee Nurses Association, and the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.
- Research Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Hematology/OncologyPrevious Institution:Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyPrevious Role/Title:Postdoctoral AssociateSpecialty:Cell BiologyEducation/Training:Ph.D. - Duke UniversityInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Memphis, TN
Dr. Mason’s current research focuses on understanding how cell shape changes are organized at the macromolecular, subcellular, cellular, and tissue levels to drive tissue morphogenesis. As a graduate student in the lab of Scott H. Soderling at Duke University Medical Center, he used a combination of biochemistry, mass spectrometry, imaging, and mouse models to define a Rac GTPase-dependent regulatory pathway for cytoskeletal turnover and macrophage migration and invasion. As a postdoctoral associate in the lab of Adam Martin at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he furthered his experience in imaging and genetics and developed quantitative image analysis methods to determine how epithelial cells spatially organize Rho GTPase signaling to remodel the cytoskeleton and promote cell shape changes during Drosophila embryogenesis; this work has been published in Nature Cell Biology and is currently under revision at the Journal of Cell Biology. Going forward he hopes to utilize his experience in cell biology and high-throughput assays to investigate immune cells in cancer and autoimmune disorders.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:America's Family Doctor's ClinicPrevious Role/Title:Physician AssistantSpecialty:Education/Training:M.S. - Trevecca UniversityM.A., Counseling, Trevecca Nazarene University, Nashville, TennesseeInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Columbus, GA
Robert Kenneth McKenzie worked in mental health for 11 years with a Master of Arts in counseling before pursuing a career change into the field of medicine. He earned his Master of Science in Medicine from Trevecca University in 2007. He has worked as a Physician Assistant in primary care, urgent care, and homeless care settings for the past 10 years. He is also a sub-investigator in clinical research. Ken has been married for 15 years and has no children. He and his wife enjoy traveling, trying new restaurants, spending time with family and friends, and both are active in church.
- Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Resident-Med/PedsSpecialty:Internal Medicine and PediatricsEducation/Training:M.D. - University of South Florida College of MedicineInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Miami, FL
Dr. Mitchell's research interests include metacognition as it relates to adult learners in the clinical setting. Additionally, he is interested in implicit bias in medicine pertaining to doctor-doctor and doctor-patient relationships and its tangible consequences such as research grant awards, salary, and patient outcomes and satisfaction. His general interests are graduate and undergraduate medical education, patient education, and pharmacology. His achievements include graduating magna cum laude from the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, induction into the Gold Humanism Honor Society, and being a father to his son, Kevin III.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Northcrest Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Emergency Medicine Physician AssistantSpecialty:Physician Assistant, MPHEducation/Training:M.P.H., University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, ColoradoB.S., Biology, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New HampshireInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Litchfield, NH
Margaret Moore's research and general interests coincide in that she wants to seek out opportunities to provide the best possible medical care to the underserved communities in the Tennessee Mid-South region.
- Division of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:Premise HealthPrevious Role/Title:Occupational MedicineSpecialty:Adult Nurse PractitionerEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Vanderbilt University School of NursingInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Nashville, TN
Siobhain is an adult nurse practitioner who has experience working in occupational medicine, urgent care, palliative and hospice care, neurosurgery, and as a hospitalist. She completed her MSN at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing while working full time in MICU and CVICU at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Her BSN is from Austin Peay State University in Clarkvilles, Tennessee. Throughout her career she has been dedicated to the pursuit of health promotion and is dedicated to helping her patients suffering from chronic disease to achieve a state of optimal wellness and disease management. She has recently jointed the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute's Advanced Heart Failure Program. In her spare time she enjoys kayaking, paddle boarding, and cycling.
- Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Hematology/OncologyPrevious Institution:HealthPartners-Regions HospitalPrevious Role/Title:Hematology-Oncology Physician/Medical Director of Clinical Coagulation, Regions HospitalSpecialty:Hematology-OncologyEducation/Training:M.B.B.Ch. - University of the Witwatersrand Medical SchoolInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Boksburg, South Africa
Dr. Morton’s main area of interest is systems-based hematology. This involves managing hematological problems across an entire healthcare organization. The goal is to standardize work up and treatment to ensure that best practices and guidelines are followed. This results in quality care, safety, and cost containment, with oversight of expensive resources and ensures that all patients get the same quality care no matter where they are in the organization. A few examples of projects are the management of bleeding on anticoagulation, standardizing initiation and management of the direct oral anticoagulants, standardizing massive transfusion practices, refining the use of intravenous iron and work up and treatment of anemia prior to orthopedic surgery. She also chairs two transfusion committees. Another area of interest is women’s issues in hematology, hemostasis, and thrombosis. Dr. Morton completed a quality improvement advanced training program that has given her the tools to do the systems-based work. She works with hematology/oncology fellows on research and quality improvement projects. The focus of these projects includes hemostasis, thrombosis, and transfusion. The systems-based work creates many opportunities for quality improvement projects. She is also training fellows to be systems-based hematologists, and one of her fellows now has a job offer to do this work in Seattle in 2017. She is on the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Committee for Practice and is also the liaison for this committee to the ASH Committee on Quality.
- Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care MedicinePrevious Institution:Duke UniversityPrevious Role/Title:Assistant ProfessorSpecialty:Lung transplantation and critical careEducation/Training:M.D. - Case Western Reserve University School of MedicineInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Brooklyn, NY
Dr. Stephanie Greer Norfolk is a clinician educator in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine with strong interests in medical aspects of lung transplantation and critical care. Dr. Norfolk attained her baccalaureate degree from Duke University in 1991. She then entered post-baccalaureate premedical training at Columbia University in New York prior to attending Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio. She received her MD from Case Western in 2005, remaining in the Case Western system of hospitals throughout her internship and residency. Following the end of her residency in 2008, Dr. Norfolk returned to Duke University School of Medicine to enter a fellowship program in pulmonary and critical care medicine. This program was completed in 2011, at which time she was appointed to the faculty at Duke University School of Medicine as an Instructor in Medicine in the Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Division. Dr. Norfolk was promoted to her current position at Duke, Assistant Professor of Medicine, in 2011. Dr. Norfolk is board-certified in Internal Medicine (2008), Pulmonary Medicine (2010), and Critical Care. She is a member of the American College of Chest Physicians, the American Thoracic Society, the American Medical Association, and the International Society for Heart & Lung Transplantation.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Hematology/OncologyPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Nurse Practitioner, Lung TransplantSpecialty:Acute Care, Transplantation, PulmonaryInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Cincinnati, OH
Research interests include critical care oncology, quality of life measures, survivorship, and integrative health.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Team Health/Maury RegionalPrevious Role/Title:Physician AssistantSpecialty:Hospital MedicineInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Nashville, TN
Chris graduated in 2003 with his MBA and worked in business and pharmaceutical sales for nine years. After working in the pharmaceutical industry, he was dissatisfied with how patients were treated and viewed by some health care companies. In 2012, Chris went back to school at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee, to become a physician assistant. He graduated in 2014 with his Master of Science in Medicine. Following school, Chris has had diverse experience in family care, internal medicine, hospital medicine, critical care, and urgent care while working in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. He most recently comes from the Centennial ICU to work on the Scoville Hospitalist Service. Chris is married to his wife, Megan, and they have a 6-year-old son, James David (JD), who is currently in first grade at Ezell Harding Christian School. Chris enjoys hobbies such as family vacations, wood working, and home improvement. He was also a collegiate volleyball coach for five years and coached Junior Olympic volleyball for 10 years.
- Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Clinical PharmacologyPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt Department of Orthopaedics and RehabilitationPrevious Role/Title:Assistant ProfessorSpecialty:Bone Physiology and Fracture RepairEducation/Training:Ph.D. - University of Arkansas for Medical SciencesInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Little Rock, AK
Dr. Perrien joined the Vanderbilt Center for Bone Biology in November 2008 and the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation in August of 2009. He also administers the microCT and other x-ray based instruments in the Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science. After receiving his doctorate in physiology and biophysics from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, he worked for an orthopaedic tissue engineering company developing growth factor-based drug/device therapies to enhance musculoskeletal repair. Fracture repair and distraction osteogenesis continue to be major areas of investigation. In addition, his efforts include mathematical modeling of structure-function relationships in bone, understanding the skeletal response to mechanical load, and endocrine control of bone mass and turnover.
- Instructor in Clinical MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Care Spot Urgent CarePrevious Role/Title:Supervising PhysicianSpecialty:Family MedicineInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Johnson City, TN
With a keen interest in caring for patients in under-served areas, Dr. Perry traveled extensively providing medical care in third-world countries including Honduras, Ukraine, West Africa, El Salvador, Hungary, Nicaragua, Russia, and Ethiopia on short-term missions with Yeshua Medical Ministries. Dr. Perry received the Reader’s Choice Award for Best Family Practice Doctor in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, in 2008. Dr. Perry attends Fellowship Bible Church and enjoys growing and serving alongside his small community group. He loves following sports, especially the Tennessee Titans. Dr. Perry enjoys living in Nashville and the live music that the area offers. Spending time with his family is his favorite pastime.
- Associate Professor of MedicineDivision of:Rheumatology & ImmunologyPrevious Institution:Previous Role/Title:Specialty:Education/Training:M.D., Johns Hopkins University School of MedicinePh.D., Louisiana State University School of MedicineInterests/Achievements:Hometown:
Dr. Kristine Phillips is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine with subspecialty training in Rheumatology. Her research interests have been directed at improving the outcomes of patients with arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. Dr. Phillips and colleagues have studied the Pathophysiology and Epidemiology of Rheumatologic diseases in prospective longitudinal cohorts. Related translational studies have focused on the role of inflammation in the development of chronic disease. She has served as principal investigator for clinical and epidemiological studies of osteoarthritis. Her research group has also developed biobanks of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma, recruiting several thousand patients with rare diseases into cohort studies and randomized trials that were used to build the methodology for ongoing studies.
- Assistant ProfessorDivision of:Diabetes, Endocrinology, & MetabolismPrevious Institution:Previous Role/Title:Specialty:Interests/Achievements:Hometown:
Dr. Andrea Havens Ramirez received a Bachelor of Science from North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC) in 2002 with a major in biochemistry and minor in economics. She then continued at Duke University School of Medicine (Durham, NC), during which period she also spent research time at the Rockefeller University in New York City studying genetics of cardiovascular disease and the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Gabon, West Africa, supporting a malaria vaccine trial and Helicobacter pylori transmission research. She earned her Doctorate of Medicine from Duke in 2007 and joined the Vanderbilt University Harrison Society Research Pathway residency in internal medicine followed by fellowship in clinical pharmacology focusing on pharmcogenomics in the laboratory of Dan Roden, MD. She completed her Master of Science in Clinical Investigation in 2011 then joined the Physician Scientist Development Program at the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda, MD, in the laboratory of Francis Collins, MD, PhD. There she studied extracellular RNA signaling in metabolic disease and therapy and completed a joint clinical fellowship in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism at the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, earning her board certification in 2015.
- Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Genetic MedicinePrevious Institution:Icahn School of Medicine at Mount SanaiPrevious Role/Title:Instructor, Department of PsychiatrySpecialty:Computational and psychiatric genomicsEducation/Training:Ph.D. - Cardiff UniversityInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Hicksville, NY
Formally trained in computational biology and genetics, Dr. Ruderfer received his BS in computer engineering and MS in computer science from Johns Hopkins University and his PhD in genetics from Cardiff University. Dr. Ruderfer has spent the last ten years applying computational approaches to answering fundamental questions in genetics. He initially worked with Dr. Leonid Kruglyak at Princeton University developing methods and analyzing the genetics of gene expression, proteomics, drug response, populations, and evolution. Since then, he has worked closely with Drs. Shaun Purcell and Pamela Sklar at the Broad Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai on elucidating the genetic causes of psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. His work has contributed substantially to what is currently known about the genetic architecture of these diseases including seminal publications on the polygenic nature of these disorders. In particular, his work has provided integral contributions to the ability to analyze and assess the role of copy number variation to disease risk. He developed some of the earliest methods to analyze these data and demonstrated extensive contribution of this class of variation to schizophrenia risk. More recently, he has sought to integrate the genomic work with more expansive clinical data to identify opportunities for improved treatment utilizing genomic information. For example, his work recently identified a contribution of rare variation to antipsychotic response raising the promise that having genomic information could alter and improve treatment in a subset of patients with schizophrenia.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care MedicinePrevious Institution:Asthma and Allergy Medicine, P.C.Previous Role/Title:Family Nurse PractitionerSpecialty:Nursing for asthma and allergy medicineInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Difficult, TN
Lori Russell is an Assistant in Medicine in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine. She primarily functions as a Nurse Practitioner for the Vanderbilt Asthma, Sinus, and Allergy clinics. She is a certified Nurse Practitioner and Registered Nurse in the State of Tennessee and is also credentialed as a Family Nurse Practitioner by the American Nurses' Credentialing Center. She is trained in basic life support for healthcare providers. Ms. Russell received her baccalaureate degree in nursing from Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee, in 1988 and went on to earn her master's degree in nursing from Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2014. Ms. Russell has served as a nurse in several local hospital and medical center settings, gaining experience in post-operative care, chronic patient care, assisting patients (including elderly patients) in meeting the challenges of daily functions, instructing family members, assessment of adult and pediatric patients, and pharmacological and non-pharmacological management and treatment of various disorders and diseases. Ms. Russell has precepted under experienced NPs and other health professionals in pediatrics, adult health, and women’s health. She has been inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and the Golden Key International Honor Society.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Hematology/OncologyPrevious Institution:Emory Winship Cancer InstitutePrevious Role/Title:Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Social WorkerSpecialty:Licensed Clinical Social WorkInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Rockville, MD
Ali Schaffer, LCSW, is the manager of Patient and Family-Centered Care at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC). In this role, she oversees the management of the Patient and Family Resource Center that develops patient and family-centered programs and actively serves on multiple VICC and Vanderbilt committees. Additionally, Ali collaborates with medical professionals and local and national organizations to plan and implement educational programs for people impacted by cancer. Ali graduated with a BA in psychology from Emory University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Georgia. Prior to her current role, she was the social worker in the REACH for Survivorship Clinic at Vanderbilt providing psychosocial support to both pediatric and adult cancer survivors and their families. Additional clinical social work experiences include working in both inpatient and outpatient oncology care settings as well as in community-based oncology support. Her special interests include increasing patient and caregiver education within the healthcare setting and addressing the psychosocial needs of people living with cancer through creative and interactive programming.
- Research Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care MedicinePrevious Institution:Indiana University School of MedicinePrevious Role/Title:Research Assistant Professor of PediatricsSpecialty:ImmunologyEducation/Training:Ph.D. - University of Sao PauloInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Mococa-SP, Brazil
Dr. Ana Serezani is a Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine working in the laboratory of Dr. Timothy Blackwell. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in biomedicine from the University of São Paulo State, Botucatu-SP, Brazil in 2001. From that same institution she went on to obtain her masters degree (2004) and her PhD (2012), both in immunology. In August of 2015, Dr. Serezani was appointed to the faculty of the Department of Pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine as a Research Assistant Professor. Dr. Serezani’s research examines the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of chronic lung inflammatory diseases, including allergic airway diseases, fungal infection, and fibrosis. Her recent work explores the consequences of exaggerated cytokine production in alteration of skin epithelial barrier protection and its consequences for disease evolution. Her work analysis, in particular, deals with interaction of keratinocytes and inflammatory cells in models of atopic dermatitis. Another aspect of Dr. Serezani’s work is determining the effects of multivalent allergens to IgE/FceRa–dependent mast cells activation. She is particularly interested in developing therapeutic interventions to prevent chronic inflammation, decreasing risks of disease progression and/or exacerbation. In the Blackwell laboratory at Vanderbilt, Dr. Serezani focuses on examining the mechanisms of lung fibrosis and other lung diseases with the Blackwell research team.
- Research Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Geriatric Medicine GroupPrevious Institution:University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical CampusPrevious Role/Title:Program and Project Manager, Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences InstituteSpecialty:Clinical data re-use, genomic medicineEducation/Training:Ph.D. - Yale UniversityInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Tullahoma, TN
Healthcare advances are being discovered faster due in part to the growth of clinical data re-use for research. Dr. Stallings’ work has been in advancing infrastructure, guidance, and research on clinical data re-use, specifically in the intersection of electronic health record (EHR) and genomic data for both discovery and clinical implementation. Use of EHR data has highlighted access-derived health disparities, because health inequity translates directly into data sparsity for populations underrepresented in clinical research. Underrepresentation in clinical research fuels inequity in health care innovation, as population differences in disease burden or intervention effectiveness remain unobserved. Engaging communities more broadly can impact all stages of clinical research, causing investigators and participants to collaborate in research effectively together, building trust, and reducing health disparities. Her work in clinical data re-use discovery and implementation is shifting to include engagement, so the results are relevant for all populations and advance equity in healthcare and outcomes.
- Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:EpidemiologyPrevious Institution:Moffitt Cancer CenterPrevious Role/Title:Applied Research ScientistSpecialty:Cancer and Infectious Disease EpidemiologyEducation/Training:M.P.H. - University of AlabamaPh.D. - University of AlabamaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Owatonna, MN
Dr. Staci Sudenga received her PhD in epidemiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and pursued training at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL as a postdoctoral fellow under the R25T Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology of Cancer training award. Her research program focuses on infections and cancer, the natural history of infections, and the synergy between infections. The goal is to identify modifiable factors associated with acquisition of infections and to identify biologically meaningful associations between the host and pathogen that can be translated into primary prevention efforts, early diagnosis, or treatment. Dr. Sudenga is the principal investigator on a contract through the Merck Investigator Studies Program investigating “The role of genital warts in HIV acquisition among men participating in a longitudinal study from the United States, Brazil, and Mexico.” She is enthusiastic about the potential research collaborations and opportunities at Vanderbilt.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:University of Tennessee Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:RNSpecialty:ED and CVICUEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Vanderbilt University School of NursingInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Memphis, TN
Victoria worked as a nurse for three years, mostly in Knoxville. She began her career in the Emergency Department as an RN, where she met her husband, Mark. After working as a staff nurse for two years, Victoria and Mark had the opportunity to move to Nashville to be closer to family. At that time, Victoria began work on her Master’s degree at Vanderbilt University in Adult and Gerontology Acute Care. She began work at Vanderbilt in December as a nurse practitioner with the Hospital Medicine team. She is passionate about the use of ultrasound to improve patient outcomes and looks forward to growing in those skills as a nurse practitioner. She is very excited about this opportunity and looks forward to being a part of the Vanderbilt team.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Gastroenterology, Hepatology and NutritionPrevious Institution:Intermountain Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Nurse Practitioner Hepatology/Liver TransplantSpecialty:Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse PractitionerEducation/Training:M.S.N., Nursing, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TennesseeA.S.N., La Roche College, Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Pittsburg, PA
Janine is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and is board certified as an Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. She is a member of the Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society. Prior to becoming a nurse practitioner, Janine was a nurse for five years, working in abdominal transplant both in step-down and in the ICU, as well as the GI lab. In her spare time, Janine enjoys anything outdoors, especially kayaking. She also enjoys tennis, pilates, and spending time with her friends and family.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University School of NursingPrevious Role/Title:StudentSpecialty:CardiologyEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Vanderbilt University School of NursingInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Bentonville, AR
As a student at Vanderbilt, Maggie was very involved in interprofessional learning. She participated in the Vanderbilt Program in Interprofessional Learning (VPIL) and a Global Studies in Nicaragua course jointly hosted by the Schools of Medicine and Nursing. Maggie was a nominee for the Luther Christman award at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing and was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau Honors Nursing Society.
- DirectorDivision of:DermatologyPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:ResidentSpecialty:DermatologyEducation/Training:M.D. - University of MichiganPh.D. - University of MichiganInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Northville, MI
Dr. Tkaczyk is a physician-scientist with research interests in biophotonics for diagnosis and treatment of skin diseases. He graduated summa cum laude with degrees in mathematics and electrical engineering from Purdue University, where he was a Beering Presidential Scholar. He then completed a PhD in electrical engineering at the University of Michigan Center for Ultrafast Optical Science under the mentorship of Director Ted Norris, winning several research awards including the best paper award from the International Biomedical Optics Society at Photonics West and also first prize at the IEEE International Summer School and Symposium on Medical Devices and Biosensors. He subsequently earned an MD with honors from the University of Michigan Medical School and went on to do medical device design postdoctoral work in the European Union at the University of Tartu, Estonia, supported by Fulbright and Whitaker awards. This work culminated with a prize awarded by both the US Ambassador to Estonia and the Estonian Speaker of Parliament at the Estonian-American Innovation Award ceremony. He joined the faculty of the University of Tartu Medical School, where he developed a course in biomedical optics and spearheaded an international regenerative medicine collaboration. He subsequently completed dermatology residency training at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where he is Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Director of the Cutaneous Imaging Clinic.
- Assistant Professor of Clinical MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Brown UniversityPrevious Role/Title:HospitalistSpecialty:Internal MedicineInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Buffalo, NY
Dr. Van Klein completed his medical degree at the University at Buffalo and went on to complete his residency in internal medicine at Brown University. He worked as an academic hospitalist at Brown, intermittently attending on the inpatient internal medicine resident service. His academic interests are resident and medical student clinical education, multidisciplinary hospital teamwork, and patient experience. Outside of work, he enjoys photography and travel, both of which have taken him to a number of interesting locations.
- Research Instructor in MedicineDivision of:EpidemiologyPrevious Institution:University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Role/Title:Research FellowSpecialty:Cancer Epidemiology, genetic epidemiologyEducation/Training:Ph.D., Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WisconsinM.S., Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WisconsinInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Hartland, WI
Dr. Warren Andersen's research program seeks to explain how modifiable risk factors and genetic variants influence the molecular aspects of cancer risk. Her research program builds upon her previous training. She received her B.S. in genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and later pursued a M.S. and Ph.D. in population health from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. In 2013, she joined Vanderbilt University Medical Center as a postdoctoral research fellow in the R25 Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology of Cancer (MAGEC) training program. Dr. Warren Andersen is currently funded by a K99 Pathway to Independence Career Development Award to investigate the relationship among circulating vitamin D biomarkers, genetic variants, and colorectal cancer tumor characteristics using a trans-ethnic approach. Additionally, Dr. Warren Andersen also researches the associations between adiposity and cancer risk and how precision medicine approaches can be applied to increase smoking cessation and reduce lung cancer risk.
- Research Instructor in MedicineDivision of:Clinical PharmacologyPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Research FellowSpecialty:Hypertension, Neural Control in Cardiovascular DiseaseEducation/Training:Ph.D. - University of Nebraska Medical CenterInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province, China
Dr. Xiao's current research focus is to understand how the sympathetic nervous system regulates the activation of adaptive immunity in hypertension. He has defined some of the key elements involved in this process, such as renal sympathetic nerves and renal dendritic cells that drive T lymphocytes activation in hypertension. There are still several unresolved issues and mechanisms, such as how the dendritic cells are activated during sympathetic activation and how the autonomic nervous system modulates the mobilization of immune cells in hypertension. Data from Dr. Xiao’s renal denervation experiments suggested that renal sympathetic nerves promote dendritic cell activation in the kidney, which mediates the effect of the central nervous system on immune activation in hypertension. His latest results showed that renal denervation not only lowers blood pressure in hypertension, but also has dramatic anti-inflammatory effects to prevent T lymphocyte infiltration in the kidney and subsequent end-organ damage in this disease. From a clinical perspective, his study gives new insight for the therapeutic renal denervation to treat hypertension. Dr. Xiao has received several awards including a New Investigator Travel Award from the High Blood Pressure Research Council and both the Pre- and Postdoctoral Caroline tum Suden/Francis Hellebrandt and Postdoctoral and Early Career Research Recognition Award from the American Physiological Society.
- Research Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Diabetes, Endocrinology, and MetabolismPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Postdoctoral FellowSpecialty:Lipid metabolism, Insulin resistance, ArtherosclerosisInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Tianjin, China
Dr. Zhu’s research interest is to understand the relationship between energy homeostasis and inflammation, which might be a foundational mechanism for insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia, and atherosclerosis. Her research focuses on the use of mouse disease models to identify mechanisms that underlie insulin resistance and atherosclerosis. She aims to define fundamental principles of how to improve HDL function for patients with type-2 diabetes to reduce cardiovascular disease. During Dr. Zhu’s graduate studies, she studied the regulation of PCYT2, a rate-limiting enzyme for phospholipid synthesis, at transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels. This work resulted in seven publications with four of them as the first author. During her training as a postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Vanderbilt, Dr. Zhu demonstrated that LRP1-deficient macrophages caused inflammatory responses in the artery walls due to the impaired ability of foam cells to clear the plaque. In another high-impact project, she found that anti-inflammatory macrophages promoted cholesterol reverse transport and macrophage migration out of artery walls, leading to atherosclerosis regression. This novel discovery may set up a platform to develop therapeutic policies to prevent cardiovascular events. During her training in the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism at Vanderbilt, Dr. Zhu showed that deletion of liver estrogen receptor alpha led to lipid accumulation in the liver and caused whole body insulin resistance. One of her ongoing projects shows that a clinically used CETP inhibitor increases HDL cholesterol; however, it also increases inflammatory responses and causes insulin resistance in obese mice. This study may explain the reason why clinical trials using CETP inhibitors have failed to prevent cardiovascular disease.
- Research Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:EpidemiologyPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Senior Staff ScientistSpecialty:Education/Training:M.D., Fudan University, Shanghai, ChinaM.P.H., Epidemiology, Nantong Medical College, Jiangsu, ChinaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:China
Dr. Zhu has been very actively and productively involved in conducting epidemiologic studies of chronic diseases for 26 years. Her research interests include individual level and population level prevention of cancer, including understanding the interaction between environmental factors (intakes of magnesium, calcium, etc.) and genetic variations in the etiology of chronic diseases, particularly colorectal cancer. Dr. Zhu also conducts molecular epidemiologic studies to understand the underlying mechanisms for the associations. She has played a critical role in a number of human cancer studies funded by the National Cancer Institute as well as in epidemiologic studies of chronic disease conducted in China. She has authored or co-authored 56 peer-reviewed papers and has been invited to write chapters for eight books related to epidemiology. Since 2009, Dr. Zhu has worked at VUMC, and her current research focus is to identify and investigate nutrient-nutrient (e.g., magnesium, calcium) and gene-nutrition interactions in the etiology of colorectal cancer and to subsequently develop personalized prevention strategies. In a two-phase R01 study, Dr. Zhu identified and replicated several gene-nutrient interactions in relation to risk of both colorectal adenoma and hyperplastic polyps. These findings lay a foundation for the development of new precision prevention strategies for colorectal cancer among high-risk populations. In the Personalized Prevention of Colorectal Cancer Trial (R01 CA149633, PI: Qi Dai), Dr. Zhu plays a critical role including coordination, data management, data analysis, data reporting, and manuscript development. She has also obtained research funding as a PI.