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Our Facilitators

PEP facilitators completed a rigorous train-the-trainer process to become qualified by the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare (AACH) to deliver the evidenced-based communication curriculum. UM SOM facilitators are faculty physicians, educators, and patient experience champions dedicated to improving the patient experience.

Samra S. Blanchard, M.D.

Dr. Blanchard earned her medical degree from Istanbul University and completed her pediatric residency, chief residency and pediatric gastroenterology fellowship at Cleveland Clinic Foundation. She is board certified in pediatrics and pediatric gastroenterology. She served as director of pediatric hepatology and pediatric liver transplant for 5 years at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital.

Sally B. Cheston, M.D.

Dr. Cheston is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She earned her medical degree (1991), and completed her residency (1996) at University of Maryland, and has practiced radiation oncology at Central Maryland Radiation Oncology in Columbia, MD, for 20 years. She is the Medical Director at CMRO, as well as Chair of the Cancer Committee at Howard County General Hospital. She specializes in adult radiation oncology with a particular interest in breast cancer.

Robert (Dobbin) Chow, MD, MBA, FACP

Dr. Chow received his MD degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and then trained in internal medicine at the Brown University Rhode Island Hospital program.  He completed an MBA in Medical Services Management from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School in 2011. He has practiced and taught general internal medicine in Baltimore for the past thirty years.  He joined the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 2014 and is presently an Associate Professor of Medicine.  He is based at the University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus , where he serves as the program director of the internal medicine and transitional year residency programs and as the director of the Division of General Internal Medicine.  

Sharon E. Feinstein, M.D.

Dr. Feinstein is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She completed her Medical Degree in 2002 and her Family Medicine Residency in 2006 at the University of Maryland. She has been the Medical Director of the Family Medicine Paca Street Practice since 2012. She is also the Project Director on a Residency Training Grant focused on the Patient Centered Medical Home.

Cortney B. Foster, DO

Cortney Foster is a pediatric intensivist who is board certified in both pediatric critical care and general pediatrics.  She completed her residency and chief residency at the University of Maryland. She completed a pediatric critical care fellowship at Children's National Medical Center and then returned to University of Maryland to join the faculty team.  Her interests include medical student, resident and fellow education and her research interests include NIRS, congenital heart disease, and team dynamics.  In addition to her clinical work, she serves as the associate program director for the pediatric critical care fellowship program

Nader N. Hanna, MB,BCh

Dr. Hanna is a Professor of Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He completed an accredited Surgical Oncology fellowship at the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine. He is the recipient of several achievement and educational awards and is repeatedly listed as Top Doc, Baltimore Magazine, and US World News and Reports. His expertise include advanced and complex surgical oncology procedures for advanced/recurrent and metastatic gastrointestinal cancers, including esophagectomy, gastrectomy, major liver resection, Whipple procedure, pelvic exenteration and cytoreductive surgery and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy. His research interests include gene therapy for pancreatic cancer, radio-sensitization for GI malignancies, outcomes research and clinical trials. He is a national/international speaker in gastrointestinal cancers.  Currently, Dr. Hanna is the Director of Clinical Operations, Division of General & Oncologic Surgery at UMMC and the Cancer Institute Director at UMSJMC.

Janaki Kuruppu, MD

After completing her internal medicine residency training, Dr. Kuruppu spent one year as a clinical staff physician in the research clinic of the intramural division of NIAID, then entered the Infectious Disease fellowship program at NIAID. After her fellowship, Dr. Kuruppu joined the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland, primarily to participate in global AIDS initiatives, setting up clinics in Kenya and Uganda to provide treatment for HIV/AIDS.  Currently, Dr. Kuruppu's efforts have been directed domestically, taking care of HIV-infected patients both inpatient and outpatient, and exploring research topics in the interactions between HIV and opiate addiction/treatment

Constance N. Lacap, D.O.

Dr. Lacap is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She completed her medical degree in 2005 at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Osteopathic Medicine (now Rowan University School of Medicine) in 2005, and her Psychiatry Residency in 2009 at the University of Maryland/Sheppard Pratt Psychiatry Residency Program. She is the Director of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry and director of the Psychiatry Clerkship. In addition to her administrative duties, she is a community psychiatrist, practicing at Carruthers Clinic.

Ada I. Offurum, M.D.

Dr. Offurum is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She completed a residency in Internal Medicine at NYU-Langone Medical Center in 2001. Dr. Offurum was appointed Associate Division Chief for General Internal Medicine in Inpatient Services in 2010. She is the hospitalist director at UMMC, is a Physician Advisor for the hospital and co-chairs the VTE Prophylaxis Committee at UMMC as well as the UMMS Hospitalist council.

Joseph P. Martinez, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

Dr. Martinez is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He completed a combined residency in Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine at the University of Maryland in 2003. Dr. Martinez was appointed Assistant Dean for Student Affairs in 2005. In addition to his clinical and administrative duties, Dr. Martinez is an active lecturer on the local, national, and international level, with a particular interest in abdominal and gastrointestinal emergencies, as well as medical student education.

Phillip F. Panzarella, MD, MPH

Dr. Philip F Panzarella is a board certified internist.  He is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine and has many years of experience as a physician leader. Dr. Panzarella is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Joyce Phillip, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Joyce Phillip, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is Chief Human Resources Officer at FPI, the faculty practice plan at the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine. With over 25 years in healthcare, she has held positions in nursing, training and several positions in human resources management. She served 5 years as vice president of human resources in an acute care facility. Besides presenting workshops on a number of topics, including teamwork, conflict resolution, communication, and service excellence, Joyce has been a keynote speaker and presenter throughout the region. Joyce holds a Masters in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College.

David B. Schwartz, M.D.

Dr. David Schwartz is currently Director of Clinical Affairs in the Office of the Dean at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He earned his Medical degree and completed his Ob/Gyn Residency in Johannesburg, South Africa, before continuing his post graduate Training in the United Kingdom and Madison, Wisconsin, where he completed his Fellowship and Certification in Maternal Fetal Medicine. His prior Clinical, Educational and Administrative roles have included serving as MFM Section Chief, Director of Residency Training and Chair of Department.

Semhar Z. Tewelde, MD

Dr. Tewelde currently serves as Assistant Professor & Assistant Residency Program Director in the Department of Emergency Medicine. Her undergraduate medical education began here at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She continued on to post-graduate training in the Department of Emergency Medicine. Upon completion of residency she developed an interest in cardiovascular emergences; this lead to her pursuit of an untraditional fellowship, focused on acute identification & management of cardiovascular crises for emergency physicians. During that time she worked closely with cardiology colleagues and also participated in the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) Teaching Fellowship, honing her skills in collaborative medicine, academics, and advocacy.  

Rukiya Wongus, MHA, CMPE, PMP

Rukiya Wongus has worked for University of Maryland Faculty Physicians, Inc. (FPI) since 2004. In her current role, she manages the Patient Experience and Service Excellence Program for FPI’s 19 professional associations. Rukiya earned a Master’s in Health Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia.