A Dozen New Physicians Join Faculty in 7 Divisions in Department of Medicine

The University of Arizona Department of Medicine would like to welcome not just the many new residents and fellows that started with us in July, but a number of new faculty who’ve arrived to help oversee their training with our various divisions and others focused on enhancing our research endeavors.

Three are in the Division of Inpatient Medicine, two each in Cardiology and Hematology and Oncology, and one each in Endocrinology; Nephrology; Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine; and Rheumatology. Several more are scheduled to start through mid-October.

For physician appointment information, please call (520) 694-8888—or, if with Cardiology, 520-MyHeart (694-3278), or, if with Dermatology or Hematology & Oncology, (520) 694-2873 (CURE). Among the new physicians are:

Abhinav Dhakal, MBBS — Inpatient Medicine

Dr. Abhinay DkahStarting Aug. 1 as a clinical assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Inpatient Medicine and hospitalist at Banner – University Medical Center in Tucson, Dr. Dhakal comes to us from Presence St. Francis Hospital, in Evanston, Ill., where he recently completed his residency in internal medicine. Before that, he did a general internship at the College of Medical Sciences in Chitwan, Nepal (2011), where he also earned his medical degree (2010). He is fluent in English, Nepali, Hindi and Urdu. Professional memberships include the American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Physicians and Society of General Internal Medicine. He has had several abstract/case and oral presentations accepted at conferences of these and additional organizations such as the Society of Critical Care Medicine and Society of Hospital Medicine.

Gisell Gonzalez Rios, MD — Endocrinology

Dr. Gisell Gonzalez RiosRecently completing her UA Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Fellowship as chief fellow, Dr. Gonzalez Rios (previously Sanchez) is now an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology. She attended medical school at the Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa in Culiacan, Mexico, and completed an internship year (2004) and social service year (2005) at the Hospital General de Culiacan before earning a medical surgeon diploma (2006). Afterward, she served as clinical trial coordinator and later outpatient asthma/COPD clinic physician as part of a smoking cessation team at the hospital. She did her residency in internal medicine at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, N.Y. The program is affiliated with the State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn (SUNY).

Keri Maher, DO — Hematology and Oncology

Dr. Keri MaherAlso starting Aug. 1, Dr. Maher just completed a stint as visiting fellow in the Hematopoeitic Stem Cell Transplant Fellowship hosted by the Seattle Cancer Center Alliance and University of Washington’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in addition to her Hematology and Medical Oncology Fellowship in the UA Division of Hematology and Oncology at the UA Department of Medicine and UA Cancer Center. She did her internal medicine residency at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson (University Campus, 2014). She earned her medical degree from the Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, Calif. (2011), and also holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in biology (2003, 2007) from the California State University, San Bernadino. Among honors, she received the Charles W. Hall Jr. and Virginia C. Hall Award for Outstanding House Officer, UA Department of Medicine (2013); First Place, Research, American College of Physicians Arizona Chapter Annual Scientific Meeting (2013); Internal Medicine Distinguished Research Award, UA College of Medicine – Tucson (2013), and Glasgow-Rubin Citation for Academic Achievement, American Medical Women’s Association (2011). She is board certified in internal medicine and holds an NMDP bone Marrow Collection Certification. And she has several publications to her name on leukemia, head and neck cancers, and stem cell transplantation.

Sarah Patel, MD — Pulmonary

Dr. Sarah PatelA former UA resident, Dr. Patel returns to Tucson from Seattle’s University of Washington School of Medicine where she just completed a one-year Sleep Medicine Fellowship. She’ll be an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine. She finished the UA Internal Medicine Residency Program at South Campus in 2016. A Phoenix native, she earned her medical degree from American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine in St. Maarten (2012) and a bachelor’s degree in general biology (cum laude) from the UA (2008). She is board-certified in internal medicine and holds additional certifications in advanced cardiopulmonary life support and basic life support (ACLS/BLS). Among honors, she was the 2016 Norma J. Peal, PhD, Excellence in Graduate Medical Education Resident Award winner for South Campus. She has several peer-review publications and abstracts to her name. She is fluent in English, Spanish and Gujarati.

Sophia Airhart, MD — Cardiology

Dr. Sophia AirhartStarting July 31 as an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology, Dr. Airhart will work closely with the new Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology Fellowship Program led by the UA Sarver Heart Center’s Jennifer Cook, MD, as well as on improving access to care at Banner – University Medical Center in Tucson. She recently completed the one-year Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Fellowship Program at Allegheny Health Hospital Network in Pittsburgh. She did her general fellowship in cardiology at the University of Washington in Seattle (2016) and her residency in internal medicine at St. Louis’ Barnes Jewish Hospital (2013), an affiliate of the Washington University School of Medicine. She earned her medical degree from Oregon Health and Science University in Portland (2010) and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry (cum laude) from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash (2004). She is board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease and adult comprehensive echocardiography, and is certified in ACLS/BLS. Among her honors, Dr. Airhart won an American Heart Association Western States Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2015 as well as was a post-doctoral fellow on a NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research (R21) Award to study systolic heart failure in 2014. Dr. Airhart also won the American College of Cardiology’s 2016 Washington Chapter Research Poster Competition as well as travel awards, scholarships and grants back to 2002. She has authored several articles and a book chapter, given a dozen presentations at academic conferences related to her research and had several accepted for peer review case presentations.

Satinder Singh, MD — Cardiology

Dr. Satinder SinghDr. Singh is among three DOM physicians who started on July 1. Most recently, he was chief fellow in the UA Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship, having graduated in June. The UA Sarver Heart Center member will now be an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology practicing at Banner – UMC South. He completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of California, Davis (2014), where he also earned his medical degree (2011). With a master’s in computer science from Stanford University (1991), he worked as a software engineer from 1989 to 2007, largely with technology startups and established companies that include Apple, Sun Microsystems, Network Appliance, Cisco Systems and Alcatel-Lucent. Dr. Singh is board-certified in internal medicine, cardiology and echocardiography. He’s fluent in English, Hindi and Punjabi, and understands Urdu. He also has several papers published focused largely on cardiovascular conditions.

Nathan R. Copeland, MD — Inpatient Medicine

Dr. Nathan CopelandAlso starting in July, Dr. Copeland comes to us from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where he was an instructor in medicine for the hospital division. A clinical assistant professor in the UA Division of Inpatient Medicine, the hospitalist earned bachelor’s degrees in aerospace and mechanical engineering (2006) before completing his medical degree (2012). He also completed his residency in internal medicine here (2015), before joining the faculty at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, a Washington University at St. Louis affiliate, where he covered inpatient clinical care for general medicine and bone marrow transplant patients, provided attending supervision of intern physicians and mentored second-year students in “Practice and Medicine.” Previously, he was a research associate for Sun Health Research Center, Sun City, Ariz. (2007-08) and UA Sarver Heart Center (2004-07) and a student researcher with the UA Space Engineering Research Center (2001-06). Dr. Copeland is board certified in internal medicine and ACLS/BLS certified as well.

Srinivasa R. Madhavan, MD, MSPH — Inpatient Medicine

Dr. Srinivasa MadhavanDr. Madhavan came to Tucson from Fargo, N.D.’s Sanford Health System to join the UA Division of Inpatient Medicine faculty in July as an assistant professor and hospitalist at Banner – University Medical Center in Tucson. He completed his medical degree studies at the N.I. Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University in Moscow, 2003, and earned a master of science in public health degree in epidemiology and biostatistics from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, 2009. Parallel to that, Dr. Madhavan was an epidemiology specialist with the Arizona Department of Health Services, conducting surveillance of hepatitis C and HIV (2008-09), surveillance epidemiologist with the Iowa Department of Health related to HIV, sexually transmitted diseases and hepatitis (2009-10), and a post-doctoral research fellow at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore (2010-12), where he devised and maintained a database of patients with arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD) and worked on related research as well as novel techniques to induce therapeutic hypothermia. His residency in internal medicine training was at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, 2012-15. As a resident, he won several scholar and travel awards to conferences and was a finalist at the American College of Physicians National Resident Research Competition twice (2014, 2015) and a winner in the basic science research category in 2015. Dr. Madhavan also was chief medical officer at the Dharma Trust GS Hospital in India (2005-06) and did a general medicine internship at the Tamil Nadu Dr. M.G.R. Medical University in Chennai, India (2004-05).

Abhijeet Kumar, MD — Hematology and Oncology

Dr. Kumar AbhijeetJoining the UA College of Medicine – Tucson faculty in June was Dr. Kumar, in the Division of Hematology and Oncology. A member of the UA Cancer Center, he was chief fellow (2016-17) in the Hematology and Medical Oncology Fellowship Program, which he began in 2014. He earned his medical degree from the Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences in Gangtok, India in 2007. Afterward, he was an intern at the Central Referral Hospital in Gangtok and Pakyong Rural Health Center in Sikkim, India, and served as a primary care physician until 2011 in Gola, Ramgarh, Jharkhand, India. He served briefly in the Inpatient Solid Tumor Service at The Johns Hopkins Hospital before doing his residency in internal medicine at St. Agnes Hospital, where he was intern of the year, 2011-12, and chief resident, 2013-14. Both hospitals are in Baltimore. Dr. Kumar is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Society of Hematology, American College of Physicians and Medical Council of India. With several research papers published, he serves on the editorial board for Gastrointestinal Cancer: Research & Therapy Journal.

Gabriel El-Kass, MD – Nephrology

Dr. Gabriel El-KassReceiving his title as a clinical professor of medicine in the UA Division of Nephrology in June, Dr. El-Kass is a nephrology interventionalist in Tucson with the Southwest Kidney Institute (SKI), which he joined in 2015 and shortly thereafter began helping to train fellows in the UA Nephrology Fellowship Program. He had relocated to Arizona from New York where he received interventional training in Brooklyn and nephrology training at New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center in Queens. He received his internal medicine residency training at Lutheran Medical Center – SUNY Downstate Affiliate in Brooklyn. He is board certified in internal medicine and geriatric medicine and is also a member of the American Society of Diagnostic and Interventional Nephrology.

Edwin Aquino, MD — Rheumatology

Dr. Edwin AquinoA member of the UA Arthritis Center, Dr. Aquino joined the UA Division of Rheumatology faculty as a clinical assistant professor of medicine in June also, after completing his rheumatology fellowship here. In 2014, he finished his internal medicine residency at the University of Nevada School of Medicine. He earned his medical degree at the Dominican Republic’s Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, from which he graduated with honors (cum laude) in 2007. Afterward in the Dominican Republic, he served as an intern with COPRESIDA, an HIV/AIDS prevention program; a medical interpreter with Operation Continuing Promise 2009, an annual humanitarian civic assistance campaign by U.S. and international military medical personnel, government agencies, NGOs and academic institutions; and a general practitioner at Centros de Salúd de San Elias Profeta.  As a fellow, Dr. Aquino was involved in several clinical trials for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, vasculitis, gout and systemic lupus erythematosus-related drug therapies. He has a particular interest in providing medical care to minorities and underserved populations, particularly Hispanics. He is a member of the National Hispanic Medical Association.

Earlier Arrivals

Dr. Sangeetha MurugapandianDr. Catherine Bree JohnstonTwo other new hires not acknowledged until now are Catherine Bree Johnston, MD (on left at right), a geriatric and palliative care specialist within the Division of Geriatrics, General Internal Medicine and Palliative Medicine, and Sangeetha Murugapandian, MBBS (far right), in the Division of Nephrology. Both joined the faculty in the spring, Dr. Murugapandian after completing a geriatrics fellowship at the University of Louisville and Dr. Johnston coming from PeaceHealth Medical System/St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham, Wash.

Other Prospects

Still scheduled to join us from now through mid-October are the following (start date | last position): Ryan McGrath, MD, Inpatient Medicine (8/15 | resident, University of Michigan Health System); Sreenath Sudheer, MD, Inpatient Medicine (9/18 | Boca Raton Regional Hospital, Fla.); Sujatha Doddi, MD, Inpatient Medicine (10/1 | Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, N.Y.); Nadia Ghallab, MD, Inpatient Medicine (10/1 | Morristown Medical Center, N.J.); and Jen Jung Pan, MD, PhD, Gastroenterology (10/15 | UT Health/McGovern Medical School, Houston, Texas).

UPDATE: Dr. Doddi above moved her start date to Aug. 1 and Dr. Ghallab will now start in her new position on Sept. 1.

"New Hospitalists Starting in Division of Inpatient Medicine Soon" | Posted May 16, 2017
"DOM Chair Offers Congratulatory 2016 Year-In-Review" | Posted Dec. 14, 2016
"Host of New Department of Medicine Hires Named, More to Come" | Posted June 9, 2016
"Banner, College of Medicine Welcome Host of New Faculty Physicians" | Posted Aug. 6, 2015

Release Date: 
08/03/2017 - 3:45pm