Progress Notes


Trent W. Nichols, ’69 MD, ’76, ’78 GME, has a chapter on photobiomodulation and neurofeedback in Alzheimer’s dementia in a book edited by Michael Hamblin, PhD, called “Photobiomodulation in the Brain,” scheduled to publish in 2019. The chapter is based on clinical trials Nichols’ group is conducting at Baylor Scott White Clinic in Temple Texas with Jason Huang, MD. They have demonstrated improvement in clock drawing, Mini Mental State Exam and memory after 28 consecutive days of BID therapy with near-infrared LED light in a placebo-controlled study with eight patients compared to four controls. This chapter complements “Pilot Placebo Controlled Trial of Near Infrared Light Helmet in Dementia Patients testing Memory and Cognition,” an article published in the Journal of Neurology and Neuroscience.

We’d love to hear from you! Please share your recent news, accomplishments and important milestones with us. 


Submit your updates and high-resolution photos to the linked form here. We will publish them in an upcoming issue of the magazine.

Nichols is scientific advisor at QuietMIND Foundation and chief marketing officer at Lumineu, Inc.

Bruce F. Scharschmidt ’70 MD
John Daugirdas, ’73 MD


Bruce F. Scharschmidt ’70 MD, was the 2018 recipient of the prestigious Service to Northwestern Award. The award is presented annually by the Northwestern Alumni Association in recognition of leadership and service excellence to an alumni group, school or unit, or other University associated program. As Medical Alumni Association (MAA) president, Scharschmidt reorganized and revitalized the MAA National Board. He currently sits on the Board’s executive committee, sponsors medical students to attend Northwestern football games, and helps lead mentoring and entrepreneurship initiatives. Scharschmidt is an independent director, co-founder and consultant to biotechnology companies.

John Daugirdas, 73 MD, received the Belding H. Scribner Award on October 27, 2018, for his career-long contributions to the practice of nephrology. He has spent many years investigating how best to use various forms of dialysis to treat patients who have chronic kidney disease, focusing on two critical areas: dialysis adequacy and dialysis hypotension.

Daugirdas is clinical professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, American Journal of Chronic Kidney Disease, American Journal of Nephrology and Nephron Clinical Practice.

Janet Woodcock, ’77 MD, has been appointed by the United States Government Accountability Office to the governing board of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Read more about Woodcock here.


David Aizuss, ’80 MD, was inaugurated as president of the California Medical Association (CMA) on October 13, 2018. He will serve as the chief spokesperson for the CMA over the next year.  Aizuss is also serving on the American Medical Association Council on Legislation. He continues to be the managing partner of Ophthalmology Associates of the Valley, a multispecialty ophthalmology group in Encino and West Hills, California, and is an assistant clinical professor of Ophthalmology at the UCLA Geffen School of Medicine and Jules Stein Eye Institute in Los Angeles.

Michael Levy, ’83 MD, ’87 GME, was appointed chief medical advisor for Stryker’s Physio-Control and Emergency Medical Services business. Levy is the medical director for the Anchorage Fire Department, the Alaska Section of Rural and Community Health, as well as a number of other agencies.

David Aizuss, ’80 MD
Michael Levy, ’83 MD, ’87 GME
Sheridan Lam, ’84 MD
Sheridan Lam, ’84 MD, an ophthalmologist, recently published an essay in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) titled “Blinded by Sight,” on a unique experience he encountered in restoring the sight of one of his patients. Lam’s full JAMA article can be found here.

Lam has also recently been named chartered financial analyst (CFA) charter holder. To earn the highly coveted CFA charter, a series of three exams administered by the CFA Institute must be passed. Lam’s lifelong interest in finance and economics has culminated to this tremendous achievement.

Kenneth W. Merkitch, ’84 MD, ’88 GME, a member of Feinberg’s Medical Alumni Association National Board, received the Dean’s Teaching Award at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health for his work over the past ten years as the clerkship director for the Obstetrics and Gynecology Clerkship at Gundersen Medical Center in La Crosse. Merkitch not only gives the majority of the didactic lectures there, but also runs sessions in the Integrated Center for Education where he teaches students how to manage postpartum hemorrhage and shoulder dystocia, repair fascial incisions and pelvic lacerations, and drain Bartholin Gland cysts.

Greg Kalemkerian, ’85 MD, ’88 GME, received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago in June 2018. Kalemkerian is a professor of Medicine and Associate Division Chief for Faculty Development and Education in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Michigan. He lives in Ann Arbor with his wife, Mary Varterasian, MD, ’90 GME, and two sons who graduated from high school this year.

Gabriel M. Kind, ’86 MD, ’94 GME, was appointed to the American Board of Plastic Surgery Advisory Council and has been nominated to be a director of the board.

Melanie M. Novak, ’86 MD, ’90 GME, has joined Jagannathan Neurosurgery, a neurosurgery, neurology and pain practice that has five offices throughout Michigan. Previously, Novak was with PCA Pain Care Center in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Elizabeth Springer, ’86 MD, ’90 GME, and her team will join Pinnacle Dermatology as Pinnacle acquires Duneland Dermatology.

Kenneth W. Merkitch, ’84 MD, ’88 GME
Greg Kalemkerian, ’85 MD, ’88 GME
Alan S. Krasner ’87 MD, was appointed chief medical officer of Crinetics Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on developing therapeutics for endocrine diseases. Krasner was previously a senior medical director at Shire Pharmaceuticals.

Karen Judy, ’88 MD, ’91 GME, worked as an internist for Centegra Health System in McHenry County for over 15 years. On September 1, 2018, she joined the Northwestern Medicine family, specializing in pediatrics. Judy recently celebrated her 30th reunion from Feinberg. “It feels like I’ve come full circle. It feels like coming home,” she writes.

Gabriel M. Kind, ’86 MD, ’94 GME
Elizabeth Springer, ’86 MD, ’90 GME
Alan S. Krasner ’87 MD
“It feels like I’ve come full circle. It feels like coming home.”

—Karen Judy, ’88 MD, ’91 GME


William Small, Jr., ’90 MD, ’91, ’94 GME, was named medical director of Loyola Medicine’s Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center in July 2018. Small joined Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine in July 2013, where he also serves as chair and professor of Radiation Oncology.

Joseph Shega, ’96 MD, was named senior vice president and chief medical officer for VITAS Healthcare, a national provider of end-of-life care. Shega is responsible for overseeing and leading the medical direction for all VITAS locations in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Board-certified in geriatric medicine and hospice and palliative medicine, he brings 20 years of relevant clinical experience. Shega currently resides in Gotha, Florida.

Chuck Peterson, ’98 MD, welcomed his son Josh to the Feinberg family during Founders’ Day this August. Josh will be the third generation of Petersons to graduate from Northwestern.

A sports medicine specialist currently living in Mesa, Arizona, Peterson is the team physician for the Arizona Diamondbacks and the local high school. He is also a medical consultant for the Arizona Cardinals, the U.S. Ski Team and the Chicago Cubs during their annual spring training in Arizona. Peterson has traveled to Haiti many times to provide medical care and training, including days after the 2010 earthquake. He and his wife Gayla have five children.

Ashley Green Dorin, ’06 MD, was among those named in the 2018 “40 Under Forty” list by The Hartford Business Journal for her work as medical director of The Village for Families and Children.

Chuck Peterson, ’98 MD (left), and Stephen Gryzlo, MD, ’90 GME (right), pose with their sons Josh and Dan, both members of Feinberg’s Class of 2022, at Founders’ Day in August. Peterson is a medical consultant for the Chicago Cubs during their annual spring training in Arizona, and Gryzlo is the team’s head orthopaedic surgeon in Chicago.


Neil Schwartz, ’00 MD, PhD, is currently a clinical professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery (by courtesy) at Stanford University. He serves as vice chair of Education for the Department of Neurology & Neurological Sciences, program director for the Neurology Residency Program, and medical director for the inpatient neurology ward. As a vascular neurologist, he works at the Stanford Stroke Center, where he has recently launched the Young Stroke Program, a clinical, research and educational effort focused on stroke in young adults, ages 16-49.

Schwartz and his wife, Ruth Lin, ’96 MD, a medical geneticist in San Francisco, have two wily teenagers. Please contact Neil if you know of any promising students or residents who are interesting in the clinical neurosciences at Stanford.

Natasha S. Deckmann, ’03 MD, ’03 MBA,was recently appointed as chief executive officer of CarePoint Health of New Jersey. Deckmann previously held leadership positions at Optum Health, a health services and innovation company.

Ryan Halpin, ’04 MD, ’11 GME, joined the Department of Neurological Surgery at Mason General Hospital and Family of Clinics in Shelton, Washington.

Brian Helfand, ’04 PhD, ’05 MD, ’06, ’11, ’12 GME, was named Ronald L. Chez Family and Richard Melman Family Chair of Prostate Cancer by NorthShore University HealthSystem. Helfand, division chief of Urology at NorthShore and director of the John and Carol Walter Center for Urological Health, is also a clinical associate professor at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

Neil Schwartz, ’00 MD, PhD

Natasha S. Deckmann, ’03 MD, ’03 MBA
Ryan Halpin, ’04 MD, ’11 GME
Brian Helfand, ’04 PhD, ’05 MD, ’06, ’11, ’12 GME
Maulik Majmudar, ’04 MD, has been hired by Amazon, as it broadens its involvement in the healthcare industry. Majmudar, a cardiologist, has been working as an associate director of the Healthcare Transformation Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital, a lecturer at MIT, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and a medical adviser at Biofourmis.

Ashley Green Dorin, ’06 MD, was among those named in the 2018 “40 Under Forty” list of Hartford leaders by the Hartford Business Journal for her work as medical director of The Village for Families and Children, a nonprofit behavioral health agency for children, families and adults in the Greater Hartford region.

Eric A. Secemsky, ’09 MD, joined the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CardioVascular Institute as director of Vascular Intervention. He is also the newest investigator at the Smith Center for Outcomes Research in Cardiology.

“There is an incredible amount of opportunity to bring into practice existing technology and digital tools that actually improve the experience and health of patients.”

—Maulik Majmudar, ’04 MD, in a STAT news article about his new job at Amazon


William Weber, ’17 MPH, ’17 MD, was selected to be a scholar in the MERITS program in medical education. He has published in multiple peer-reviewed journals and was recently selected to serve on the public health committee for the American College of Emergency Physicians. Weber was recently engaged to his girlfriend, Molly Crane, who will be attending Northwestern Law in the fall of 2019.
Maulik Majmudar, ’04 MD
Eric A. Secemsky, ’09 MD
William Weber, ’17 MPH, ’17 MD


Harold L. Paz, MD, GME ‘85, was among those named in the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives and Leaders of 2018 by Modern Healthcare. Paz is executive vice president and chief medical officer of Aetna and is adjunct professor of Internal Medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine. He is the former senior vice president for Health Affairs and dean of the College of Medicine at the Pennsylvania State University and CEO of the Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Health System. Previously he was dean of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Stephen Bartlett, MD, ’86 GME, a transplant and vascular surgeon, was recently named executive vice president and chief medical officer of the University of Maryland Medical System.

Geraldine Fox, MD, ’86 GME, was named chair of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford. Fox will continue to serve as associate dean for Wellness and Resilience for all of the University of Illinois College of Medicine campuses.

Joanne C. Smith, MD, ’92 GME, was featured in an article titled “The Most Powerful Women in Chicago Business” in Crain’s Chicago Business. Smith is the chief executive officer of the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, formerly the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Read the full profile on Dr. Smith

Stephen Bartlett, MD, ’86 GME

Geraldine Fox, MD, ’86 GME
Joanne C. Smith, MD, ’92 GME
R. Lawrence Moss, MD, ’94 GME
Lawrence Moss, MD, ’94 GME, was named president and chief executive officer of Nemours Children’s Health System, which owns and operates two children’s hospitals. Moss previously served as surgeon-in-chief at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Larry O. Sy, MD, ’94 GME, has joined Mercyhealth Roscoe, an urgent care center in Roscoe, Illinois. Sy is an internal medicine physician.

Rajani Katta, MD, ’98 GME, recently released her seventh book, “Glow: The Dermatologist’s Guide to a Whole Foods Younger Skin Diet.” Her advice on skin care and diet has been featured in multiple media outlets, including O, The Oprah Magazine, Self, Dr. Oz The Good Life and others.

The book received a five-star rating from the San Francisco Book Review, while Kirkus Reviews described it as “accessible, evidence-based advice for those who want radiant skin.”

Katta serves on the voluntary clinical faculty of both the Baylor College of Medicine and the McGovern Medical School, University of Texas Houston, and is a member of the Media Expert Team of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Rajani Katta, MD, ’98 GME
Hector Cajigas, MD, ’03 GME, will join the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, as an associate consultant in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. Cajigas previously held an appointment at Northwestern University as associate professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care for three years.

Daniel Sipple, DO, ’07 GME, is cofounder of InSitu Biologics, a new biotech company that is developing a non-opioid painkiller called AnestaGel. AnestaGel is in the pre-clinical stage and has some very promising results, offering a potential solution to ending the opioid epidemic.

Alisha White, MD, ’08 GME, was profiled in The Telegraph, a newspaper in Alton, Illinois.  White, a general practitioner, has opened her own practice in Glen Carbon, Illinois, called Transformative Healthcare. Read the full article here.

Shanti P. Ganesh, MD, MPH, MS ’10 GME, and Danielle L. Zelnik, MD ’10 GME, published their first book: “Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Review Questions.”

Melinda G. Abernethy, MD, ’14 GME, joined the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker, MD, School of Medicine in Kalamazoo, Michigan, as an associate professor specializing in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery. Previously, Abernethy was an assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Blair Golden, MD, ’18 GME, currently the chief resident in internal medicine at the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University, received the Barker-Kern General Internal Medicine Housestaff Research Award from Johns Hopkins Medicine. The award is based on her abstract entitled “Learning to be a doctor: Medical students’ perception of their roles in longitudinal outpatient clerkships.” The research was published in Patient Education and Counseling as an invited manuscript for the special issue recognizing excellence at the International Conference in Communication in Healthcare.

Larry O. Sy, MD, ’94 GME
Hector Cajigas, MD, ’03 GME
Alisha White, MD, ’08 GME