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Department of Surgery 2016 - 2017 Resident  Physicians

PGY-5 Chief Residents


Colleen Alexander, MD

I moved to Tennessee from Georgia where I met my husband Todd Alexander. We were married in October 2012. I chose ETSU College of Medicine for residency because of the personality of the program, the early operative experience, and the variety of hospitals. I like to horseback ride in my free time.

Undergraduate School – Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; Medical School – Emory University, Atlanta, GA 


Stephanie Hart, MD

After being raised primarily in the rural farming community of Goodland, KS, I came to East Tennessee to attend Milligan College. After graduating Milligan I decided to stay in this area. I worked for Johnson City Medical Center for several years. Later, I moved to Washington, DC, where I earned an MPH in International Health Promotion. I then came back to East Tennessee where I chose to attend medical school and residency training for the great staff and faculty, family atmosphere and excellent training with a diverse patient population. In my free time I enjoy reading, writing, and the great outdoors. I also enjoy traveling to out-of-the-way locations and remain active in my local church.

Undergraduate School – Milligan College, Johnson City, TN; Graduate School – The George Washington University, Washington, D.C.; Medical School – ETSU College of Medicine



Amy Hitchock, MD

I am originally from Vonore, Tennessee; the mountains of East Tennessee are home for me and, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful places on earth. When not at the hospital, I am most frequently jogging long distances, baking unhealthy deliciousness, or playing outdoors (hiking, camping, etc.). Haiti has a special place in my heart and given any opportunity I will be on a plane to go see my little brother and sister, Sony and Chedeline. My eventual career goal is medical missions, living long-term in another country, most likely Haiti.

Undergraduate School – Lipscomb University, Nashville, TN; Medical School – ETSU Quillen College of Medicine, Johnson City, TN



Wesley Hurston, MD

I am from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and grew up visiting the Smoky Mountains with my family. I have always loved the outdoors and when it came time to choose where I would do my residency I chose Johnson City because it provided the outdoor setting that I have grown to love. I was also looking for a positive environment residency program that would turn me into a well-trained competent general surgeon, ready to begin a successful career or make me competitive for a fellowship program. Ten years from now I hope to impact people's lives in a positive way through the avenue of surgery, be it in this country or a foreign land. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my wonderful wife, Lauren, playing sports, and following the Ole Miss Rebels Football team.

Undergraduate School - University of Mississippi, University, MS; Medical School - University of Mississippi, University, MS



James O'Neal, MD

I am a native of Louisiana. I went to MUSC in Charleston, SC, for preliminary year. I chose ETSU because of the comradery of the residents, early operative experience, and wide variety of "bread & butter" general surgery cases. I am married to Jenni O'Neal, an occupational therapist at NHC Rehab. We have twin boys. I enjoy traveling, cooking, water sports, leisure reading, and any outdoor activity.

Undergraduate School - Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA;, Medical School - Louisiana State University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA



Kristin Williams, MD

I moved to Johnson City, Tennessee, from Columbia, South Carolina, via Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I chose ETSU due to the vast surgical experiences at multiple hospitals as well as early operative experience. I have a fun-loving personality and enjoy dancing, baking, and playing piano in my free time.

Undergraduate School - Spelman College, Atlanta, GA; Medical School - Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC





PGY- 4 Residents  


Grace Gerald, MD

I grew up in Charleston, SC, and Pelham, NY. My father was a pathologist and my mother is a nurse. I chose ETSU because I knew that I would be well trained as a general surgeon and still have the opportunity to pursue a fellowship if I decide to specialize. I also knew I would enjoy living in the area because of all of the outdoor activities available in East Tennessee.

Undergraduate School – Furman University, Greeneville, SC; Medical School - Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC


Jeremy Meyer, MD

I grew up in Johnson City, and never thought I would be returning here for residency. But after my interview here I realized that ETSU was unique in many ways that really appealed to me. They have a great focus on rural, broad-based general surgery and I have a particular passion for third-world missions. I believe ETSU will be a great place to prepare for my future, whatever is in store. Outside the hospital I enjoy spending time with my family. My wife and I are active people and love spending time outdoors from hiking and mountain climbing to water- skiing and snowboarding.

Undergraduate School - Southern Adventist University, Collegedale, TN; Medical School - Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA


Daniel Prior, DO

I returned to my hometown of Johnson City to attend ETSU College of Medicine. My favorite thing about coming to ETSU is the close-knit community and friendly atmosphere. In my spare time, I love spending time with my family and friends, playing tennis and computer games.

Undergraduate School - East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN; Medical School - Edward via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Blacksburg, VA


William Pryor, MD

I'm originally from Tennessee but I went off to school in South Carolina. Growing up near Chattanooga I am very fond of East Tennessee, and so I am very excited to be back. Of course this means I am a huge fan of the Tennessee Vols. Go Big Orange! I placed ETSU at the top of my list because of their emphasis on training the broad-based general surgeon and exposure to trauma. Two important things that will one day serve me well as an Air Force surgeon. When not in the hospital, I love to find adventure in the great outdoors or stay active by going for a long run.

Undergraduate School - Furman University, Greenville, SC;  Medical School - University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia, SC


Trevy Ramos, DO

I originate from Merrillville, IN. From the crossroads of America I ventured to almost heaven, West Virginia, for Medical School. I chose ETSU and ETSU chose me. It is an institution that takes pride in providing well-rounded and well-educated surgeons. ETSU puts its students first and strives to produce technically competent surgeons through early experience in the operating room.

Undergraduate School - Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN; Graduate School - Purdue University, Indianapolis, IN; Medical School - West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine


John Vance, DO

I am a native of Western North Carolina, and happy to be such a short drive from family and friends. I am interested in rural general surgery and medical/surgical missions. I enjoy spending time with my wife and daughters when I am not taking care of patients at the hospital.

Undergraduate School - North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC; Medical School - Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, Blacksburg, VA

PGY- 3 Residents


Alisha Jefferson, MD 

I am a true Southern Belle!  I love to cook, dance, socialize, and yes, I knit.  I love this area because of all the outdoor activities and the beautiful scenery.

Undergraduate School - Johns Hopkins University, Graduate School - Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD; Medical School - Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine, Charleston, SC


Korsica Lassiter, MD 

I was born and raised in Eastern North Carolina and had the pleasure of returning home to attend medical school.  I chose surgery as my specialty early on because of the ability to physically intervene in a patient's disease course.  I enjoy the broad-based general surgery training this program provides.  In my free time, I enjoy traveling, baking, and, of course, shopping!

Undergraduate School - The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina;  Graduate School - The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, New Jersey;  Medical School - The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Greenville, MC


Melissa Taylor, MD 

I am from Dallas, Texas and have travelled far and wide for my medical education.  As A medical student I enjoyed the tropical mountainous landscape, hiking, and snorkeling on the Island of Dominica in the West Indies.  When I moved to Tennessee as a preliminary resident at UT Knoxville, I loved the lush mountainside and outdoor activities available.  ETSU is very supportive of their residents and produce well-rounded confident surgeons.  I was also impressed by how family friendly the program is.  Besides hiking, water-sports, and snowboarding, I also enjoy painting, sewing, and interior decorating.

Undergraduate School - Texas State University; Medical School - Ross University School of Medicine, Dominica, West Indies


Sarah Rollins, MD 

I grew up in South Florida as the oldest of 4 girls.  I first fell in love with surgery when my dad (an anesthesiologist) took me to the OR with him at age 10.  I chose ETSU because I likes the friendly atmosphere, broad general surgery emphasis, and the beautiful mountain scenery.  I have been very happy here so far!  In my free time, I enjoy reading, watching movies, spending time outdoors, cooking, and playing with my dogs.

Undergraduate School - Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN:  Medical School - Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, NE


Luis Serrano, MD 

I was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador.  I chose ETSU because it offers great broad-based general surgery training in a friendly atmosphere.  In my free time I enjoy sports and spending time with my wife and family.

Medical School - Universidad Internacional del Ecuador Facultad De Ciencias Medicas Y de la Salud | Quito, Ecuador


Jessica Stephens, MD

I chose ETSU because of the atmosphere of cooperatively and excellence between residents of this program.  Although I believe I will specialize, (currently I like trauma critical care) I believe having a strong foundation as a general surgeon is key to any future practice.  When I am not working I like lounging around with my 2 cats, hiking, rock climbing, swimming, and pretty much anything involving the outdoors.  I look forward to all the next 5 years will bring.

Undergraduate School - New York University; Medical School - Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, Dayton, OH

PGY- 2 Residents


Ryan Cronin, MD

I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and lived there 18 years. My family moved to South Carolina when I turned 18 and my two older brothers and younger sister still live there. I went to the University of South Carolina for undergraduate school where I met my wife, Ali. My wife and I went to medical school together and returned to her hometown of Kingsport, Tennessee for our residency training. She is in the OB/GYN program at the ETSU Quillen College of Medicine.

Undergraduate School - University of South Carolina; Medical School - Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine


Edward Gray, MD

In choosing ETSU Quillen College of Medicine, I have found both a strong residency program and a beautiful region of our country. I found that the general surgery program provides broad experience in general surgery. While I will likely pursue a fellowship and have an interest in Trauma / Critical Care, having a wide foundation is important in any surgical specialty. In my free time I enjoy mountain biking, working out, hiking, and when I am not outdoors I enjoy cooking a good meal.

Undergraduate School - University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Medical School - Ross University School of Medicine



Adrienne Griffin, MD

I spend my free time playing the ukelele and watching too much television. I came to ETSU Quillen College of Medicine because I was impressed by the residents I met during my interviews. Most of my family lives in New Mexico.

Undergraduate School - New Mexico State University; Medical School - University of New Mexico


Jeffery Johnson, MD

My wife and I were raised in Greenville, South Carolina. We found a lot of similarities in Johnson City. We are excited about coming back to ETSU as newlyweds because this is place where my wife, Sara, got her Masters in Speech Language Pathology. ETSU Quillen College of Medicine provides a great place to gain an excellent surgical experience in a variety of settings. In our free time we enjoy traveling, cooking, going to the lake, and spending time outdoors. For all these reasons ETSU Quillen College of Medicine is a great fit for us.

Undergraduate School - Clemson; Medical School - MUSC


Nandita S. Rao, MD

I grew up and went to college in eastern North Carolina, where my dad currently practices broad-based general surgery. I guess the apple does not fall far from the tree, but I was really drawn to surgery when I witnessed the great potential for making a positive impact on people's lives. ETSU Quillen College of Medicine's surgery residency program was an easy choice because of the approachable faculty, supportive colleagues, and history of graduating excellent surgeons. When I am not working, I love to travel overseas with my family. I plan to cross a few more countries off my list before I graduate!
Undergraduate School - East Carolina University; Medical School - Brody School of Medicine


Dexter Rich, MD

I wanted to stay at ETSU Quillen College of Medicine for residency after medical school because of the early operative experience and the breadth of exposure. In my free time, my wife and I enjoy playing with our two beagles and going back home to West Tennessee to visit our seven nieces and nephews.

Undergraduate School - Union University, Jackson, Tennessee; Medical School - ETSU Quillen College of Medicine


PGY- 1 Residents



Mateo Guarderas, MD

I was born and raised in Quito - Ecuador, and moved to Johnson City with my wife, Maria Clara shortly after we were married.  I chose ETSU because it offers a broad-based general surgery exposure to residents in a friendly educational environment.  I love the natural surroundings of East Tennessee and all the outdoor activities the area has to offer.  In my spare time, I enjoy playing sports, listening to music, and spending time in the outdoors. 



Jack Johnston, MD

I was raised in Greeneville, South Carolina, where my three brothers and I were always playing soccer or being active outside.  I have always enjoyed the mountains and the outdoors.  I attended Clemson University where I met my wife, Kate.  I spent my first year of general surgery as an intern in Charleston, South Carolina.  I felt that early autonomy, broad-based operative experience, and a program that serves a large population was vital to my development as a surgeon, which is what I found at ETSU.  Also, what I found was the heightened value for family at ETSU.  My wife and I enjoy attending Clemson games, hiking, traveling, and hanging out with our dog, Ruby.



Katherine Lasher, MD

I was excited to come to ETSU for my surgery residency because I was looking for a broad-based training experience with opportunities for training in a rural setting.  I enjoyed all my interactions with the residents and staff on interview day, and I loved the mountain setting of the Tri-Cities area.  My husband, Justin and I moved with our dog, Brody, into an old farmhouse outside of Jonesborough.  Currently, my free time is dominated by working on the house, but I also love cooking, reading, and crocheting.


Nishika Moradia, MD

I am from Raleigh, North Carolina.  I chose ETSU for residency because of the early operative experience and friendly atmosphere.  This program provides excellent broad-based general surgery training.  My husband is a podiatry student in Oakland, California, so I visit the bay area often.  I also enjoy spending time with my dog, Alice.


Abigail Miller, MD

Johnson City may be the best-kept secret of the southern US.  I moved here from New Orleans where I attended undergraduate and medical school at Tulane University.  I found the safety, great roads, low cost of living, and quick access to amenities like shopping centers and food to be wonderfully refreshing.  The attending here are great.  They are talented and enjoy teaching.  But, it is the residents who make this program wonderful.  They are all very technically skilled and are extremely nice people.  Everyone works as a team.  I like that almost everyone is interested in or has done some missionary work either at home or abroad.  Finally, I love this program because the attendings and administration truly care about you as a resident.  We are allowed, "Golden Weekends" without call every two weeks.  This leaves me time to play with my dachshund and ride horses.  I thank God every day that I matched at ETSU General Surgery Residency.


Mohamed Kelli Mohamed, MD

I am Kurdish and was born in Aleppo, Syria. My family moved to Germany when I was 6 years old. Then, my family immigrated to the United States about 12 years ago to pursue the "American Dream". My goal is to become an excellent well-rounded general surgeon. ETSU Quillen College of Medicine has all the necessary resources, including the case load, mentors who are eager to teach, and supportive residents to help me become a great surgeon. I was a Biology major and played D1 soccer at Wofford College. In my free time, I enjoy outdoor activities, running, and of course playing/watching soccer. While my older brother is following his dream as a Cardiology fellow at Emory University, I am continuing my journey and pursuing my passion as a surgical resident.



Tim Sahawneh, MD

I was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, where I went to medical school at the University of Alabama.  Some of the reasons I was drawn to ETSU Quillen College of Medicine was the comradery and strong connection between residents, the high volumes of cases, and international opportunities the program offers.  Whenever I have free time, I enjoy hiking, kayaking, and playing soccer.


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