Class Notes

Fall 2019


After a rewarding tenure as a kidney transplant surgeon, Nicholas Feduska (MD ’67) has been pursuing a career in residential real estate. As “the one who takes house calls but doesn’t make house calls,” Feduska treats his clients “as precisely,” he says, “as I used to treat a patient.” Feduska’s alumni legacy lives on at Falk Library: In 1963, when Falk used to close at 7:30 p.m., Feduska—who “lived” in the library—circulated petitions to extend Falk’s hours first to 10 p.m. and later to midnight, where they remain today, five nights a week. Why the change? “So many students were hungry for knowledge,” he says. 



Jennifer Campbell (MD ’80) serves as councilmember for San Diego’s District 2. She’s the city’s “Doctor on Call to Fix City Hall,” shaping codes, laws, and national resolutions on behalf of her constituents. Campbell practiced and taught integrative medicine before joining public office—after “37 years in medicine, I felt this calling,” she says. She decided to run in 2018 against an incumbent for her seat; she won with a 16 percent margin. “No physician had ever been on the city council,” she says. “I bring a whole new way of looking at things as a differential diagnostician.”
Ismene Petrakis (MD ’87) is a professor of psychiatry at Yale University, where she directs their addiction psychiatry residency; she is also the chief of Mental Health at Veterans Affairs Connecticut Healthcare System. Petrakis’s research focuses on the opioid epidemic. As coprincipal investigator on a new VA Cooperative Study, she’ll be researching the effectiveness of two formulations of buprenorphine in treating opioid addiction among veterans. The $40 million study—which “plans to recruit 900 subjects over 20 sites,” says Petrakis—aims to increase treatment retention and prevent relapse in those struggling to recover from opioid disorder.
According to Neal Kohatsu (MD ’82), “We need to think of health in the context of both one-on-one care and care of populations.” He’s a consultant in population health and preventive medicine and a volunteer clinical faculty member in the University of California, Davis Department of Family and Community Medicine. He recently directed a major smoking-cessation research program for Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program, and helped to implement a quality strategy for the California Department of Health Care Services. 


On July 1, Aviva Abosch (Neurobiology PhD ’91, MD ’93) became the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Nancy A. Keegan and Donald R. Voelte Jr. Chair in Neurosurgery. There have not been many women chairs of American neurosurgery departments. “I was fascinated as an undergrad,” says Abosch, “by issues of consciousness—what distinguishes us from other parts of the animal kingdom? What’s different about our brains?” Her current research on neuromodulation—a treatment she often uses for patients with epilepsy, movement disorders, and severe obsessive-compulsive disorder—contributes an ever-evolving response to this question. 




Benedict Nwomeh (Pediatric Surgery Fellow ’03) is a professor of surgery and pediatrics at Ohio State University (OSU) and the vice chair for the global surgery program at OSU’s Wexner Medical Center. “The most important part of my work is figuring out what illness prevents a child from achieving their full potential, and using my surgical skills to fix the problem,” he says. Nwomeh directs the pediatric surgery fellowship at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He also helps train doctors to increase surgical capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa: “As a native African,” says Nwomeh, “a major passion of mine is giving back to the continent of my birth.”
Michael Gimbel (General Surgery Resident ’03) is an assistant professor of plastic surgery at Pitt. His clinical practice focuses on reconstructive surgery, often for post-treatment cancer patients, “reconstructing many of the otherwise devastating defects that result from cancer removal,” he says. This July, he transitioned his practice solely to UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital, where he serves as chief of plastic surgery and educates medical trainees. 
“I find teaching surgery to be hard, much harder than surgery itself,” says Gimbel. “But it is extremely gratifying.” He was recognized with the Plastic Surgery Teacher of the Year Award in 2013. 


Mari Mori (Biomedical Informatics MS ’12) is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Ohio State University and a clinical and biochemical geneticist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital—roles begun this year that mark “a big change in my career,” she says. The MD treats both adults and children for inborn errors of metabolism, a grouping of rare genetic disorders in which a patient cannot convert food into energy. For her ongoing research on Pompe disease, the Pfizer/AGCM Foundation awarded Mori its Clinical Genetics Combined Residency for Translational Genomic Scholars Fellowship Award in 2015. 
In July, Jocelyn Fitzgerald (MD ’13) begins her final year of fellowship in urogynecology at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. “I feel so strongly,” she says, “about the ever-changing nature of women’s bodies, and understanding their health care journey throughout the life span.” The Physician Scientist Training Program alumna is also committed to outreach, serving as a member of the social media committees for the American Urogynecologic Society, Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, and the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons. Last year, she also traveled to Rwanda to treat women suffering from obstetric fistulas and to train local surgeons and physicians on obstetric care and treatment.   

More alumni news stories from our Fall 2019 issue >