John Berens: John grew up in the lovely city of Omaha, NE. He spent his college days at Rice University in Houston, TX, where he majored in both Biochemistry and Psychology and was a triple jumper on the Men's Track and Field Team. He jumped (and studied) his way across the street for medical school at Baylor College of Medicine. During medical school, John was very involved in the Med-Peds interest group as well as clinical research on the pediatric-to-adult transition for young adults with chronic child-onset conditions. This continues to be a passion and research interest for him here at CHOP/HUP. John really loves Philadelphia, especially since there are seasons, good beer, great food, and so much to do. Outside of medicine, he enjoys writing/playing music, cooking, and spending time with loved ones.
Christine Hanna: Christina grew up just outside of St. Louis, Missouri and unknowingly attended the same high school as the founder of the Penn Med-Peds program. For college, she left the Arch in St. Louis for the Washington Monument in D.C. She attended Georgetown University for both undergrad and medical school, making her a double Hoya. In college, Christina balanced her pre-med and international affairs studies with her artistic passion: performing with the university’s dance company. Between undergrad and medical school, she had a formative experience working on adolescent health issues with street youth in Egypt. She continued this work with the World Health Organization in medical school and after her third year, she decided to further this interest in global health at Johns Hopkins where she received an MPH. Outside of the health field, Christina enjoys playing tennis and jogging, pining for a puppy at the local dog park, and trying the seemingly endless amount of delicious restaurants in Philly.
Rachelle Nelson: Rachelle comes to Philadelphia from Upstate New York were she has spent most of her life. Her initial career interest was in the visual arts but happened upon EMS, which drew her into the world of medicine. She earned a BA in biology at SUNY Geneseo (best pizza ever) and completed medical school at SUNY Upstate. In medical school she developed a program that allowed medical students to connect patients in need with health resources within the community. Her current interests involve primary care, working with the underserved and palliative care. In her free time, she invents new ways to get diapers on her squirrelly toddler who does his best to remain diaper-free and discusses the upcoming zombie apocalypse with her nerdy husband (ad nauseum). Rachelle’s favorite things include eating out in Philadelphia, hazelnut coffee and her med/peds co-interns, all of which go together very nicely.
Emily Watkins: Emily grew up in Pittsburgh, but the call of manifest destiny drew her westwards: first to the University of Chicago (where she majored in biology, but also ran the world's largest scavenger hunt) and then to medical school at UCSF. There, she developed enduring passions for medical education and for the constant pursuit of free food, both of which she attempted to pass on to her fellow students through her work as a near-peer teacher and mentor. Emily could not be more delighted to return for her Med-Peds training to a land of seasons, rivers, and celebrated regional sandwiches. She spends her time outside of the hospital concocting elaborate meals, embarking upon potentially ill-advised bike adventures, and puttering around in libraries. Although she has visited 49 states, Emily has never been to a Cracker Barrel.
Alexander Lankowski: Alex grew up in coastal Maine and later ventured to the far off land of New Hampshire to complete his undergraduate education at Dartmouth. After tiring of long cold winters, he decided to try his luck in the more tropical climes of Boston. There he spent several years doing translational infectious disease research and completed his medical education at Boston University. During medical school, he took time off to live in southwest Uganda, researching biologic and structural determinants of HIV treatment outcomes, as well as competing in rugby tournaments and hiking (extinct) volcanoes. He envisions a career that combines clinical medicine, advocacy, and research aimed at addressing health disparities. Outside of medicine, he enjoys cooking, playing sports, and learning about different cultures.
Steven McKee: Steven was born and reared in "The Natural State" - Arkansas. He began sailing at 3 years of age, water skiing at 5, and continues to love all things outdoors. He completed undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Arkansas, Go Hogs! Throughout college he lived briefly in Northern Spain and Costa Rica and spent time practicing both Spanish and surfing. During medical school, Steven traveled to Kenya to assist with a U.S. Center for Disease Control vaccine study. This experience stoked an already growing interest in global and underprivileged medicine. While in Africa he spent 7 days climbing Mnt. Kilimanjaro. Steven is now far from the comforts of home (and the South) yet he adores Philadelphia. In his free time he enjoys cycling and running the river trail, surfing in Jersey, and playing soccer and softball with the CHOP teams.
Laura Robinson: Laura grew up in Zionsville, IN, but headed south to complete her education. After studying cultural anthropology at Duke, she spent a year doing hunger advocacy in New York with Americorps. She then returned to North Carolina and crossed enemy lines to start medical school at UNC. While there, she did research on social supports for adolescents with chronic illness and was drawn to Med-Peds residency from an interest in transitions for patients with complex chronic conditions. Additional career interests include palliative care and health disparities. In her spare time, Laura enjoys reading, dance, and cooking and is enjoying life in the charming though not-so-well-known Devil’s Pocket neighborhood of Philadelphia.
Stephanie Smith: Stephanie (Steph) was born and raised in the Golden State of Cali in a suburb (aka Farm Town) somewhat close to San Francisco. She made the trek out east for college and earned her BS and MPH from Yale. After school, she decided to try out the big apple and worked at Sloan-Kettering doing clinical research in childhood cancer survivorship. That sparked her passion for medicine, so she made the trek back west and earned her MD in the land of palms at Stanford Medical School. After med school, Stephanie decided to become bi-coastal once again for her residency in med-peds to pursue her eventual career goal of pediatric oncology, cancer survivorship, and long-term follow-up care. In her free time, Steph enjoys running along the Schuylkill River (and in Central Park), taking the Amtrak to visit her husband in NYC (4 months married!), juggling, concocting tasty vegetarian meals, and eating virtually anything involving kale.
Ryan Close: Ryan's life began in Germany, before finding his way stateside. All recent schooling has been in New York City, where he majored in philosophy at NYU before completing his MD / MPH at Columbia. He has a passion for infectious disease research and travel, having combined the two in Vietnam, Ethiopia, and Swaziland. In 2011, Ryan co-hosted the Northeast Regional Med-Peds Conference in New York City. He frequents the Schukylkill River running trail and his favorite race is the half-marathon. But more important than any of the above, is Ryan's deep love for his friends, family...and dogs.
Alana Feiler: Alana was born in Ridgewood, New Jersey. She attended Yale University where she majored in Cognitive Science and then went on to receive an MPhil in History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge University in England. She enrolled in a post-bac and subsequently in medical school at Penn. She completed an internship at Penn Family Medicine before joining the Penn Med-Peds program. Her career interests include adolescent medicine and transition of care for young adults with chronic illness. She also has strong interests in general pediatric and adult medicine and medical education. She played rugby in college, and enjoys soccer, basketball, cycling, and acoustic guitar.
Andrea Maxwell: Andrea was born in Neenah, Wisconsin. She attended Harvard College where she majored in biomedical engineering, then enrolled at the University of Michigan Medical School, where she took a year off to return to Harvard for MPH training. Andrea has researched transitions of care for complex adolescents, and written on post-traumatic stress disorder. She enjoys outdoor activities and travelling, and attends opera and theater performances.
Michael Rey: Michael was born in Englewood, New Jersey, and attended college at Harvard, where he majored in history and literature and wrote his thesis on the famous physician-writer William Carlos Williams. At some point in there, he spent a summer in the Pacific northwest and wrote a travel guide to the region. He completed a post-bac and subsequently enrolled in medical school here at Penn, where he did research in medical ethics for several years. Michael welcomed his first child, a daughter, in 2011, and he enjoys cooking and long-distance running.
Kea Gilbert: Kea attended Stanford University as an undergrad, where she majored in Human Biology and Italian, and received special honors in Procrastination Arts. From 2005 to 2007, Kea launched the Boston chapter of Peer Health Exchange, a nonprofit that trains college students to teach a comprehensive health curriculum in public high schools, and eureka (!), her love of working with adolescents was born. She enrolled at Penn for medical school in 2007, where she participated in a Gold Foundation service fellowship in Cambodia in HIV/AIDS care for orphans and vulnerable children, and conducted her scholarly pursuit on improving medical education around transgender health. Her career interests continue to include adolescent medicine and transgender health, with the new additions of medical education, integrative medicine, and palliation. Her personal interests include running, skiing, overambitious home art projects, vegetable gardening, and oggling the wild beauty of the American west as often as she can travel to the national parks. It is unknown whether or not she used Italian to teach transgender Cambodian adolescents how to raise delectable vegetables.
Moonjoo Han: Moonjoo attended Williams college, kicking butt and taking names as the captain of both the field hockey and lacrosse teams, and graduating in 2003 with a degree in biology, to become a… life insurance underwriter! After two years of this, she left for bigger & better things, enrolling in the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – New Jersey Medical School in 2007. During medical school, Moonjoo participated in oncology-related research, and was the founding vice-president of the med- peds interest group. Recently she has coached field hockey and lacrosse, and enjoys surfing and running.
Jonathan Ludmir: Jona was raised in distant Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, thousands of feet away from Philadelphia, before majoring in history at the University of Pennsylvania for his undergraduate work. Apparently ensnared by Philadelphia’s wily charms, Jona enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 2006. Finally embracing his rebellious side, Jona has found an interest in global medicine, travelling to Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Argentina, and ultimately (for a year-off research project) Botswana. He enjoys playing piano and eating sushi, hopefully at the same time.
Adam Small: Adam is also threatening to become a certified “lifer,” having completed undergraduate (major in psychology), post-graduate (remediating the psychology for pre-med training), and medical school studies all at the prestigious University of Pennsylvania. During medical school, he worked in a Guatemalan day-care center while taking Spanish language courses, and successfully completed the Philadelphia marathon, which is about 25.9 miles further than either of the program directors can run without dropping out most of their left ventricles. In his spare time, Adam is a published creative writer, and his career interest is in children and adults with congenital heart disease.