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Progress Notes


Stanley J. Dudrick, MD’61, GME’67, was recognized as a Pinnacle Life Member by Continental Who's Who for his contributions to medicine. Dudrick is a general surgeon and professor of Surgery at the Commonwealth Medical College with close to 50 years of experience. Dudrick is the founding medical director at Misericordia Hospital Medical Center, and is a professor of Surgery at Yale University.

Stanley B. Prusiner, BA’64, MD’68, HON’98, was appointed chair of the scientific advisory board at Alzheon, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing new medicines for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological and psychiatric disorders. Prusiner received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1997 and the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 1994 for his pioneering work discovering prions.


Barry J. Gertz, BA’73, MD’79, PhD’79, GME’82, was promoted to partner at Clarus, a leading life science investment firm. He joined as a venture partner in 2014 from Merck, where he was senior vice president of global clinical development, overseeing all aspects of Merck's clinical research.  He has 28 years of experience in drug development, from exploratory clinical pharmacology to global Phase 3 trials.


Alan F. List, MD’80, was invested as civilian aide to the secretary of the Army, representing Florida, to promote good relations between the Army and the public and advising the secretary about regional issues. He most recently served as president and chief executive officer of Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla.

Frederick S. Kaplan, MD, GME’81, is a 2017 recipient of the Perelman School of Medicine Distinguished Graduate award. The Isaac and Rose Nassau Professor of Orthopaedic Molecular Medicine and chief of Molecular Orthopaedic Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine, Kaplan was recognized for his devotion to the disease fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP), a rare and disabling condition in which the body forms a second skeleton of heterotopic bone. His work since first encountering a patient with FOP in the 1980s led to the discovery of the FOP gene, the fundamental target for all therapeutic efforts for this condition. Along with his colleague Eileen M. Shore, PhD, Kaplan co-directs the Penn Center for Research in FOP and Related Disorders—the only center in the world devoted entirely to this work—and has organized the medical and scientific communities worldwide on this rare condition.

Sherman A. Williams, MD’81, joined Franciscan Physician Network Specialty Clinic’s Lafayette, Ind. office as a gastroenterologist. He is a member of the American Gastroenterology Association, the American College of Physicians, and the American College of Gastroenterology.

Richard S. Levy, MD’83, GME’86, was appointed to the Board of Directors of Aquinox Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company discovering and developing targeted therapeutics in disease areas of inflammation and immuno-oncology. He was previously executive vice president, chief drug development and medical officer at Incyte Corporation.

Gregg Semenza, MD’84, PhD’84, was awarded the 2016 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for the “discovery of essential pathways by which human and animal cells sense and adapt to the presence of oxygen.” Semenza is a professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Richard Eric Besser, MD’86, was named president and chief executive for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, of Princeton, N.J., which is the nation’s largest charitable foundation devoted exclusively to health and health care. He was most recently the chief health and medical editor at ABC News.

James F.X. Kenealy, MD’86, is the 2017 recipient of the Massachusetts Medical Society’s Special Award for Excellence in Medical Service, recognizing a physician who has made a distinguished demonstration of compassion and dedication to the medical needs of his or her patients and the general public. A member of the Massachusetts Medical Society since 1991, Kenealy is currently a member of the MMS House of Delegates, the Executive Committee of the Organized Medical Staff Section, and Executive Committee of the Middlesex West District Medical Society. He is also a delegate to Organized Medical Staff Section of the American Medical Association.

Suspenseful Storytelling with a Scalpel

By Rob Press

Talk to J. Kellogg “Kelly” Parsons, MD’97, MHS, long enough, and you’ll find yourself asking a question he apparently hears quite often: With all of the time and dedication it takes to be a surgeon and professor, how can you find the time to write novels?

The answer, as he tells it, isn’t very complicated: “If you have the love and determination for it, you just have to do it,” he said. “I write whenever I can: vacations, early in the morning, late at night, weekends. I walk everywhere with my laptop, and if I have any kind of down time, I’m turning things over in my head and writing them down.”

Parsons remembers writing stories as early as grade school. He kept writing creatively all the way through high school, eventually putting it on the back burner in college—where he majored in history and made the decision to go into medicine.

His return to writing started with informal notes in a journal to help process the physical and emotional pressures of being a surgery intern at a large, inner-city teaching hospital. Through his residency and fellowship, it evolved into the beginnings of a book.

Parsons has now published two novels, both medical thrillers. The second, Under the Knife, was released in early February. (Read more about the first novel, Doing Harm, in Penn Medicine, Summer 2015.)

Parsons noted his experience as both a surgeon and a professor of Urology at the Moores UC San Diego Cancer Center lends itself to telling stories that are medically detailed but still relatable. Translating difficult topics into coherent, easy-to-follow narratives for patients or medical students is just part of his day-to-day, so doing it for a wider audience through his novels is almost second nature.

Still, in part, the value he finds in writing is that it offers a break.

“After I’ve practiced medicine all day long, by the end of the day I’m exhausted and simply can’t think about medicine at all,” Parsons said. “But I’ve found that if I switch off the medical part of my brain for a while, and spend some time flexing and working the creative writing part of my brain, I can then return with new vigor to the medicine. The medical and writing components are complementary: Each helps the other stay refreshed.”

Read more on the Penn Medicine News Blog.


Allison G. Blunt, MD’90, was appointed as vice president of medical at Advaxis, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing cancer immunotherapies. He joins Advaxis from Covance where he was executive medical director for oncology.

James A. Comes, MD’90, has been appointed vice chairman of Emergency Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), chief of Emergency Medicine at UCSF Fresno, and the Gene W. Kallsen Endowed Chair in Emergency Medicine at UCSF Fresno. He will continue to serve as head of the Emergency Department at Community Regional Medical Center and holds an academic appointment as UCSF Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at UCSF Fresno.

David B. Agus, MD’91, joined Tempus, a technology company focused on helping doctors personalize cancer care, as chairman of the company’s Scientific Advisory Board. He is currently a professor of Medicine and Engineering at the University of Southern California, where he leads USC’s Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine.

Orville Dyce, MD’96, GME’02, opened a new location with Black Creek Medical Consultants in Hartsville, S.C. For more than 12 years, Dyce has been treating patients in Darlington, Chesterfield, and Kershaw counties with privileges at both Carolina Pines Hospital and McLeod Health Cheraw. He is board certified in otolaryngology and sleep medicine.


Oliver Mayorga, MD’02, has been named the chief medical officer for L+M Healthcare, which includes Lawrence + Memorial Hospital and Westerly Hospital. Mayorga is an Air Force veteran who served in Iraq, and in Biloxi, Miss., helping to restore medical services after Hurricane Katrina. He most recently served as chairman of Emergency Medicine at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, Westerly Hospital, and Pequot Health Center.

Marcela V. Maus, PhD’03, MD’05, GME’08, has been appointed to the Clinical Advisory Board of Cellectis, a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing immunotherapies based on gene edited CAR T-cells. She serves as director of Cellular Immunotherapy at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.

Joneigh N. Khaldun, MD’06, MPH, has been appointed as executive director and health officer of the Detroit Health Department. Khaldun is a board-certified practicing emergency physician who served as the medical director of the Detroit Health Department since July of 2016. In her new role, Khaldun will lead the city’s efforts to decrease the infant mortality rate and improve maternal health outcomes. Prior to returning to Detroit, Khaldun was the chief medical officer and assistant commissioner for clinical services for the Baltimore City Health Department.


Jane I. Bernstein, MD’10, has joined the Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, the leading community oncology/hematology practice in the state. Bernstein completed her anatomic pathology/clinical pathology residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Conn, where she also served as chief resident in the program. Following her residency, Bernstein remained at Yale-New Haven Hospital for her fellowship in cytopathology.

David Fajgenbaum, MD’13, MBA’15, is the 2017 recipient of the Young Alumni Service Award in recognition of demonstrated leadership at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Fajgenbaum is a research assistant professor of Medicine in Translational Medicine and Human Genetics and the associate director of patient impact for the Penn Orphan Disease Center. He is the co-founder of the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network (CDCN), as well as a patient battling this rare and deadly disease. Despite life-threatening relapses, Fajgenbaum has built the CDCN into a model for international collaboration, and he has published research that has changed the way Castleman disease is studied and treated. He is principal investigator of several clinical and translational research studies into its etiology and pathogenesis.

Loren K. Robinson, MD, MSHP’15, has joined the Board of Trustees of Spelman College, the school’s youngest ever alumna trustee. Robinson works as deputy secretary of health promotion and disease prevention for the state of Pennsylvania. She is the recipient of more than 30 awards, including the National Minority Quality Forum’s 40 under 40 Leaders in Minority Health and the National Medical Association’s Rising Star Award.

Her Health and Leg “Born Again,” Grateful Patient Gives Lasting Tribute

A catastrophic car accident more than five years ago propelled Nancy Donnelly on a medical odyssey that she could have never imagined. Her husband, Brian, sustained a lower leg injury, while Nancy suffered multiple broken bones, including ribs and her nose, and a collapsed lung. She was told she might lose her right leg. After initial treatment in western Pennsylvania, the couple was medevacked to the University of Pennsylvania. Nancy could not have been more thankful.

“The Penn Medicine trauma team was truly outstanding. From the surgeons, nurses, and all of the staff, I felt like I couldn’t be in better hands,” she said.

Led by Penn Medicine physicians L. Scott Levin, MD, and Samir Mehta, MD, Nancy’s surgical team performed 25 operations and saved her leg above the knee. She spent six weeks at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, which, coincidentally, was where she was born. “I feel like I’ve come full circle here, and experienced the ‘rebirth’ of my leg,” she said.

Planned giving is often described as the final piece of a philanthropic puzzle. Figuring out how this important puzzle piece can work best for you, your family, and your philanthropic goals is what we do best. Speak with us to learn more about giving options. Contact Christine S. Ewan, JD, executive director of Planned Giving, at 215-898-9486 or

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When Nancy and Brian thought about giving back to the “superlative medical team” that they’ve come to know well at Penn, they first made a small donation to their health-care heroes, Levin and Mehta, along with their trauma team. As they contemplated a more lasting tribute, they found that they could make a gift through an unusual asset. “We had an extra paid-up life insurance policy that we no longer needed and determined that this would be the most affordable way to show our gratitude,” Brian Donnelly said. The Brian and Nancy Donnelly Trauma Fund now supports research in orthopaedics and trauma care at Penn Medicine.

A gift of a fully paid-up life insurance policy can be a wonderful asset to donate to Penn Medicine because the gift results in a charitable income tax deduction for the donor while providing immediate support for Penn.



Gerald H. Amsterdam, BA’39, MD’43, GME’49, Longwood, Fla., a retired surgeon; Sept. 1. Amsterdam maintained a practice in the Philadelphia area for over 40 years and retired in 2008. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Air Force.

Courtland “Corky” Van Deusen III, MD’43, Columbus, N.C., retired radiologist; Nov. 9. Born in China to missionary parents, during World War II, he served in the U.S. Army as the director of a POW hospital in France. He settled in western New York, where he had both a private radiology practice, as well as a partnership that ran the Radiology Department at the Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital until 1984. He was widely respected in his field and was honored with a Fellow Emeritus by the American College of Radiology and was a long time active member of the Niagara County and New York State Radiological Societies.

Charles T. “Chat” Lee Jr., BA’45, MD’47, Philadelphia, a retired internist; Feb. 7. He enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania and entered its six-year undergraduate medical school program established during World War II to accelerate the training of physicians at a time when they were needed by the country and the armed forces. After graduating from Penn in 1947, he continued his training in internal medicine at Pennsylvania Hospital. From 1949 to 1951, Lee served as an Army captain in Japan and Korea, assigned to one of the army’s first MASH units. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his service. During 36 years as a physician, Lee was affiliated with Chestnut Hill Hospital, serving as president of the hospital medical staff from 1963 to 1965, and as a hospital trustee from 1976 to 1979. In 1980, Lee was a founding member and board secretary of the Wissahickon Hospice, now part of Penn Medicine. A fellow in the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, he served as its president from 1998 to 2000. He also was president of the Aid Association of the Philadelphia County Medical Society. Lee retired in 1991.


John K. Erbaugh, MD, PsyD, GME’50, St. Helena, Calif., a retired physician; Jan. 16. From an early age, he knew that he wanted to be a doctor. He completed his medical studies and taught at the University of Pennsylvania. His career in medicine included practice in ophthalmology, neurology and psychiatry. During World War II, he served stateside in the Navy as a physician at the Philadelphia VA Hospital. Immediately after the war he toured the great cathedrals of Western Europe by bicycle. Erbaugh retired from medicine in 1993 and offered healing workshops in support of men’s health.

Bernadine Ziegler Paulshock, BA’47 MD’51 GME’53, Skillman N.J., a retired physician; Oct. 16. Paulshock maintained a practice in Wilmington, Del., for many years. During her work in the Delaware Medical Center's Family Practice Department, she was responsible for Jefferson Medical School's medical student rotation in family practice. Paulshock’s interest in the history of medicine led to the publication of numerous articles or letters to the editor published, including articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association and The New England Journal. She was an active member of the Medical Society of Delaware, serving one term as vice president and for fifteen years as editor of the Delaware Medical Journal. Several clinical journals appointed her to their editorial boards, including the Annals of Internal Medicine where she was a book editor. She was a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the recipient of the Delaware Chapter of ACP Laureate Award in 1997 for her commitment to excellence in medical care and services to the community. She also received the Delaware Trailblazer Award and was recognized and honored by the YWCA Delaware Academy of Women Leaders.

Nicholas C. Economidis, BA’48, MD’52, GME’56, Webster, Texas, a retired physician; Oct. 25. He maintained a geriatric practice in Philadelphia and also served as staff physician for the old Philadelphia Bulletin newspaper in the 1960s. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Air Corps.

William C. Ackerly, MD’54, GME’58, Lyme, N.H., a retired psychiatrist; May 23, 2016. He lived directly off the Appalachian Trail and was known to offer ice cream, rest, conversation, and even the occasional game of croquet to weary hikers. He became known on the trail as “The Ice Cream Man.”

Donald M. Kudrec, MD’56, Woodbury, N.J., a family practitioner; Feb. 1. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Scranton, received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and completed his medical training at Pennsylvania Hospital. He served as a medical officer for the U.S. Coast Guard from 1957 to 1959. In 1962, he started a family practice in Woodbury, N.J. A former staff member and vice president at Underwood Memorial Hospital, he received the Medical Society of N.J. Golden Merit Award for 50 years of service.

Bernard Perry Ottenberg, MD, GME’56, Philadelphia, a retired professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania; March 7. Ottenberg was born in Philadelphia and attended Temple University for one year before he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in South Asia. After being honorably discharged, he attended Harvard University, earning an AB in 1948 and an MD in 1952.Ottenberg’s career at Penn began with a residency in psychiatry at HUP in 1952. He became a research fellow in 1956 and was appointed clinical professor in 1970. He retired in 2015. While teaching at Penn, he also maintained a private psychiatry practice which lasted for nearly 60 years. Ottenberg published more than 100 articles in psychiatric journals and general newspapers, many of which are included in the manuscript collection Psychiatry and Social Issues. Ottenberg was a member and leader of the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry. He was also active on the American Friends Service Committee, the Viola W. Bernard Foundation and the boards of Moore College of Art & Design and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

Paul C. Brucker, MD’57, Ambler, Pa., a family practitioner; March 23. He graduated with honors from Muhlenberg College and earned his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Brucker designed his own graduate training program, including a residency at Hunterdon, N.J., Medical Center and an internship at what is now Lankenau Medical Center. In 1973, Brucker became a professor and founding chair of the Department of Family Medicine. In 1990, he became president of Thomas Jefferson University and led the organization during its merger that formed the Jefferson Health System.


James E. O. Hughes, MD’62, Cresskill, NJ, a neurosurgeon; March 17. He received his BS from Yale University and his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania. After beginning his training as a psychiatrist and serving as a staff psychiatrist in the Navy, Hughes switched his specialty to neurosurgery, completing his residency at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in 1971. For the next 27 years, he was an attending neurosurgeon at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Medical Center and Harlem Hospital Center in New York City, serving as chief of neurosurgery at both hospitals. He also served as a clinical faculty at Columbia University.

Dragan V. Jezic, MD, GME’68, Silver Spring, Md., a retired radiologist; Feb. 19. Born in Zagreb, in what is now the Republic of Croatia, Jezic fled as an illegal refugee to Belgium after graduating in 1956 from the University of Zagreb School of Medicine, when his country was taken over by communists. He continued his medical studies in Antwerp for a year and then traveled to the Belgian Congo, where he practiced family medicine with a cousin, a fellow refugee from Yugoslavia. Jezic returned to Europe in 1960 and worked at several U.S. Army hospitals in Germany before beginning internships in Boston and New York City. He completed a residency in Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania and began working as a radiologist at Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GMBC) in 1968. Jezic was named the head of radiology at the hospital in 1982 and served in this position for more than two decades until retiring from practice in 1993.

Richard B. “Hawk” Hawkins, MD’69, Fitchburg, Va., a retired orthopaedic physician; Dec. 29. He earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard University and medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania, followed by a surgical internship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. After training in orthopaedic surgery at several hospitals in Boston, he worked in general orthopaedics in private practice in Fitchburg, Va. He also served as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force. In 1981, Hawkins received a certificate of appreciation from CARE-MEDICO at the Dahka National Orthopaedic Hospital in Dahka, Bangladesh, where he volunteered. After his retirement from medicine, Hawkins worked for the Wachusett Brewing Company and enjoyed hobbies that included running, bicycling, and aviation.


Darryl Powell Jr., MD’13, Boston, chief resident in Internal Medicine-Pediatrics at the Harvard Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Boston Children’s Hospital combined program; April 15. Powell was known for a joyful spirit and devotion to improving care for underserved populations. According to a statement by Colleen Monaghan, MD, associate program director of his residency program in a Brigham and Women’s Hospital memorial, “Anyone who had an encounter with Darryl left feeling better.” Powell is remembered as a leader and mentor both at the Brigham and Boston Children’s, and nationally through his involvement with the Student National Medical Association. Powell’s medical interests included a focus on improving the transition from pediatric to adult care for children with chronic diseases and on addressing racial inequities in health care. Powell had plans to do a fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia after completing his residency.


Henry R. Drott, PhD, Swarthmore, Pa., retired scientific director of clinical chemistry at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP); March 8. After earning his PhD in physical chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1968, Drott was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at the Johnson Research Foundation of the University of Pennsylvania under the direction of Takashi Yonetani, an internationally known professor of biochemistry and biophysics. Drott spent 1970 at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, on a European Molecular Biology Organization Fellowship. Early in his career, he became affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine as an assistant professor of biophysics. In 1977, he joined the staff at CHOP as an assistant professor of chemistry in pediatrics, maintaining an academic title at Penn as clinical assistant professor of Pediatrics, and later was named scientific director of clinical chemistry. At CHOP, Drott introduced state-of-the-art automation, technology, and instrumentation, allowing the lab to perform tests on tiny blood samples, in keeping with the relatively small amount of blood children have compared with adults. He also introduced bedside testing to enable more rapid clinical decisions. That technology was adopted for the treatment of patients in outpatient settings. In 1984, on behalf of the global humanitarian organization Project Hope, Drott traveled with a team of medical professionals to Krakow, Poland, where he shared new diagnostic and therapeutic techniques with fellow chemists at the city's pediatric hospital. Drott retired in 2007 from CHOP after 30 years of service.

Bernard Perry Ottenberg, MD. See Class of 1956.

Robert L. Sadoff, MD, Huntington Valley, Pa., a forensic psychiatrist; April 17. Born in Minneapolis, Sadoff attended the University of Minnesota and graduated from its medical school in 1959. Sadoff joined the medical faculty at Penn in 1972, became a full professor six years later, and retired as clinical professor of psychiatry and director of the Center for Studies in Social-Legal Psychiatry in 2016. In addition to his work at Penn, he maintained a private practice. Sadoff used his forensic skills to examine high-profile defendants such as John E. du Pont and Jeffrey M. MacDonald. He also had a role in the New Jersey murder case that led to the creation of Megan’s Law, which requires the registration of convicted sex offenders. With seven other specialists, Sadoff created the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law in 1969, helping to develop the standards of teaching and training for psychiatrists for assessing the mental states of defendants in court. He served as the academy’s president from 1971 to 1973. The academy’s journal called Sadoff a “Renaissance Man of Forensic Psychiatry” in a 2008 profile.  At Penn, Sadoff is remembered for his energy and optimism and for a focus on ethics that permeated his teaching. Sadoff was the author, co-author or editor of 12 books, including The Evolution of Forensic Psychiatry: History, Current Developments, Future Directions, published by Oxford University Press last year. Sadoff and his wife, Joan, endowed the Robert L. Sadoff Clinical Professorship in Forensic Psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine, which was recently awarded to Kenneth J. Weiss, MD. A ceremony celebrating the establishment of the endowed chair is scheduled for June 20.

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