People in the News

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Paula Fessler, RN, MSN, MS, FNP-BC

Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) welcomes Paula Fessler, RN, MSN, MS, FNP-BC, as Chief Nurse Executive for the health network’s Valhalla and Poughkeepsie campuses. Fessler will oversee all nursing operations at WMCHealth’s flagship Westchester Medical Center, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital and the Behavioral Health Center in Valhalla, as well as MidHudson Regional Hospital in Poughkeepsie.

Fessler brings to WMCHealth more than 20 years of clinical experience and a passion for leading teams to deliver high-quality, compassionate patient care. Most recently, Fessler served for four years as Vice President of the Emergency Medicine service line at Northwell Health, overseeing 17 emergency departments and numerous urgent care facilities.

Her clinical experience also includes roles at Mayo Clinic, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Fessler’s healthcare philosophy recognizes that nurses and all healthcare professionals enter the profession with a desire to help people. One of her primary goals is to support nursing team members at all levels with the guidance and resources to be successful in the critical work they do. She believes strongly that employee talent development and innovation are the keys to success, and she prioritizes working directly with nursing teams to meet common goals.

After earning an undergraduate nursing degree at Syracuse University, Fessler earned a family nurse practitioner degree from Duke University and a Master of Science degree with an emphasis in health care from Simon Business School at the University of Rochester.



Sherman M. Chamberlain, MD

Saint Joseph’s Medical Center announces that Sherman M. Chamberlain, MD, has joined the hospital’s Gastroenterology Department.

Dr. Chamberlain holds a Doctor of Medicine degree from Harvard Medical School and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, American College of Gastroenterology and American Gastroenterological Association. His current appointments include attending physician in medicine in gastroenterology at Saint Joseph’s Medical Center in Yonkers and Adjunct Professor of Medicine at New York Medical College. Additionally, he is joining Saint Joseph’s Medical Practice P.C., providing patient care related to all aspects of gastrointestinal disease.

Dr. Chamberlain’s medical training includes an internal medicine residency at Harvard’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and a gastroenterology fellowship at the University of California, San Diego — with a focus on the molecular pathogenesis of GI cancer development.

Dr. Chamberlain was previously on the faculty of the Medical College of Georgia for 12 years, becoming Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, and additionally served as Medical Director of GI Endoscopy.

He holds certifications from the American Board of Internal Medicine in Gastroenterology and Internal Medicine, as well as Advanced Cardiac Life Support recertification. Dr. Chamberlain is also on the editorial board for Gastrointestinal & Digestive System, in addition to his role as a reviewer for Digestive Diseases and SciencesDrugsDrugs & AgingPractical GastroenterologyJournal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology ReviewWorld Journal of GastroenterologyLaboratory InvestigationBMJ Best Medical Practice; and American Journal of Gastroenterology-Case Reports. He is a resident of Long Island City.



Jose M. Taveras, MD

Saint Joseph’s Medical Center announces that Jose M. Taveras, MD, has joined the hospital’s Cardiology Department.

Dr. Taveras holds a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of the State of New York and earned a Fifth Pathway Certificate from New York Medical College. He is a graduate of Universidad Autónoma of Guadalajara, Mexico.

Dr. Taveras is board-certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular diseases, echocardiography, nuclear cardiology and computed tomography of the heart, and is a Fellow and active member in the American College of Cardiology. Additionally, he is a Diplomate of the Certification Board of Nuclear Cardiology and of the Certification Board of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography.

Apart from his work as a cardiologist, Dr. Taveras is a medical illustrator, and his work has been featured in many medical journals. Also, he founded and regularly publishes his own blog, which is intended to educate patients about cardiovascular disease and diabetes, with the goal of improving health literacy and medical outcomes. Dr. Taveras is founder of MedicineChiefs Inc., an online educational video resource — also known as a Doctablet — that uses vibrant animation and simple analogous stories to decipher medical conditions.



Carolin Dohle, MD, at MIT Hacking Medicine’s 2018 Grand Hack event

Burke Rehabilitation Hospital’s Assistant Chief Medical Officer Carolin Dohle, MD, and Montefiore Resident Physician Abhishek Agarwal, DO, presented a caregiver app, an innovative solution to benefit family caregivers, at MIT Hacking Medicine’s 2018 Grand Hack event.

Drs. Dohle and Agarwal, along with engineers and other experts, won the grand prize in the Rehabilitation and Human Performance section of the event for their presentation on this app development project. The team also won the Weill Cornell Medicine Award for New Innovation.

Organized by the MIT Hacking Medicine organization, the annual Grand Hack is an event at which hundreds of clinicians, engineers, designers, developers and members of the business community come together to brainstorm and teach how to utilize digital strategies to solve health problems globally.

Two hundred and forty people participated in the 2018 Grand Hack event in New York City. Dr. Dohle, Dr. Agarwal and the rest of the winning team presented in the Rehabilitation and Human Performance area, which aims to create innovative solutions to help those living with disabilities push the boundaries of human ability and performance. This track focused on strategies and the use of digital platforms and technology to improve patients’ ability to maintain a high level of independence. Burke knows that one important way to do this is to care for the caregiver.

The technology will aim to benefit caregivers by providing access to information and support at the touch of a button, as well as connect caregivers to others who are experiencing similar life-changing circumstances. Reducing caregiver burden is a proven approach to improving patient outcomes for which Burke has implemented strategies, most recently being the opening of its Marsal Caregiver Center, the first of its kind in a rehabilitation hospital in the nation.



Mark Herceg, PhD

Mark Herceg, PhD, a neuropsychologist specializing in brain injury and concussion, has joined Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Hollow. Herceg was the Commissioner of Mental Health for Westchester County from 2015 to 2017. During his tenure, he led the first county conference on concussions and chaired a 28-member County Task Force that developed 10 Best Practices for Concussion Management, endorsed by the Brain Injury Association of America. Over the past 10 years, he has helped shape concussion management practices and increased concussion education in Westchester County in both youth and high school sports.

Herceg has been a concussion consultant to schools, youth sports, and high school, collegiate and professional teams and athletes.


Patricia Seagriff, DDS, celebrated her retirement from Westchester Institute for Human Development (WIHD) at a reception with colleagues. She has been with WIHD since 1993 and has served as Director of Dental Services since 1999. In addition to her work with patients, Dr. Seagriff is a member of the prestigious NYS OPWDD Task Force on Special Dentistry.


WIHD President and CEO Susan Fox, PhD, Patricia Seagriff, DDS, and former WIHD CEO Ansley Bacon, PhD

Dr. Seagriff has served as the Special Smiles Local Coordinator for the past 20 years, conducting oral screenings for the Spring Games of the Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess Special Olympics.

Dr. Seagriff was instrumental in helping to secure WIHD’s new Mobile Dental Clinic, which was unveiled last year. The Mobile Dental Clinic is a state-of-the-art dentist office on wheels that provides dental services to children and adults with disabilities throughout the region. Dr. Seagriff is a resident of Yorktown.


More than 500 people were on hand for Saint Joseph’s Medical Center’s Annual Ball at the Hilton Westchester in Rye Brook.


James Landy, Peter Kelly, Ronald Sylvestri, Gary Heitzler, DDS, and Michael Spicer

Three individuals were presented Distinguished Service Awards for their contributions to the medical center and the community. The honorees were Gary Heitzler, DDS, Chief of Dentistry at Saint Joseph’s Medical Center; Ronald Sylvestri, Vice Chair of the St. Joseph’s Health Fund; and Peter Kelly, restaurateur, renowned chef and owner of X20 Xaviars on the Hudson in Yonkers.

The Annual Ball, which this year had a safari theme, raised more than $300,000 for the medical center.