Career Pulse

Ampadi Joins Staff at Greenfield Surgery

GREENFIELD — For Dr. Thampi Ampadi, a general surgeon who recently joined Baystate Medical Practices – Greenfield Surgery, medicine is a family affair. Growing up in a small town in India as the son of an oncologist who also practices general internal medicine, he saw firsthand what a difference a doctor can make in a community.

“Practicing in Greenfield is very similar,” said Ampadi. “I want to work where I can really get to know my patients, and the people I have met here — both my patients and the staff in my practice and at the hospital — have been very friendly and welcoming. Since I did my residency at Baystate Medical Center, I also have continuing relationships with the staff there, which benefits my patients when we decide to call in a second opinion.”

Ampadi began his career at medical college in Thiruvananthapuram, India, winning a full scholarship after placing 11th in the country on the all-India medical entrance exam. “This was a big moment for my family and also for my community,” he recalled. “The newspaper and TV station sent reporters to interview me, and I was very touched by their excitement and support.”

Building on that encouragement, Ampadi continued his medical education in India with postgraduate training in general surgery and surgical gastroenterology, completed additional training in surgical oncology in England, then moved to the U.S. to do research in physiology and complete a fellowship in bariatric and laparoscopic surgery at East Carolina University in North Carolina. In 2008, he began his residency in surgery at Baystate Medical Center, serving as chief resident during his third year in the program.

“Surgery is a hands-on way to apply my knowledge of medicine and physiology,” said Ampadi, “and I enjoy the challenge of it.” His special interests in practice include bariatrics (the surgical treatment of obesity) and advanced laparoscopic, or minimally invasive, surgery.

North Adams Regional Hospital Welcomes Deacon

NORTH ADAMS — Amy Deacon, a registered dietitian, has joined North Adams Regional Hospital’s Nutrition Services department and is seeing outpatients.

Deacon holds a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics from UMass Amherst. She completed her dietetic internship through the Sodexo Inc. Distance Education program in October 2010.

“I hope to help patients reach their goals, whether they want to lose weight, improve their eating habits, or manage diabetes or high cholesterol,” she said. “The important thing is to create an environment where my clients feel free to discuss their eating habits openly and honestly.  My goal is to help people succeed and feel good about their choices.”

NARH’s Nutrition Services department provides inpatient and outpatient services, including one-on-one counseling for individuals on weight management, diabetes, and other health conditions. A physician referral is usually needed for insurance plans to cover a visit to a dietitian. Patients who cover the cost of the visit themselves need only make an appointment.

NARH dietitians are also available to speak to community groups. The dietitians have volunteered to speak at many types of functions such as weight loss groups, church groups, and health fairs. Because NARH is a community hospital, the Nutrition Services department is always available for any individual questions about diet, food, and food safety. To contact a registered dietitian at NARH, call (413) 664-5267 or (413) 664-5000.

Epstein Joins Team at Holyoke Medical Center

HOLYOKE — As a former professional athlete, it seems normal that Dr. Noah Epstein would have a natural interest in sports medicine. But fortunately for patients at Holyoke Medical Center, Epstein expanded that interest to orthopedics in general.

Epstein, an orthopedic surgeon, came to the hospital campus recently after completing his residency at Stanford University. He works with HMC Orthopedic Surgeons at 10 Hospital Dr.

Epstein said his initial interest in becoming a physician also stemmed from his sports career. “It was a long history of athletic injuries and an interest in helping people recover from injury and disability. I have always been interested in sports medicine, but I also like the other aspects of orthopedics, including joint replacement, trauma, hand, foot, and ankle.”

Epstein, who graduated from Amherst High School, first attended Colorado College after graduation. His athletic skills were soon recognized, and he was named a soccer All-American in college. He also played soccer for Manchester University in England for a season and spent a semester training with a professional team in Argentina.

In 1994, Epstein was on the national amateur championship team in Denver, after which he played for two seasons in Denver as a professional. He later played in Kansas and then Ohio, before being traded to St. Louis. After two more seasons, he retired and moved to California for medical school, internship, and his residency.

As a new physician, Epstein is excited by several new trend developments in orthopedics. Among these are refinements in arthroplasty techniques to allow for improved outcomes, quicker recovery, and high patient satisfaction. These procedures cover the knee, hip, and shoulder. (Arthroplasty is surgery to relieve pain and restore range of motion by realigning or reconstructing a joint.) He is also intrigued and enthusiastic about new techniques for treatment of hip pathology in younger patients.

To contact Epstein for clinical appointments, call (413) 536-5814.

Greenfield Gastroenterology Welcomes Parakh to Team

GREENFIELD — For Dr. Pallav Parakh, who recently joined Dr. Pikeshkumar Patel at Baystate Medical Practices – Greenfield Gastroenterology, the greatest reward of practicing medicine is helping people feel better, and providing them with the information they need to allay their fears and take action.

“When people come to a gastroenterologist, they have a lot of questions” he said, “and I enjoy helping them to better understand their condition.”

Parakh earned his medical degree at Ramaiah Medical College in Bangalore, India, and then went on to complete a master’s degree in Health Science at Johns Hopkins University. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine, as well as his fellowship in gastroenterology, at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.; during his time there, he also served on the faculty as a clinical assistant professor.

Following his residency, Parakh wanted to stay on the East Coast and move out of the city. “I am continuing to learn, as we see a different mix of patients here than I did in Brooklyn,” he said. And by spending one day a week working with colleagues at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Parakh is becoming well-acquainted with the sub-specialists there, should he need to refer patients for additional consultation.

“For me, gastroenterology is an interesting blend of medicine and surgery, as we perform a variety of diagnostic procedures to identify problems in the GI tract,” Parakh noted. “I welcome the challenge and, above all, welcome the opportunity to assist people in making healthy changes in their lives.”

Johnson Memorial Affirms Morgan as President, CEO

STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn. — The Johnson Memorial Medical Center board of directors announced that David Morgan will lead JMMC as president and CEO, dropping the ’interim’ from his title.

Morgan began his tenure at JMMC in 2008 as a consultant and in 2009 was named interim chief operating officer of the organization. During those two years, Morgan restructured the financial and revenue-cycle operations of JMMC and created and implemented an operations-improvement program. Morgan continued to serve as JMMC’s COO until last May, when he was named interim president and CEO.

“Although it has been a challenging few years, JMMC is evolving into a stable and prosperous organization with a bright financial future,” Morgan said. “JMMC continues to remain a permanent fixture in the community, and it is with great pride that I assume the role of president and chief executive officer for the organization.”

BHS Announces Appointment of Sandhu

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Health Systems has announced the appointment of Dr. Harbrinder Sandhu, a board-certified and fellowship-trained rheumatologist, to the medical staff of Berkshire Medical Center.

Sandhu is accepting new patients in need of rheumatology care and joins Dr. Edmund Hornstein in practice with Contemporary Rheumatology Specialists, with offices on the second floor of the BMC Medical Arts Complex, 777 North St., Pittsfield.

He came to the Berkshires from Albany, where he was a practicing rheumatologist with the Center for Rheumatology. He received his medical degree from Dayanand Medical College in India and completed his residency in internal medicine from Albany Medical Center. He also received his fellowship training in rheumatology from Albany Medical Center.

Sandhu is board-certified in internal medicine and rheumatology. For an appointment, ask your physician for a referral or call Contemporary Rheumatology Specialists at (413) 499-8551.

Strolle to Manage REACH for Breast Health Program

NORTH ADAMS — Adriane Strolle has joined REACH for Community Health at North Adams Regional Hospital, as manager of the REACH for Breast Health program.

The program’s goals are to increase mammography screening rates, deliver navigation and support services to women diagnosed with breast disease, provide breast health education to women of all ages, and advocate for health care policies that are responsive to the particular needs of women.

It also works to support women in the community who have a diagnosis of breast cancer, and to offer breast-health education and personalized support services. REACH for Breast Health also conducts a monthly support group for women and provides outreach, education, and patient-navigation services. The program is funded by the Massachusetts affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Strolle holds a master’s degree in social work from Boston University. She has several years experience in program management, especially in the areas of women’s health and domestic violence treatment and prevention. She has extensive experience in individual counseling and has been a strong advocate for women’s issues. She can be reached by calling (413) 664-5170.

Northern Berkshire Family Medicine Welcomes Willey

NORTH ADAMS — Northern Berkshire Healthcare welcomes Rita Willey, a family nurse practitioner, to Northern Berkshire Family Medicine at 820 State Road in North Adams.

Willey graduated from Western New England College in 2001 with a master’s degree in Business Administration and Health Care Management, and is a recent graduate of UMass at Amherst’s doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. She is certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a family nurse practitioner, and completed her capstone dissertation with a focus on heart-failure disease management.

With 18 years of experience in local health care in both administrative and nursing positions at Berkshire Medical Center and Fairview Hospital, Willey brings a broad base of talent to Northern Berkshire Family Medicine, where she joins Dr. Anping Han, Dr. Jean Culver, and family nurse practitioners Liz Toomajian and Robin Love. For information or to schedule an appointment, call (413) 664-4088.

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