Career Pulse

Estrada Joins Staff of Rheumatology Practice

HOLYOKE — Dr. Marcos Estrada has joined the Holyoke-based practice of Dr. Munir Ahmad.

Estrada was born and grew up in Guadalajara, the second-most-populous city in Mexico. “Since I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a doctor,” he said.

Estrada started his medical education at the public University of Guadalajara. “I had to study very hard,” Estrada recalled. He was motivated by the thought of realizing his goal, which was to become a doctor so that he could help people. “I think that’s the basis of all of it.”

During his training, he became part of an exchange program, through which he studied internal medicine in Germany. He was prompted to learn more about medical systems outside of his native Mexico, and he wanted to learn a new language.

“I was unhappy with the lack of medicines and supplies in Guadalajara,” he said. Even antibiotics and gloves were in short supply there. The final impetus to leave came when one of the hospital’s doctors died because of a lack of medication.

Estrada conducted his residency in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and specialized in rheumatology because of the challenge of the specialty. Rheumatologic diseases can prove deceptive, both in diagnosis and treatment. “I always say, for example, in math, two plus two always equals four. In rheumatology, it doesn’t always work like that,” he said. “The same underlying condition can show up in vastly different ways, and one treatment can be effective for one individual, but not for another.

Rheumatology involves the diagnosis and treatment of conditions related to joints, muscles and bones, as well as immunologic disorders, such as vasculitis and lupus. “They are very complicated conditions,” Estrada said.

Estrada also studied geriatrics during a two-year fellowship at UConn. “I loved it. But I always had it in my heart to do rheumatology,” he said.

Holyoke is a perfect fit for him, he said. “It’s very exciting. I like being able to use both Spanish and English in a clinical setting. I love the diversity. People here are more open to diversity.”

Estrada maintains offices Ahmad at 15 Hospital Dr. in Holyoke. To reach their office, call (413) 534-2682.

Orthopedic Surgeon Fallon Joins CDH

NORTHAMPTON — Cooley Dickinson Hospital welcomes Dr. Jonathan Fallon of Hampshire Orthopedics and Sports Medicine to its medical staff. Fallon, an orthopedic surgeon with extensive experience in sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery, is performing new orthopedic procedures at the Hospital’s Kittredge Surgery Center.

Fallon is the first physician to perform a reverse total shoulder arthroplasty, the newest option in joint replacement of the shoulder, at CDH. He also is the only orthopedic surgeon in the Pioneer Valley performing minimally invasive hip surgery.

Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty offers an option to patients who are in severe pain and otherwise would not be safe candidates for traditional shoulder replacement.

“The procedure allows for complete joint replacement in shoulders that have become painful and arthritic due to failure of the rotator cuff,” Fallon explained. Seniors and people with arthritis of the shoulder would be excellent candidates for the procedure.

Hip arthroscopy, Fallon said, is a joint-sparing procedure. It offers a minimally invasive surgical option with the benefit of a shorter, more complete recovery than more invasive, open procedures around the hip. Hip arthroscopy “also has the potential to delay or prevent the onset of hip arthritis,” he said. Young and middle-aged athletes, from elite to amateur, could benefit from this minimally invasive hip procedure.

Fallon recently completed a fellowship in sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery at UMass Medical Center. During this fellowship, Dr. Fallon helped care for the Boston Red Sox minor league players and professional hockey players from the New Jersey Devils while acting as a team physician.

He also performs arthroscopic rotator cuff and labral repairs and anatomic ACL reconstructions. “I have a special interest in the prevention and care of all shoulder disorders,” he said.

Fallon takes care of orthopedic trauma for patients of all ages, including children, and he is currently the team surgeon for Westfield State College. He is a physician member of Cooley Dickinson Center for Human Motion, a new program that offers a comprehensive approach to the prevention, assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries and conditions.

In addition to his training as an orthopedic surgeon, Fallon has a master’s degree in biomedical science that focused on the functional anatomy of the shoulder.

Kanter Heads Mercy’s Anesthesia Services

SPRINGFIELD — With the primary goal of employing national best practices for anesthesiology within the Sisters of Providence Health System (SPHS), Dr. Gary Kanter has assumed the post as chief of Anesthesia Services at Mercy Medical Center.

Immediately prior to his appointment, he served as staff anesthesiologist with the Department of Anesthesiology at Baystate Medical Center and as the associate medical director for Health Care Quality within in the Division of Health Care Quality.

As chief of Anesthesiology, Kanter hopes to focus on several key areas of patient care, including pre-admission evaluations and the adoption of cutting-edge technology. “The highest-quality care is timely, effective, safe, equitable, efficient, and patient-centered,” he said. “I want the care we provide to be all of these things, and more.”

A board-certified anesthesiologist, Kanter graduated from UConn with a bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy and received his medical degree from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. His postdoctoral training includes an internship in medicine at Yale University School of Medicine, Hospital of St. Raphael, and residency in anesthesiology at Yale University School of Medicine, Yale-New Haven Hospital. He also previously served as an assistant professor of Anesthesiology at Tufts University School of Medicine.

“Dr. Kanter is well known for his commitment to high-quality patient care and patient satisfaction, and this, coupled with his extensive clinical experience and knowledge of best practice initiatives, insures his smooth transition into this vital role at Mercy Medical Center,” said Dr. William Bithoney, chief medical officer of SPHS, and chief operating officer for Mercy Medical Center.

Leaks Appointed by American Red Cross

SPRINGFIELD — The American Red Cross Pioneer Valley Chapter welcomes Dawn Leaks to the organization as assistant director of Chapter Support. Leaks will manage community and media relations for the chapter and will be responsible for social-media efforts and communications. She will also assist in planning chapter fund-raising events.

Leaks comes to the Red Cross from Springfield Public Schools, where she initially coordinated all teacher recruitment activities and was later responsible for coordinating day-to-day substitute-teacher assignments, interviewing substitute candidates, hiring substitutes and conducting substitute orientation sessions. She also has a combined eight years of experience in Internet advertising, community and public relations, and community service through her work at MassLive.com, the Urban League of Springfield Inc., and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.

“We are thrilled to have Dawn join our staff,” said Paige Thayer, deputy director of Chapter Support. “She brings terrific experience and new skills to the chapter that will help enhance our outreach throughout the Pioneer Valley. She has a clear commitment to our community, something we value highly when building our team.”

HMC Taps McKissick for Cardiology/Neurology Post

HOLYOKE — Patricia McKissick of Holyoke has been named manager of the Cardiology and Neurology Department at Holyoke Medical Center.

McKissick has worked in the department for 22 years. Prior to that she had worked for many years in the Cardiology Department at Providence Hospital.

One of eight children, she has been a lifelong resident of Holyoke, educated in parochial schools including Rosary, St Jerome’s and Sacred Heart grammar schools and Holyoke Catholic High School, graduating in 1971. She furthered her education at Holyoke Community College.

McKissick has attended numerous advanced courses in cardiac arrhythmia and 12 lead electrocardiogram interpretation. She also completed courses in electroencephalogram wave form interpretation. She has also been a member of the American Society of Electrodiagnostic Technicians for 15 years and currently is responsible for the scanning and editing of the 24-hour ambulatory EEGs performed in the department.

Neurosurgeon Tamas Joins BMC Staff

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Health Systems announces the appointment of neurosurgeon Dr. Laszlo Tamas to the medical staff of Berkshire Medical Center.

Tamas comes to the Berkshires after serving for many years as chief of Neurological Surgery at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in California. He is board-certified in neurosurgery and fellowship-trained in stereotactic functional neurosurgery. He received his medical degree from McGill University in Montreal and completed his residency training at the University of Washington at Seattle and the University of Alberta in Edmonton. He is is also a fellow of the Royal Academy of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Tamas served at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center from 1993 to 2009 and was also president and director of Neurosurgery for the Pacific Neurosciences Institute from 1993 to 2002. He was also a clinical associate professor of Neurosurgery at Stanford University from 1997 to 2002.

Tamas is accepting new patients in need of neurosurgical and spinal surgery services and joins Dr. Deepa Soni in the neurosurgical physician practice of Berkshire Health Systems, BMC Medical Arts Complex, 777 North St., 5th floor. For an appointment, ask a physician for a referral or call (413) 447-2870.

Zalewski to Manage HMC Medical Specialties

HOLYOKE — Audrey Zalewski has been named operations manager of Holyoke Medical Center’s Medical Specialties Department.

She had most recently worked as manager of the Work Connection, Employee Health, and Rheumatology Services at the hospital, and prior to that had been supervisor of the Phlebotomy Department at HMC.

Prior to her arrival at HMC, Zalewski had been a manager at the American Red Cross Blood Services – New England Regional Headquarters for 20 years. While at the Red Cross, she held various positions, including manager of a multi-site HIV counseling and testing service and manager of production, marketing, and sales of the region’s international blood-derivative business. In partnership with Brigham & Women’s Hospital, she established a Red Cross pharmacy, supplying factor products to outpatients with hemophilia.

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