Medical/Dental Professionals

Physician Highlights

WATCH NOW: Dr. Peter Winkelstein and Cassandra Church Featured on Medically Speaking

In the most recent Medically Speaking interviews, Mike Hughes, chief of staff at Kaleida Health, discussed the Great Lakes Integrated Medical Record (GLIMR) with Peter Winkelstein, MD, MS, MBA, FAAP, vice president and chief medical information officer, Kaleida Health, and breastfeeding with Cassandra Church, senior director of nursing at John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital.

Watch these and other Medically Speaking segments at

Quick-thinking PA, Inter-hospital Teamwork Save a Young Life

On July 18, 2019, an 11-year-old boy presented at Lake Shore Hospital in Irving, NY, complaining of abdominal pain. Fortunately for him, Tera Ciesla, PA, was covering in the ED that day.

Formerly a physician assistant in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Oishei Children’s Hospital (OCH), Ciesla astutely diagnosed the child as having an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), an extremely dangerous condition that can be fatal if the aneurysm ruptures.

STAT team members Sheila Meli, RN, and Dan Lancon, RT, guided over the phone by Kunal Chadha, MD, attending physician in OCH’s ED, in coordination with the ED at Buffalo General Medical Center, transported the patient to Gates Vascular Institute (GVI). “Because our team requested that the child be pre-admitted, he was taken to the GVI OR within six minutes of his arrival,” said Dianne Charsha, DrNP, RN, FACHE, NEA-BC, chief nursing and clinical operations officer at OCH.

Linda Harris, MD, a surgeon at GVI, performed the life-saving surgery, supported by GVI staff, several anesthesiologists and OCH pediatric PICU and STAT team members. The patient was stabilized post-op and transferred to the PICU at OCH.

“Expert diagnosis, expedient skilled transport, and our Kaleida Health facility collaboration saved a young life,” said Charsha. "All in all, this was an amazing save and outstanding work. I couldn’t be more proud of our team.”

Drs. Barnabei and Burstein on State’s Maternal Mortality Council

Vanessa M. Barnabei, MD, PhD, professor and chair of obstetrics and gynecology, and Gale R. Burstein, MD, clinical professor of pediatrics and commissioner of the Erie County Department of Health, are serving on New York State’s newly-formed Maternal Mortality Advisory Council.

The council met for the first time in August, when representatives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention presented both a national and statewide picture of maternal mortality and morbidity, and facilitated a mock case review. Members learned about the council’s charge and goals in light of the CDC’s national goals.

According to Barnabei, the idea behind the council is to get a handle on what is happening with maternal mortality in the state.

“The overall goal is to review every case of maternal mortality in the state of New York in a non-punitive way,” says Barnabei, who is also president of UBMD Obstetrics and Gynecology. “We will look for contributing factors, whether it’s at the regional, provider or system level, and then share that information with hospitals, providers and the system as a whole in order to impact care going forward.”

While specific regions in the state with high incidences of maternal mortality can be viewed on a map, the council has been tasked with discovering the reasons behind those statistics.

“We need to dig deeper and to ask, ‘What factors can we address?’” Barnabei says. “A lot of these factors will come down to health care disparities. We know that it’s happening, but how do we address them? It’s a huge social question. We need to be able to go to the state and to the governor and say this is what we think needs to be addressed.”

For example, Barnabei says there is data suggesting that birth outcomes among underserved populations can be improved by the participation of midwives or doulas. In particular, she said, the help of these health care providers throughout a pregnancy and at the birth can reduce the rate of caesarean sections, lowering potential risks.

In 2012, when she came to UB, Barnabei helped bring the Safe Motherhood Initiative of the New York District of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to Buffalo. That initiative has focused on reducing maternal morbidity and mortality by preventing and treating postpartum hemorrhage, severe hypertension in pregnancy and deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots. She helped implement this initiative in her position as the medical director for quality and patient safety at Oishei Children’s Hospital, a position she held until 2016.

She notes that New York and California were among the first states to tackle these issues of maternal morbidity and mortality by developing “maternity safety bundles,” protocols that specifically address better ways to prevent these problems, recognize them early and, once detected, develop the best course of treatment.

Part of the charge of the advisory council is to develop and gather better data to improve the understanding of the problem statewide. In Western New York, that information is gathered by a statistician who works with perinatal specialists to share data during outreach visits. The data that will be gathered through the Maternal Mortality Review Council will be shared with the CDC and entered into a national database on maternal mortality and morbidity.…;

BGMC Celebrates 200th WATCHMAN Implant

Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute recently celebrated their 200th WATCHMAN implant, an FDA-approved cardiac device that helps prevent strokes in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF).

Traditionally, patients with AF are prescribed blood thinners to prevent the formation of blood clots and remain on them for the rest of their life.

The minimally invasive procedure takes approximately 60 minutes, and once in place the risk of stroke is reduced to that of a person with a normally functioning heart. It allows for successful discontinuation of blood thinning medication, which is associated with lifelong risk of bleeding complications. Patients are also able to return home the following day.

Congratulations to Drs. Vijay Iyer, Ashish Bhatia and Chee Kim along with their staff on this milestone!

Elkin Receives International Honor for Informatics Work

Peter L. Elkin, MD, professor and chair of biomedical informatics has been inducted as a fellow into the International Academy of Health Sciences Informatics (IAHSI).

The academy was established in 2017 by the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) and serves as an honor society that recognizes expertise in biomedical and health informatics internationally.

Academy membership is one of the highest honors in the international field of biomedical and health informatics.

“There were only 11 North Americans inducted this year and only 49 inducted to date, with 145 people worldwide,” Elkin says.

“This is an important and singular honor for an informatician. I was honored and pleased to accept,” he adds.

Elkin is renowned for building biomedical common-data-infrastructure systems and protocols that have transformed research and clinical care. He has created and implemented bioinformatics standards for exchanging and storing data.

In addition, he has pioneered the development of core methods for standardizing medical record data that can link patient records to genomic, diagnostic and treatment information.

Elkin was inducted into the IASHI during its plenary meeting Aug. 25 in Lyon, France.

The IMIA is the world body for health and biomedical informatics and provides leadership and expertise to the multidisciplinary, health-focused community and to policy makers, to enable the transformation of health care in accord with the worldwide vision of improving the health of the world population.

IMIA’s vision is that there will be a worldwide systems approach for health care.

Inherent in IMIA’s role is to bring together — from a global perspective — scientists, researchers, users, vendors, developers, consultants and suppliers in an environment of cooperation and sharing.

Drs. Archer, Harris and Chin Kit-Wells Participate in Community Events

Last month, Dr. Fred D. Archer, III, and Dr. Linda Harris presented at the Reverend Bennett Smith Family Life Center. They discussed vascular disease, prevention and overall health topics for men.

Archer  harris

Dr. Meelin Chin Kit-Wells, along with Dana Roman, director of strategic physician partnerships, participated in a Single Moms Club event at Lafayette High School.