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Himalayan Health Exchange
Advisory Panel



Gary Neiss, M.D., F.A.C.C."Gary Neiss"
Division of Cardiology
Presbyterian Hospital Matthews
Mid Carolina Cardiology
Brief Bio

Dr. Niess did his undergraduate work at Dartmouth College where he first learned to love the outdoors. He received his medical degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and did his internal medicine and cardiology at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Currently he is Physician Executive for the Novant Heart & Vascular Institute for the Greater Charlotte Market and Director of the Cardiac Cath Lab at Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center outside of Charlotte, NC. Dr. Niess got his first dose of HHE when his daughter Meredith, a student at UNC Medical School, invited him to come with her on her trip to Spiti. Besides his work with HHE he has experience in international healthcare as prior Chief of Cardiovascular Services for Emirates Palomar in the United Arab Emirates as well as in the Caribbean with cardiovascular services for the BVI. His long term interest is in advancing international healthcare opportunities for those who find healthcare hard to obtain. Dr. Niess did his undergraduate work at Dartmouth College where he first learned to love the outdoors. He received his medical degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and did his internal medicine and cardiology at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Currently he is Chief of Cardiology and Director of the Cardiac Cath Lab at Presbyterian Hospital outside of Charlotte, NC. He is Chief of Staff Elect of Presbyterian Hospital Matthews. Dr. Niess got his first dose of HHE when his daughter Meredith, a student at UNC Medical School, invited him to come with her on her trip to Spiti. He has prior exposure to international healthcare as Chief of Cardiovascular Services for Emirates Polamar, a group who worked with the Harvard Hospitals to upgrade the national healthcare system for the United Arab Emirates military. His long term interest is in advancing international healthcare opportunities for those who find healthcare hard to obtain. Dr. Niess did his undergraduate work at Dartmouth College where he first learned to love the outdoors. He received his medical degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and did his internal medicine and cardiology at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Currently he is Chief of Cardiology and Director of the Cardiac Cath Lab at Presbyterian Hospital outside of Charlotte, NC. He is Chief of Staff Elect of Presbyterian Hospital Matthews. Dr. Niess got his first dose of HHE when his daughter Meredith, a student at UNC Medical School, invited him to come with her on her trip to Spiti. He has prior exposure to international healthcare as Chief of Cardiovascular Services for Emirates Polamar, a group who worked with the Harvard Hospitals to upgrade the national healthcare system for the United Arab Emirates military. His long term interest is in advancing international healthcare opportunities for those who find healthcare hard to obtain.

Sarah Russell, MD
La Maestra Family Clinic
San Diego

Brief Bio

Dr. Sarah Russell received her degree from University of California at San Diego after graduating with a molecular biology degree from University of California at Santa Cruz. Dr. Russell finished her residency training at Scripps Chula Vista Family Practice Residency Program and then worked at La Maestra Family Clinic in San Diego practicing full-spectrum family medicine, including obstetrics and surgical procedures. She has volunteered at free clinics in San Diego and for the past 5 years she has been the clinical director in Temecula. Her interests are in preventive medicine, obstetrics and pediatrics. Dr. Russell has a husband, 3 sons, 2 dogs and a cat. Outside interests include swimming, hiking, yoga and photography and she enjoys traveling to the Himalayas to provide care to the underserved.

Guy Nuki, MD
Department of Emergency Medicine
Maine General
149 North Street
Waterville, ME 04901

Brief Bio

Dr. Nuki is the Regional Medical Director for BlueWater Emergency Partners, a private EM group based in Maine. After graduating from his Family Medicine Residency in Ventura CA he practiced both Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine for 6 years in rural WA. His clinical experience has been focused on emergency medicine since 2004 but has included outpatient primary care, high risk obstetrics and hospitalist medicine. While faculty at the Central Maine Medical Centerís Family Medicine Residency he helped to establish the educational program for the Himalayan Health Exchange and has led teams of medical students, residents and physicians in remote Himalayan regions of India and has lectured for the Global Health Education Consortium. Dr. Nuki was the founding director of the MaineGeneral Emergency Medicine Fellowship, has served as the Chair of the Workforce Section for the American College of Emergency Physicians and works as an Emergency Physician across Maine including work as the Chief Medical Officer for Calais Regional Hospital.

Sujata R. Tipnis, MD, MPH, FAAP
Sheridan Children's Healthcare Services
Parkway Regional Hospital
Miami, Florida

Brief Bio

Dr. Sujata Tipnis is a pediatrician for Sheridan Childrens Healthcare in Miami Florida. She graduated from Northwestern Universitys Feinberg School of Medicine in 1997 and subsequently completed a Masters in Public Health at the University of North Carolinas School of Public Health. She completed her pediatric residency at Baylor College of Medicine in 2001. Her interests within pediatrics include international child health, community-based pediatrics, and literacy. Outside interests include traveling, swimming, hiking, running, camping, reading, tennis and movies.

Shawn Vainio, M.D
Kodiak Island Medical Associates
Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center
Kodiak, Alaska

Brief Bio

Shawn Vainio MD is a graduate of SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and completed his residency at the University of Utah in Family Medicine. He is currently a Board Certified Family Practitioner practicing in Bethel, Alaska. He has participated in twelve HHE expeditions and has practiced in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Utah and Antarctica.

Kaban Kari Sears, MD
Family and Sports Medicine
South Bend, Indiana
Brief Bio

Dr. Kari Sears is a family and sports medicine physician in South Bend, IN. She completed her medical degree at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and family medicine residency at Memorial Family Medicine Residency in South Bend, IN. Dr. Sears continued her training in Sports Medicine at the South Bend - Notre Dame Sports Medicine fellowship. She has special interests in sports medicine and international medicine. When not working, Dr. Sears enjoys running, cycling, traveling, camping, and she always has at least one home improvement project in the works!

Merih Topsakal Merih Topsakal, PharmD
Universal Medica, Pharmaceutical Contractor in Medication Safety
Paris, France

Brief Bio

Merih Topsakal, originally from Ankara, Turkey, received her Doctor fo Pharmacy degree from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in Boston and completed a Drug Information residency at Duke University Hospital and GlaxoSmithKline in Durham, North Carolina. Merih now works in medication safety in the pharmaceutical industry in Paris, France. Merih speaks English, French and Turkish. She enjoys the outdoors, traveling, being immersed in different cultures and learning new languages. She has participated in the ChangThang plateau 2012 trip and is eager to come back but this time for a longer period.

   
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