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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 Chief of Cardiology and Director of the Cardiac Cath Lab at Presbyterian Hospital 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. 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 received his degree from the University of Connecticut and completed residency at Ventura County Medical Centers Family Medicine program. Prior to becoming a full-time residency faculty member at Central Maine Medical Center he practiced in Chelan, Washington for 6 years as a rural family physician. Currently he works as a full time emergency medicine physician in Waterville, Maine. He is the founder and coordinator for the Wilderness Medicine Track at the residency program at Central Maine Medical Center. He is an advisor to the Himalayan Health Exchange and volunteers with the Adventure Medicine Consultants. Dr. Nuki was the founder of the Immigration and Naturalization Services Clinic at Central Maine Medical Center. His interests have included office-based procedures and operative obstetrics. Outside interests include Himalayan travel, telemark skiing, and bicycling.

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 completed his residency in Family Practice at the University of Utah and medical school at the University of Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He enjoys the breadth of family medicine and its specific applicability to rural health. He has served on six HHE expeditions and he currently works in Kodiak, Alaska and Antarctica.

Kaban Jordana Kaban, DO
Truman Medical Center
Assistant professor
Department of Emergency Medicine
Kansas City, Missouri
Brief Bio

Dr. Jordana Kaban did her undergraduate education at Tulane University in New Orleans, during which she started traveling internationally and developed a specific interest in the Himalayan region. She received her medical degree from Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed her Emergency Medicine residency at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. Following, she did a fellowship in Emergency Ultrasound at North Shore University Hospital and then stayed there to work as an attending physician and as faculty of the emergency ultrasound division. Currently she is faculty at Truman Medical Center in Kansas City, MO. Dr Kaban first joined HHE on an expedition as a medical student and has since returned two times, once during fellowship and recently as an attending. She is particularly interested in incorporating ultrasound as a diagnostic tool in rural, underserved communities. Outside of medicine she enjoys international travel, boxing, snowboarding, and dancing.

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.

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!

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