ACH Member Spotlight
The Academy of Communication in Healthcare's Member Spotlight feature allows members of the community to know each other beyond the CVs, publications and presentations. Each month a diverse member of ACH will be chosen to write their responses to questions they select to reveal more about themselves as people.  It is the Academy's hope that learning about an individual may spark connections that blossom via email, phone conversations or in-person meetings at conferences, courses and forums.  We welcome your feedback on this enterprise and nominations for future Spotlight Members. To view the 2016 archived member spotlights, click here!
November - Alireza Salehi-Nejad, MSc, LLM, BSc (Hons), BA, FdSc, PGDip, GradCert, CELTA
Alireza Salehi-Nejad – MSc, LLM, BSc (Hons), BA, FdSc, PGDip, GradCert, CELTA
Research Associate
University of Tehran
Tehran, Iran
salehinejad@ut.ac.ir
 
Biography:
Alireza Salehi Nejad is a multidisciplinary researcher, who is currently affiliated with the Faculty of World Studies at University of Tehran. In addition, he is the founder and the former CEO of Titan Inc. Alireza is an alumnus of Asia Pacific University and Staffordshire University Business School, graduated summa cum laude from Shahid Chamran University with a degree in Translation Studies, and pursued his postgraduate studies in International Law and British Studies at University of Tehran. Alireza actively advocates and rehabilitates people with spinal cord injury and cancer. Believing that better communication is the key to lowering health care costs and improving patient experience. It is worth noting that Alireza has collaborated with numerous academic publishers - notably Elsevier, Cambridge University Press, Canadian Center of Science & Education, SAGE Publications - and scholarly journals as an editorial board member and reviewer. By the same token, he is recognized as the Top Reviewer in Social Sciences by Publons and received the Sentinel of Science Award in 2016. Although Alireza’s focus is on social sciences, his research and studies include a broad range of topics in various disciplines. In addition to his contribution to the ‘culture of poverty’ and the ‘cycle of poverty’, Alireza’s research expertise includes interpersonal communication, political discourse, international relations, social medicine, and medical sociology. His latest work has been published in Science, International Affairs, Political Studies Review, European Political Science, and Spinal Cord.


What was your earliest ambition?
Albert Einstein said that: “anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” I truly intend to live a life without regrets and I am glad to say that I have not made a regrettable mistake in my career line. Nonetheless, we may learn more from mistakes than success.

What was the worst mistake in your career? 
Being too hard on myself. Not allowing myself to be human

Who is the person you would most like to thank and why? 
My mother always inspired and encouraged me.

What book should every healthcare provider read?
I highly recommend books on sympathy and patient needs. I would like to cite Sa’di’s poem that reads:
“All human beings are members of one frame,
Since all, at first, from the same essence came.
When time afflicts a limb with pain
The other limbs at rest cannot remain.
If thou feel not for other’s misery
A human being is no name for thee.”

What poem, song, or passage of prose would you like mourners to hear at your funeral?  
I have not thought about it; but perhaps, “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas or this Khayyam’s quatrain:

In childhood, we strove to go to school,
Our turn to teach, joyous as a rule
The end of the story is sad and cruel
From dust we came, and gone with winds cool.

Summarize your personality in three words.
Perceptive, Perfectionist, Philomath

How would you spend your favorite day?
The perfect day is when I have peace of mind and can arouse this feeling of contentment and joy within the others.

Where are you the happiest?
On vacation with my family.

October - Randall W. Porter, MD
Randall W. Porter, MD
Neurosurgeon
Barrow Neurological Institute
Chief, Interdisciplinary Skull Base Section
Phoenix, Arizona

Randall.porter@barrowbrainandspine.com 
 
Biography:
Dr. Randall Porter grew up in Barrington, Illinois where he attended high school. He received a BA in economics from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and completed medical school at Rush Medical College in Chicago. He knew he wanted to be a surgeon when he was a teenager. Realizing his dream, he completed his residency and fellowship at the Barrow Neurological Institute in 2000, training under the world-famous neurosurgeons Dr. Robert Spetzler and Dr. Volker Sonntag.  Dr. Porter has published over 75 peer-reviewed papers, over 30 chapters in major medical textbooks, and has spoken at more than 100 professional meetings throughout the country.  He was the associate editor of the Journal Skull Base Surgery, and has been invited to review numerous articles for the scientific literature. He was named a “Top Doc” by his peers in Phoenix Magazine seven times, and was selected as “professor of the year” twice by the neurosurgery residents at Barrow. Dr. Porter performed the first robotic radiosurgery treatment in Arizona using the CyberKnife, the first endoscopic microvascular decompression, and performed the first minimally invasive lateral interbody fusion. Dr. Porter serves on the board of Barrow Brain and Spine, and The Barrow Neurological Institute. Dr. Porter has a passion for healthcare innovation. He is the founder and chairman of the board of Medical Memory, a HIPAA-secure enterprise solution that provides video recordings of doctor-patient visits. Dr. Porter is an angel investor and was a founding member of Excelcius surgical, a company that developed one of the first robot for spine surgery. He is an investor in a number of other healthcare start-ups with a special interest in digital health.  He holds several patents that pertain to spinal surgical implants and has several others pending. Dr. Porter is the current team neurosurgeon to the Arizona Cardinals, and in the past, served as an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant for the NFL.  Most importantly, he always puts patients first. He delivers passionate care, video records all his visits, and offers a prayer before every surgery to those who are amenable. Dr. Porter is the current director of the Barrow Acoustic Neuroma Center.


What was your earliest ambition?
When I was a freshman in high school I knew I wanted to be a surgeon.

What was the worst mistake in your career? 
Being too hard on myself. Not allowing myself to be human

What was the best career move?
a. Becoming a neurosurgeon and teaching residents to be better doctors. 
b. Starting a company, The Medical Memory, recording my patients with video, and  ignoring the fact that my colleagues said I was exposing myself to risk. Recording helps my patients remember what I tell them, improves transparency, and improves doctor-patient communication. Even if it never becomes profitable, it was a worthy endeavor because I know each day patients experience healthcare like they never have before. 

Who is the person you would most like to thank and why?
My parents, they taught me how to be a hard-working, honest, compassionate human being, and my wife who always there to pick me up when I doubt myself.

What book should every healthcare provider read?
The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren

What poem, song, or passage of prose would you like mourners to hear at your funeral?  
a. Lucky man, by Montgomery Gentry
b. A doctor, like anyone else who has to deal with human beings, each of them unique, cannot be a scientist; he is either, like the surgeon, a craftsman, or, like the physician and the psychologist, an artist. This means that in order to be a good doctor a man must also have a good character, that is to say, whatever weaknesses and foibles he may have, he must love his fellow human beings in the concrete and desire their good before his own.  W. H. Auden, Physician 

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Golf, for sure. 

Summarize your personality in three words.
Compassionate, truthful, loving. 

How would you spend your favorite day?
Golf in the morning with my boys at Pebble Beach or The Old Course in Scotland, dinner with my wife and family overlooking Monterey Peninsula.  

Where are you the happiest?
After a successful but very challenging surgery knowing I made someone’s life better. 

September - Jamie Mitchell, PhD
Jamie Mitchell, PhD
The University of Michigan School of Social Work
Assistant Professor
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Mitchj@umich.edu  
 
Biography:
Jamie Mitchell is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at The University of Michigan. She also co-directs a Gender and Health Research Lab within the School of Social Work. A primary component of her research program focuses on identifying the underlying dynamics that shape the quality of communication and information exchange during older African American men’s medical visits with their oncologists and primary care providers. She is thoroughly invested in understanding the role that ineffective health communication plays in perpetuating low ratings of care, medical mistrust, poor medication adherence, and uninformed decision-making specifically for older African American men. She also examines the extent to which older African American men have access to and utilize the support of companions during medical visits to aid them in communicating with a health provider. Jamie is working to develop tools to support older African American men and their companions and caregivers in meeting their health care needs through engaged and effective communication with health care providers.


What was your earliest ambition?
To become a physician.

What was the worst mistake in your career? 
I’m not sure I’ve made it yet, thankfully.

What was the best career move?
Dedicating my research agenda to the health of African American men.

Who is the person you would most like to thank and why?
My colleague and friend, Dr. Daphne Watkins, associate professor of Social Work at the University of Michigan. Her mentorship and support has been invaluable to my early career trajectory.

What book should every healthcare provider read?
Whichever book inspires them to stay the course.

What poem, song, or passage of prose would you like mourners to hear at your funeral?  
Song: “I Was Here” (Beyoncé)

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Twitter

Summarize your personality in three words.
Strategic, Relatable, Generous  

How would you spend your favorite day?
An indulgent brunch, long sunny walk, playing with my dogs and cats, shopping, and laughing with friends.

Where are you the happiest?
Wherever I am making a difference for good.  

August 2017 - Andrew Clarke, MD, MEd
Andrew Clarke, MD, MEd
Physician Health Program, Doctors of BC
Executive Director
Vancouver, British Columbia


Biography:
While Andrew’s training is in occupational medicine, he has a passion for mental health.  In particular, he is fascinated by the way that workplace culture is sustained and reproduced by language, and how it can be changed by deliberate linguistic choices.  He teaches medical students as part of the professionalism curriculum at the University of BC, and also conducts an accredited series of workshops for practicing physicians on the topic of interpersonal communication.  He believes that expert practice of communication skills requires an examination of how we experience the world around us.  Conversely, learning communication skills deeply can affect our way of being, and our sense of joy. Andrew is an avid tennis player, and enjoys experimenting with neuroplasticity by learning to play the organ.

What was the worst mistake in your career?
My worst career mistakes have all been related to ignoring my true passions, and trying to do what I thought others wanted. 

What was the best career move?
Accepting my current job, returning to my home town.

Who is the person you would most like to thank and why?
My grandmother, Helen Parker. I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time with her as a child, but I never really understood what a true angel she was, and how much hardship she overcame, until I was an adult and she was gone.  I wish I could express to her directly my gratitude for her existence.

What book should every healthcare provider read?
1) On becoming a person, by Carl Rogers; and 2) Non-Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg, who was Carl Rogers’ grad student.

What poem, song, or passage of prose would you like mourners to hear at your funeral? 

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Long ago I gave up feeling guilty about anything pleasant.  But I do enjoy the occasional Budweiser, and I make no apologies for liking “ordinary” beer.

Where are you the happiest?
Fortunately, I’m happiest at home, on the beautiful Sunshine Coast of British Columbia.  I frequently wake up, look out at the ocean and the mountains, and wonder how I could possibly be so fortunate as to live here.
July 2017 - Mark David Noar, MD, MPH, FRCTM&H
Mark David Noar, MD, MPH, FRCTM&H
GI Micro Surgery Institute, PA
CEO, Director
Towson, Maryland
mnoar@gastro-doc.com


Biography:
Dr. Mark David Noar, is a Gastroenterologist and Therapeutic Endoscopist, who specializes in the advanced treatment and understanding of Digestive Diseases.  He completed his training in Gastroenterology at Downstate Medical Center/Brooklyn VA, in Brooklyn, New York.  His training in Therapeutic Endoscopy was under the direction of Dr. Nib Soehendra, at the University Hospital in Hamburg, Germany.  Dr. Noar practices in an academic-style, state-of-the-art, subspecialty private practice, GI Micro Surgery Institute dedicated to curing diseases that others only treat. Specializing in Digestive Diseases, with an emphasis on the treatment and non-surgical correction of GERD or reflux disease, and other advanced therapeutic techniques including correction of gastroparesis, hemorrhoids and fecal incontinence, the practice and the associated outpatient surgery center are both accredited by the AAAHC and Medicare, and as such are highly committed to quality and patient satisfaction in addition to providing the latest and most successful technology and treatment to patients. Even with the emphasis on progress and professionalism, the entire staff strives to give the utmost in care and concern to each patient and family member, while providing the personalized old fashioned comfort of a country doctor's office. Dr. Noar has numerous publications and presentations to his credit, as well as inventions in Medical Simulation, Endoscopic Biliary Instrumentation, and Electrogastrography.  Dr. Noar is especially known internationally for his research and work in the field of endoluminal treatment for GERD and fecal incontinence, and the motility abnormalities associated with GERD.

What was your earliest ambition?
To become a physician

What was the worst mistake in your career?
Not controlling time demands and taking on too many projects.

What was the best career move?
Opening a private practice and surgery center

Who is the person you would most like to thank and why?
Dr. Michael Sorrell and Dr. Vlado Simko, both of whom were my mentors and program directors, who taught me the value of compulsive attention to detail, compassion, and communications.

What book should every healthcare provider read?
The Secret Strength of Depression

What poem, song, or passage of prose would you like mourners to hear at your funeral?
Amazing Grace

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Chocolate

Summarize your personality in three words.
Compulsive, Compassionate and Selfless

How would you spend your favorite day?
Surrounded by friends and family in celebration of life’s experiences.

Where are you the happiest?
When I am with family, and with patients and colleagues, teaching and helping them to improve and understand disease.
June 2017 - Marla Clayman, PhD, MPH
Marla Clayman, PhD, MPH
American Institutes for Research
Senior Researcher
Chicago, Illinois

Biography:
Marla takes pride in her background in public health, and has been the Chair of both the Public Health Education and Health Promotion Section and the Health Communication Working Group of the American Public Health Association. She spent the 2015-2016 academic year working as a Fulbright Scholar in Norway.

What was your earliest ambition?
To be a professional violinist and marine biologist.

What was the best career move?
Marrying my husband. Seriously. Having a partner who understands and is supportive of your goals really matters. Your personal goals and your career goals may not always line up. He has crossed oceans and time zones for my career, and his support has allowed me to do my work in the ways that matter to me.

What book should every healthcare provider read?
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

What poem, song, or passage of prose would you like mourners to hear at your funeral?
"Many people need desperately to receive this message: 'I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.'" (Kurt Vonnegut, Timequake)

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Watching terrible television.

Summarize your personality in three words.
Stubborn, curious, consistent

How would you spend your favorite day?
Hiking, followed by a nap, a massage, and a novel.
May 2017 - Edwin Meresh, MD, MPH
Edwin Meresh, MD, MPH
Loyola University Medical Center
Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Maywood, IL
emeresh@lumc.edu 

Biography: Edwin Meresh is Associate Professor of Psychiatry on the faculty at Loyola University Medical Center. He received his medical degree from Stanley Medical College, Chennai, India, completed psychiatry residency at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital, NY and Psychosomatic Medicine fellowship at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago. His clinical background is in consultation psychiatry and he supervises residents and medical students during their hospital psychiatry rotation. Apart from teaching medical psychiatry, he is interested in residents and medical students exposed to patient centered care and team care. His research interest is in the area of psychosomatic syndromes. He is working on a project measuring pain in patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia and sleep apnea. 


What was your earliest ambition?
To become a doctor.

What was the best career move?
After my residency, accepted for fellowship Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago.

Who is the person you would most like to thank and why?
My mother, she has guided me very well and has encouraged me to be successful.  

How would you spend your favorite day?
Going to beach on a sunny day.

Where are you the happiest?
Spending time at home relaxing. Spending time with my family.
April 2017 - Melliza Young, MD
Melliza C. Young, MD 
Guam Regional Medical City
Lead Patient Educator
Dededo, Guam
Melliza.Young@GRMC.gu

Biography: Melliza C. Young was born and raised in the Philippines. She earned a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Santo Tomas and currently holds a Philippine physician’s license. For the past 10 years Melliza and her husband and daughter have made their home on the island of Guam, a U.S. Territory in the Western Pacific.  Melliza currently serves as the Lead Patient Educator at Guam Regional Medical City [GRMC], a 132 bed acute care hospital that opened its doors in July of 2015. She also serves as a member of GRMC’s Institutional Review Board [IRB]. Melliza oversees GRMC’s Patient Education Department.  In that role she conducts individual and group workshops on a wide variety of health issues for both in-patients and out-patients. However, the major focus of her educational efforts are on non-communicable diseases [NCDs] like diabetes, heart disease and stroke. The population served by GRMC is highly diverse and culturally rich. The number of NCD cases on Guam, and throughout Micronesia, has reached epidemic proportions. To serve the needs of this community Melliza has adopted a patient-centered, culturally-sensitive, collaborative and coordinated approach. She aims to improve her patient’s health literacy by empowering them with the knowledge and skills they need to manage their chronic conditions. Melliza has also worked with the GRMC staff, encouraging them to avoid medical jargon and use plain, easy to understand language in educational materials and in their conversations with patients and families. She has also worked with the island’s other two hospitals, Guam Memorial Hospital and Naval Hospital, to organize health literacy awareness campaigns throughout the community. The Guam Legislature recently recognized their efforts to improve patient education by adopting a Resolution commending all three hospitals during Health Literacy Awareness Month in October 2016. Melliza continues to advocate for a strong partnership between the private and public health sectors on Guam. She is an active member of the Data and Research Action Team of the Guam Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition and she is a candidate for Stanford’s CDSMP Master Trainer, sponsored by the Guam Public Health’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Program. Looking ahead, Melliza plans on developing, and directing, a sustainable patient education program on Guam that can be replicated on other Micronesian islands. She also looks forward to completing a primary care residency training program in the U.S.  in order to better serve the communities of Guam and Micronesia as a clinician. 

What was your earliest ambition?
To be a flight stewardess and travel freely around the world.

What was the best career move?
Relocating to Guam, which opened a lot of opportunities not just for myself but also for my family.


Who is the person you would most like to thank and why?
That’s my mother, for the unconditional love she had given me and my brothers and if not for it we would not be who we are right now

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Eating chips and drinking soda while watching my favorite movie at home.


How would you spend your favorite day?
Experiencing new adventures with my husband and daughter. 
March 2017 - Scott Sharot
Scott Sharot
University of New Mexico Medical School
Teaching assistant, simulated patient, remediation specialist
Albuquerque, New Mexico 
communicationremediations@gmail.com


Biography: Scott Sharot is a professional actor who discovered twenty years ago, that he could channel his acting skills into valuable role play opportunities for training law enforcement officers and first responders in Crisis Intervention and Crisis Negotiation Training. This led to a position as a simulated patient and teaching assistant at the University of New Mexico Medical School. Then under the tutelage of Dr. Peter Barnett, he began participating in communication remediation intensives with medical students and began using role play as a tool to help doctors remanded by their supervisors to improve their inter-collegial communication difficulties. These many years later, Scott has expanded this work by starting a consulting business to help clients including teachers, salesman, restaurant staffs and anyone dealing with difficult communication issues. He is thrilled to participate in ACH activities with such a remarkable group of communicators. 

What was the best career move?

Taking the skills learned after six years of training as an actor and using them to teach communication skills.

Who is the person you would most like to thank and why?
Dr. Peter Barnett for opening my eyes to the value of this work and for mentoring me in the skills of communication remediation.

What book should every healthcare provider read?
Motivational Interviewing by William Miller

What poem, song, or passage of prose would you like mourners to hear at your funeral?
John’s “Love Song” “The words I have to say:
May well be simple but they're true
Until you give your love
There's nothing more that we can do
Love is the opening door
Love is what we came here for
No one could offer you more
Do you know what I mean
Have your eyes really seen
You say it's very hard
To leave behind the life we knew
But there's no other way
And now it's really up to you
Love is the key we must turn
Truth is the flame we must burn
Freedom the lesson we must learn
Do you know what I mean
Have your eyes really seen”

Summarize your personality in three words.
Gregarious, Generous, Energetic

How would you spend your favorite day?
Let me recount one of my absolute favorite days: I spent the morning working with the kids in the garden at The Edible School Yard in Berkeley, then went down to San Gregorio Beach for a several hour walk along the Ocean; met my wife for an amazing dinner at Chez Panis; later was thrilled to see Trevor Pinnock conduct and play harpsichord in a performance of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos; and finally enjoyed gelato from Almare Gelato during a visit with friends on their roof garden while we watched the full moon, reflected behind the Golden Gate Bridge.   
Where are you the happiest?
This question is way too hard to narrow down to a short answer. I make sure my life is chocked full of happy activities, including work.
February 2017 - Delesha Carpenter, PhD, MSPH
Delesha Carpenter, PhD, MSPH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Assistant Professor
Asheville, NC 

Biography: Delesha Carpenter is an Assistant Professor on the Asheville campus of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Her clinical background is in respiratory therapy and she holds an MSPH and PhD in Health Behavior. Her main research interest centers on using mobile health (mHealth) technologies to improve disease self-management and patient-provider communication. She has developed a tailored video software program to improve the inhaler technique of children and adolescents with asthma. She is also in the process of developing an asthma self-management app for adolescents. Her other research interests include conflicting medication information and decreasing rural health disparities. 

What was your earliest ambition?
My earliest ambition was to be a teacher. I have the 3rd grade career day photo to prove it:)

What was the best career move?
Accepting a postdoctoral fellowship position at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Before that time, I never knew that there was a public health focus in Schools of Pharmacy. 

Who is the person you would most like to thank and why?
I’d like to thank my mother for supporting me unconditionally and encouraging me to do my best.

What book should every healthcare provider read?
Mountains Beyond Mountains by Paul Farmer

What poem, song, or passage of prose would you like mourners to hear at your funeral?
Rudy Can’t Fail by The Clash

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Live music. I spend way too much money going to concerts and music festivals.

Summarize your personality in three words.
humorous, inquisitive, creative

How would you spend your favorite day?
Hiking and kayaking near Tortuga Bay in The Galapagos 

Where are you the happiest?
Hiking in the mountains with my family.
January 2017 - Ticonna Purdle, MS, MSPH, APRN, FNP-BC, PCMH-CCE
Ticonna Purdle, MS, MSPH, APRN, FNP-BC, PCMH-CCE
UIC College of Nursing
PhD candidate
Chicago, IL 
ticonna@nursingspeaks.com

Biography: Ticonna Purdle is a Doctor of Philosophy candidate in nursing research at the University of Illinois Chicago.  She is a family nurse practitioner in an outpatient setting and has worked in the nursing profession for approximately 20 yrs. She is the founder of Nursing Speaks Incorporated, an American Heart Association CPR instructor, and a NCQA patient centered medical home content expert.  She has practiced in the long term, short term, and acute care settings; and has a passion for patient education and communication. She strives to live a happy life and provide the best care for her community, family and friends. 

What was your earliest ambition?
My earliest ambition was to be a doctor. I loved to help people and wanted to make a difference.

What was the best career move?
My best career move was becoming a registered nurse. The nursing profession is wonderful & life changing work; and has opened a lot of doors for me on my career path.

Who is the person you would most like to thank and why?
My mother, she has supported my goals and achievements and always gives me the best guidance and insight.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
My guiltiest pleasure is Chinese food! I would eat it for every meal if I could.

Summarize your personality in three words.
Loving, gentle, kind. 

How would you spend your favorite day?
I would spend my favorite day shopping! 
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