OUWB alumni are making their mark in medicine
Laura Ortiz on the job
After training at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, during her medical school years and completing her residency in emergency medicine at Indiana University, Laura Ortiz returned to Beaumont, Royal Oak, as a physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine.

Five classes have graduated from Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine — and the growing number of OUWB alumni are increasingly making their mark on the field of medicine across the country.

Information provided by alumni to OUWB officials shows grads continually find success in various ways, such as becoming chief residents, being appointed to fellowships and leadership positions, and earning various other types of accolades.

“The rate of success OUWB graduates are having when they continue with their residencies, fellowships, and careers is a true point of pride,” said Duane Mezwa, M.D., FACR, Stephan Sharf Interim Dean, OUWB, professor, Diagnostic Radiology and Molecular Medicine.

“It speaks to the quality of the curriculum, as well as the levels of caring and compassion on the part of OUWB faculty, staff, and students,” Mezwa said. “We’re proud of the accomplishments of our graduates, and look forward to OUWB’s continual and growing impact on the field of medicine.”

Fourteen OUWB graduates have attained chief resident or co-chief resident status.

Ashley Guthrie, Class of 2015, is among them.

After OUWB, she started her residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (ENT) at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai. (The program has since merged with the Otolaryngology program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.)

As a PGY-5, Guthrie attained chief resident status. Starting in July 2020, she is set to begin a Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery fellowship with Daniel Rousso, M.D., in Birmingham, Ala. (Thirteen OUWB graduates have started or will start fellowships.)

“I will be forever grateful for my experience at OUWB,” Guthrie said. “I am where I am today because of the amazing education and personal support I received there. I feel honored to have been part of the charter class, and I will cherish my memories from those four years for the rest of my life.”

Guthrie’s classmate, Laura Ortiz (Diffenderfer), found similar success.

After training at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, during her medical school years and completing her residency in emergency medicine at Indiana University, Ortiz returned to Beaumont, Royal Oak, as a physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine.

“It’s been wonderful being back where I started my medical career,” Ortiz said. “I’ve grown a lot in my practice of emergency medicine including understanding how the Beaumont Health system works. I’ve had the opportunity to work with the medical students while they rotate through the Emergency Department which has been a little surreal as I remember being in their shoes when I was at OUWB.”

More recent grads also are finding success as they continue in medicine post-OUWB.

Megan Cheslock, Class of 2018, was recently named Intern of the Year at Naples Community Hospital.

Megan Cheslock Intern of Year“Earning this award means a lot to me because I was chosen based on votes from my co-residents and the physicians and medical staff with which we work,” Cheslock said. “Intern year was challenging in many ways, and I certainly didn't feel like a top intern most days. Knowing that others recognize and respect me as a physician is humbling and worth the work it has taken to be where I am today.”

Cheslock will be at Naples Community Hospital for at least two more years and plans to pursue a fellowship in geriatric medicine, potentially a combined fellowship in medical education, palliative care, or research.

“I'm glad I chose OUWB because it prepared me well for the internship,” Cheslock said. “In particular, the communication skills training we received through the Clinical Skills Center was excellent, and I use it every day with patients and colleagues.”

Here’s a rundown of additional alumni accomplishments, starting with OUWB graduates who have recently held chief residency positions:

  • Brandon Luczak, 2015, co-chief resident, Orthopaedic Surgery, Beaumont Health
  • Sarah Sefcovic, 2015, chief resident, Internal Medicine-Pediatrics, Anthony Hospital
  • James David, 2016, chief resident, Ophthalmology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
  • Amanda Mann (nee Stahl), 2016, chief resident, Emergency Medicine, Henry Ford – Detroit
  • Woodrow (Woody) Sams, 2016, chief resident, Emergency Medicine, University of Michigan
  • Kelsey Satkowiak, 2016, chief resident, Neurology, University of Virginia Health System
  • Joe Vercellone, 2016, chief resident, Internal Medicine, Beaumont Health
  • Raymond Yeow, 2016, chief medical resident, Internal Medicine, University of Michigan
  • Deirdre Bartlett, 2017, and Jenna Millstead, 2017, co-chief residents, Pediatrics, Helen Devos Children’s Hospital (2020-21)
  • Julia Orlovskaia, 2017, chief resident, psychiatry, Henry Ford Hospital
  • Aaron Goldberg, 2017, chief resident, pediatrics, University of California Irvine - Children's Hospital of Orange County
  • Julie Blossom-Hartley, 2017, chief resident, Family Medicine, Brown Medical School
  • Mark Kauth, 2017, chief resident (2020-21), Internal Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Eric Raynal, 2017, chief resident, Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Jeanne Wigant, 2017, chief resident, Family Medicine, McKay-Dee Hospital Center
  • Austen Knapp, 2018, co-chief tesident in transitional year, Oakwood Hospital

OUWB graduates who have recently held or been appointed to fellowships include:

  • Michael Bonnette, 2015, Pain Management fellowship, University of Michigan
  • Christopher Jaeger, 2015, Pediatric Urology fellowship, Boston Children's Hospital
  • Kimberly Lemkin, 2015, Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry fellowship, Cambridge Health Alliance (2019/20)
  • Nickolas Linkous, 2015, Orthopaedic Sports Medicine fellowship, University of Chicago (2020/21)
  • Joshua McCarron, 2015, currently in the U.S. Air Force; Gastroenterology fellowship at Naval Medical Center San Diego (July 2018)
  • Lauren Mecca, 2015, Forensic Pathology fellowship, New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner
  • Sara Singer, 2015, Hematology and Medical Oncology fellowship, Ohio State University (July 2018); inducted into "Courage to Teach,” a group that recognizes faculty committed to education at OSU
  • Anne Spina (Wagner), 2015, Forensic Psychiatry fellowship, University of Michigan
  • Cara Toretta, 2015, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellowship, Yale Hospital
  • Adam Weiner, 2015, Vitreoretinal Surgery fellowship, UCLA
  • Stephanie Campbell, 2016, Genetics fellowship, Detroit Medical Center
  • Verity Ramirez, 2016, Cardiology fellowship, University of Connecticut/Hartford Hospital
  • Kelsey Satkowiak, 2016, Neuromuscular fellowship, Virginia Commonwealth University

Additional recent appointments and/or accolades have been awarded to:

  • Jonathan Goike, 2015, appointed faculty at OSU, starting September 2019
  • Nichole McCaffrey, 2016, accepted a faculty position at Northwestern University to be a pediatric hospitalist; currently pursuing a master’s degree in education to focus on medical student education and curriculum development
  • Julie Blossom-Hartley, 2017, resident teacher award from Brown University medical students
  • Renee Cholyway, 2017, awarded Intern of the Year from the Department of Surgery at Virginia Commonwealth University; recently began two years of research into heart transplantation from donation after circulatory-determined death donors (DCDD)
  • Florence Doo, 2017, elected hospital delegate for Mount Sinai West CIR Union (Committee of Intern and Residents)
  • Robert Petrossian, 2017, presented research at Illinois Urological Society and won first place; won second place for clinical research at Chicago Urologic Society
  • Alexa (Lexi) Shepherd, 2017, awarded the Louis E. Zeile Outstanding Junior Resident in Obstetrics and Gynecology Award from Covenant Healthcare Foundation
  • Lauren Singer, 2017, elected the president of the Rush Housetaff Association (student government for all residents and fellows at Rush University Medical Center)
  • Theresa Timm (Yankovich), 2017, managed pediatric ward in a rural Togolese hospital in west Africa through residency program at St. Louis Children’s Hospital
  • Kyle Eaton, 2018, set to begin training as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Navy in Pensacola, Fla. This is an intentional pause on his residency to provide primary care to naval aviators and flight crews for three years. 
  • Johnathon Recknagel, 2018, chosen for the "Golden Tarheel" award by the University of North Carolina medical students for excellence in residence teaching
  • Chanteil Ulatowski, 2018, promoted to second year junior Emergency Medicine resident, University of Florida College of Medicine-Shands Hospital; served as an EMRA representative