Class of 2018
- Heshani Abeysundara, MD
- Ivy Akid, MD
- Ishaan Arora, MD
- Kristen Baker, MD
- Jessica Castaneira, MD
- Dairo Castillo, MD
- Ericka Mapp, MD
- Meredith M. Maxwell, MD
- Gayatri Patel, MD
- John Turner, MD
Class of 2019
- Daniel Bernabe, MD
- Claras Ellis, MD
- Sue Ellen Griffith, MD
- Holly Klopfenstein, MD
- Nakeisha Otto-Stewart, MD
- Robert Solomon, Jr, MD
- Dave Stewart, MD
- Mary Jane Tucker, MD
- Alex Vanderby, MD
- Rachel Vanderby, MD
- Kayleigh Ann Wright, MD
Class of 2020
- Maria Andrews, MD
- Wade Baggs, MD
- Romaine Barrett, MD
- Tristan Brooks, DO
- Alexandra Nevett Fernandez, MD
- Ryan Hill, MD
- Zalika Paul, MD
- Jennifer Sanderson-Smith, MD
- Ryan Sanderson-Smith, MD
- Alicia Ward, MD
Class of 2018
Heshani Abeysundara, MD
Heshani Abeysundara, MD, was born in Sri Lanka and grew up in Abu Dhabi, UAE. At age 15, she moved to Toronto with her family. Four years later she moved to Edmonton and completed her undergraduate studies in Honors Cell Biology at the University of Alberta. Medical school took her to St. Maarten and New York; and she received her medical degree from the American University of the Caribbean (AUC) School of Medicine in December 2014. During her time at AUC, Dr. Abeysundara was listed in the Dean’s Honor Roll, received the Excellence Scholarship throughout her medical education and became a member of the Alpha Omega Phi Honor and Service Society. While at AUC, she volunteered with the Breast Cancer and St. Maarten AIDS Foundation and served as an Anatomy Teaching Assistant.
Dr. Abeysundara’s interest in family medicine continued to grow during the clinical rotations as she saw the importance of preventive medicine and the continuity of care this diverse field has to offer. She is excited to start her training in Tallahassee Memorial and hopes to acquire the many skills and knowledge to serve the community as a competent and compassionate physician. During her spare time, she enjoys listening to music, watching comedies, spending time with friends and exploring new places.
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Ivy Akid, MD
Raised in New York City, Ivy Akid, MD, has a passion for helping others from various backgrounds. At age seven, she united her class by creating the club, “Books Bridging Borders.” Throughout the years she has held diverse jobs, everything from tutoring and waitressing, to working for an engineering firm. Her ambitions led her to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry at George Washington University. Later she received her MD from Ross University School of Medicine. Furthermore, she continued to pursue a degree in Masters of Public Health at Dartmouth University. Various research projects she’s involved in include studying the side-effects of the colorectal chemotherapeutic agent irinotecan, testing and detection of H1N1 Influenza during the swine flu epidemic and looking at in-hospital cardiac arrests in non-monitored units and factors that affect the time for defibrillation in those units. Dr. Akid is looking forward to working at Tallahassee Memorial.
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Ishaan Arora, MD
Throughout his childhood, Ishaan Arora, MD, grew up in various cities across India and England. In 2007, he moved to Canada to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Life Sciences from the University of Toronto. After graduating in 2011, he joined Saba University School of Medicine and completed his medical schooling in 2015. During medical school, he had the opportunity to complete some of his clinical rotations in Florida and he fell in love with the state.
Dr. Arora was inspired to join the medical field by his family doctor and was determined to specialize in Family Medicine. He has a special interest in Preventative Medicine and Emergency Medicine. After interviewing at Tallahassee Memorial, he was certain he would achieve the required training to excel in his field of interest. In his spare time Dr. Arora likes to travel, cook, experiment with exotic foods and spend quality time with his family. His fiancé is currently completing her final year at a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program in Canada and hopes to join him in 2016 in Florida.
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Kristen Baker, MD
A true North Floridian, Dr. Baker was born and raised in Blountstown, FL. Always eager to help others and to know how to "fix stuff," the decision to practice medicine came naturally. She attended Florida State University and earned a B.S. in Exercise Science. With a strong desire for exposure to international healthcare and its associated disease epidemiology, she attended American University of the Caribbean in St. Maarten. She was then granted the opportunity to carry out a year of her clinical training in England. With a strong interest in the diversity of Family Medicine, she was delighted to become a part of the TMH family with its well-rounded program and continuous exposure to rural medicine.
As an outdoor enthusiast, Kristen enjoys running, mountain-biking, hiking, fishing, water- skiing and scuba-diving. She also enjoys spending time with her family and friends and the simple goodness of home-cooked meals.
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Jessica Castaneira , MD
Jessica Castaneira, MD, was born in Matanzas, Cuba, she migrated to the U.S. at the early age of seven through the Guantanamo Bay Exodus. She grew up in a loving family, who risked their lives to bring her to America. She states, “These life experiences have taught me to appreciate the priceless gift my parents gave me, the opportunity to grow up in a country of infinite opportunities, where you are the only obstacle to your success.”
Dr. Castaneira had a special connection with her grandfather. It was with him she experienced her first real encounter with medicine, as she became his informal caregiver when he fell ill. Her love for him and her ability to take care of him made her realize she would want to instill that same compassion onto her patients one day.
She received a Bachelor of Science in Biology at Florida International University where she had the opportunity to partake on a service trip to Haiti as part of the International Health Connection organization. There she got a chance to reconnect with an underserved community; similar to the one she grew up in.
Dr. Castaneira received her medical degree at American University of the Caribbean in St. Maarten alongside her husband, Dairo Castillo, MD. Today, Dr. Castaneira is excited to start a career in Family Medicine, where she will act not only as a clinician and confidant but also as an advocate for health prevention and an educator.
During her free time, Dr. Castaneira enjoys spending time with her family, friends and her cat, Luna. She is also passionate about traveling, movies and salsa dancing. She is happy to join the Tallahassee Memorial family and begin this new journey with her husband.
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Dairo Castillo, MD
Dario Castillo, MD, a native of La Habana, Cuba, migrated to the U.S. at the age of 16, to Miami. Having spent his youth in a country of poverty and being witness to the many struggles his parents had to face as immigrants, he grew up determined to achieve his dream of becoming a doctor. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at Florida International University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. There he joined the International Health Connection organization and participated in a medical mission trip to the rural slums of Haiti. This eye-opening experience played a pivotal role in his medical career that reinforced his desires to become a physician and contribute to the healthcare conditions people are facing all over the world.
Dr. Castillo earned his medical degree at American University of the Caribbean alongside his wife, Jessica Castaneira, MD. During his clinical clerkships he realized the importance of prevention and primary care. Taking pleasure in being able to care for the underserved population, he finds a great sense of fulfillment. He states, “I look forward to being present throughout a patient’s life, sharing their moments of joy, hardship and accomplishment.”
In his spare time, Dr. Castillo is a sports fanatic, he especially enjoys basketball, weightlifting and spending time with his wife, family and friends. Today, he is excited to initiate this new chapter of his life as a physician at Tallahassee.
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Ericka Mapp, MD
Ericka Mapp, MD, completed her pre-medical education with a Bachelor of Science and Magna Cum Laude from Howard University in Washington. She is also has Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the University of the West Indies. Her one-year internship training was undertaken at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados, where she gained valuable experience in the fields of Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology.
After her internship, Dr. Mapp served as a Senior House Officer with the department of Hematology at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados. Her duties included diagnosis and management of benign and malignant hematological disease, however it was during her tenure that her love for the holistic care of patients blossomed. Later, her job as a Clinical Officer of Health with the Ministry of Health is where she worked at various clinics throughout the island sealed her fate as a hopeful family physician.
Dr. Mapp is excited about the field of Family Medicine, its scope and the opportunity for strong relationships with patients and their families. She is equally as excited about starting her residency training at Tallahassee Memorial. Outside of medicine, she enjoys traveling, reading, volunteering and time spent with her supportive family.
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Meredith M. Maxwell, MD
Born and raised in New Jersey, Meredith Maxwell, MD, came to the south in 2003 to attend Emory University in Atlanta. As an undergraduate, she double-majored in Psychology and Asian studies, which included a semester in India for a Tibetan Studies Program and neuroscience research in Emory’s Bird Brain Lab. She graduated in 2007 with highest honors and published her research in the peer-reviewed journal, Brain Research. Dr. Maxwell’s fascination with the connection between mind and body led her to medicine. She completed a post-baccalaureate pre-medical program at Agnes Scott College in 2009 and graduated as part of the inaugural class of the Georgia Regents University, University of Georgia Medical Partnership in 2014. Dr. Maxwell loves the comprehensive nature of Family Medicine and is excited to be joining the talented team at Tallahassee Memorial.
Special interests include integrative medicine, palliative care, hospice and women’s health. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband John, her toddler Caroline and her mutt, Bunny. She also enjoys scuba diving and the outdoors.
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Gayatri Patel, MD
Gayatri Patel, MD, and her family were relocated to Canada from India when she was 12. She completed her Bachelors degree in Biomedical Sciences at Brock University in Canada. To pursue her passion for medicine, she embarked to Grand Cayman Islands for medical education and she successfully graduated from St. Matthew's University. Dr. Patel was so impressed with Tallahassee Memorial while she was participating her Family Medicine rotation, that she decided to come back for residency training. In her spare time Dr. Patel enjoys cooking, music, traveling and most of all spending time with family and friends.
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John Turner, MD
A Tallahassee native, John Turner, MD, graduated from Lincoln High School where he earned several accolades while competing at the International Science and Engineering Fair for three straight years. As an undergraduate, he served as one of the first two co-presidents of the Honors Medical Scholars Society and was very involved in campus ministry. Dr. Turner graduated from Florida State University in 2011 with double degrees in Geography and Environmental Studies and a minor in Chemistry. While in medical school, he served in leadership positions with the Internal Medicine and Sports Medicine interest groups and was active with the Christian Medical Association and Family Medicine Interest Group. Ultimately he was drawn to Family Medicine because of its patient-centered culture and focus on general practice. Dr. Turner graduated from the Florida State University College of Medicine in 2015.
Outside of medicine, Dr. Turner has a broad spectrum of interests including playing the piano, painting, train travel, watching high school and college sports. His favorite thing to do is to spend time with his wife Rachel. He is excited to continue his medical training at Tallahassee Memorial and reach his dream of becoming a caring, compassionate family physician.
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Class of 2019
Daniel Bernabe, MD
Born in Germany and raised in New Jersey, Danny moved to the small town of Bonifay, FL in 2004. He attended Chipola College and Florida State University and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Biological Sciences. While at FSU, Danny was active in several pre-medical organizations including MAPS and USSTRIDE serving as the public relations officer and co-coordinator, respectively. Danny completed a master's program in Biomedical Sciences through the FSU Bridge to Clinical Medicine Program where he helped develop the Dementia Caregiver Problem Inventory (DCPI). He then matriculated into the FSU College of Medicine as a member of the class of 2016 where he served as the Pensacola Regional Campus Vice President. Danny has always enjoyed the science surrounding medicine, but fell in love with family medicine after experiencing the variety and longitudinal patient care that family medicine has to offer.
In his spare time, Danny enjoys cooking, photography, basketball, FSU football, mixed martial arts and paintball. He also loves spending time with his wife, Brenna, of three years. Together, they have a son, Isaac, and a little dog named Leo. His special interests include adolescent medicine and sports medicine. Danny is excited to be returning to the Tallahassee area in which his family considers home. He is looking forward to joining the TMH family and creating a long relationship with the surrounding community.
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Claras Ellis, MD
Dr. Ellis was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and immigrated to south Florida at the age of 8. She attended Florida State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science and a Master of Science degree in Biomedical Science. She went on to earn her Doctor of Medicine degree at Florida State University College of Medicine. She is a Florida State University Seminole through and through!
Claras’ career focus is on underserved populations, health education and women’s health. She hopes to empower her patients to take an active role in their healthcare and help to address health disparities within the community. Claras also envisions herself serving abroad through medical mission work, especially in her birth country of Haiti, where she can use her understanding of the culture and language to provide patient education and general medical care. Her personal goal is to be a mentor because as a first generation college student she experienced the value of mentorship first-hand.
During her free time Claras enjoys FSU football, watching movies, exercising, playing sports and outdoor adventures.
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Sue Ellen Griffith, MD
Completing a Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of West Indies on her home campus in Barbados, Dr. Griffith pursued her Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery. Following graduation she worked in Community Health Centers, where she enjoyed managing various cases and age groups, particularly with HIV/AIDS care. Pursuing her interest in expanding her skills she returned to the Pediatric Department in the hospital setting, confirming her interest in working with children.
Furthering her interest in expanding her knowledge and skills, she was able to complete 3 year training in the Department of Psychiatry. Managing patients from all age groups, many with other medical conditions reminded her of an ongoing passion for holistic care. A career in Family Medicine was the perfect next step for her and has brought her to the TMH Family Medicine Residency program.
As an island girl, Sue-Ellen cherishes being at the beach and touring Barbados, photographing the sights presented. Cooking and relaxing with a good book are other major interests. Dr. Griffith enjoys her family time and is grateful for their support given to her over the years that has allowed her to pursue her passion for medicine.
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Holly Klopfenstein, MD
A lifelong Floridian, Dr. Klopfenstein spent her childhood in the town of Oviedo, FL and went on to study at the University of Florida in 2006. It was there that she discovered her passion for medicine and science and graduated cum laude with a degree in Chemistry in 2010. During her time at Florida State University College of Medicine, she developed special interests in the fields of mental health, women’s health and adolescent medicine. She looks forward to a career in family medicine for its opportunities to care for a diverse patient population and to develop lasting relationships with patients and their families.
From an early age, Dr. Klopfenstein has been an avid reader, and in her spare time loves to read everything from modernist literature to mystery novels. She also enjoys attending concerts by her favorite rock bands, and stand-up comedy performances with friends and family.
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Nakeisha Otto-Stewart, MD
As long as she can remember, Nakeisha has always wanted to be a physician. It didn't take too long after starting medical school to realize she had a passion for primary care and public health. After graduation from the University of the West Indies, she worked as a general practitioner in both government-run free clinics and private practices. She later trained in Medical Microbiology. She is excited about the opportunity to train in Family Medicine at the Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare. A native Jamaican, Nakeisha enjoys reading a good book, sampling various cuisines and spending time with family and friends. She is married and has two beautiful daughters.
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Robert Solomon, Jr, MD
A lifelong Floridian, Dr. Robert Solomon Jr. was born and raised in the great city of Jacksonville, Florida. Robert attended Florida State University for all aspects of his professional education. He graduated from Florida State University with a Doctor of Medicine degree, Master of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences and Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science. A mentoring physician’s inspiring speech about his profession sparked Robert’s interest to go into a medical career. Through leadership and volunteer roles in various health and community service organizations, Robert expanded his scope of medicine and medical ambitions including his drive to work in underserved communities. Moreover, throughout his preclinical and clinical years Robert was very active working in communities within Leon County and Gadsden County. Also, while earning his medical degree Robert completed a blood pressure study on home monitoring in underserved populations at the Neighborhood Medical Center of Tallahassee. Out of all his experiences, the most influential experience that compelled Robert to become a physician was being a caregiver for his grandmother prior to her passing. Today, Robert strives to be a family medicine physician and is passionate about incorporating preventative care and patient-centered care into his practice to help others like his grandmother. Like many of his colleagues Robert feels it is a privilege to be part of such a prestigious and well-rounded program at TMH. Furthermore, he is very grateful to be receiving exemplary training and is making efforts to contribute to the facets that make TMH great.
Personally, Dr. Solomon has a friendly, fun and down-to-earth persona. He is very family-oriented and enjoys spending time with his wife, family and friends. During his spare time Robert enjoys working with computers and technology, attending church, being a movie buff and participating in various sports activities.
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Dave Stewart, MD
From Kingston, Jamaica, Dave fulfilled his lifelong dream of becoming a doctor at the University of the West Indies. Medicine for him is more than a job, for him it is a calling, a ministry to his patients. While he enjoys a variety of specialty areas which makes Family Medicine an ideal fit, Dr. Stewart has a love for radiology which he studied while in Jamaica.
When not at work Dave enjoys music and is both a trumpeter and a singer. He also enjoys playing table tennis and is always on the lookout for a challenging opponent. He enjoys spending time with his wife and 2 daughters.
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Mary Jane Tucker, MD
Mary Jane Tucker, M.D. is a Florida native. She was raised in Crawfordville, Fl just outside of Tallahassee. Dr. Tucker graduated from Wakulla High School before attending Florida State University for her undergraduate and medical degrees. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science at FSU. During her time at Florida State University College of Medicine, Dr. Tucker reaffirmed her interest in primary care. Her diverse interests in medicine as well as the patient-centered focus attracted her to family medicine. Dr. Tucker is also interested in global health and has traveled to Jamaica and Nicaragua on service learning trips with FSU. She enjoys horseback riding, running, yoga and sailing. Dr. Tucker is excited about continuing her medical education at Tallahassee Memorial, close to her family.
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Alex Vanderby, MD
Dr. Alex Vanderby grew up in Melbourne Florida and is extremely proud to be from the Space Coast. He graduated from Florida State with a degree in Biology with an emphasis on evolution and ecology. After graduation he spent several years traveling and working in environmental restoration and trail building for the National Park Service and the U.S. Forestry Service. He then decided to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a physician at the American University of the Caribbean on St. Maarten. There he met his wife Rachel and they were able to travel and study alongside each other in London, Miami and New York City.
Dr. Vanderby was fortunate enough to complete his Family Medicine rotation at TMH where he felt incredibly supported and at home. He and Rachel were able to couples match into residency here in Tallahassee. When not in the hospital or clinic Alex likes to spend his free time filling his passport, running, spending time outside, hiking, fishing, scalloping, cycling, grilling and hanging out with friends.
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Rachel Vanderby, MD
Rachel grew up in the beautiful city of Santa Barbara, California drenched in sun and near perfect weather 365 days a year. Her youth was spent hiking the mountains and swimming in the Pacific. There she graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara with a degree in Physiology and continued her education at the American University of the Caribbean in St. Maarten. While on the island, she met her husband Dr. Alex Vanderby, became a certified dive master, was active in service projects and earned a position in the Honor Society. She and her husband Alex were happy to travel to London for their third year of clinical training and together published four posters at the World Congress for Maternal Fetal Medicine in Crete, Greece. Upon returning to the states they completed their clinical training in Miami, New York and California. Rachel decided to pursue family medicine because of its broad scope of practice and the impact she can have on long-term patients. Rachel chose TMH because of the strong reputation of the program, the engaging and supportive staff and the chance to be near family and friends.
Rachel likes to spend time with her husband cooking together, being outside, riding her bike, traveling and growing a new life here in Tallahassee.
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Kayleigh Ann Wright, MD
Born and raised in England, as a teenager Kayleigh moved to Houston, Texas. Kayleigh wanted to be a doctor from a young age, ever since an inspiring career day at school. To achieve this dream, she went to Norwich Medical School in England. Although studying a long way from home, she enjoyed and was successful at medical school and graduated in 2011.
After graduating from Norwich Medical School, Kayleigh then completed two years post graduate training in the UK. During this time she gained valuable experience in surgery, medicine, palliative care, obstetrics and pediatrics. This wide variety of experience helped solidify her interest in holistic care and shaped her desire to become a family physician.
Outside of medicine Kayleigh is a very active person, enjoying a large variety of outdoor activities. Some of her favorite things to do are sailing, swimming, playing rugby and having new experiences.
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Class of 2020
Maria Andrews, MD
Born right here at TMH, Dr. Andrews is proud to be coming home to Tallahassee for her residency training. She is an alumna of Chiles High School (where she met her husband) and of Stetson University (DeLand, FL), where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Integrative Health Science. After her undergraduate years, Maria moved to the UK for a Master of Science in Medical Anthropology from the University of Oxford, studying the social aspects of illness and the treatment of disease.
Upon completion, she relocated from the UK to North Carolina to earn her MD at the Duke University School of Medicine (Durham, NC). Dr. Andrews was one of 8 students in her class to be chosen to participate in the Primary Care Leadership Track, and was elected into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society in recognition of her academic success and contributions to the school of medicine and the wider community. At Duke and in Durham, Dr. Andrews reaffirmed her passion of working with families and their communities to achieve and maintain health and wellness.
While there, she carried out research in the areas of health disparities, provider burnout, and community-based interventions for childhood obesity, and earned a Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
In true Italian fashion, Maria loves to cook, to make people laugh, and to facilitate and take part in meaningful fellowship. She grew up playing soccer; ran Cross Country and pole vaulted in high school and college; and continues to do her best to stay active through running, yoga, and triathlons. She finds great joy when she is able to combine her interests (science, exercise, and nutrition, for example) in outdoor activities such as hiking or gardening, especially when shared with family and friends.
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Wade Baggs, MD
Growing up in the panhandle and developing a love for the coast, Dr. Baggs considers himself a true Floridian. During his undergraduate studies at Florida State University, his passion for medicine came to life when he was chosen to serve on a medical mission trip to Jamaica. The experience opened his eyes to the unique privilege of taking care of people, and he returned on several trips to Jamaica and Haiti. Dr. Baggs was active in Alpha Epsilon Delta pre-medical honor society, CRU campus ministry, and The Rifle Association at FSU. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, he began medical school at The Florida State University College of Medicine. He served as the service chair for Christian Medical Association for two years. He did his clinical rotations at the Pensacola regional campus where he developed his interest in general practice, appreciation for preventative medicine, and love for the physician-patient partnership. Combined with enthusiasm about global health and medical missions, Dr. Baggs feels strongly that choosing Family Medicine was a fantastic choice.
Family Medicine was also a personal decision for him. Growing up, Dr. Baggs looked up to his father who was not only his hero but a physician. Sadly, his father, Wade H. Baggs III M.D., was diagnosed with stage IV cancer and passed away in 2016. Through this experience, Dr. Baggs began to view the practice of medicine through a different lens. He learned much about terminal illness, hospice, death, and grief through patients’ perspectives and the impact it has on families. As he continues his practice, it is these experiences that define his identity as a doctor and the empathy he has for his patients.
When away from the clinic, you’ll probably find Dr. Baggs spending time with his loving wife Courtney, fishing from his kayak, playing music, serving at church, or traveling.
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Romaine Barrett, MD
Dr. Romaine Barrett was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. He attended The University of the West Indies - Faculty of Medical Sciences. Dr. Barrett attained two honors degree; Basic Medical Sciences and Bachelor of Surgery, Bachelor of Medicine (M.B.B.S.). He graduated in November 2013 and completed my internship at Victoria Hospital in Castries, St. Lucia. He then spent two additional years working in the ER at Victoria Hospital.
His non-academic interests include: console gaming and running - at times he would run 8 km (5miles) in the morning before work.
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Tristan Brooks, DO
A native of the panhandle, Dr. Brooks is thrilled to be back in her home state. Born and raised in Pensacola, she attended Salem College in North Carolina for her undergraduate dual degrees in English and International Relations. She then moved to Da Nang, Vietnam, where she volunteered in a hospital and taught English as a Second Language to all ages. After Vietnam, Tristan returned home to teach middle then high school in Escambia County while obtaining her Masters of Science in Administration with Health Care Specialization from the University of West Florida. Dr. Brooks moved to South Carolina in 2013 to attend the VCOM-Carolinas Campus for medical school, where she served as Class President, was involved in free clinic and Hispanic community outreach programs, and participated in mission trips to El Salvador and Honduras. Her passions include women's health, pediatrics, clinic procedures, non-pharmacological interventions in common chronic disease states, and mental health, and thus the variety that Family Medicine affords made it a perfect match for her!
As a D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine), Dr. Brooks received additional medical training that focused on holistic (mind, body, spirit) medicine as well as an extra 200 hours in musculoskeletal medicine. In her spare time, Dr. Brooks loves to play the guitar and sing, get outside, and cook. She also loves to make playlists and prides herself on knowing the lyrics to most any song! Excited and humbled to be a part of the TMH family, Dr. Brooks hopes one day to go back and serve the Northwest Florida community that did so much to invest in her!
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Alexandra Nevett Fernandez, MD
Alexandra was born and raised in Venezuela. From a young age she wanted to become a physician. She is proud to say she graduated medical school at Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas in 2010. After graduating she served as a general practitioner in an underserved community, where she discovered her love to serve others with a holistic approach.
A few years later, due to the difficult political, social and economical situation going on in Venezuela, Alexandra and her husband moved to Boston, where she had the opportunity to work in clinical research while completing the steps needed to apply and become a resident in the united States.
After coming to Tallahassee for the first time, Alexandra and her husband immediately loved the friendly environment of the city and the people living in it, and decided they wanted to raise their family here, while becoming a family physician.
In her free time she loves spending time with her two kids taking them to the park, and doing outdoor activities like riding her bike.
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Ryan Hill, MD
Although born in Blytheville, AR, Dr. Hill and his family have lived in a number of places around the US and abroad before settling down in his transplant hometown of Niceville, FL. Dr. Hill’s aspirations of medicine were a combination of things that included his love for science and passion for working with people. He also had a strong desire to work with rural communities and thought that Florida State University’s mission statement to serving the undeserved fit his goals well. He chose to attend FSU for his Bachelor’s in Biology with the intent of attending FSU’s College of Medicine. He met his wife, Jessica, during that time who also had aspirations of being a physician. After being accepted to FSU CoM, Ryan had the best month of his life in May of 2013 when he graduated with his undergraduate degree, married and honeymooned with the love of his life, and started medical school within 4 weeks of another. Both Jessica and he graduated from Florida State University College of Medicine in 2017, with albeit different goals: Jessica being accepted into a preliminary position with the FSU Surgery Program at TMH in Tallahassee, FL and Ryan being honored to join TMH Family Practice Residency to pursue family medicine. They both share a passion for global health, taking a trip to Nicaragua in December of 2016, and hope to continue their goals of treating and helping people across the globe. In the future, they hope to practice near their hometowns in rural Florida and start a family.
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Zalika Paul, MD
Dr. Zalika Paul hails from the beautiful island of St. Lucia located in the Eastern Caribbean archipelago. As the last of three children in a sporting family she developed a competitive spirit from an early age. This has propelled her to excel not only in academic, but also extra-curricular endeavors.
In 2013 Dr. Paul graduated, with honors, from the University of the West Indies, Mona campus in Jamaica and became the first doctor in her family for the last three decades. Since graduation she completed her internship at the Victoria Hospital in St. Lucia and then went on to work in the Emergency Departments of both public and private hospitals in St. Lucia. Dr. Paul has developed a passion for primary care and is excited to continue growing in this field here at the Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare Family Medicine Residency.
Dr. Paul’s other passion is sports. She have represented my country in the sports of netball, volleyball and swimming over the years. Now she still enjoys many sports recreationally. Her favorite place to relax is anywhere near the sea. She enjoys simply being at the beach, sailing on the open waters or participating in any form of water sports.
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Jennifer Sanderson-Smith, MD
Jennifer grew up in Southern Florida, where she was lucky enough to spend most of her time surfing and sailing to the Bahamas with her family. She studied Molecular Biology at Montclair State University, and then worked for 5 years at an outpatient surgical center in New Jersey. She then attended medical school at St. George's University in Grenada, the Caribbean. While there, she also completed her Master's in Public Health and met her husband, Ryan (also a resident here at TMH). They spent many a day in the Caribbean snorkelling and hiking, before doing clinical rotations together in the UK and USA. They have twins, Kai and Lexi, who keep them busy and sleep deprived.
Outside of medicine she enjoys going on quirky adventures with her husband and family such as surfing in Costa Rica, avoiding baboons while hiking in South Africa, sleeping in a tent in the deserts of Namibia on honeymoon, and even being convinced to voyage on the deck of a cargo ship on an overnight trip to Trinidad! Jennifer loves cooking, staying fit and active, and is constantly crafting something for her kids.
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Ryan Sanderson-Smith, MD
Ryan grew up on the Garden Route coast of South Africa, a diverse and multicultural place teaming with beautiful beaches, forests and wildlife. He studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Cape Town, before heading overseas to Cambridge University in the UK for a Master's in Biotechnology. He obtained his medical degree and Master's in Public Health at St George's University on the island of Grenada in the Caribbean, doing clinical rotations in the UK and USA.
He met his amazing wife, Jennifer (who is also a resident here at TMH), while at medical school in the Caribbean and they've been attached at the hip ever since. They have 2 very cute and very naughty twins who keep them on their toes. Outside of medicine Ryan has done a lot of fun stuff like driving around most of Northern and Eastern Africa, cycling for 3 months through Southern Africa, working as a kayak guide on Lake Malawi, deckhand on a yacht in the Mediterranean and a sailing trip across the Atlantic Ocean. He is constantly listening to podcasts and wondering why he isn’t outdoors.
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Alicia Ward, MD
From a young age Dr. Alicia Ward’s mind had been set on a career path in the medical field. This stemmed from interaction with her family physician who she visited frequently, due to her tendency to be slightly accident prone.
Dr. Ward completed her medical training at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago and the Cave Hill campus at home in Barbados. During medical school she could never decide on which specialty she liked the most, Dr. Ward enjoyed them all. Her indecision led to work as a general practitioner across Barbados’ public and private clinics. Dr. Ward thoroughly enjoy interacting with the diverse group of patients and managing their illnesses that were equally so.
Naturally, during this time Dr. Ward fell in love with the specialty of Family Medicine.
Dr. Ward is excited to be joining the TMH Family Residency program with other professionals who share the same passion for holistic care and patient empowerment.
Apart from a deep passion of medicine, she is a self-proclaimed foodie, but it wouldn’t be strange to find her reading, dancing, spending time with friends and family or just enjoying an outing at the movies.
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