Penn State Health honors its doctors every year on March 30, National Doctors’ Day. We celebrate the service they provide through inspired compassion towards patients and commitment to the advancement of medicine through research and teaching. Our physicians play a collective role in fulfilling our organization’s mission and changing the lives of people in the communities we serve.
Over the past few weeks, patients and family members have shared their inspiring stories about our doctors via social media. We are pleased to share them with you. (Submissions have been edited for spelling, grammar and context.)
Dr. Mark S. Dias
Dr. Dias, I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you and everything that you have done for me over the years. I will never forget the way that you made me feel more comfortable before you tapped my shunt to test it for an infection. Just the way that you interacted with me let me know that you really cared about me and that you were going to do everything you could to make sure that I was okay. Knowing that you were there and doing everything you could made me feel less scared.
Submitted by: McKenzie Mann
Dr. Eric Popjes and Dr. John Boehmer
My journey started when my husband became sick and was flown to Penn State Hershey Medical Center. Dr. Boehmer diagnosed him with myocarditis. He then needed a LVAD, which was a bridge to heart transplant. He did very well for 2-1/2 years, then rejection started. So began the juggling of anti-rejection meds to try and get a grip on this. Dr. Popjes was the one strong and to the point doctor who helped me stay grounded and strong through the hardest time of my and my husband’s life. He was a straight shooter, never sugar-coated anything, and that’s how I liked it. He helped me make decisions that were so difficult and life altering. He was amazing, a doctor with heart and compassion.
Submitted by: Micki Greene
Dr. Steven Wassner, Dr. Deborah Kees-Folts, Dr. Michael Freeman and Dr. Sabeen Habib
My son has been a patient of Pediatric Nephrology since 2003. He has had a rough time after two transplants, but they got him through the issues. I trust these doctors with my son’s life! On behalf of Owen, myself and my dad, we would love to recognize these four doctors and thank them for their many years of dedication and care.
Submitted by: Paula Shirey
Dr. Jaclyn Mirault
Dr. Jaclyn Mirault was amazing during my entire birthing experience! She believed in me and knew that I could deliver vaginally when others were beginning to doubt. She is an amazing doctor, and I can only hope that if I am able to have another child, my experience will be just as encouraging and uplifting.
Submitted by: Janelle Engel
Dr. Ian Schreibman and Physician Assistant Emily Hahn
Every single doctor, nurse, and the entire Penn State Health staff are the best! I would like to express my gratitude for the exceptional care I have received over the years. Every provider has been professional, caring and knowledgeable. I would especially like to thank Dr. Ian Schreibman and Emily Hahn for taking such good care of me!
Submitted by: Mary Whaley
Dr. Edward Liszka
Eleven years ago, my husband had a heart attack. John was stable and in the ER when we met Dr. Liszka. He spoke to us in terms we could understand and was patient with our questions. He was – and still is – professional, willing to take the time to listen, very thorough in his care, and speaks with clarity about our medical needs. I say “our” because 11 years ago, I changed from my cardiologist in Harrisburg to Dr. Liszka!
Submitted by: Jeri Earl
Dr. Elias Rizk
Dr. Rizk at the Children’s Hospital in Hershey was my 9-year-old’s neurosurgeon for a brain tumor removal and shunt placement. He was there to see her EVERYDAY for 10 days straight and made this horrible experience so much easier to deal with.
Submitted by: Shelly Moats
Dr. Brian Clark
Dr. Clark was my daughter’s heart surgeon, twice. The first time Emilee was only 2 months old and the second, she was 4. Both times Dr. Clark took the time to speak with us, explaining the surgery and answering our questions. There’s nothing easy about turning your child over to a stranger to operate on her heart, but he gained our trust and eased our uncertainty. Most times, I struggle to find words that express our gratitude for the work that Dr. Clark has done to fix our daughter’s heart. We are grateful, thankful and so very blessed to have had him in our lives.
Submitted by: Jennifer King
Dr. Kristen Glass, Dr. Mitchell Kresch, Dr. Dennis Mujsce and Dr. Tammy Corr
Thank you to an incredible team of doctors at Hershey Medical Center’s NICU. The unending support and care that you provided our son and our family went above and beyond what we ever could have imagined. We can never thank you enough for everything you have done. From the bottom of our hearts, we appreciate each and every one of you!
Submitted by: Rachel Beesley
Dr. Susan Borys
After a stroke, my 63-year-old husband needed a doctor to follow up and treat him going forward. Dr. Borys was nice enough to offer her loving, professional care and expertise. We love her very much.
Submitted by: Deborah Eiche
Dr. Chandra Belani
Dr. Belani, Thank you to you and your team for the excellent care you provided after my cancer diagnosis. Your expertise helped me sail through my chemotherapy without missing a beat. Thank you!
Submitted by: Roberta Granny
Dr. Evangelos Messaris
Because of your excellent care, I was able to complete my chemotherapy and enjoy life again in no time at all. You are an amazing physician and an inspiration to all who come into contact with you.
Submitted by: Roberta Granny
Dr. Faisal Aziz and Dr. Sarah Hussain
Dr. Aziz shows as much compassion to staff as he does to his patients. He is the Chief of Vascular Surgery, yet he treats each and every one of us as an equal. We know our day will always be wonderful when he is in clinic. Dr. Hussain routinely sees a high number of patients, is very pleasant and goes above and beyond. We can count on her to make the day go smoothly.
Submitted by: Patricia Grady
Dr. Kofi Clarke
Dr. Clarke has been the most thorough, compassionate and understanding doctor I’ve met since my Crohn’s diagnosis in 2016. He is truly invested in what my hopes and dreams are for my future. Crohn’s disease can leave someone with feelings of despair and disappointment, but Hershey Medical Center and Dr. Clarke have given me hope for a healthy future.
Submitted by: Tabitha Gehr
Dr. Joshua Kesterson and Dr. William Dodson
I would like to recognize and thank Dr. William Dodson and Dr. Joshua Kesterson. You two have given me hope to pursue a lifelong dream, and I’m grateful to be a part of the Penn State Health family! Thank you for your dedication, commitment to exemplary patient experience and willingness to go the extra mile even when the road ahead seems dark.
Submitted by: Michelle Duncan
Dr. J. Spence Reid
My family and I have come to respect and revere Dr Reid. My bone surgery was successful, and I can’t thank him and his staff, as well as Hershey Medical Center for their care. Thank you, Dr Reid.
Submitted by: Steve Shellehamer
Dr. Harold Harvey
I have been seeing Dr. Harvey for over eight years for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, and I can’t sing his praises enough. He is kind and compassionate and goes the extra mile. He is a teacher and a good one. He takes time to explain things and is on top of new drugs and how they work, as well as side effects. I am so grateful for him!
Submitted by: Susan Buehler
Dr. Mark Cohen, Dr. William Trescher and Dr. Michael Darowish
The doctors at Hershey have saved multiple people in my life who are so precious to me. When my husband was 8 or 9, he had an abscess on his lung and had to get half of it removed. It was cancerous, and they saved his life that day. He is now 38 and healthy as a horse! Secondly, my daughter had to have heart surgery, and Dr. Cohen made us feel safe in his abilities and has a great sense of humor. She is now 19, in college, married and expecting her first child. Third, my youngest daughter had seizures, which are the scariest thing I’ve ever seen, but Dr. Trescher walked us through. He also told us he was sure she’d outgrow them, and she did! And finally, me. At 36, I figured I would deal with pain in my wrist for the rest of my life, but one visit to Dr. Darowish, and I’m a million times better.
Submitted by: Jennifer Rosenberry
Dr. Stacy Hess and Dr. Johnathan McGinn
Dr. McGinn – thank you for persevering to find relief for my chronic congestion. It feels spectacular to be able to breathe freely. Dr. Hess – thank you for your continued support throughout the years. You are a gem.
Submitted by: Georgia Faulkner
Dr. Natasha Romanoski, Dr. Matthew Kaag, Dr. Joseph Riney and Dr. David Gater
Dr. Romanoski was my dad’s primary physician at the Rehab Hospital and took great care of him and our family. We watched in amazement this past year as my father overcame so many hurdles – being able to breathe on his own, swallow food again, sit, stand, and regain enough movement in his hands and arms that he could feed himself and eventually walk again. It’s been a tremendously difficult and inspiring journey, and Dr. Romanoski and the entire team at the Rehab Hospital were with us every step of the way. We are also grateful to Drs. Kaag and Riney in urology for taking the time to listen to both of my parents as they shared their hope for the future – that my father’s catheter could be removed after nearly a year. The catheter is now gone, and that has improved both of my parents’ lives and did so much to restore my father’s dignity.
Submitted by: Alison Everett
Dr. Rogerio Neves
When I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma, Dr. Neves gave me his full attention. More importantly, he listened carefully to my theory of how it was caused. No other doctor had acknowledged it. Both surgeries went exactly as expected and on my last visit, he handed me two hard copies of my final pathology report stating there was no evidence of melanoma cells remaining. Thank you, Dr. Neves.
Submitted by: Margo Whittaker
Dr. Christie Travelute
I was referred to the Mohs Center and received very careful care from Dr. Travalute. She was professional and attentive throughout the experience. The wound healed beautifully. I would definitely recommend her.
Submitted by: Margo Whittaker
Dr. Stacey Duryea
I required two procedures in January. As a retired nurse anesthetist, I am aware of the risks and not fearful. However, I am at an age that poses new concerns. Dr. Duryea openly addressed those issues and allayed my concerns. She, along with the certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Jeanne Bowman, gave me the perfect experience. I woke up smiling from both procedures. Words cannot express the gratitude I have for my care team.
Submitted by: Margo Whittaker
Dr. Joshua Kesterson and Dr. Nicole Dreibelbis
I have been a longtime heart patient, but last year I was diagnosed with uterine cancer. I chose Hershey for my treatments, and I was scared. Cancer is something that other people get, not me. The caring doctors and nurses really made a difference in my life. Everything with my chemo treatments was explained to me, step by step, and if I needed to talk to someone, they were just a phone call away. Thank you all so much for being with me on this journey.
Submitted by: Debra Young
Dr. Jeanette Ramer
I can never say enough nice things about Dr. Ramer. She has always been professional and non-judgmental. Todd Gorshe has also been very helpful. We are blessed to have their help.
Submitted by: Kristi Leedy
Dr. Ron Williams
When I was in the hospital for a foot infection, which ended up with my kidneys going into failure, Dr. Williams was there to explain what was going on. He did it with such care and compassion. He really is a great doctor and I’m so glad I was in his care.
Submitted by: Denise Seguinot
Dr. Matthew Silvis and Dr. Brad Zacharia
In June2017, I was diagnosed with a meningioma. My wife and I were uncertain of what the future held, but after meeting and consulting with Dr. Zacharia, we felt certain we were in the right place with the right doctor. Long story short, I made it through the cranioplasty. I checked out of the hospital the very next day and, after three weeks, I was able to get back to normal activities, including weightlifting. I am very grateful to Dr. Silvis and Dr. Zacharia. Words alone cannot express our gratitude. Indeed they are worthy of the title Doctor.
Submitted by: Jim Bruno
Dr. Kenneth Liu, Dr. Samer Zammar, Dr. Neel Patel, Dr. Prateek Vijay, Dr. Ryan Jafrani, Dr. Jessica Lane, Dr. Lekhaj Daggubati and Dr. Rob Maurer
Thank you for providing excellent care, Dr. Liu, and thank you for helping the residents learn more about Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which can be quite complicated. You are one in a million. We cannot thank you enough.
Every one of these doctors has been kind and have listened to and validated our concerns. We drive to Hershey from North Carolina, and it is beyond worth the travel.
Submitted by: Kelly Hain
Dr. John Field
I would like to thank Dr. John Field for his outstanding work and dedication in the field of cardiology. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with him at the bedside and in the classroom. He is always available to share his knowledge and experiences, not for personal gain, but to empower those around him. Thank you, Dr. Field, for sharing your time, talents and passion over the years.
Submitted by: Theresa Brosche
Dr. John Potochny
Dr. Potochny in Plastics was an integral part of my recovery from breast cancer in 2008. He was the most patient and compassionate doctor that I have ever encountered. The first thing he’d ask at an appointment was “What can we do for you today?” and “How are you doing?” He is always encouraging and explains everything in an informative way. This doctor goes above and beyond for all of his patients and is equally appreciative and supportive of his staff. It is my belief that Dr. P deserves “Doctor of the Year.”
Submitted by: Janine Sudor
Dr. Ashokkumar Jain, Dr. Nasrollah Ghahramani and Dr. Umar Farooq
Our family will never forget Christmas Eve morning of 2012. Our phone rang to the voice of our nephrologist doctor’s nurse, here in Allentown, saying that after Jason’s routine blood work, his kidneys were failing and failing fast. What came after that devastating news were months of uncertainty and the decisions that would have to be made to keep Jason alive. One of our family’s best decisions was choosing Milton S. Hershey Medical Center for his transplant team. There are no words that can express the quality of care Jason received.
Submitted by: Mary Kay Parlo
Dr. Mark Baker
Dr. Baker is hands-down the best pediatric doctor! He listens to my concerns and knows each of his patients on a personal level, remembering little details like the name of their favorite stuffed animal. He makes each visit fun with bubbles, jokes and Donald Duck impressions. Thank you, Dr. Baker, for your advice, knowledge and humor.
Submitted by: Jamie Moyer
Dr. Carol Baase
I wanted to thank Dr. Carol Baase for being an outstanding medical director. In a normal day, she is seeing patients, answering a myriad of questions and doing it all in a positive and logical way. As we have made changes at Middletown, she has maintained the positive attitude that you would expect from a leader, and this filters down to all. It really is great to have an administrator that you look forward to seeing each day and whom you know really wants to help.
Submitted by: John Bice
Dr. Stephen Henderson
I came to Pennsylvania after having significant health issues and being passed through multiple doctors in the UC Davis health care system in California. I pretty much gave up on ever getting better. But from the moment I met Dr. Henderson, I felt like I had a doctor who actually cared. He did a thorough analysis of all my medications, performed blood work, and aligned his diagnosis with my condition, and immediately I started to feel better. When he moved away from the main campus, I was asked whether I still wanted to keep him as my primary care physician. The answer is: I consider it an honor to have him as my doctor and I would fly to his office if I needed to. I feel I am in the best care and feel fortunate to be his patient.
Submitted by: Frank Magni
Dr. Aditya Joshi
Dr. Joshi is a wonderful psychiatrist. I am a therapist in his clinic and hear nothing but praise from his patients. He shows nothing but respect and concern for both patients and staff. Recently, one of his patients called because she was worried that she would miss an appointment with Dr. Joshi due to the weather. I informed Dr. Joshi and instead of waiting to see if it snowed the following morning or waiting until the next scheduled appointment, he called the patient within an hour. If I ever needed a psychiatrist and didn’t work here (conflict of interest), I would want Dr. Joshi.
Submitted by: Marci Tatnall
Dr. Henry Boateng and Dr. Steve Allen
I was badly injured in a motor vehicle accident several years ago and was fortunate to be treated by Dr. Allen and Dr. Boateng. Dr. Allen saved my life, and Dr. Boateng saved my leg. My family still talks about the amazing doctors and my grandmother says thanks to both for, as she puts it, ‘piecing me back together.’ Henry, you are the most amazing physician but, more than that, you are a terrific person, and I am so very blessed to have had you as my orthopedic trauma surgeon.
Submitted by: Ali Smolinski
College of Medicine Doctors and Teachers
This is to recognize and thank ALL of the amazing doctors and teachers at the Penn State College of Medicine. Our daughter Lia, who is beginning her third year as a med student, has been blessed with the most caring, compassionate, mentoring doctors from whom she has learned so much. We know she will become a wonderful patient-centric physician one day because of the outstanding role models she is blessed to work with each day. The hospital is lucky to have such fine doctors for their patients and their students.
Submitted by: Sheri Penn
Dr. Sowmya Surapaneni
My thanks and gratitude to Dr. Sowma Surapaneni – whose knowledge, compassion and deep ability to listen have helped me live with an autoimmune disease. She knows that medicine isn’t just about enabling the body but also encouraging the mind and spirit.
Submitted by: Lori Dentzer
Dr. Matthew Evans
Dr. Evans with the Penn State Cancer Institute is outstanding, keeps me informed, just the best doctor I have ever had!
Submitted by: Carol E. Emig
Dr. Sarah Hussain
Dr. Hussain is a remarkable and caring heart doctor who’s been taking excellent and compassionate care of Rodney since day 1 when he presented a slightly complex health history. Through her care and knowledge, she’s walked him through to…”I’m feeling like myself again!”
Submitted by: Kathy and Rodney Myers
Dr. Susan Borys
I’m thankful for Dr. Susan Borys. She is a GREAT doctor, and the care that she provides is the best you could ask for. Hershey is blessed to have her on your team. Thank you all at Hershey for your endless commitment to the public.
Submitted by: Kenneth McClane
Dr. Evangelos Messaris
Dr. Messaris did surgery on me a couple of years ago and is a very compassionate physician and very skilled at what he does. Thank you, Dr. Messaris, for all that you do.
Submitted by: Ciara Bolden
Dr. Christine Callahan
I was blessed to be treated by Dr. Callahan for narrow angle glaucoma. I respect her expertise and skill, and I simply love her energy, positivity and warmth. She is everything a great physician should be.
Submitted by: Cabrini Rudnick
Dr. Frances Puleo and Dr. Suzanne Merrill
Dr. Puleo and Dr. Merrill, along with their amazing teams, have been with me every step of the way: the good, the bad, and the ugly. I am so grateful to have them as part of my medical team. Both women are beyond AMAZING, going above and beyond. I could never thank them enough for everything they’ve done and continue to do.
Submitted by: Jennifer McClure
Dr. Brad Zacharia
Thank you, Dr. Zacharia, for all you did when I was diagnosed with a tumor. You were very compassionate and, under your skilled hands, I am now back to where I want to be.
Submitted by: Sandra Patrone
Dr. Shirley Albano-Aluquin
Dr. Albano, my rheumatologist, listens. Genuinely listens and cares not just about that moment but how my disease is impacting my life and my family’s. Thank you, Dr. A., for making this road I travel easier because of your empathy and knowledge.
Submitted by: Patricia Rhine
Dr. Matthew Taylor and Dr. Leonard Tuanquin
I cannot say enough good things about these fine people. The hope and peace of mind they supplied was a great help to me. Am so thankful for each and every one of them. God bless them and may they continue their great work there at Hershey.
Submitted by: Noreene Stephan
Dr. Adrian Zurca
My son, Owen, was lifelined to Hershey Medical Center on his one-month birthday with rapid breathing and low oxygen. Dr. Zurca was with him from the second he arrived and didn’t leave his side for 18 hours. The first night we were there was a long, emotional and stressful day to say the least. At 3 a.m., I heard Dr. Zurca say, “Cover me with whatever you have to, I’m not leaving this baby’s side.” And in that moment, I knew my son was in the best hands possible. Dr. Zurca was patient with all of our questions, comforting with our tears, loving to our sick son and welcoming to our family who came to visit. Hands down, one of the best doctors I have ever met.
Submitted by: Tina Krall
Dr. Behzad Soleimani and Dr. Eric Popjes
I’m eternally grateful to both Dr. Behzad Soleimani and Dr. Eric Popjes. In winter 2015, my father was suffering with congestive heart failure and repeated heart attacks. Both physicians really cared for my father and for us. I really can never put into words my gratitude to both of them and to the nursing staff in Medical ICU. I would also like to thank the LVAD coordinators who have done a phenomenal job with helping to teach us how to properly take care of my father. All of the cardiologists who have taken care of my father, thank you. I have never met a more caring group of people than I have at Hershey Medical Center. Thank you and God bless you all.
Submitted by: Christina Turco-Franklin