Our Physicians

The doctors at Physicians Eldercare all share a special interest in working with older adults. Our team includes physicians with expertise and advanced credentials in chronic disease managements, mental health and dementia, and helping families face end-of-life issues together. Our physicians serve as medical directors in our nursing facilities.


Gerardo E. Arnaez Zapata, MD
Physician

Gerardo E. Arnaez Zapata, MD

My goal has always been to provide the highest quality of medical care to my patients and their family. A fundamental tenet to achieve this involves having a clear understanding of the patients and their family's goals and wishes and only then appropriately adjusting the care provided to suit the needs of everyone involved. Not only does this apply to geriatric care, but to medicine in all its aspects.

Undergraduate Education

B.A. in Philosophy, University of Chicago; Completed requirements for B.A. in Biology, University of Chicago

Medical Education

Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Residency

Internal Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA

Medical Certifications

Board eligible in internal medicine

Sue Auffinger, MD, CMD
Physician, Board Member

Sue Auffinger, MD, CMD

I have special interests in palliative care and behavioral medicine. I especially enjoy helping patients with advanced directive planning. I empower patients to be active in decision making regarding the care options available.

Undergraduate Education

B.S. in Exercise Science/Zoology, University of Massachusetts

Medical Education

State University of New York, Upstate Medical College, Syracuse, NY

Residency

Family Practice, St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, Syracuse, NY

Medical Certifications

Board Certified in Family Medicine, Certified Medical Director

Memberships

North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Medical Directors Associations

Khashana Blake, MD, FAAFP
Physician

Khashana Blake, MD, FAAFP

Dr Blake’s influences: Faith: She embraces core values imparted since childhood. Family: her interests and hobbies are shaped largely by her Caribbean heritage; she appreciates the wisdom and insight that the mature adult offers to medical practice and the community.

Undergraduate Education

B.S. in Biology, University of Miami

Medical Education

Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA

Residency

Family Medicine, Riverside Family Medicine, Newport News, VA

Fellowship

East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine Family Medicine Women’s Health Fellowship

Memberships

American Academy of Family Physicians, National Medical Association, NMA Committee on Public Health and Consumer Affairs, North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians

Greg Bugaj, MD, CMD
Physician

Greg Bugaj, MD, CMD

I am interested in post-acute rehabilitation care, managing chronic and complex illnesses with the aim to restore functional ability. I approach each patient as an individual human being who deserves dignity and respect no matter where he or she is on life’s journey. I focus on realistic goals and expectations and on maximizing quality of life and comfort at the end of life.

Undergraduate Education

B.A. in Biology, University of Rochester

Medical Education

State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Medicine

Residency

Internal Medicine, University of California at San Francisco

Fellowship

Geriatric Medicine, University of California at San Francisco

Medical Certifications

Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatric Medicine, Certified Medicine Director

Memberships

American Geriatrics Society, American Med. Direct. Association

Allen Chamovitz, MD, CMD
Physician, Board Member

Allen Chamovitz, MD, CMD

I enjoy the practice of medicine. It is the interaction with patients, their families and communities that I find interesting. This interaction does not change for the geriatric population. It sustains them!

Undergraduate Education

B.S. in Psychology, University of Maryland

Medical Education

University of Louisville

Residency

Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital. Family Medicine, Medical Center of Beaver County

Fellowship

Allergy and Immunology, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

Medical Certifications

Board Certified in Family Practice, Certified Medical Director

Memberships

American Medical Directors Association, American Association of Family Physicians, American Medical Association, American Geriatrics Society

Jim Cleary, MD
Physician

Jim Cleary, MD

I have a son who is a ventilator dependent patient in a nursing facility and I have witnessed the excellent care that he has received. I have always have had compassion for those who cannot care for themselves. I strive to make a difference in the lives of my patients.

Undergraduate Education

B.S. Wake Forest University

Medical Education

Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC

Residency

Otorhinolaryngology, Walter Reed Psychiatry, Perry Point VA Medical Center

Medical Certifications

Emergency Medicine

Maria Diaz-Valle, MD
Physician

Maria Diaz-Valle, MD

To provide compassionate and comprehensive care across a spectrum of the geriatric population while empowering the patient to fully participate in their own health care to achieve a better quality life.

Undergraduate Education

B.A. Biology, University of Puerto Rico

Medical Education

University of Puerto Rico

Residency

Family Medicine, University of Puerto Rico

Fellowship

Geriatric Medicine, University of Puerto Rico

Medical Certifications

American Board of Family Medicine with added qualifications in Geriatric Medicine

Robert Falge, MD
Physician

Robert Falge, MD

I believe in delivering comprehensive and compassionate care especially to people with complex intertwined medical, social, and emotional problems. I strive to reduce medications and limit medical procedures as much as safely possible. I have enjoyed caring for the elderly since finishing my training in 1987.

Undergraduate Education

BA in Chemistry, Indiana University

Medical Education

Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN

Residency

Family Practice, Fort Wayne Medical Education Program, Fort Wayne, IN

Medical Certifications

American Board of Family Medicine

Memberships

American Academy of Family Physicians, North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians, Christian Medical Dental Association

John Gambino, MD, CMD
Physician, Board Member, Quality Improvement Officer

John Gambino, MD, CMD

Most important to me is providing high quality of care to all my patients and my commitment to quality improvement processes. My special interests include addressing polypharmacy, palliative care and infectious diseases within post-acute care facilities.

Undergraduate Education

B.S. in Biochemistry, State University of New York at Stony Brook

Medical Education

New York Medical College, Vahalla, NY

Residency

Internal Medicine, St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center of New York

Medical Certifications

Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine, Certified Medical Director from The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine in Hospice and Palliative Medicine

Memberships

The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine

Christopher Herman, MD, CMD
President Physicians Eldercare, Physician, Board Member

Christopher Herman, MD, CMD

As people go through the process of aging, functional and medical changes occur. These changes are often challenging and require a team approach to management. I believe that active involvement by a physician can greatly improve the quality of a patient’s experience. I have enjoyed working as a partner with my patients and their families to manage complex geriatric problems through the years.

Undergraduate Education

B.S. in Microbiology, University of Georgia

Medical Education

Medical College of Georgia

Residency

Internal Medicine, Wake Forest University - Bowman Gray School of Medicine

Fellowship

Geriatric Medicine, Wake Forest University - Bowman Gray School of Medicine

Medical Certifications

Geriatric Medicine certificate of added qualification, Diplomate of American Board of Hospice and Palliative Care, American Board of Internal Medicine eligible, Certified Medical Director

Memberships

American Medical Directors Association, past president of NC chapter

Evelyn Kwok, MD
Physician

Evelyn Kwok, MD

I enjoy getting to know my patients and their families-- partnering with them to provide compassionate, well rounded, person centered care. I have a special interest in preventive medicine and palliative care. It is a privilege to be welcomed into someone's life when they are most vulnerable and potentially make a difference in their overall well being, empowering them to participate in their own care to ensure their values and wishes are respected.

Undergraduate Education

B.S. in Biomedical Science, Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, City College of New York

Medical Education

State University of New York Downstate College of Medicine, Brooklyn, NY

Residency

Internal Medicine, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, New Hyde Park, NY

Fellowship

Geriatrics, North Shore – Long Island Jewish, Manhasset, NY

Medical Certifications

Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatrics, Hospice and Palliative Medicine

Sean Larson, MD
Physician

Sean Larson, MD

As a family physician, I have provided care to people of all ages. I find that working with the geriatric population can be the most challenging part of primary care, but also the most rewarding. Our elders and their families deserve respectful, compassionate care and I am honored to be able to provide that care and to be a part of a fantastic group of like-minded professionals.

Undergraduate Education

B.S. in Biological Sciences, University of Minnesota

Medical Education

University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Minneapolis, MN

Residency

Family Medicine, University of Minnesota, St. Joseph’s Program, St. Paul, MN

Medical Certifications

American Board of Family Medicine

Memberships

American Academy of Family Physicians, North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians

Rafael Miranda, MD
Physician

Rafael Miranda, MD

To care for the geriatric population and their family is rewarding and fulfilling. Guiding the patient and their family through short term rehabilitation or long term care while providing excellent medical care is my main goal.

Undergraduate Education

B.S. in Biology, University of Puerto Rico

Medical Education

University of Puerto Rico

Residency

Internal Medicine, Veterans Affair San Juan Medical Center, San Juan, PR

Medical Certifications

Board eligible in Internal Medicine

Rajan Mitchell, DO
Physician

Rajan Mitchell, DO

Able to meet the needs and wishes of families when caring for their loved ones.

Undergraduate Education

BA in Biology, Rutgers University

Medical Education

University of Medicine and Dentistry-School of Osteopathic Medicine, Stratford, NJ

Residency

UMDNJ-SOM, Stratford, NJ

Medical Certifications

Family Medicine, Medical Review Officer

Memberships

American Osteopathic Association, American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians

Akiko Omura, MD
Physician

Akiko Omura, MD

have a special interest in geriatric rehabilitation with goals to keep patients functioning at their highest potential. I enjoy the opportunities to meet with patients and their families to come up with goals to maximize their quality of life, establish a plan of care, and work with the post-acute care facility team to deliver the best care possible.

Undergraduate Education

B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University

Medical Education

State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY

Residency

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY

Fellowship

Brain Injury Rehabilitation, Charlotte Institute of Rehabilitation, Charlotte, NC

Medical Certifications

American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Memberships

AMDA, North Carolina Medical Society

Dawn Owens-Watterson, DO
Physician

Dawn Owens-Watterson, DO

The most valuable and rewarding aspects of medicine relate directly to the care of patients, and that is where my true interests lie. In caring for the geriatric population, I enjoy partnering with patients and their families to help achieve the goals that we set together. Giving patients a voice in their most important healthcare decisions helps to ensure their contentment, especially when there are difficult choices to be made.

Undergraduate Education

B.S. in Biological Sciences / Pre-medicine, Ohio University

Medical Education

Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine

Residency

Family Medicine, Waukesha Memorial Hospital, Waukesha, WI

Memberships

American Academy of Family Physicians, North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians, American Medical Association

Karen Reichow, MD, FACP, FAAHPM
Physician

Karen Reichow, MD, FACP, FAAHPM

I enjoy hearing the story of someone’s life. Their interests and activities, how long they have been married, their children and their friends, what they did for a living. I find that regardless of one’s age there are common threads that connect all of us together.

Undergraduate Education

B.S. in Biological Sciences, Wayne State University School of Liberal Arts, Detroit, MI

Medical Education

Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI

Residency

Internal Medicine, Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, VA

Medical Certifications

American Board of Internal Medicine, American Board of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine

Memberships

American College of Physicians, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Academy of Integrated Holistic Medicine

Bianca Rosso, MD, CMD
Physician

Bianca Rosso, MD, CMD

My primary interests lie in helping patients and their families navigate their paths through life. I agree with Atul Gawande when he says “Our ultimate goal, after all, is not a good death but a good life to the very end.” You may not be able to control the ‘cards you are dealt’ in all of the circumstances of your life but you should be empowered to make the choices you want or need in order to control the path you choose to navigate.

Undergraduate Education

B.A. in Biology, University of Pennsylvania

Medical Education

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, NJ

Residency

Family Practice, Barberton Citizen’s Hospital, Barberton, OH

Medical Certifications

American Board of Family Medicine, Certified Medical Director

Memberships

American Academy of Family Practice, Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, Chi Omega Women’s Fraternity

Scott Sheldon, MD, CMD
Physician

Scott Sheldon, MD, CMD

Undergraduate Education

BS in Biology and Chemistry, North Georgia College

Medical Education

Mercer University School of Medicine, Macon, GA

Residency

Department of Internal Medicine, University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Fellowship

Geriatric Medicine, Wake Forest University - Baptist Medical Center, Winston Salem, North Carolina

Medical Certifications

American Board of Internal Medicine, Certificate of Added Qualifications in Geriatric Medicine, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine

Memberships

American Geriatrics Society, American Medical Directors Association, The American College of Physicians, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine

Cara Sumners, MD
Physician

Cara Sumners, MD

I am a family physician who came back home after training to take care of my community. I am interested in the ways our nutrition and lifestyles affect our minds, bodies, and spirits throughout our lives. I love listening to stories of our patients to get to know what their lives were like and how this has affected their health. I believe in maintaining a patient’s dignity in all stages of life.

Undergraduate Education

B.S. in Biology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC

Medical Education

East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine, Greenville, NC

Residency

Family Practice, Riverside Regional Medical Center, Newport News, VA

Fellowship

Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine

Medical Certifications

American Board of Family Medicine

Memberships

American Academy of Family Physicians, American Medical Association

Venezela Thomas Slade-Hartman, MD
Physician

Venezela Thomas Slade-Hartman, MD

I enjoy helping people to control their diabetes and congestive heart failure to decrease the complications of these problems and improve quality of life. I also enjoy helping patients and their families with end-of-life issues so that their family members progress through the end-of-life journey with comfort and dignity.

Undergraduate Education

B.S. in Chemistry, Wake Forest University

Medical Education

Wake Forest University School of Medicine

Residency

Family Practice, University of Alabama at Birmingham Huntsville Regional Medical Campus

Memberships

American Academy of Family Physicians