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

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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

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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

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As a practicing PA I find the most joy in working with patients who are suffering from Alzheimer’s dementia. The management of patients suffering from this disease is challenging for the medical community. I find it very fulfilling to partner with medical specialists, nurses and social workers as we attempt to help both patients and families through this tumultuous disease state. My ultimate goal is to participate in bringing an awareness of the importance of Alzheimer’s research at both the state and federal level.

Medical Education

B.S. with Physician Assistant Certificate, Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, City University of New York; M.S. in Community Health, Health Management, Long Island University

Medical Certifications

National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants

Memberships

American Academy of Physician Assistants, North Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants, Triangle Association of Physician Assistants

Greg Bugaj, MD, CMD

Physician

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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

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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

Elspeth Clark, DO

Physician

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I feel honored to be a physician because of the relationships I get to build with my patients and their loved ones and caregivers. Learning everyday is a blessing and I am thrilled to be part of a profession that stokes curiosity and life-long education both as a learner as well as a teacher. Taking care of patients with medical complexity is a particular passion of mine. I love working with other members of the medical team to help balance all the aspects that go into quality person-centered care.

Undergraduate Education

BA. in Linguistics, Cornell University

Medical Education

West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, Lewisburg, WV

Residency

Internal Medicine, MedStar Health, Baltimore, MD

Fellowship

Geriatric Medicine, Duke University, Durham, NC

Medical Certifications

American Board of Internal Medicine / Geriatric Medicine

Memberships

American Geriatrics Society, AMDA, American College of Physicians

Robert Falge, MD

Physician

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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

Maria Diaz-Valle, MD

Physician

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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

John Gambino, MD, CMD

Physician

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Most important to me is providing a 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

Evelyn Kwok, MD

Physician

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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

Christopher Herman, MD, CMD

Physician

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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 throughout 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

Sean Larson, MD

Physician

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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

Rajan Mitchell, DO

Physician

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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

Michelle McPherson, MD

Physician

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I have a strong interest in medically complex patients and take great time and consideration to the interplay of certain disease processes on body systems as well as other medical conditions. I desire to integrate lifestyle changes, natural forms of medicine, and modern medicine to create a tailored care plan for my patients. Additionally, I have a great passion for home care, hospice, and end-of-life care. I feel that we should treat our elders with the love and gentleness we ourselves were treated when we were young and feel like a physician that it is my duty to contribute to the care of the elders in my home community.

Undergraduate Education

B.S. in Biology, Elizabeth City State University

Medical Education

St. George’s University School of Medicine, Grenada, WI

Residency

Family Medicine, EVMS Ghent Family Medicine, Norfolk, VA

Medical Certifications

American Board of Family Medicine

Memberships

Gold Humanism Honor Society, American Association of Family Physicians, American College of Physicians, Academy for the Advancement of Medicine

Sean Larson, MD

Physician

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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

Dawn Owens-Watterson, DO

Physician

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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

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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

Akiko Omura, MD

Physician

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I 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

Bianca Rosso, MD, CMD

Physician

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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

Venezela Thomas Slade-Hartman, MD

Physician

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I enjoy helping people to control their diabetes and congestive heart failure to decrease the complications of these problems and improve their 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

Scott Sheldon, MD, CMD

Physician

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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