PhiDE LEADERSHIP

Executive Board Members

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Alissa Craft, DO, MBA
President
Dr. Craft was practically born a PhiDE member, attending her first convention before the age of 10. After that introduction to medicine and fraternity, she went on to complete medical school at the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (now AT Still University). She then trained in Pediatrics at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and in pediatric intensive care and neonatal intensive care in San Diego, CA. She worked for many years in clinical medicine before becoming involved in medical education. She served as Associate Dean at the NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine and then went on to become Vice President of Accreditation for the American Osteopathic Association. Now, she consults for medical schools in the areas of accreditation and curriculum development. Her other areas of interest are Quality Improvement in Health Care, Ethics in the NICU, and, of course, PhiDE.

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Karen Barnes, MD
Past President
Dr. Karen Barnes attended medical school at University of Kentucky where she joined our Kappa Psi chapter twenty years ago. She became involved internationally after a decade of attending conventions and conferences and mentoring students. Karen practices medicine at the Cincinnati VA hospital and VA nursing home. Before receiving her medical degree, she received a master degree in nutrition. Karen is the recipient of this year’s Seymour Greenstone Graduate Member Award and she lives with her family in Lexington, KY.

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Russ Stitzlein, MD
Vice President
Dr. Russ Stitzlein is a fellowship-trained UCI Health orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in bone and soft-tissue tumors as well as hip and knee replacement. He finished his residency in orthopaedic surgery at the University of Pennsylvania and his fellowship in musculoskeletal oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston . Russ served as the International Medical Student Representative to the Board in 2010-2011 and has served as a Board Member since his graduation from Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine (CCLCM) in 2012. While at CCLCM, he was our Colony Coordinator and served as Chapter President for the Epsilon Epsilon Chapter. Russ initially joined PhiDE as an undergraduate and was a founding member of the OH Gamma Chapter at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He also served as the VP of Programming for the OH Gamma Chapter where he was instrumental in founding the chapter's annual charity banquet and silent auction to benefit the local CMN affiliate, Cincinnati Children's. Russ is married to PhiDE alumna, Brenda De La Cruz Stitzlein and has two children.

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Anish Ghodadra, MD
Board Member
Dr. Anish Ghodadra is an Interventional Radiologist and the Medical Director of the 3D Printing Program at UPMC in Pittsburgh, PA. Dr. Ghodadra received his undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering at Georgia Tech and worked as a medical device engineer at SpineMedica. He graduated from the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine and pursued his internship in internal medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Ghodadra completed his Radiology residency at UPMC, where he also served as a Chief Resident and founded the UPMC 3D Printing Program, and his Interventional Radiology fellowship at Yale New Haven Medical Center. He joined PhiDE as a founding member of the Epsilon Epsilon chapter and served as Vice President of Recruitment and Chapter President. At our International Convention in 2012, he was honored with the Shipley Glick Award for Outstanding Medical Member. Dr. Ghodadra joined the International Board in 2014.

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Brittany Badal, MD
Board Member
Dr. Brittany Badal is a fellow in Adolescent Medicine at the University of California San Francisco. She previously completed her residency in Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL. She first became involved with PhiDE as an undergraduate at the University of Central Florida, where she founded the FL Beta chapter and served as the Colony Coordinator and later Chapter President. She continued working with PhiDE as a medical student at the University of Louisville SOM where she served as Phi Chapter President. Additionally, Brittany served as the International Medical Student Representative to the Board in 2014-2015. She has attended multiple regional and international conventions and is passionate about her work with our organization and bringing the perspective as undergraduate, medical student, and now graduate member.

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Martin Wrobel, MD
Board Member
Dr. Martin Wrobel is a resident in Family Medicine at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois. He completed an undergraduate degree in Economics and Political Science at Northwestern University. Martin joined Phi Delta Epsilon’s Beta Tau chapter while attending Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science and served as the chapter’s Vice President of Finance. He served as the International Convention Chair in 2017 and International Medical Student Representative to the Board in 2017-2018. As a medical student and now graduate member, he has remained involved with the Beta Tau chapter as a Mentor. Martin joined the International Board in 2019.

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Sarafina Kankam, MD
Board Member
Dr. Sarafina Kankam is a resident in Anesthesiology at the University of Kansas School of Medicine- Wichita where she serves as a chief resident. Dr. Kankam received her undergraduate degree and medical degree at the University of Kansas and went on to pursue her internship in internal medicine at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. She joined PhiDE as a founding member of the Kansas Alpha chapter and severed as the Vice President of Recruitment and Vice President of Programming. In medical school she served as the President of the Beta Gamma chapter. Dr. Kankam also served as the International Medical Student Representative to the Board in 2015- 2016 and has served as a physician on board since 2016.

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Eddie Zitnik, MD
Board Member
Dr. Eddie Zitnik is a resident in pediatrics at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. He served as the International Premedical Student Board Representative as an undergraduate at The Ohio State University where he majored in Molecular Genetics and Slavic Studies. He joined PhiDE as the colony VP Recruitment and later became Chapter President for the OH Zeta Chapter before completing medical school at Andrew Taylor Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona. Over the years he has attended many International Conventions and Regional Leadership Conferences, volunteered as a conference committee member and co-facilitator, and most recently joined the Board in 2020.

Monica Arebalos SOM Class of 2021 head shots.

March 11, 2020
(Lonnie Timmons III/UNLV Photo Services)

Monica Arebalos
Medical Student Representative 
Monica Arebalos, rising M4, earned her bachelor degree in Neuroscience at the University of Nevada, Reno and attends the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Medicine.  She joined the PhiDE family in 2013 and served as President of Nevada Alpha. As part of the first medical class at UNLV SOM, Monica served as Colony Coordinator and President of Epsilon Nu medical chapter.  She is a passionate leader as part of her school's charter class. Monica loves what PhiDE stands for, "Facta-Non-Verba": Deeds not Words”, and strives each day to live by that message, among others.  She is a proud first generation college student thankful for her amazing family support system. As a Student Representative, Monica is excited to act as a relatable and honest mentor to the medical chapters, including through continuing her work on her blog, monicarose.me

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Julianne Lee
Premedical Student Representative 
Julianne Lee, rising senior, is currently pursuing a degree in Hospitality while on the premedical track at Florida State University. She has been a member of Phi Delta Epsilon since 2018, when she became a founding executive board member in Florida Zeta premedical chapter at FSU. Throughout her time in PhiDE, Julianne has served as Secretary/Risk Management Officer and Vice President of Programming in addition to joining us in Atlanta as a part of Leadership Institute Committee. Aside from Phi Delta Epsilon, she is also involved in Best Buddies and the Medical Response Unit on campus. As a Student Representative, Julianne hopes to share her passion for PhiDE through mentorship and carry on the torch set by her predecessors.

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Karen Katz
PhiDE CEO 
Karen Katz is the Chief Executive Officer of Phi Delta Epsilon Medical Fraternity and serves as an ex-officio member of the Board. She earned a bachelor of science from the University of Evansville and master of science in College Student Personnel from Western Illinois University. Karen is a past president for both the Professional Fraternity Association (PFA) and Professional Fraternity Executive Association (PFEA). She has served Chi Omega Fraternity on the National Recruitment Team and is the University of Miami Chi Omega Recruitment Advisor.  She was the Fraternity and Sorority Life Advisor at Florida International University (FIU) for four years where she starting volunteering for numerous fraternities including Sigma Phi Epsilon which she advises now as the Alumni Advisory Council President. She has been a lead facilitator for the North-American Interfraternity Conference’s Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute since 2004 and volunteers on advisory boards for Campuspeak and Circle of Sisterhood.

Foundation Officers

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Lowell D. Katz, MD
President
Dr. Lowell Katz graduated from the University of Louisville School of Medicine after earning his undergraduate degree from the University of Louisville. He completed his residency at UofL SOM in general surgery followed by a two-year fellowship in colorectal surgery at Greater Baltimore Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. He returned to Kentucky to form Louisville Colorectal Associates, a practice dedicated entirely to colorectal surgery. Dr. Katz served as Hospice of Louisville’s first medical director. He is Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery at the University of Louisville Medical School and after retiring from practice several years ago, remains on the staff of Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Healthcare as the Director of Patient Safety.  Dr. Katz served as International President of the Fraternity from 1998-2000 and remains actively involved as a chapter advisor, mentor and speaker.  He is one of the first UofL mascots and attends as many games both at home and away as possible.

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Barbara Isaacs, MD
Treasurer
Dr. Barbara Isaacs has served on the Phi Delta Epsilon Foundation Board since 2002.  She has served PhiDE in many capacities beginning when she was the President of the Phi Chapter at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.  In 2000, she became the first woman to hold the position of International President of Phi Delta Epsilon Medical Fraternity. She enjoys mentoring students and is an advisor for the Phi medical chapter and the Kentucky Beta premedical chapter at University of Louisville. Dr. Isaacs is in the private practice of allergy in Louisville, Kentucky and has served on the clinical faculty at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in both the Department of Medicine and the Department of Pediatrics.   She developed an interest in biomedical ethics during her training and has continued to educate herself in this field.  Dr. Isaacs has served as the chair of the Ethics Committees of both Jewish Hospital and the Greater Louisville Medical Society and has written several ethics articles and training modules for the Fraternity.

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Simon (Steve) Soldinger, MD
Board Member
Dr. Simon Soldinger is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and has been practicing psychiatry in the Los Angeles community since 1981. In the past thirty years of private practice, he has had the pleasure of treating patients with many complex diagnoses. Steve joined Phi Delta Epsilon in medical school at the Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California. As a member, he has been active regionally serving as a director and locally as a chapter advisor and speaker. He has held several international leadership positions including Fraternity President, 2009-2012, and joined the Phi Delta Epsilon Foundation in 2016. Dr. Soldinger is a huge fan of Sky Line Chili and the only person we know who has tickets to both UCLA and USC home football games.

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Brian Zachariah, MD
Board Member
Dr. Brian Zachariah is the Chief Medical Coordinator at the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation and an emergency medicine physician in Chicago, Illinois. He attended Washington University in St. Louis for his undergraduate degree and received his medical degree from University of Louisville School of Medicine before earning his Master of Business Administration from University of Phoenix. Dr. Zachariah and has been in practice for more than 20 years and before moving to Illinois, served as Division of Emergency Medicine Director at University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston.  Dr. Zachariah served at International President from 2012-2016 and joined the Foundation Board in 2018. He is an avid runner and Iron Man.

Learn About PhiDE

MISSION STATEMENT

Phi Delta Epsilon Medical Fraternity creates physicians of integrity with a lifelong commitment to our guiding principles.

HISTORY

In October of 1904, Aaron Brown and eight of his friends founded Phi Delta Epsilon at Cornell University Medical College. At that time, there were many doors closed to Jewish medical students and physicians, doors which would not fully open until after World War II. Read More