2021 Virtual Mid-Year Speakers/Moderators

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Cecelia Damask, DO

Cecelia Damask, DO is a comprehensive otolaryngologist, with a specialty focus on Allergy and Sinus Diseases, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine. She is a native of Chicago and received her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University. She received her D.O. from Midwestern University and completed her residency training at the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Dr. Damask is a Board-Member-At-Large for the American Osteopathic Colleges of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. She is the Coordinator of Education for the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA). She also is the Chair-elect of the Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Committee for the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) in addition to serving on the Annual Meeting Planning Committee. Prior to that, she was Education Program Director and Educational Assessment Chair of the AAOA. She has presented over 50 lectures at various allergy courses, including the AAOA’s Basic Allergy and Immunology Course, the AAOA’s Interactive Allergy & Rhinology Course, the AAOA’s Annual Scientific Meeting and is co-Course Director for the AAOA’s Advanced Allergy and Immunology Course. She has also presented on various allergy topics at the Annual Meeting for the AAO-HNSF as well as the Annual Meeting, Summer Sinus Symposium, and RhinoWorld for the American Rhinologic Society (ARS). She has authored many scientific papers and is one of the editors of “The Handbook of Otolaryngic Allergy” published in 2019 as well as the Chief Editor for “Allergy in Otolaryngology Practice: A Comprehensive Guide”, which is in press.

Her clinical private practice has a special focus on biologics and treating allergic disorders, including inhalant allergy, food allergy, asthma, atopic dermatitis, and urticaria.
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Christine Franseze, MD

Christine Franzese, MD is a general otolaryngologist, with a specialty focus on Allergy and Sinus Diseases, and Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at University of Missouri Medical Center. She is a native of Watkins Glen, NY and received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. She received her M.D. from SUNY Upstate Medical Center and completed her residency training at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and the University of Mississippi Medical Center. She stayed on as faculty at the University of Mississippi Medical Center for eight years where she was Residency Program Director, as well as Associate Professor and Chief of Otolaryngology at the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery V.A. Medical Center.

She is a former Past President of the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy [AAOA]. Prior to that, she was President, President-Elect, and Treasurer of the AAOA, and Chair for the Section of Women in Otolaryngology in the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery [AAO-HNS]. She has also served on the AAO-HNS Annual Program Committee and as Consultant to the AAO-HNS Allergy and Immunology Committee. She has taught at many allergy courses, including the AAOA Basic Allergy and Immunology Course, the AAOA Advanced Allergy and Immunology Course, and was co-Course Director for the AAOA Interactive Allergy & Rhinology Course.

She has served as the first Chair of the SUO-Otolaryngology Program Directors Organization, as a member of the AAO-HNS Rhinology and Paranasal Sinuses Committee, and as a Member-at-Large on the AAOA Board of Directors. She has authored many scientific papers and is Chief Editor and one of the authors of “The Handbook of Otolaryngic Allergy” published in 2019. She has a special focus on biologics and treating allergic disorders, including inhalant allergy, penicillin allergy, allergies to stinging insects, food allergy, asthma, atopic dermatitis and urticaria.
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Robert Fritch, DO

Dr. Robert Fritch is a Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. A graduate of Michigan State College of Osteopathic Medicine, he completed his residency in Family Medicine in Detroit "way last century" as his progeny are prone to say.

He will be speaking today on Negotiation - An Introduction. This is a distillation of a whole day seminar specifically targeting Women Physicians, in an attempt to address the significant gender salary disparity in our field.

Dr. Fritch loves the outdoors and invites you to hike with him in New Mexico.
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Dana Golden, CPC, CHA, OCS, OHCC, COPC

Dana Golden is employed by Eye Associates of New Mexico, the largest private practice Ophthalmology/Optometry Group in New Mexico, for 10 years working as a Coding and Compliance Manger. Prior to EANM Dana worked for a large multi-specialty clinic and hospital system as a coder/auditor in different specialties. In 2001 took the multi specialty coding exam and later moved to auditing of medical rather than productivity coding. Determined to further her education and knowledge of specialty coding Dana took the Certified Ophthalmology Coder.
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Thomas Higgins, MD

Dr. Higgins is a board-certified otolaryngologist with sub-specialty fellowship training in the medical and surgical management of Nose and Sinus disease (“Rhinology”). He has extensive experience in complex and revision endoscopic sinus surgery, frontal sinus surgery, endoscopic brain fluid (CSF) leak repairs and sinus tumor resections, endoscopic orbital procedures as well as the medical/nonsurgical management of complicated sinus disease.

He grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and attended Bellarmine College (now Bellarmine University). He obtained a Doctorate of Medicine (MD) and Masters of Science of Public Health (MSPH) from the University of Louisville School of Medicine and School of Public Health and Information Sciences. He completed a residency in Otolaryngology at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia and his Rhinology Fellowship at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. He is married and has two children.
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David Houliston, JD

During his 25+ year legal career, David has worked for multi-national insurance carriers and large corporations, defending them against insurance claims. He now uses that knowledge and experience to help injured victims obtain the financial compensation that they need in order to move forward with their lives. People who are injured through the negligence of another often face many challenges, and David M. Houliston acts as a compassionate advocate on their behalf.



Mr. Houliston has handled over 120 cases that went to trial, and he is admitted to the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico and the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit. He is a graduate of The University of New Mexico Law School where he earned the Popejoy and Leach Scholarship for the highest entering LSAT score. He serves on the Board of the New Mexico Trial Lawyers, and is a frequent lecturer on Trial Tactics and Techniques.



David's superior legal skills and adherence to ethics have earned him the highest rating possible of AV-Preeminent from Martindale Hubbell. He has been recognized as a top rated Plaintiff Lawyer by Super Lawyers in 2014, included in Best Lawyers in America for Insurance Law, and rated Top One Percent by the National Association of Distinguished Council.
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Shikha Jain, MD

Dr. Shikha Jain is a board-certified hematology and oncology physician. She is an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at the University of Illinois in Chicago. She is the Director of Communications Strategies in Medicine and the Associate Director of Oncology Communication and Digital Innovation for the University of Illinois Cancer Center. Dr. Jain is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of the action, advocacy, and amplification organization IMPACT and Founder and Chair of the Women in Medicine nonprofit. Dr. Jain was named one of Medscapes 25 Rising Stars in Medicine in 2020, one of Modern Healthcare's Top 25 Emerging Leaders in 2019, and was also awarded the Rising Star award by the LEAD Oncology Conference in 2019. She was selected as a ResearcHERS ambassador by the American Cancer Society and was honored by 500 Women in Medicine. She has been appointed as the 2020 and 2021 Lead of the American Society for Clinical Oncology Women's Working Group, is a member of the Diversity and Inclusion task force, and appointed to the Illinois State Medical Society’s Council on Communications and Membership Advocacy as well as the COVID19 taskforce. She is on the editorial board of Healio HemOnc Today and is the consulting medical editor for Healio Women in Oncology. She is also the host of the podcast Oncology Overdrive. Dr. Jain’s mentorship and sponsorship have resulted in the advancement of numerous young women and men in medicine across the country. She works tirelessly to promote the dissemination of evidence-based scientific information through numerous mediums including social media and has been recognized as a thought leader by Doximity and the OpEd project. She lectures nationally on the importance of social media and communication strategies in healthcare. She is also the founder of the social media group Dual Physician Families.

Dr. Jain gave a TEDx talk in 2019 on the gender moonshot and the importance of gender parity in healthcare. She is a nationally renowned speaker and has been published in several national publications including CNN, USA Today, Scientific American, The Hill, US News, Physician's Weekly, the Chicago Tribune, Doximity, KevinMD, and ASCO Connection. She is a regular contributor to FOX 32 and has also been a guest on ABC7 and WGN and quoted in the New York Times and featured in TIME Magazine.

In her clinical practice as an oncologist, she tries to incorporate patient education and outreach as often as possible. With the proper tools and guidance, she works with her patients as a team to treat the disease and helps them move through an often difficult process together with as little stress as possible. She believes in personalized and individualized care, and also feels the more knowledge a patient has about their own disease, the more informed a decision they are able to make.


Twitter: @ShikhaJainMD
Instagram: @ShikhaJainMD
www.shikhajainmd.com
www.womeninmedicinesummit.org
www.impact4hc.com
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Whit Mims, MD

Dr. Mims is an Associate Professor in Otolaryngology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine where practices as a general otolaryngologists with interest in rhinology, pediatrics, and allergy. He has served as the Education Coordinator and President of the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA). For the AAO-HNS he is an associate editor and has served as the chair of the Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Committee.
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Michael Parker, MD

Dr. Michael J. Parker is an ENT-otolaryngologist in Camillus, New York and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Upstate University Hospital and Crouse Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years.
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James Perez, JD

James Perez is an Albuquerque native with more than a decade of investigatory experience, particularly in the public healthcare compliance. James is a former investigator for the Risk Management, and Human Rights Division of the California Department of State Hospitals (DSH), the largest impatient provider for mentally ill patients in the world. In this role, James conducted risk management investigations on a variety of issues including patient rights and care delivery. Mr. Perez oversaw the Joint Commission contract and was part of team that ensured compliance with care delivery outcome including patient safety, charting and OSHA and HIPPA compliance. James also was the Assistant Chief at DSH EEO and Reasonable Accommodation Program overseeing investigations of civil rights complaints from staff and patients and ensuring accommodations for employees with disabilities. AT DSH James was a member of Disability Rights California Council, and Professional Peace Officer Certified (CA).
Upon returning to NM, James was an investigator for the NM Medical Board, enforcing and administering the Medical Practice Act by accepting and investigating complaints against physicians by interviewing witnesses, reviewing patient charts and writing investigative reports. Mr. Perez was part of the DEA Health Care Fraud Workgroup, and the CDC Opioid QI Collaborative Project (Northern Navajo Medical Center).
James became the Program manager at the NM Department of Health – Division of Health Improvements, overseeing the statewide complaints process regarding all NM healthcare facilities, and protecting Medicare/Medicaid beneficiaries from abuse, neglect, exploitation, or inadequate care. This oversight includes the intake/triage department, coordinator of complaints surveys (investigations) and ensuring statewide compliance and compliance with the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS) state performance standards.
Recently James became the Bureau Chief of the Caregiver Criminal History Screening Program for NM Department of health. The Caregivers Criminal History Screening Program (CCHSP) was developed to protect New Mexicans by screening caregivers for criminal history. Statute requires all caregivers to be fingerprinted and for those fingerprints to be submitted to CCHSP for state and nationwide background checks.
James is passionate about healthcare in NM and about a safe and complaint health care delivery system.
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Roman Romero, JD

Biography: Román R. Romero, J.D. is the President of The Romero Law Firm, P.A. which has focused on criminal defense cases in New Mexico State and Federal Courts continuously for the past 18 years. Mr. Romero is a licensed attorney in the State of New Mexico, The United States District Court for the Districts of New Mexico and Western Texas, and The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Mr. Romero has represented clients in over 150 jury and non-jury trials and has been recognized as one of the State of New Mexico’s premier criminal defense trial attorneys. He is a member of The Criminal Justice Act Panel, The American Bar Association, The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, The Hispanic National Bar Association, and the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. Mr. Romero has served on committees for the American Bar Association, taught Continuing Legal Education Courses for Law Review CLE, The State Bar of New Mexico, The New Mexico Bail Bonding Association, and the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association. He was awarded Top-Ten Attorney in Client Satisfaction for Criminal Defense in the State of New Mexico by The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys, 2018, and “Top 10 Attorney for the State of New Mexico" by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorney's in 2020.

When not at work, he enjoys playing basketball, golf, developing properties, and traveling with his three daughters.
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Matthew Ryan, MD

Dr. Ryan is Associate Professor and Vice Chairman for Education and Quality in the Department of Otolaryngology at UT Southwestern Medical Centre in Dallas, Texas.
He is also immediate past president of the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy.

He currently serves as Fellowship program director for the Rhinology fellowship at UT Southwestern and was previously program director for the Otolaryngology residency at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

Dr. Ryan’s clinical practice focuses on Rhinology and Allergy.
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Donna Schwendinger, CMPE, MHA, MT(AMT)

Ms. Schwendinger has more than 40 years in the healthcare industry. Her experience encompasses Medical Practice management for private practice physicians and major clinics. She also has extensive experience in medical billing and coding for physicians. Working at Blue Shield in California and First health in PA has rounded out her experience in insurance. As a Medical Technologist she has managed laboratories.
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Harjot Singh, MD

Harjot Singh, M.D. is a conference speaker and a leadership consultant. He helps doctors master skills never taught in medical training so they can lead for success and live with joy. He speaks at national-level meetings and in boardrooms across the country on leadership and wellbeing. He also focuses on organizational level change, working with C-suite leaders to design tailored programs.
Bridging the gap from doctor to leader is what Harjot does best. He is passionate about helping people discover who they really are - like how Yoda helps Luke discover what a powerful Jedi he is. He believes that a mind once expanded never goes back to its old state.

A practicing physician, chief of telemedicine at Kingsview Behavioral Health, and faculty at American College of Healthcare Executives, Harjot’s work is informed by all three perspectives. He has authored several textbook chapters - the latest one on Physician Engagement, published August 2021.
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Alan Varela, JD

Alan Varela is a licensed attorney, executive, and legislative strategist with over twenty-five years of professional experience leading professional organizations to achieve higher levels of performance. Mr. Varela began his legal career defending hospitals and physicians in complex medical malpractice cases. He is CEO of Strategic Advantage Group with a focus on organizational performance, contract negotiations, corporate ethics and governance, and legislative advocacy.
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Sarah Wise, MD, MSCR

Sarah K. Wise, MD, MSCR is a Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. She is the Emory Otolaryngology Residency Program Director, Rhinology Fellowship Director, and Director of Otolaryngic Allergy. Dr. Wise completed medical school at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, residency at Emory University and rhinology fellowship at the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Wise has served on the Board of Directors of the American Rhinologic Society and the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy. She will become President of the American Rhinologic Society in September 2022, serving as the Society’s first female president. Her clinical interests include inflammatory rhinology, otolaryngic allergy, relationship of allergy and chronic rhinosinusitis, and cerebrospinal fluid leaks. Dr. Wise lectures nationally and internationally. Her most notable publication is the International Consensus Statement on Allergy and Rhinology: Allergic Rhinitis (International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology, February 2018), where she served as first author and primary editor for this multi-disciplinary international effort that included 107 authors.
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