Skilled Providers with a Passion for Caregiving

Southgate Medical Group includes outstanding board-certified physicians as well as highly trained nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered and licensed nurses and other medical professionals.

Each of our medical and professional staff members share the same goal: provide collaborative, compassionate, patient-centric care you can trust for every visit, no matter what you’re in the office for.

The following individuals comprise our current medical and professional staff.

Angela Barnes, DO

Barnes is a graduate of the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and of Weber State University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in microbiology with a minor in chemistry. She’s committed to women’s health issues and is admired by both patients and colleagues for her personable manner and communication skills.

Dr. Barnes is on the board of directors of Catholic Medical Partners and is a partner at Southgate Medical Group. She also has a particular interest in wellness and antiaging and is certified in the use of Botox, Dysport and dermal fillers.

Brandon Brownell, MD

Brownell is a Western New York native who graduated from Ross University School of Medicine and earned his Master of Science degree at Canisius College, specializing in Health and Human Performance. He completed his residency with the University at Buffalo in the Department of Family Medicine before specializing in sports medicine. With his background in family and sports medicine, Dr. Brownell has a passion to return patients of all ages back to their active lifestyles. Brownell is currently the team physician for the UB Bulls Division-1 Men’s and Woman’s Basketball teams, and Rochester American’s Hockey team. He has a focus in ultrasound guided musculoskeletal diagnosis and treatment.

Brownell is a recipient of the Family Medicine Outstanding Service Award from the University at Buffalo and the Health and Human Performance Center Award from Canisius College. His professional affiliations include the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and the American Medical Association.

Jay Thomas Hassenfratz, DPM

Hassenfratz earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Canisius College and is a graduate of the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine where he was awarded the Dr. Marvin W. Shapiro Operative Podiatry Award for outstanding proficiency in podiatric surgery. He completed his residency/fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic with special training in foot fractures/dislocations and diabetic foot pathology and reconstruction. Dr. Hassenfratz has been in private practice since 2002 and is affiliated with St. Joseph Hospital, Mercy Hospital and the Center for Ambulatory Surgery. Dr Hassenfratz is certified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

Lisa B. Hoffman, MD, FACP

Hoffman is the president of Southgate Medical Group. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Canisius College and graduated from the University of Rochester School of Medicine. She completed her postdoctoral training in the Primary Care Program in Internal Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY. Dr. Hoffman was certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in 1995 and recertified in 2016. She previously worked as a partner physician in two other medical groups in Western New York before forming Southgate Medical Group in 2003.

Dr. Hoffman has served the board of directors of Catholic Medical Partners since 2009. She held the position of board chairman from 2016-2017. In addition, Dr. Hoffman is a fellow in the American College of Physicians.

Richard Karaga, DO

Karaga, a partner at Southgate Medical Group, is a board-certified physician specializing in family medicine. He is a graduate of the Lake Erie College of Medicine where he earned his Doctor of Medicine degree. Dr. Karaga served his internship and residency at Sisters of Charity Hospital where he distinguished himself as chief resident of the Family Medicine Department. Dr. Karaga is a member of the American Osteopathic Association and the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians.

Daniel J. Murak, MD

Murak, board certified in family medicine, is a founding partner of Southgate Medical Group. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at the State University College at Buffalo, graduated in 1983 from the University of Buffalo School of Medicine and completed his residency program in family medicine at Buffalo General Hospital. He served under the National Health Service in Southern Texas for three years and also volunteered at a Central America refugee camp in Harlingen, Texas. He returned to Western New York in 1989 and has been practicing family medicine since.

Anh-Thu Nguyen, MD

Nguyen is a graduate of St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada, West Indies where she won the highest-class score achievement in bioethics. She performed her family medicine residency at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, New York and was previously awarded an Honors Bachelor of Science with a major in biology at York University in Toronto, Ontario. Dr. Nguyen is a member of the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians. She is fluent in English and Vietnamese and enjoys archery, field hockey, snowboarding and cooking.

Erica S. Redenbach, DO

Redenbach earned her DO at Midwestern University in Glendale, Arizona and completed her family medicine residency training program at Sisters of Charity Hospital in Buffalo, New York. She was awarded her master’s in biomedical sciences at Midwestern University and her Bachelor of Science in zoology at Michigan State University. Dr. Redenbach is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians and the American Osteopathic Association.

Brian D. Snyder, MD, FACP

A managing partner of the Southgate Medical Group since its inception in 2003, Dr. Snyder specializes in clinical pharmacology and geriatrics as well as hospice and palliative care medicine. He is also an internist at BLT Medical Group, LLP and medical director for Home Care, Long-Term Care and Palliative Care with the Catholic Health System. He is clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University at Buffalo (UB) and is board certified in internal medicine as well as hospice and palliative care medicine.

Snyder is a graduate of Northwestern University and earned his medical degree at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Evanston Hospital, Northwestern University, in Evanston, IL. He is a member of the American College of Physicians and the American Medical Directors Association.

Claude G. Sy, MD

A partner physician at Southgate Medical Group, Dr. Sy is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and earned his medical degree at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines. His residency in internal medicine was completed at Mercy Hospital in Buffalo where he’s also currently affiliated. He formerly served as an internist with two other Western New York medical groups. Dr. Sy holds membership in the American College of Physicians.

Rexford Lee Thomas, Jr., PhD, MD, FACS

Thomas is a distinguished surgeon with a specialty in surgical oncology. He earned a doctorate in organic chemistry at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo, Roswell Park Division, and is graduated magna cum laude from the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He completed his surgical residency at SUNY at Buffalo where he became administrative chief surgical resident. He went on to complete a fellowship in surgical oncology at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Thomas was certified by the American Board of Surgery in 1998 and recertified in 2009 and 2017. He is an assistant clinical instructor of surgery at SUNY at Buffalo. He is also the recipient of numerous awards for his chemistry and cancer research and is senior author of several scientific papers and abstracts in cancer research. Dr. Thomas is a diplomate of the American Board of Surgery and a fellow of the American College of Surgery.

Raghupathy Varavenkataraman, MD, FACP

Varavenkataraman has been a member and partner physician of the Southgate Medical Group (SMG) since 2003. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and earned his medical degree at the Stanley Medical College in Madras, India. Dr. Varavenkataraman did his internal medicine residency at the Nassau County Medical Center in East Meadow, NY where he also served as attending physician in the Division of Emergency Medicine. He is licensed in the state of New York. Dr. Varavenkataraman formerly held a research position in gastroenterology at the University of California, worked as the house officer in internal medicine at San Mateo County General Hospital, and served as internist at three other Western New York medical groups before joining SMG.

Natalie Chapman, PA-C

Natalie Chapman holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from SUNY Geneseo, and Bachelor & Master of Science degree from the Physician Assistant Program at D’Youville College, where she graduated summa cum laude. Her professional career includes wide clinical experience in the areas of primary care, family medicine, geriatrics, and cardiology, focusing on both chronic medical issues of the aging population and urgent care medicine. She is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, nationally certified, and a NYS licensed Physician Assistant.

Nicole A. Fore, PA-C

A New York State licensed physician assistant, Nicole Fore earned her Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies and Bachelor of Science in Natural Science—Health Sciences at Daemen College in Amherst, NY. She has wide experience in women’s health, internal medicine and family medicine, and direct clinical experience in general surgery, emergency medicine, pediatrics, gastroenterology and psychiatry. Ms. Fore has also traveled abroad to work with medical teams in the Dominican Republic and Rabat, Morocco. She is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) and has been honored with numerous awards including the Presidential Scholarship.

Lianna Carroll, PA-C

Lianna M. Carroll is a certified physician assistant who completed her Bachelor of Health Science and Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies at Daemen College, where she earned honors on the Dean’s List and as a Presidential Scholarship recipient. She has work experience from the Emergency Department at Mercy Hospital in Buffalo, as well as clinical experience in internal and family medicine, women’s health, mental health and gastroenterology. Lianna is a member of the New York State Society of Physician Assistants and the Western New York Physician Assistant Association.

Lauren Fuest, DPT

Lauren Fuest is a graduate of the Bachelor of Science in Natural Science and Doctor of Physical Therapy programs at Daemen College. Her proficiency, compassion and treatment skills in working with adults, children and seniors in orthopedic and sub-acute rehab settings have earned wide respect from both patients and clinicians. Ms. Fuest is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association.

John D. Hanavan, FNP

John Hanavan joined Southgate Medical Group with an expertise in orthopedics. John graduated from the Albany Medical College of Union University as a family nurse practitioner and earned his Bachelor of Science in Nursing at D’Youville College. He has over 30 years of experience as a nurse practitioner with extensive training and experience in orthopedics, sports medicine, occupational and family medicine. John has provided side-line coverage at a variety of sporting venues including high school and collegiate sports, NYS and MAC wrestling championships, and semi-pro and arena football. He has worked very closely with UB athletics, providing care both in the training room as well as on the fields. In addition, John is an expert in various orthopedic injections and has a special interest in providing care to the elderly. John was a member of the National Ski Patrol for 19 years.

Jessica L. Hargarther, MS, AGNP

Jessica Hargarther is an AANP board-certified adult-gerontology nurse practitioner with a wide range of experience in managing diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, asthma and other clinical issues specific to adult/gerontology patients. Jessica’s work as a registered nurse in the fields of critical care, perioperative care and interventional nursing are also valuable additions to her unique skill set at Southgate Medical Group. She is a graduate of St. John Fisher College, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in nursing, and was awarded a Master of Science at Stony Brook University. Ms. Hargarther is certified in advanced cardiac life support and is a member of both the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the New York State Nurse Practitioner Association.

Courtney Hurley, PA-C

Courtney Hurley is a graduate of the Bachelor of Science/Master of Science program in Physician Assistant Studies at D’Youville College where she distinguished herself on the Dean’s List and as president of the Student Physician Assistant Association. Her clinical experience has included internal medicine, family medicine, primary care, pediatrics, vascular surgery, orthopaedics, OB/GYN, emergency medicine, psychiatry, geriatrics and dermatology. Ms. Hurley holds certifications in acute cardiac life support, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and has trained in both infection control and in the Identification of child abuse and maltreatment.

Heather Leary, AGPCNP-BC, RN BSN

Heather Leary earned her Master of Science, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner at the University at Buffalo where she graduated summa cum laude. She has wide experience in primary care, urgent care, geriatrics, cardiothoracic intensive care, cardiac medical intensive care and other nursing specialties attained from her work at several leading American hospitals and medical centers. Ms. Leary is ANCC Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (Board Certified) and is a member of the Nurse Practitioner Association of New York State.

Janet May, PA-C

Janet May was awarded a Bachelor of Science in the Physician Assistant Program at Gannon University in 2000. Prior to joining Southgate Medical Group, she worked as a physician assistant at Prime Care Family and Urgent Care and the Pratt Medical Center in Fredericksburg, VA. She is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and is licensed in the state of New York.

Sarah McGowan, PA-C

A 2017 graduate of the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program at Daemen College, Sarah was awarded a Presidential Scholarship, was on the Dean’s List all semesters and graduated summa cum laude. Sarah is a nationally certified and New York State licensed physician assistant. She has work experience in rheumatology as well as clinical experience in family medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine, dermatology and otolaryngology.

Megan Morano, PA-C

Megan Morano received a Bachelor of Health Science from Daemen College, where she appeared on the Dean’s List each semester. She also earned her Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from Daemen. Her clinical experience includes dermatology, pediatric and adolescent medicine, OB/GYN, emergency medicine, internal medicine, psychiatry, plastic surgery, and family medicine—a discipline about which she is especially passionate. Ms. Morano is also certified in advanced cardiovascular life support and New York State Department of Health mandatory infection control training. She is a member of the Western New York Physician Assistant Association.

Philip M. Ostrowski, PA-C

Philip Ostrowski is a cum laude graduate of the Bachelor of Science in Physician Assistant Program at D’Youville College. His professional and clinical experience includes urgent care, occupational medicine, college health, family practice, internal medicine and pediatrics. He is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.

Bethany Sachel, PA-C

Bethany Sachel is an honors graduate of Daemen College where she earned her Bachelor of Health Science/Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies. She is a member of the New York State Society of Physician Assistants and the Western New York Physician Assistant Association, as well as the American Academy of PAs. She has worked in family medicine since 2010.

Edward Tojek, PT

Edward Tojek earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences and a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy at the University at Buffalo. He is a New York State licensed physical therapist with wide clinical experience in the fields of education, home care, orthopedics, rehabilitation and therapeutic massage.

Paula Gorman, RN, Chief Operating Officer

Paula Gorman is a seasoned healthcare operations leader with wide experience in medical administration. As a Certified Medical Practice Executive, Paula is responsible for all business and clinical operations as well as facilities management, human resource management, risk management, information systems, quality management, security and privacy compliance, reimbursement and coding, purchasing, marketing, and many other areas essential to the successful management of the practice and the benefit of its patients.

Ms. Gorman was previously the operations director and director of nursing of a large multi-specialty physician group in Western New York. She is a graduate of Houghton College where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business management.

National Recognition for Quality Care

Every patient interaction, from our very first meeting to routine check-ups to surgical procedures, is rooted in our natural commitment to exceptional quality and compassion as caregivers. We’re proud to have earned the trust and respect of our community, as well as recognition as a Patient Centered Medical Home from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).

The NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. Their recognition programs are built on evidenced-based, nationally recognized clinical standards of care.

The Patient Centered Medical Home standards emphasize the use of systematic, patient-centered, coordinated care that supports access, communication and patient involvement.

Southgate Medical Group also participates in Comprehensive Primary Care Plus, or CPC+, which is the nation’s largest ever program to improve primary care.

Through CPC+, our insurers will give our practice additional resources to help us better manage your care. Our participation in this program works toward our ultimate goal: ensure the highest quality patient-centered care for every individual, every day.

Quality Results

Southgate Medical Group pays close attention to the preventive health needs of our patients. We are proud that of those patients who were recommended:

  • Over 79% have been screened for colon cancer
  • Almost 84% had recent mammograms
  • Over 87% have been immunized against pneumonia
  • Nearly 94% of diabetics are up to date on having their bloodwork done

Our Care Coordinator nurses contacted over 98% of patients after a hospitalization. Studies have shown that close follow up after a hospitalization can prevent future health problems, readmissions and emergency room visits.

Of patients responding to a national survey:

  • 94% reported they could get care when needed
  • Over 81% would recommend their provider to others