Southgate Medical Group includes outstanding board-certified physicians as well as highly trained nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses, and other medical professionals. The following individuals comprise our current medical and professional staff.
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Dr. 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 has a particular interest in women's health issues and is admired by both patients and colleagues for her personable manner and communication skills. Dr. Barnes is certified in basic life support, pediatric advanced life support, advanced cardiac life support, and the neonatal resuscitation program. She is member of the American Academy of Physicians.
Dr. 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 specializingin 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. As part of his Sports Medicine fellowship Dr. Brownell worked with the UB Bulls Division-1 athletes,both on and off the field. 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.
Dr. Dhanoa is an experienced physician specializing in family medicine. He has served as an attending medical physician providing patient care and management in both hospital settings and private practice. Dr. Dhanoa earned his DO at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and served his residency at the Long Beach Medical Center in Long Beach, New York. He is a Board Certified Family Practice Physician by the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians.
Dr. 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.
Dr. 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 2005. She previously worked as a partner physician in two other medical groups in Western New York before forming Southgate Medical Group in 2003.
Dr. Karaga 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.
Dr. Murak is a board certified partner physician with a practice in family medicine at SMG. His medical background includes work in departments of family medicine at hospitals in New York and Texas as well in other medical groups in Western New York. Dr. Murak also served as a volunteer physician at a Central American Refugee Camp in Harlingen, Texas. He is a graduate of the State University College at Buffalo where he earned his bachelor’s in biology and of the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences where he was awarded his MD degree. He completed his residency in the Family Medicine Residency Program at Buffalo General Hospital.
Dr. Roché is a diplomate of the American Board of Family Practice and is licensed in the states of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. In addition to his practice at Southgate Medical Group, he is an attending physician in the Department of Medicine at Mercy Hospital. He received his DO degree from the School of Osteopathic Medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of the State of New Jersey in Stratford, NJ and his MS degree at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He completed his residency in family practice medicine at Virtua Health Systems in Voorhees, NJ.
A former National Institutes of Health Graduate Fellow, Dr. Roché is a member of the American Board of Family Medicine, the American Medical Association, the Academy of Osteopathy, and the American Academy of Family Physicians. He is certified in advanced cardiac life support and pediatric advanced life support and his additional medical skills and interests include dermatologic procedures, sports medicine, geriatric medicine, pain management, and pharmacology.
A managing partner of the Southgate Medical Group since its inception in 2003, Dr. Snyder specializes in clinical pharmacology, geriatrics as well as hospice and palliative care medicine. He is also an internist at BLT Medical Group, LLP and Medical Director for Long Term 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.
Dr. 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.
A partner physician at SMG, 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 and his current affiliations include both Mercy Hospital and the Erie County Medical Center (ECMC). He formerly served as an internist with two other Western New York medical groups. Dr. Sy holds memberships in the American College of Physicians and the American Society of Internal Medicine.
Dr. 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 at Buffalo (SUNY), Roswell Park Division, and is a magna cum laude graduate of 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. 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.
Dr. Varavenkataraman has been a member and partner physician of the Southgate Medical Group 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 states of New York, New Jersey, and California. 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 holds a bachelor of science degree in biology from the State University of New York at Geneseo and a B.S./M.S. degree from the Physician Assistant Program at D’Youville College where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. Her clinical experience includes internal medicine, geriatrics, primary care, family medicine, cardiology, psychiatry, OB/GYN, orthopaedics, emergency medicine, neuro-oncology, and hospice. Ms. Chapman is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and is licensed in the state of New York. She is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and Western New York Physician Assistant Association.
Lauren Fuest is a graduate of the Bachelor of Science in Natural Science /Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Daemen College. Her proficiency, compassion, and treatment skills in working with adults, children, and seniors in orthopaedic 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.
Courtney Hurley is a graduate of the B.S./M.S. 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.
Bethany Sachel is an honors graduate of Daemen College who earned her Bachelor of Health Science/Master of Science, Physician Assistant degree at Daemen. She has wide experience in primary and urgent care as well as emergency medicine, surgery, family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and mental health. Mrs. Sachel holds both New York State Physician Assistant Certification and National Board Certification. She is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the New York State Society of Physician Assistants, and the Western New York Physician Assistant Association.
Heather Leary earned her master of science, adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, summa cum laude, at the University at Buffalo. 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 and Sigma Theta Tau International, Gamma Kappa Chapter.
Janet May was awarded a bachelor of science degree 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. Ms. May is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.
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 and certified as a basic life support/cardiopulmonary resuscitation (BLS/CPR) instructor. Mr. Ostrowski is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.
Sarah Rizvi graduated from the University at Buffalo with a bachelor of science degree and earned a master of science in Physician Assistant Studies at Daemen College. Her professional career includes clinical experience in the areas of family medicine, infectious disease, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, internal medicine, neurosurgery, emergency medicine, mental health, and orthopedic surgery. Ms. Rizvi is certified in advanced cardiovascular life support and basic life support and is a member of the New York State Society of Physician Assistants and the Western New York Physician Assistant Association.
Sheila Tober earned her bachelor of science in biology from Canisius College and was awarded a master of science in Physician Assistant Studies from Daemen College. She brings a wide-ranging medical experience to the practice including work in gynecology, family medicine, internal medicine, surgical assistance, psychiatry, emergency medicine, counseling, and administration. Ms. Tober holds New York State Physician Assistant Licensure and Physician Assistant National Certification. She is a member of Western New York Physician Assistants Association and the American Academy of Physician Assistants.
Edward Tojek earned a bachelor of arts in the 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.
Corry Wierzbowski earned her bachelor of science degree in physician assistant studies at Gannon University. Her clinical career includes experience as primary care provider for adult and pediatric patients in private medical practices in the areas of gynecology, acute injuries, acute illness, and chronic illness management. She is also a lecturer in the Physician Assistant Program at D'Youville College where she works with students in clinical medicine and pharmacology. Ms. Wierzbowski is a New York State Registered Physician Assistant certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. She is also certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and is a member of the Western New York Society of Physician Assistants.
Paula Gorman is a seasoned healthcare operations leader with wide experience in medical administration. She led the research, planning, and implementation of the Medent electronic medical records system (EMR) for increased efficiency and information access at SMG. She is responsible for all business and clinical operations as well as facilities management, information systems, quality management, compliance, 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.