Faculty

Thomas J. Lane, M.D., FACP

Thomas J. Lane, M.D., FACP
Program Director

Dr. Lane was born and raised in upstate New York. He obtained a B.S. (Phi Beta Kappa) in biology and psychology from the State University of New York at Albany, and received his M.D. (Alpha Omega Alpha) from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He matched in internal medicine at UConn Health, and then served a fellowship in academic general internal medicine. He was part of the faculty group that established the Primary Care Internal Medicine Program at UConn in 1990. He served as associate program director from 1997 to 2009, and program director from 2009 to the present. “During my career, I have directed the outpatient clinic and the hospitalist program, but directing the residency has been my favorite role. I have interests in physician wellness, functional somatic disorders, and medically complex obesity. I live in Unionville with my wife; we have four grown children. I enjoy motorcycle travel, water sports, and craft brewing/ beer tasting, but rarely all on the same day.”

Doug D’Andrea, M.D., M.P.H.

Doug D’Andrea, M.D., M.P.H.
Associate Program Director

Dr. D’Andrea, an internal medicine and occupational and environmental medicine specialist, is a graduate of New York University School of Medicine. He completed his internal medicine internship and residency followed by a master’s degree in public health and a residency in occupational and environmental medicine at the UConn School of Medicine. He is board certified in internal medicine and occupational and environmental medicine and works as a hospitalist at UConn Health. He is an associate program director for the Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency Program. He works with residents at the hospital and the primary care clinic at UConn Health. His academic interests include hospital medicine, quality improvement, evidence-based medicine practice and teaching, and public health policy.

Madura Saravanan, M.B.B.S., FACP

Madura Saravanan, M.B.B.S., FACP
Associate Program Director

Dr. Saravanan received her M.B.B.S. degree from Kilpauk Medical College in Chennai, India. She completed her internal medicine residency and chief medicine residency in the Primary Care Residency Program at UConn Health. Following residency, she worked as an academic hospitalist at The Hospital of Central Connecticut. She also worked as an associate hospitalist director and site director for the Primary Care Residency Program for several years. She is currently an associate program director for Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency at UConn Health. She is involved in several hospital based initiatives, quality improvement, resident education, and curriculum development.

Sean Kandel, D.O.

Sean Kandel, D.O.
Site Director, The Hospital of Central Connecticut Continuity Clinic

Dr. Kandel grew up in California and did his undergraduate work in biology at Santa Clara University and his graduate work in organic chemistry at the University of California, San Diego. He then did several years of clinical research looking at opportunistic infections in AIDS patients along with teaching and coaching soccer at the middle and high school levels. Dr. Kandel then moved to Florida to attend medical school at Nova Southeastern University. He subsequently completed his internship and residency at Yale New Haven Hospital and Waterbury Hospital in Connecticut before joining the core faculty at the Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency Program at UConn Health. Dr. Kandel is currently the medical director of the medical clinic at The Hospital of Central Connecticut and an assistant professor of medicine at UConn Health. His research focuses on anxiety disorders and current projects include the development of a brief, effective screening tool for anxiety disorders in the medical setting, epidemiologic studies related to anxiety disorders, and the effect of brief interventions on anxiety management. Graduate students and residents are welcome to join his research efforts. In his free time, Dr. Kandel enjoys exercising including waterskiing, wakeboarding, snowboarding, rollerblading, and playing volleyball.

Rupal Panchal, M.D., FACP

Rupal Panchal, M.D., FACP
Site Director, The Hospital of Central Connecticut

Dr. Panchal was born and grew up in Buffalo, New York. She received her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at the State University of New York at Buffalo. She then went to medical school at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York. She completed her internal medicine residency in the Traditional Program at Yale New Haven Hospital in 2008. Following completion of residency, she chose a career in hospitalist medicine with a focus in academics. She has been at The Hospital of Central Connecticut since 2010 and is one of the core faculty academic teaching hospitalists and an active member of the Medical Executive Committee and the Ethics Committee there. She is a clinical preceptor at the UConn School of Medicine’s “clinical home” rotation for first-year medical students. Dr. Panchal is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. During her free time, she enjoys cooking and traveling; she has been to five of the seven continents in her travels.

Clara Weinstock, D.O.

Clara Weinstock, D.O., FACP
Site Director, UConn Health Continuity Clinic

Dr. Weinstock received her undergraduate degree from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota and went to medical school at A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona. She completed residency at Baystate Medical Center/Tufts University School of Medicine. She is a practicing primary care provider at UConn Health and ambulatory site director for the primary care internal medicine program at UConn Health’s continuity clinic. She has received multiple teaching awards for her teaching in the resident continuity clinic. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, biking, water sports, eating good food and traveling.

Shiromini Herath, M.D.

Shiromini Herath, M.D.
Site Director, UConn Health

Dr. Herath completed her medical degree at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka and her residency at the UConn School of Medicine. She is a hospitalist at UConn Health and has won multiple teaching awards for her work with residents. She is the site director for UConn Health.

Kavita Advani, M.B.B.S.

Kavita Advani, M.B.B.S.
Site Director, Burgdorf Continuity Clinic

Dr. Advani graduated from RNT Medical School India in 1995. She pursued her residency at UConn Health in the Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency Program where she was selected and served as chief resident. She started working as a clinician educator at Yale/St. Mary's Waterbury program, then moved back to UConn Health as assistant professor of internal medicine. She is serving as site director for the Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency Program. She has received multiple teaching awards in the residency continuity clinic as well as recognition from the UConn School of Medicine’s Student Continuity Practice Program. She has three children and is a passionate mother and friend.

Steven Prunk, M.D.

Steven Prunk, M.D.
Critical Care Director, The Hospital of Central Connecticut

Dr. Prunk received his undergraduate degree from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then attended UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School (now Rutgers Medical School) in Newark. He completed his residency, chief residency, and pulmonary-critical care fellowship at UConn Health. Dr. Prunk is Hartford Healthcare’s central region director of critical care medicine at The Hospital of Central Connecticut and MidState Medical Center. He is also the chief of pulmonary medicine, medical director of respiratory therapy and director of the PFT and ABG labs at The Hospital of Central Connecticut. He is also the site director for the Primary Care Internal Medicine Program and the Pulmonary-Critical Care Fellowship Program at UConn Health. He enjoys skiing, the beach and ocean, cooking (and eating!), teaching, and being with his wife and family.

Angela Hart, D.O.

Angela Hart, D.O., UConn Health

Dr. Hart earned her undergraduate degree at Tufts University. She completed medical school at New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed a master’s degree in neuromusculoskeletal sciences there as well. She came to residency at the UConn Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency Program and stayed on as teaching faculty at UConn Health in primary care. As part of her primary care practice she treats patients with osteopathic manipulative treatments (OMT).

Cheryl Oncken, M.D., FACP, FIDSA

Cheryl Oncken, M.D., UConn Health
Chair, Department of Medicine

Dr. Oncken completed her medical degree at the University of Wisconsin Medical School and her Master of Public Health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. She completed her residency training at the Hennepin County Medical Center and a fellowship in ambulatory care at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and at the University of Minnesota. She is the chair of the Department of Medicine at UConn Health. Her research focuses on smoking cessation and she has won multiple research awards including the Donaghue Investigator Award for Outstanding Clinical Research and the John Hawley Award for Advancement of Public Health. She has been continuously NIH funded for 20 years and has over 75 peer reviewed publications.

Ariane Sirop, M.D.

Ariane Sirop, M.D., UConn Health

Dr. Sirop completed her medicine and pediatrics residency at UConn Health in 2000 and since then has focused on adult health care. She has varied experience in primary care including private practice, care of veterans in the Connecticut VA system, and elder care in nursing home/rehabilitation facilities. She most enjoys precepting and teaching residents in their continuity clinic settings, previously at the VA in nearby Newington and currently in the General Medicine Clinic at UConn Health in Farmington and has been involved in this capacity since 2004.

Michael Fischer, M.D.

Michael Fischer, M.D., UConn Health, East Hartford

Dr. Fischer completed his undergraduate degree at Brown University. He went to medical school at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and completed a Masters of Public Health at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. He did his residency at the Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital of Case Western Reserve University. He is a primary care physician and teaches residents at UConn Health. He has done international medical service work in Uganda, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.

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Keith vom Eigen, M.D., Burgdorf

Dr. vom Eigen completed his residency at Johns Hopkins University and fellowship at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. He teaches residents at the Burgdorf Clinic.

Robert Levitz, M.D.

Robert Levitz, M.D., FACP, FIDSA, Burgdorf

Dr. Levitz graduated from Boston University School of Medicine in 1978. He did his internal medicine residency and infectious diseases fellowship at Hartford Hospital. He retired from Hartford Hospital in April 2016 and began working at the Burgdorf Clinic. He is an associate professor of clinical medicine at the UConn School of Medicine, a fellow of the American College of Physicians and a fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Shoven Gautam, M.D.

Shoven Gautam, M.D., The Hospital of Central Connecticut

Dr. Gautam attended medical school at University of Calcutta in India and completed his Internal Medicine residency from West Penn-Allegheny General Healthcare Consortium in Pittsburgh. He has been an academic hospitalist at the Hospital of Central Connecticut (HOCC) and holds a faculty appointment as the assistant professor of medicine at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. He is the site clerkship director for the advanced inpatient experience rotation for the fourth year medical students at HOCC. He is also the director of hospital medicine at HOCC and is in various leadership roles within Hartford Heaththcare. He is currently pursuing an MBA in healthcare administration at the University of Connecticut School of Business. He has a deep interest in medical education, quality improvement and organizational management. He enjoys traveling, reading books and articles on history, and current affairs.

Ramachandra Illindala, M.D.

Ramachandra Illindala, M.D., The Hospital of Central Connecticut

Dr. Illindala is originally from the south of India. He attended medical school at Osmania Medical College in India. He completed his Internal Medicine residency from Cook County Hospital in Chicago. He has always been interested in inpatient medicine and teaching. He has been an academic hospitalist since finishing his residency in 2000. He has taught residents and medical students since then, first at Cook County Hospital and Rush University in Chicago for 4 years, then at St. Francis Hospital, then at the Hospital of St. Raphael’s in New Haven for 7 years, and currently at The Hospital of Central Connecticut since 2012. He has held a faculty appointment as Assistant Professor of Medicine at Rush University while in Chicago, and currently holds a faculty appointment as Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Connecticut School Of Medicine. He continues to enjoy teaching residents and medical students. He lives in Cheshire with his family and enjoys reading, watching sports and spending time with his kids and his dog.

Sarah Hashmi, M.D.

Sarah Hashmi, M.D., The Hospital of Central Connecticut

Dr. Hashmi attended medical school at the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine in St. Maarten after which she went on to join her residency program at the University of Connecticut Primary Care Internal Medicine Program. She completed an additional chief medical resident year starting in 2013. After graduation she joined as an academic hospitalist at The Hospital of Central Connecticut where she has been working with residents and medical students since 2014. She is currently an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. She is also a supervising preceptor at the outpatient medical clinic at The Hospital of Central Connecticut, where she oversees patient care with both medical students and primary care residents. She is involved in several hospital based initiatives at The Hospital of Central Connecticut. Her main interests include teaching and measures to improve patient safety in the hospital.

Snehal Naik, M.D.

Snehal Naik, M.D., UConn Health

Dr. Naik is a board-certified internal medicine hospitalist at UConn Health, where she completed her residency. Prior to that, she attended Ross University School of Medicine for medical school. She is a key clinical faculty member for the Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency Program and actively involved in training residents. Her academic interests include hospital medicine, resident education, and quality improvement. She is involved in several hospital-based committees and professional organizations.

Elizabeth Tillman, M.D., FACP

Elizabeth Tillman, M.D., FACP, The Hospital of Central Connecticut

Dr. Tillman received her medical degree from MCP Hahnemann School of Medicine (now Drexel University) followed by an internal medicine residency at Brown University’s Rhode Island Hospital program. For several years she owned and ran her own hospitalist practice, which gave her great insight into the politics and finances of medicine. After selling her practice, she became an academic hospitalist at The Hospital of Central Connecticut and an assistant professor of medicine at UConn Health. She loves teaching (and, in fact, was a special education teacher for many years after college, prior to starting her medical career). She serves as the co-chair of the utilization committee and works at a local nursing home as its director of quality.

Joyce Meng, M.D.

Cardiology: Joyce Meng, M.D.
Fellowship Director

Dr. Meng graduated from SUNY Stony Brook medical school and completed her internal medicine residency training at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York. She completed her cardiology fellowship training at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. She now serves as director of the Cardiology Fellowship Program at UConn Health. Her interests are medical education, cardiac imaging, and disease prevention.

Pooja Luthra, M.D.

Endocrinology: Pooja Luthra, M.B.B.S.
Fellowship Director

Dr. Luthra went to Maulana Azad Medical College in India. She completed her internal medicine residency, chief medicine year, and endocrinology fellowship at UConn Health. She has won multiple teaching and leadership awards. Her interests are in osteoporosis, management of hypoglycemia in diabetics. She teaches a course for third-year medical students on thyroid disorders.

John Birk, M.D., FACG

Gastroenterology: John Birk, M.D., FACG
Chief of Gastroenterology
Fellowship Director

Dr. Birk went to the University of Vermont for his undergraduate studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for a Masters in Physiologic Psychology, and Mount Sinai School of Medicine for his medical school degree. He then completed his residency in internal medicine and fellowship in gastroenterology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He is now chief of the Gastroenterology Division and director of the Gastroenterology-Hepatology Fellowship Program at UConn Health. His research focuses on clinical outcomes of GI bleeding, endoscope design, and endoscopy reporting software design.

Margaret Rathier, M.D.

Geriatrics: Maggie Rathier, M.D.

Dr. Rathier did her undergraduate studies in biochemistry at Trinity College. She completed her medical degree, her internal medicine residency, and her geriatrics fellowship at UConn Health. She has won multiple research awards and has been voted by Hartford Magazine as one of the best doctors in geriatrics for multiple years. Her clinical interests are in Alzheimer’s disease and home care.

Brian Byrne, M.D.

Hematology/Oncology: Brian Byrne, M.D.

Dr. Byrne attended medical school at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He completed both his Internal Medicine residency and Hematology/Oncology fellowship at the Duke University Medical Center. He initially joined the Cancer Center of Central Connecticut in 2007 and is now part of the Hartford Medical Group. He serves as the chair for the Hartford system IRB. He is the director of the division of Hematology and Oncology at The Hospital of Central Connecticut. He holds an assistant professor of medicine appointment at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. He is completing a Masters in Healthcare Quality and Safety at Jefferson University School of Population Health. He is interested in quality improvement and clinical trials to improve cancer care in the area.

Lisa M. Chirch, M.D.

Infectious Diseases: Lisa Chirch, M.D., FIDSA

Dr. Chirch did her undergraduate studies in Spanish at Georgetown University. She went on to medical school at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University. She returned to Gerogetown University for internal medicine residency and then went to Stony Brook University Medical Center for fellowship training in infectious diseases. Her research focuses on antiretroviral therapies, metabolic problems in HIV infection, and HIV/hepatitis C coinfection.

Sanjay Fernando, M.D., M.S., FACP

Nephrology: Sanjay Fernando, M.D., M.S., FACP

Dr. Fernando completed a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in biomedical engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology. He completed a doctorate of medicine at St. George’s University and trained in internal medicine and nephrology at Yale New Haven Hospital/Saint Raphael campus. Dr. Fernando is a practicing nephrologist in New Britain, Newington, Southington, and Bristol. He is the director of nephrology education for the Primary Care Internal Medicine Program at The Hospital of Central Connecticut. Dr. Fernando enjoys spending time with his wife and three children who are active in their local swim team, church and community activities.

Timothy Parsons, M.D.

Neurology: Timothy Parsons, M.D.
Division Director

Dr. Parsons received his bachelor's degree from New York University and completed medical school at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons. He completed a neurology residency and neurophysiology fellowship at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. He is now neurology division director at The Hospital of Central Connecticut and an assistant professor of neurology at UConn Health. He has received teaching awards for his leadership of the neurology rotation for UConn's primary care internal medicine residents. Dr. Parsons enjoys hiking, camping, learning about plants and animals, and spending time with his wife and two sons.

Steven Prunk, M.D.

Pulmonary/Critical Care: Steven Prunk, M.D.

See above, program leadership.

Santhanam Lakshminarayanan, M.D.

Rheumatology: Santhanam Lakshminarayanan, M.D.
Division Chief
Fellowship Director

Dr. Lakshminarayanan is an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology at UConn Health and chief of the Division of Rheumatology. He is a graduate of the Armed Forces Medical College in Pune, India and earned his M.B.B.S. from the University of Poona, India. He completed his residency and rheumatology fellowship training at the UConn School of Medicine. He joined the rheumatology faculty in 2002. He is the director of the Rheumatology Fellowship Program. He is responsible for training two to four fellows per year and for overseeing four training sites at UConn Health, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, VA Medical Center in Newington, and Connecticut Children's Medical Center. He is also director of the Rheumatology Fellow Journal Club and involved in weekly didactic review at rheumatology patient management rounds and rheumatology teaching rounds. He is on the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) subcommittee for medical student and resident education, and ACR New England OSCE program development for rheumatology fellows. Dr. Lakshminarayanan's areas of expertise are in Lyme disease, gout and systemic rheumatic disease. He has published articles on systemic lupus erythematous. He conducts clinical trials on scleroderma, Raynaud's phenomenon, systemic lupus erythematosus and inflammatory arthritis.