September 2023

A Message from Dr. Metz

The Academic year at Penn Medicine is certainly ramping up after the Summer. We are in full swing with our training and educational programs and medical meetings are keeping the team busy as Fall arrives. ASTRO is scheduled to start next weekend and I know we will have a great representation from our team. It was great to see so many people from across the department at our Summer event at the Aquarium! It was a wonderful evening and everyone had a great time, including all the kids! Penn Medicine is in the process of introducing a new strategic plan this Fall. There is an initial video being distributed to introduce the plan, but I expect you will hear much more in the coming months. Likewise, we are looking to refresh our current strategic plan for the next 5 years. I have tapped representatives from across the department to help us perform this refresh, and you will be hearing about the output from this group in the coming months. We have a number of new faces joining the department as announced below; make sure to take a moment, introduce yourself, and give a warm welcome to our new colleagues. Thanks to everyone that has submitted photos and stories to the newsletter—it is so great to see the variety of things going on in the department!! Stay safe out there!

If you are attending this year's ASTRO Annual Meeting in San Diego, there's still time to RSVP to Penn Radiation Oncology's reception at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens! Please contact Shelley Saunders at shelley.saunders@pennmedicine.upenn.edu or 267-624-4163 to RSVP. Hope to see you there!

In the News


RadOnc Summer Party

Penn Radiation Oncology celebrated together at a summer party at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ on Saturday, August 26, 2023. Faculty and staff brought their families for a fun evening exploring the exhibits and enjoying demonstrations!

Featured in the Media

A Mother and Son Get Through Cancer Together

Not long after her son began cancer treatment at CHOP for leukemia, Charlene Heard was diagnosed with breast cancer. Charlene and her son Myles supported each other while receiving treatment at the same time last year. Charlene completed her treatments with RadOnc in December 2022, and Myles completed his treatment with CHOP in April 2023. Read the full story about their treatment journey at the link below.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

From left to right: Kate Korson, Dr. Jim Metz, Martha Korson

As part of their Breast Cancer Awareness Month coverage, Good Morning America is featuring patient Kate Korson as she undergoes radiation therapy treatment. Kate specifically traveled to Penn Medicine for her cancer care because her mother, Martha, was treated here with radiation therapy for rectal cancer 17 years ago. Martha is still doing well and has been by her daughter's side throughout her treatment. Kate's story is scheduled to air on Monday, October 2, 2023.

Left photo: Kate Korson (center) and her physicians, including her Radiation Oncologist Seung Seol, MD (far right). Right photo: Kate Korson and her entire care team at Penn Medicine.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

We invite you to visit the site regularly, as we continue to update with resources and videos, add information on ongoing initiatives, and expand educational materials.

PennCobalt provides mental health resources for Penn staff and faculty.


Have You Recognized Someone Today?

Congratulations to the following individuals and groups who were recognized by a colleague from April to June 2023!

Shibu Anamalayil, Kathryn Betcher, Nicole Bolmer, Melanie Butler, Mary Callahan, Keith Cengel, Wai-Ling Cheung, Nicole Childs, Naseema Chughtai, Amber Clemmer, Christine Colon, Joseph Dearing, Jerel DeLeon, Anthony DelTufo, Amanda Driscoll, Alfonso Dominguez, Brenda Engram, Ashley Feriozzi, Thomas Flanigan, Christie Foti, Stephanie Ganley, Jill Giorgio, Benjamin Goldsmith, Emily Gores, Andrea Gray, Paul James, Celia Johnston, Kayla Kelly, Brian Kempsy, Pamela Lee, Cynthia Line, Nick Lukens, Ling Mao, Diane McMichael, Eileen McDevitt, Anthony Metz, Alexander Milone, Julie Milton, Kelly Monoghan, Christina Morath, Nikki Mulholland, Angela Natale, Fern Nibauer-Cohen, Evgenia Nigay, Melanie Odd, Sarah Ortiz, Danny Pastor, Emily Powell, Mason Riley, Shelley Saunders, Alex Scafidi, Anita Schoolfield, Sara Schultze, Neil Taunk, Shanai Tomlin, Dexter Wilson, Laquita Wise, Carly Zambino, Haley Zukowski-Echols

DON'T FORGET: You can recognize a colleague at any time by submitting the recognition form found at https://redcap.med.upenn.edu/surveys/?s=HPKUea (direct link is below). Bookmark this web page for easy access in the future!

If you would like a copy of the flyer with QR code for your work area, please email RadOnc_ACES@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.

Meet the Newest Members of Our Team!

From left to right: Josh Bryer, Jasmine Crawley, Philomena Faia

Josh Bryer

Josh (he/him/his) joins the department as a clinical research professional with nearly seven years’ experience in clinical research at Penn. He joined the Radiation Oncology team as a Research Project Manager in September 2023. Josh received his Bachelor of Arts in classical literatures and languages from Penn and is currently pursuing a pre-health post-baccalaureate. He has supported over 20 clinical trials, Phase 0 through IV, from study start-up to close out, in nephrology and dermatology. In Dermatology, Josh supported a first-in-human trial of a CAR T cell therapy for pemphigus vulgaris, a blistering autoimmune disease. This work put his mentor, Dr. Robert Micheletti, and him in close collaboration with Dr. David Porter and the Cell Transplant and Therapy team. He became increasingly interested in cancer therapeutics and working to support patients undergoing these complex treatments, and so was eager to join radiation oncology in this pursuit. Josh is passionate about empowering people with knowledge and helping others access high-quality healthcare and clinical trials while improving processes and solving complex problems. When not at work, you can find Josh scoping out trendy outdoor Philly eats, revisiting the works of Vergil, trying to keep up with the RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise, listening to anything but country music, and dreaming of his next visit to Greece. Contact him at Jbryer@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.

Jasmine L Crawley

Jasmine joins the department as a Patient Services Coordinator. Previously, she worked as an administrative assistant at Penn Presbyterian Cardiology. Jasmine has her high school diploma and in her spare time enjoys baking, interior design, and traveling. Contact her at jasmine.crawley@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.

Philomena Faia, MBA

Philomena joined our department last year last year as a Senior Financial Analyst. Prior to joining Penn, she spent time at PrincewaterhouseCoopers an auditor in the asset and wealth management industry. At PwC, Philomena serviced some of the largest mutual fund clients in the United States, as well as hospitals within the Philadelphia area. Philomena worked at Penn Mutual Life Insurance where she worked directly with the Director of Internal Controls to improve internal processes. Philomena has a MBA from Villanova University with a focus in strategic management and healthcare and a BS from St. Joseph's University with a major in accounting and business analytics. In RadOnc, Philomena helps us run the physician and APP compensation plans, HUP monthly close, Penn Virtua invoicing and reporting, and she owns the models for volume and for revenue. She oversees our accounts receivable and our transfer/IET reconciliation, and she prepares much ad-hoc financial analysis for management and leadership. In the coming year, she’ll be helping us to provide more financial reporting to practice and function leaders and to becoming our resident expert in patient revenue. Want to dig into anything else? Give Philomena a shout! Contact her at philomena.faia@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

From left to right: Dominique Grant, Sam Homayouni, Austin Kassaee, Michilean Lewis

Dominique Grant

Dominique joins the department as a RadOnc Scheduler. Previously, she worked at the RadOnc Front Desk. She is currently pursuing her degree in Health Care Management. In her spare time, Dominique enjoys going to the gym, being a mom, and reading. Contact her at Dominique.grant@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.

Sam Homayouni, MHA

Sam joins the department as Finance Manager. He previously worked in the Emergency Department, where he started during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic as a data analyst. Over the last three years, Sam was been a key resource for the ED, answering questions that informed decisions large and small—spanning quality initiatives, budgeting, operations, and benchmarking. He restructured the ED provider scorecards, which offer vital data in identifying opportunities to increase efficiency and quality of patient flow. He successfully managed the Provider Incentive Plan for over 100 physicians across five sites, in addition to the HUP Clinical Department incentive each year. Sam led the project and subsequent validation of the ED module for the PennDiver software and served as the subject matter expert thereafter. Sam has a BA in economics from Rutgers University, a BS in biology from Stockton University, and a MHA from the University of Central Florida. Sam will take over team leadership from Jamie Schuck, who was recently promoted to be director of finance for the Orthopedics Department.(We wish you well, Jamie! Thank you for your support through the transition.) Contact Sam at sam.homayouni@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.

Anthony Austin Kassaee

Austin joins the department as a Medical Physicist. Previously, he was a medical physics resident in the department. Austin has his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University and his Masters of Medical Physics from the University of Pennsylvania. In his spare time, Austin enjoys playing basketball & tennis, learning about philosphy, and hanging out with his girlfriend, friends, family & two cats - pumpkin and pepper. Contact Austin at Anthony.Kassaee@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.

Michilean Lewis

Michilean joins the department as a Patient Service Coordinator. Previously, she worked in environmental service for Crothall in Penn Medicine. Michilean graduated from Preparatory Charter School and in her spare time, enjoys bike riding, vacationing, and roller skating. Contact Michilean at Michilean.lewis@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.

From left to right: John McGlade, Taelor Rivera, Kristen Rodriguez, Allison Roselli

John McGlade

John joins the department as a Medical Physicist at Chester County Hospital. Previously, he was a Medical Physicist at Lancaster General Hospital. John earned his MS in Medical Physics from the University of Pennsylvania. In his spare time, John enjoys skiing, swimming, and basketball. Contact John at john.mcglade@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.

Taelor Rivera

Taelor joins the department as a Dosimetrist Treatment Planner. Previously, she was a student at Thomas Jefferson University. In her spare time, Taelor enjoys watching hockey, painting, and traveling. Contact Taelor at taelor.rivera@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.

Kristen Rodriguez

Kristen joins the department as a Radiation Therapist. Previously, she worked at her family's bakery (Conshohocken Italian Bakery) as a retail store manager. Kristen graduated from Gwynedd Mercy University with her Bachelor's of Science in Radiation Therapy. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, riding motorcycles, and spending time with her dogs. Contact Kristen at Kristen.Rodriguez@Pennmedicine.upenn.edu.

Allison Roselli

Allison joined the department as a Clinical Dietitian Specialist. Previously, she worked as the radiation oncology nutritionist at RWJ Barnabas Health in New Brunswick, NJ. She has a BA in Psychology from Rutgers and a MS in Human Nutrition from Drexel. She lived in Charleston, SC for a year while completing her dietetic internship at MUSC. In her spare time, she likes to read, cook and spend time with family and friends. Contact Allison at allison.roselli@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

From left to right: Selisa Smith, Snehal Somalwar, Madeleine Stander, Chauntae Thompson

Selisa N. Smith

Selisa joins the department as a Patient Services Coordinator. Previously, she worked as a placement coordinator at Albert Einstein Hospital. Selisa graduated from Mastbaum A.V.T.H.S, and in her free time enjoys reading, watching sports, and travelling. Contact Selisa at Selisa.Smith@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.

Snehal Somalwar

Snehal joins the department as a Clinical Research Coordinator C. She completed her medical degree from R. A. Podar Medical (Ayu) College and her MD from Sion Ayurved Mahavidyalaya, Mumbai, India, plus she completed her certification in clinical research from St. Xavier’s University. Clinical research is her passion. She has been working in clinical research field for a long time. She has worked in different countries like India, Canada and the USA. Before joining PENN Medicine she was working as a clinical research coordinator in the area of Lungs and auto immunity at McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada. Her hobbies include hiking, reading, travelling and trying out different cuisines. She loves baking cakes with her 8 year old son. Contact Snehal at Snehal.Somalwar@Pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Madeleine Stander

Maddie joins the department as a radiation therapist. Previously, she worked as an X-ray tech at CHOP and Temple University. She graduated from the radiaton therapy program at Washburn University and prior to that, she attended Bloomsburg University’s undergrad program in medical imaging. In her spare time, Maddie enjoys cooking and trying new recipes, traveling, hanging out with friends and family, and checking out new hiking trails / outdoor areas. Contact Maddie at madeleine.stander@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.

Chauntae Thompson

Chauntae joins the Finance Team as an Accounting Clerk. She first joined Penn Medicine in 2005 as Administrative Assistant to the former RadOnc Chair, Stephen Hahn. She has held many positions within the health system: Interventional Radiology as PSA, GynOnc as Surgical Coordinator, Penn Medicine at Radnor as Preregistration Specialist, and Penn Medicine Access Center as Patient Coordinator. In 2021, fate brought Chauntae back to RadOnc as New Patient Coordinator for the CNS team. After 17 years of working in patient care, she made a career change this year and accepted the role of Accounting Clerk, taking over for Xavier Franklin who was promoted to be an accountant in the Pathology Department. (Many sincere thanks to Xavier for lending support to us long after her departure!) It is a bittersweet transition, as she adores advocating for our patients and assisting our amazing clinicians, but Chauntae is excited that she will still be able to assist our clinicians in a different capacity and work closely with their administrative teams. On our accounting and finance team, she supports procurement activities by shepherding all purchase orders, invoice payments, and employee reimbursements. She also supports MDs and APPs by running their professional development funds, and she supports delegates and requestors in Chrome River and Lawson in processing disbursements correctly and swiftly. She’s always the first and friendly voice to answer any “how do I…” questions! Contact her at chauntae.thompson@pennmedicine.upenn.edu


Anthony Carannante

Anthony Carannante has been promoted to Data Analytics Manager, replacing Shane Kelly who took a promotion with Jefferson. Anthony joined Penn in January 2022 as a data analyst. He earned a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering, with minors in economics and chemistry, from Pitt. Prior to joining Penn, he worked as an automation engineer for pharmaceutical companies by programming their drug manufacturing equipment such as bioreactors.

Anthony is responsible for building key Tableau dashboards for the department, while also providing analytical insight for different types of financial, operational, and clinical problems. In the time he has been in Radiation Oncology, he has been a key contributor for numerous critical business decisions, most notably for Project Rising Phoenix, in which he built a decade-long model to project proton patient volumes to determine the viability of the project and the geographic spread of the volume. Anthony has built dashboards for clinical trials and nursing metrics, added novel visualizations like the volumes waterfall and inpatient timeline, and automated various time-intensive processes like HUP reconciliation and Network volumes integration. He is attending Stevens Institute of Technology this fall for a master’s degree in data science.

On a related note, Bobby George who works with the Clinical Research Unit, will be formally joining the Data Analytics team, where he has been helping out since Shane’s departure. Bobby is a clinical data analyst, and he’ll maintain a dotted-line relationship to Wei Xu, but his solid line will be to Anthony, and Bobby will move from the 4th floor of PCAM to the 2nd. Anthony will be posting his own replacement shortly, but please send along any referrals to him in the meantime!

TyZhay Scott

TyZhay has been promoted to senior accountant. TyZhay joined Penn Medicine in 2019, originally coming to our department four years ago as staff accountant. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown, and he is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Cyber-Accounting from University of Maryland Global Campus. TyZhay took over running our monthly close process, including preparing invoices (for CHoP and our other network partners) and complex journal entries, allocating for physics coverage and distributed dosimetry, allocating the University bills through the inter-fund, and providing variance explanations to hospital and CPUP accounting. He also owns the budget models for faculty expenses, including salary, benefits, incentives, and malpractice, as well as all non-salary expenses. TyZhay recently completed a project to upgrade (and re-upgrade) our transfer process for physician collaboration, as well as an end-of-year project to analyze and address staffing variances. In addition to training all current members of the team and serving as the voice of history, he brings positivity and generosity to add he does! Contact him at Tyzhay.Scott@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.

Orientations and Trainings

RN Onboarding Day

August 28, 2023

Newly hired RNs across all locations came to PCAM to meet their fellow nursing teammates and hear from other disciplines within the department to learn about how we all work together to care for our patients.

Featured in this photo is RTT Melanie Butler giving RNs Anne Deluca (PCAM), Katie Lisiewski (float pool), Kirsten Hamilton (PPMC) and Nichole Coleman (CCH) a tour of the proton machine.

Clinical Research Unit Bootcamp

August 9, 2023

The CRC Bootcamp was an all-day event that trained the CRCs in the CRU on various topics including Good Clinical Practice, CRC responsibilities and classifications, research billing review, and reportable events, ending with a fun game of Jeopardy. A special thank you to Drs. Michael LaRiviere and Michelle Iocolano for their presentation on “What is Radiation? / Types of Cancers,” and to Kate Barbour, ACC’s NCTN Program Manager, for her NCTN Orientation presentation. This bootcamp and all of the trainings were organized and presented by CRU members Alexis Giron Santos, Kelly Clark, Ching Lai, and Michell Kim. Thank you to Shalonda Clark for help organizing as well!

Employee Recognition

Congratulations to our colleagues on their achievements!


Arun Goel, MD

Arun Goel, MD has been promoted to the role of GU – Disease Site Service Chief. Arun joined our Department in July 2020, after completing his Brachytherapy Fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Arun currently sees patients with genitourinary cancers, and has led the growth of our prostate brachytherapy and SBRT services. To further improve patient care, Arun has also collaborated with urology and medical oncology colleagues, as well as our own NPs, on the “Salvage Therapies for Intra-Prostatic Post-Radiation Recurrence Workgroup.” This workgroup has defined the pathway for patients with recurrent prostate cancer, which now includes salvage brachytherapy.

In his Chief role, Arun will have oversight of clinical activities associated with the delivery of excellent patient care and organization of staff for the GU team. As Service Chief, he will also ensure efficient consultation service for all GU cancer patients, streamline clinical processes, and maintain high levels of patient satisfaction for the specific disease site. Arun will commence his new leadership role as Chief effective July 1, 2023.

We also extend our sincerest gratitude to Justin Bekelman, MD, Neha Vapiwala, MD & John Christodouleas, MD for their combined leadership of GU team over the past 5+ years. Through their collaborative leadership and mentoring, we are excited to see Arun excel in the Chief role.

Ross Green, MD

Ross Green has been appointed as Medical Director of AI. He complements the team with extensive clinical experience and a growing involvement in AI. As the Medical Director of AI, Ross will be instrumental in the clinical integration of AI across our various practice locations. His interest in AI and understanding its potential to augment clinical processes while enhancing patient outcomes is well-aligned with our departmental objectives.

Both Rafe McBeth and Ross embody a shared vision and passion for advancing our department's AI initiatives. Their combined leadership will be key to harnessing the potential of AI, and cultivating collaborations that will help the Department stay at the forefront of technology-driven patient care.

Emily Lebow, MD

Emily Lebow, MD joins our Department of Radiation Oncology on the CNS Team! Emily received her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She attended Harvard Medical School and then completed her Transitional Year Internship and Radiation Oncology Residency at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Emily’s research interests include biomarker development, clinical trial design, and therapy personalization.

Bill Levin, MD

Bill Levin, MD has been promoted to Full Professor [AC Track], effective July 1, 2023.

Bill earned a BA in Psychobiology from Franklin & Marshall College, and then an MS in Physiology from Georgetown. He received his medical degree from Tel Aviv University School of Medicine, Israel, and then completed an internship in Internal Medicine at Yale University. He joined the University of Pennsylvania for his residency in Radiation Oncology and then went on to complete a fellowship in Proton Therapy at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School Teaching Affiliate. In 2006, Bill returned to Penn and was appointed Assistant Professor, serving as the Medical Director at Chester County Hospital; he was promoted to Associate Professor in 2016.

Bill has readily served the Department in a variety of administrative roles, including Assistant Director of Network Operations, and Medical Director of Global Network Operations. He is actively involved in professional organizations and highly engaged in teaching and the education of medical students, medical physics students and Residents. In 2021, Bill was awarded the prestigious Eli Glatstein Mentorship award, given by the medical residents in recognition of outstanding mentorship and teaching by an attending physician. In the clinic, where he treats thoracic tumors and sarcomas, Bill consistently has one of the busiest clinical practices in the department year after year. Previously, he won the Hercules Award, given to the physician with the most new patient starts in a single year. In recognition for his reputation as an excellent clinician, he has received the Top Doctor Award from Philadelphia Magazine every year since 2018.

Bill is nationally and internationally recognized for his work with Virtual Reality in clinical settings, and is actively collaborating with numerous vendors throughout the world to conceptualize unique projects in using VR for cancer education. Furthermore, he is in the process of developing a Digital Innovation Lab to serve as an incubator and translational research hub for virtual reality/ augmented reality applications for Penn Medicine.

Bill has been an industrious, caring physician in this department for the last 17 years. Despite his busy clinical practice, he continues to provide exceptional teaching and mentorship for our residents and medical physics students, as well as advance the development of virtual reality healthcare applications. His expertise in thoracic care is exceptional, and his commitment to his field and patients contributes greatly to the mission of the Department of Radiation Oncology and the Perelman School of Medicine.

Rafe McBeth, PhD

Rafe McBeth, PhD, will lead our department's vision in advancing the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in our clinical practice initiatives as Director of AI.

Rafe McBeth is an emerging leader in AI with particular focus on computational methods and artificial intelligence in clinical radiation oncology. His knowledge and innate ability to stay attuned to the AI landscape in healthcare is notable. In the Director of AI role, Rafe will drive management and research optimization, as well as provide guidance on education related to AI, and continue to foster a culture of innovative problem-solving.

Both Rafe and Ross Green embody a shared vision and passion for advancing our department's AI initiatives. Their combined leadership will be key to harnessing the potential of AI, and cultivating collaborations that will help the Department stay at the forefront of technology-driven patient care.

Neil Taunk, MD

Neil Taunk, MD has been appointed to the role of Disease Site Service Chief, for the newly defined Breast and Gynecological Team (formerly Women’s Health). In his role, Neil will have oversight of clinical activities associated with the delivery of excellent patient care and organization of staff for the Breast & Gyn team. As Service Chief, he will also ensure efficient consultation service for all Breast/Gyn cancer patients, streamline clinical processes, and maintain high levels of patient satisfaction for the specific disease site. Neil's vision for the service is to further improve integration and standardization of care across campuses for these disease sites, expand the clinical research footprint and portfolio for these patients, and continue expert clinical training of our residents at all locations. He will commence his new leadership role as Chief effective September 1, 2023.

We also extend our sincerest gratitude to Gary Freedman, MD for his leading the Women’s Health team as Chief over the past 10 years. Throughout his career, Gary has established himself as an internationally-recognized expert in breast cancer, and was inducted into Penn’s Academy of Master Clinicians in 2013. Through Gary’s mentorship, we are excited to see Neil succeed him in the Chief role.

Patrick Tripp, MD

Patrick Tripp, MD has been promoted to Full Professor [AC Track]. earned his BA in Philosophy from Fordham University and then earned his medical degree at the University of Texas at Houston Medical School. Following medical school, Patrick completed his Intern year at Loyola University, and then his Radiation Oncology residency at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Immediately after his graduation, Patrick was appointed as an Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and then joined the University of Pennsylvania and the VA as an Assistant Professor in 2012. Patrick served as Interim Chief of Radiation Oncology at the VA, and was appointed Chief of the Service in 2016; he was also promoted to Associate Professor that same year.

Patrick leads the clinical service in Radiation Oncology at the VA, and serves as its Medical Director. In this role, he supervises the administration of clinical care to the general radiation oncology patient population at the VA. Patrick is also the acting QA/QI Director - applying his skills in the clinic to improve outcomes across the department. He has worked to create a standardization process of QA/QI and continually oversees improvement process to address patient safety and satisfaction. As Director, he also takes on a leadership role in the implementation of discrete continuous quality improvement (CQI) projects throughout the Department of Radiation Oncology.

In addition to his excellent clinical service, Patrick is integral in the education of resident physicians and physicists, guiding them in a setting that lends itself to autonomy in clinical care and decision-making. Patrick works frequently with residents in the clinic, in which he provides instruction on clinical duties, procedures, diagnostics, and weekend input activities. He not only educates and trains, but continues provide career mentorship to residents.

Patrick has consistently contributed to the Department of Radiation Oncology’s mission of excellence since he joined Penn in 2012. The VA has been fortunate to have him serve as the Medical Director for the VA since 2016, as well as his excellence in patient safety and overall care. Dr. Tripp’s educational impact is long-lasting to residents who will go on to serve the Radiation Oncology field in the future, and his clinical care is extremely impactful to veteran patients he treats.


Manuj Agarwal, MD

Manuj Agarwal, MD will be leaving Penn Presbyterian in November for new opportunities.

Manuj received his medical degree from, and completed residency with Downstate Medical Center, SUNY. He worked for The Ohio State University, and the University of Maryland, School of Medicine prior to joining Penn in September 2019. As the Site Director, Manuj was instrumental in the opening of our Radiation Oncology practice at Penn Presbyterian in 2020. He was able to develop and cultivate collaborative partnerships, establish a growing practice, and train our Penn Radiation Oncology residents.

During his time here in RadOnc, Manuj also completed the Leadership Essentials program, became a certified yellow belt for Lean Six Sigma, and took over leadership of wellness initiatives as the Director of Strategic Wellness. In this role, Manuj established wellness outreach across both PCAM and our regional sites through the development of wellness ambassadors. He participated in listening tours across the department, and provided strategic feedback and updates to the leadership team – helping to further drive wellness discussions. The initiatives Manuj helped spearhead will continue to be a part of the Department’s strategic plan going forward – particularly due to his commitment and long-lasting contributions in this area.

We are grateful for Manuj’s leadership in bringing up Penn Presby, and for his unwavering commitment to furthering wellness across the Department. Please join us in thanking Manuj for his time at Penn, and wishing him all the best in his future endeavors.

Awards and Grants

Surbhi Grover, MD, MPH has been appointed to be the chair of the ASTRO International Committee starting this ASTRO 2023.

Wenbo Gu, PhD was awarded the 2023 AAPM Research Seed Funding Grant. The grant was awarded in May and the funding will begin in September.

Katharine Winner, MSW, LSW recently advanced to Level II social worker in the Penn Medicine Social Work Professional Advancement Program. Katharine works with the Breast, GYN, and Thoracic teams at PCAM.

On Thursday, September 14, 2023 Lancaster General “Probeam360 Proton” Project team was awarded the 2023 CEO award by John J. Herman MBA, FACHE, Chief Executive Officer Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health. The CEO Award is Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health’s highest institutional honor, publicly recognizing teams and their leaders for achievement that supports the Mission, Vision and Values of the organization. Congratulations to the whole team for the phenomenal ways everyone came together to make this project a huge success!

Top Photo: (Front row) Salena Herbinko (Therapist, Radiation Oncology) Sujatha Pai (Chief Medical Physicist, Radiation Oncology) Sukhdeep Gill (Medical Physicist, Radiation Oncology) (Back Row): Melanie McCurdy (Director, Radiation Oncology), Dr. Pamela Boimel (Medical Director, Radiation Oncology), Patti Inama Roda (Director of Operations ABBCI), Dr. Randy Oyer (Executive Medical Director of ABBCI and Cancer Services), Nikolas Buescher (Executive Director, ABBCI), Jodi Goane (Chief Therapist, Radiation Oncology), Steven Buzzard (Director, Oncology Innovation and Strategic Projects) Bottom Left Photo: John J. Herman, MBA, FACHE, Chief Executive Officer Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health; presenting the award to the Probeam360 Proton implementation team. Bottom Right Photo: (Front row) Sujatha Pai (Chief Medical Physicist, Radiation Oncology), Salena Herbinko (Therapist, Radiation Oncology), Dr. Pamela Boimel (Medical Director, Radiation Oncology), Sukhdeep Gill (Medical Physicist, Radiation Oncology) (Back Row): Melanie McCurdy (Director, Radiation Oncology), Patti Inama Roda (Director of Operations ABBCI), Jodi Goane (Chief Therapist, Radiation Oncology) Dr. Randy Oyer (Executive Medical Director of ABBCI and Cancer Services), Nikolas Buescher (Executive Director, ABBCI), Steven Buzzard (Director, Oncology Innovation and Strategic Projects)

Quality and Safety

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis was completed for Ethos Adaptive planning. Mitigations were established for risks identified. The mitigations were incorporated into the Adaptive planning Procedure and the procedure was approved by NPR. Congratulations to all on this effort. The status on this FMEA was part of the September update to the Chester Co CEQI committee.


QUEST Assessments are ongoing. (Quality and Excellence through Standardization). Princeton findings were presented to Leaders at PMPH. Those findings are now assigned through a specific QUEST project in Jira. The QUEST Committee monitors findings through to completion. We are in progress with QUEST assessment at Chester County. Chart review and performance metrics review were completed in July and August. Onsite is occurring now. Fun Fact: Chester Co was our pilot location when the QUEST program was launched in 2018. Thanks CCH! Next on deck is Doylestown and we begin with Chart review.

Voice of the Customer

Voice of the Customer: The Patient Experience Committee is dedicated to making improvements to the patient experience. The Press Ganey post treatment survey gives us feedback from all patients who have completed a course of treatment. Two questions that we continue to focus on getting better and better are: “What to Expect during Radiation Therapy”, and “Managing Radiation Therapy Side Effects Explained”. Our objective is to get to 95% positive. We’re not there…yet. Our Rad Onc Patient and Family Advisory council is integral in evaluating our improvements, participating in improvement initiatives such as the bowel prep project being led at Doylestown, and prioritizing what is most meaningful to patients. Please consider bringing a question to the PFAC. They love hard questions to solve with us.

Social Scene

Thank you, Linda Jefferson for all of your decorations, for holiday celebrations and season changes! In this newsletter we are highlighting Linda's decorations for Fall. Be sure to stop by and admire Linda's hard work the next time you are on the second floor of PCAM!

Brachytherapy Team Dinner

June 2023

Members of the Penn Medicine Brachytherapy Team including faculty, residents, and friends celebrate a successful year at Vij's Restaurant at the American Brachytherapy Society Annual Meeting, Vancouver,

Join the RadOnc Light The Night Team

Save the Date! October 28, 2023

Once again we are forming a Light the Night fundraising team and we hope you'll join us. Light The Night is an evening walk and fundraising event supporting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's mission to find cures for blood cancers. It is our communities' night to bring light to the darkness of cancer by celebrating those who are fighting the disease and to honor those we have lost.

By joining our team and raising funds for this important cause, you'll be making a real impact on the fight against cancer. Walk night is a light filled evening where we come together as a community to honor survivors, raise awareness of blood cancers and remember those who have lost their battle.

Visit our Team page at https://pages.lls.org/ltn/epa/Phi23/TeamRadOnc and join our efforts today!

Click the 'Join' button next to our team at the bottom of the page and follow the prompts to register.

Once you've joined the team, we'll need your help to reach our team fundraising goal. Don't worry - fundraising is easier than you think. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society provides all the tools you need, including your own personal fundraising page. Please contact Tina Markley, Janet Grant, or Carrie DeFeo with any questions or for more information!

4th Annual Bourbon, Brews, & Blues Event

The Beam of Life Team


Next year's Breakthrough Challenge bike ride will be on Sunday, September 15, 2024. The Radiation Oncology Beam of Life team is lead by co-captains Bill Barbour, Chris Laskey, and Christina Marchesani. Registration for this year's event is now open: https://www.ms-stride.org/breakthroughchallenge/profiles/team/61

The Beam of Life Team raised over $9,000! Overall, the Breakthrough Challenge raised over $287,000, which brings the 10 year total to over $2.5 million. The Breakthrough Challenge donates 100% of participant-raised funds to support breakthrough cancer research at the Abramson Cancer Center.

Join our Facebook Group: Breakthrough Bike Challenge Beam of Life Team https://www.facebook.com/groups/826233537487908/about

Follow us on Instagram: BBCBeamOfLife

Five Questions With...

Joe Dearing

Patient Services Associate at PPMC

1. What is a typical work day like for you? A typical work day for me is reaching out to schedule new patients for Dr. Agarwal within our department of Radiation Oncology and obtaining any outside medical records that are needed prior and sending out new patient packets to ensure that new patients have an easy time finding our office and have a good first experience. I also greet and assist our established patients within the office and try to build a positive bonding relationship with our patients to ensure that their entire experience within our office and Penn Medicine is a positive one.

2. What led you to work at Penn Radiation Oncology? I previously had worked at Starbucks as a barista and one of my regular customers was the lead personal for operations of Radiation Oncology who referred me over to the department because she thought that I would be a good fit for the position.

3. Do you have any favorite fall activities? Some of my favorite fall activities is going to the Bates Motel in Glenn Mills and the Greek Food Festival in Media.

4. If you could visit anywhere in the world you’ve never been, where would you go? If I could go anywhere in the world then I would travel to Paris France as I have always wanted to visit there for the scenery and food.

5. What’s your secret talent no one knows about? I am highly talented on preparing excellent coffee beverages while doing latte art.

Emily Smith

Nurse Practitioner on the Women's Health Team at PCAM

1. What is a typical work day like for you? A typical work day for me really varies. I have some days of independent clinic, where I see patients regularly after treatment to monitor for recurrence and manage treatment side effects. On Wednesdays, I see patients for on-treatment visits with the rest of the Women’s Health team. Some days I spend hours coordinating complex care for our sickest patients. I also participate in multiple tumor boards throughout the week. I appreciate that my flexible allows me to participate in the many learning opportunities for providers within the Penn system – for example, I recently attended a full-day session on tobacco treatment for cancer patients presented by our wonderful pulmonary group and have already put my learning to use in my clinical practice.

2. What led you to work at Penn Radiation Oncology? I previously worked with the Gynecologic Oncology team at the Perelman Center, co-managing patients with the Rad Onc Women’s Health Team. When Neil Taunk reached out to the Gyn Onc APPs to ask if we knew a women’s health NP interested in working with the team, I responded with my resume. Over the last year and a half it’s been a joy to continue working with Neil and to work more closely with Gary Freedman, our new faculty members Megan Kassick and Seung Seol, and the rest of the team!

3. Do you have any favorite fall activities? My favorite fall activity is rock climbing! The air is crisp, the leaves are colorful, and nothing makes me appreciate being alive and on the ground like finishing a climbing route!

4. If you could visit anywhere in the world you’ve never been, where would you go? I love to travel to less-visited destinations, where I’ve found locals are surprised to see tourists and are excited to share what they love about their land and culture with visitors. I think the best souvenirs are new friends and new perspectives! Our next trip is to the Transylvania region of Romania, where we’ll stay in a rural village. Our itinerary includes foraging for mushrooms and making cheese! We will also ride mountain bikes and go climbing with local guides. We are planning to visit New Zealand and Austria before the end of the year; next year I’m hoping to trek through the Patagonia region of Chile.

5. What’s your secret talent no one knows about? My secret talent is remembering to order food on the way home from a hard bike ride or rock climbing trip, so there’s pizza waiting for us when we get home!

Where in the World Is Penn Radiation Oncology?

Global Education for Proton Therapy

Our department was thrilled to host the following visitors from China Medical University Hospital and Ohio State University through our Varian Proton Therapy Training Program:

  • Yu-Cheng Kuo, MD - China Medical University Hospital, Taiwan
  • K.S. Clifford Chao, MD - China Medical University Hospital, Taiwan
  • Dukagjin Blakaj, MD, PhD - The James Cancer Center, Ohio State University, OH
  • Emile Gogineni, MD - The James Cancer Center, Ohio State University, OH
  • Dominic DiCostanzo, PhD - The James Cancer Center, Ohio State University, OH
  • Kylee Warnecke, RT, MBA - The James Cancer Center, Ohio State University, OH


Resident Research Retreat

September 8, 2023

Medical Residency

Mentorship Dinner with Medical Residents at Wm. Mulherin's Sons

Left to Right: Nick Lukens, Neha Vapiwala, Emily MacDuffie, Zayne Belal, Kristine Kim, Nikhil Yegya-Raman

Medical Physics Residency

AAPM Medical Physics Residency Fair

Medical Physics Graduate Program


Check out the newest edition of the Radiation Communication, our Medical Physics Graduate Programs’ newsletter, published in July 2023! The Radiation Communication provides a review of our student and program achievements and activities, and is published twice per year. This Summer 2023 edition spotlights our new Associate Director, Austin Kassaee, MS ‘21, Dr. Bill Levin as one of two physician teaching faculty, and Mike Kijewski, MMP ‘10, co-founder and CEO of MedCrypt.

AAPM Penn Radiation Oncology Medical Physics Education Alumni Reception: On July 24, the Penn Radiation Oncology Medical Physics Education Programs hosted our annual AAPM Alumni Reception. This year’s AAPM Annual Meeting was held in Houston Texas, and current Penn faculty, staff, and students gathered with alumni at The Grove for great food, refreshing drinks, and conversation.

Penn Rad Onc physics faculty, staff, current MPGP students & residents, and alumni gather at The Grove in Houston Texas
Penn MPGP current students and alumni

Penn Medical Physics Graduate Programs Scholarship Fund: The Medical Physics Graduate Programs are thrilled to announce the launch of our MPGP Scholarship Fund! This scholarship fund will be supported by donations from alumni and other individuals invested in removing barriers to medical physics education for interested students. For more information and a link to donate, visit our MPGP Scholarship Fund page.

New Student Orientation: On August 25 and 28, The Medical Physics Graduate Programs welcomed 9 new Master of Science in Medical Physics students and 3 new PhD in Bioengineering – Medical Physics Concentration students for the new academic year! Students heard presentations from program leadership, faculty, and current second-year students. A highlight of New Student Orientation was the all-student social at Lucky Strike!

Program Director Shannon O’Reilly, PhD and Associate Program Director, Austin Kassaee, MS getting to know our incoming MSMP and PhD in Bioengineering – Medical Physics Concentration students.
Students at the all-student social, hosted at Lucky Strike

Physics Division Networking Event: As part of our New Student Orientation, Medical Physics students, staff, and faculty from Radiation Oncology got together on September 7 for a speed-networking event. Participants answered getting-to-know-you type questions to learn more about each other.

First-year students answer networking questions with Drs. Lei Dong and Ginny Lockamy.

MPGP Town Hall -- Residency Match Discussion with Joe Dise, MMP ‘15: On September 11, MPGP Students met with program alum Joe Dise, MMP ‘15 to learn about how the MedPhys Residency Match works, and hear helpful tips for a positive experience. Joe currently works as a clinical physicist at Aspekt Solutions, and also serves on the AAPM Education and Training of Medical Physicists Committee and is the chair of the AAPM Subcommittee on the Oversight of the MedPhys Match. Students gained a lot of insight into the match process, and asked great questions!

First-year MSMP student Logan Fisher asks a question to Joe Dise, MMP ‘15 at the first MPGP Town Hall

MSMP Student Thesis Proposal Presentations: On September 12 and 18, second-year MSMP students presented their thesis proposals to the Rad Onc Physics division. This event was hosted both in-person and virtually. The MSMP thesis is a two-semester faculty-mentored research project that results in a final paper and oral presentation. It is the culmination of a student’s graduate study. Topics of research for this year’s cohort include generative AI, tomosynthesis, proton SBRT radioablation, and more.

Chris Tyerech, 2nd year MSMP student, presents his thesis proposal.

Student Achievements

Andrew Friberg, our first PhD in Bioengineering – Medical Physics Concentration student, successfully passed his PhD qualify exam on September 12. It was a tough 90-minute exam, including a short oral presentation and long and hard question and answer session from a committee of four faculty members. Andrew's co-mentors are Drs. Jennifer Zou & Rodney Wiersma, and Andrew is supported by the FLASH P-01 grant.


Updates on radiotherapy-immunotherapy combinations: Proceedings of 6th annual ImmunoRad conference. Gregucci F, Spada S, Barcellos-Hoff MH, Bhardwaj N, Chan Wah Hak C, Fiorentino A, Guha C, Guzman ML, Harrington K, Herrera FG, Honeychurch J, Hong T, Iturri L, Jaffee E, Karam SD, Knott SRV, Koumenis C, Lyden D, Marciscano AE, Melcher A, Mondini M, Mondino A, Morris ZS, Pitroda S, Quezada SA, Santambrogio L, Shiao S, Stagg J, Telarovic I, Timmerman R, Vozenin MC, Weichselbaum R, Welsh J, Wilkins A, Xu C, Zappasodi R, Zou W, Bobard A, Demaria S, Galluzzi L, Deutsch E, Formenti SC. Oncoimmunology. 2023 Jun 21;12(1):2222560. doi: 10.1080/2162402X.2023.2222560. eCollection 2023. PMID: 37363104

Radiation-Chemical Oxygen Depletion Depends on Chemical Environment and Dose Rate: Implications for the FLASH Effect. Koch CJ, Kim MM, Wiersma RD. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2023 Sep 1;117(1):214-222. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2023.04.001. Epub 2023 Apr 13. PMID: 37059234

The integrated stress response in cancer progression: a force for plasticity and resistance. Lines CL, McGrath MJ, Dorwart T, Conn CS. Front Oncol. 2023 Aug 3;13:1206561. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2023.1206561. eCollection 2023. PMID: 37601686 Free PMC article. Review

Cardiovascular Substructure Dose and Cardiac Events following Proton- and Photon-Based Chemoradiotherapy for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. Natarajan J, Yegya-Raman N, Kegelman TP, Kallan MJ, Roshkovan L, Katz S, Ky B, Fradley M, Xiao Y, Lee SH, Zhang Z, Langer C, Aggarwal C, Cohen R, Cengel K, Levin W, Berman AT, Feigenberg SJ. Adv Radiat Oncol. 2023 Apr 5;8(5):101235. doi: 10.1016/j.adro.2023.101235. eCollection 2023 Sep-Oct. PMID: 37408679

Parkin deficiency suppresses antigen presentation to promote tumor immune evasion and immunotherapy resistance. Perales-Linares R, Leli NM, Mohei H, Beghi S, Rivera OD, Kostopoulos N, Giglio A, George SS, Uribe-Herranz M, Costabile F, Pierini S, Pustylnikov S, Skoufos G, Barash Y, Hatzigeorgiou AG, Koumenis C, Maity A, Lotze MT, Facciabene A. Cancer Res. 2023 Aug 14:CAN-22-2499. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-22-2499. Online ahead of print. PMID: 37578274

Evaluation of Fractionated Photofrin-mediated Photodynamic Therapy Using Different Light Fluences with Reactive Oxygen Species Explicit Dosimetry (ROSED). Sun H, Rastogi V, Zhu TC. Proc SPIE Int Soc Opt Eng. 2023 Jan-Feb;12359:1235906. doi: 10.1117/12.2650434. Epub 2023 Mar 14. PMID: 37378071

Modeling ultra-high dose rate electron and proton FLASH effect with the physicochemical approach. Tan HS, Teo BK, Dong L, Friberg A, Koumenis C, Diffenderfer E, Zou JW. Phys Med Biol. 2023 Jun 23. doi: 10.1088/1361-6560/ace14d. Online ahead of print. PMID: 37352867

Phase II trial of consolidation pembrolizumab after proton reirradiation for thoracic recurrences of non-small cell lung cancer: Pembro after PBT ReRT for NSCLC. Yegya-Raman N, Berman AT, Ciunci CA, Friedes C, Berlin E, Iocolano M, Wang X, Lai C, Levin WP, Cengel KA, O'Reilly SE, Cohen RB, Aggarwal C, Marmarelis ME, Singh AP, Sun L, Bradley JD, Plastaras JP, Simone CB 2nd, Langer CJ, Feigenberg SJ. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2023 Aug 29:S0360-3016(23)07846-X. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2023.08.047. Online ahead of print. PMID: 37652303

Pneumonitis rates before and after adoption of immunotherapy consolidation in patients with locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer treated with concurrent chemoradiation. Yegya-Raman N, Friedes C, Lee SH, Iocolano M, Duan L, Wang X, Li B, Aggarwal C, Cohen RB, Su W, Doucette A, Levin WP, Cengel KA, DiBardino D, Teo BK, O'Reilly SE, Sun L, Bradley JD, Xiao Y, Langer CJ, Feigenberg SJ. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2023 Aug 22:S0360-3016(23)07815-X. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2023.08.039. Online ahead of print. PMID: 37619788

RUNX1 is required in granulocyte-monocyte progenitors to attenuate inflammatory cytokine production by neutrophils. Zezulin AU, Yen D, Ye D, Howell ED, Bresciani E, Diemer J, Ren JG, Ahmad MH, Castilla LH, Touw IP, Minn AJ, Tong W, Liu PP, Tan K, Yu W, Speck NA. Genes Dev. 2023 Aug 3. doi: 10.1101/gad.350418.123. Online ahead of print. PMID: 37536952