Bethany Ballinger, MD, MBBS, AFRCSEd, FFAEM, FACEP
Dr. Bethany Ballinger is the Program Director for the University of Central Florida College of Medicine (UCF COM), Emergency Medicine Residency Program at Osceola Regional Medical Center in Kissimmee, Florida, and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the UCF College of Medicine.
Dr. Ballinger hails from England, where she attended medical school at the University College London School of Medicine, followed by a 3-year emergency medicine residency and then by a fellowship/specialist registrar posting in Emergency Medicine at Oxford University Teaching Hospital. After several years of practice in England, Dr. Ballinger moved to America and did a second emergency medicine residency at Orlando Regional Medical Center. She was then recruited to be an inaugural faculty member for the emergency medicine residency at Florida Hospital.
Dr. Ballinger’s zeal to educate physicians of tomorrow to excel in today’s digital world, led to her recruitment at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine (UCF COM). UCF COM’s program epitomizes innovation, high-tech learning tools and a pioneering spirit to educate young doctors and scientists in a new and better way for the 21st century. Dr. Ballinger was one of the founding faculty for the medical college, and the college’s mission reflects her vision.
As a founding faculty member of the UCF COM, she had the vision of developing the new medical school’s GME component. Specifically, a residency that would combine excellence in clinical skills with the humanity of the compassionate physician to produce outstanding patient centered care. She was thus naturally chosen to lead the brand new EM residency for the UCF COM, based at Osceola Regional Medical Center.
Dr. Ballinger is renowned for her experience in evidence based medicine (EBM), clinical informatics and patient safety. Her passion for EBM blossomed while she was still at Oxford. Committed to promoting emergency medicine internationally, Dr. Ballinger took this expertise around the world. Notable endeavors include the creation of a “Virtual Health Sciences Library” at the Hue College of Medicine and Pharmacy, in Hue, Vietnam, and launching the “Practising Evidence Based Medicine” course there.
Following completion of the American Medical Informatics Association 10 x 10 course, Dr. Ballinger launched the UCF COM’s informatics curriculum, the first of its kind in US medical schools, and was instrumental is bringing in over 7.6 million dollars in federal grant funding to help greater Central Florida doctors develop and effectively use electronic health records (EHR) to improve patient care. As a result of the grant a Health IT Regional Extension Center (REC) was established to provide Central Florida physicians with technical assistance, guidance, and best practices in electronic health records implementation. She serves as the Co-Director of Medical Informatics for the longitudinal curricular theme (LCT) for medical students, where she teaches the discipline found at the intersection of computer science and medicine to solve conundrums in healthcare delivery and patient safety.
One of the American Association of Medical College’s (AAMC) current initiatives is “Best Practices for Better Care,” a multi-year initiative to improve the quality and safety of health care. As an early proponent of patient safety education, Dr. Ballinger implemented the LCT in patient safety at UCF COM, because she is passionate about educating doctors who take the entire patient experience into account. Under her leadership, the UCF COM was one of only 10 schools in the world to participate in the World Health Organization’s implementation study of the Patient Safety Curriculum. Integrating technology into medical education, Dr. Ballinger’s has successfully taught students to be proactive in looking for possible safety hazards in real time such as dangerous drug interactions using their iPads. Her research and innovations are frequently highlighted at the national AAMC and American Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) meetings.
Dr. Ballinger is active in organized medicine. At the regional level, she is a founding member of the Florida State Committee on Patient Safety Education, and on the academic affairs committee of the Florida College of Emergency Physicians Education. At the national level, she holds the post of American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) Ambassador to the United Kingdom. She is a member of the ACEP International section’s education committee, and also serves on the communications committee of the International Federation of Emergency Medicine.
Dr. Ballinger is a beloved educator and not surprisingly has been recognized by numerous awards, including the Faculty of the Year for the Emergency Medicine Residency Program, and the Florida Hospital
Compassion and Excellence in Medical Care Award, for which she was chosen amongst a group of over 2500 qualified physicians.
Jose Rubero, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Associate Program Director
Dr. Jose Rubero is the Associate Program Director for the University of Central Florida (UCF) Medical School Emergency Medicine Residency Program at Osceola Regional Medical Center in Kissimmee, Florida.
Prior to this, he was the Clerkship Director and Faculty member of the Emergency Medicine Residency Program at Florida Hospital in East Orlando, Florida. As well as the Site Clerkship Director in Emergency Medicine at University of Central Florida School of Medicine, Florida State University School of Medicine and NOVA Southeastern University School of Osteopathic Medicine.
He has educational appointments as Associate as well as Assistant Professor at University of Central Florida, Florida State University, Universidad Central del Caribe, Kansas City University, NOVA DO School, LECOM, and other medical/osteopathic schools.
Dr. Rubero received his MD from the Universidad Central Del Caribe School of Medicine, in Puerto Rico, where he later designed a medical student curriculum in emergency medicine, and was appointed as Associate Professor.
During his medical school training, Dr. Rubero was recognized by the American Red Cross and by the Puerto Rican government for excellence in helping the community.
He completed two residencies:
– Emergency Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, Lincoln Medical Center Campus in the Bronx, New York
– Internal Medicine at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Cabrini Medical Center campus in New York City, New York
He moved to Florida, where he joined Florida Emergency Physicians (FEP) as an emergency medicine attending for the Florida Hospital System in Central Florida. In 2009, he was appointed as the assistant medical director for the Florida Hospital EMS, Flight and Transfer Center until 2013.
Dr. Rubero’s goal is to integrate the Emergency Medicine Curriculum as part of the medical schools’ curriculum. His interests are cardiology, pulmonary, critical care and EMS.
Kendra Amico, MD, MPhil
Pediatric Core Faculty
The Emergency Medicine residency leadership is delighted to welcome Dr. Kendra Amico as Core Faculty. Dr. Amico comes to us with a prestigious educational pedigree. She graduated with her medical degree from the world-renowned Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota. From there, she went on to complete her residency at Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals, a Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency (HAEMR) in Boston, Massachusetts. She stayed on for a year as an instructor at Harvard Medical School, prior to joining us at Osceola Regional.
Despite being so early in her career, Dr. Amico has already demonstrated her academic prowess. She completed a Master’s degree in public health at the University of Cambridge while still a medical student, and her interest in international health and serving the underserved won her a Global and Humanitarian Health Travel Grant from Partners Healthcare International. She developed a community-based participatory model of research to communicate culturally-sensitive health information regarding TB, and also worked in identifying predictors for quit attempts amongst smoking cessation quitline program users.
Dr. Amico especially cares about underserved children. At Boston Children’s hospital, she undertook a major project on Health Literacy and Emergency Department Discharge Communication, and published a manuscript titled: “Parental Language and Return Visits to the Emergency Department Following Discharge” that was published in Pediatric Emergency Care (2015). Her dedication to underserved children goes well beyond her professional life. At home, she and her husband are foster parents to two little girls, in addition to their own two children, and have been foster parents from the time Dr. Amico was in residency!
Dr. Amico is passionate about education, as she believes that is one of the key ways out of poverty and poor health. To this end, she has designed successful global health curricula that have been presented at the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, and at the International Health Professionals as Educators meetings in Singapore. Within medical education, Dr. Amico has taught medical students and residents, with specific expertise in simulation, team-based learning and journal club.
Latha Ganti, MD, MS, MBA, FACEP
Dr. Latha Ganti is the Research Director for the University of Central Florida (UCF) College of Medicine Emergency Medicine Residency Program at Osceola Regional Medical Center in Kissimmee, Florida, and Professor of Emergency Medicine at the UCF College of Medicine.
Dr. Ganti’s expertise is in harnessing the power of data to solve clinical problems such as hospital re-admissions, delays in hospital discharges, prolonged length of stays, suboptimal emergency department throughput, low patient satisfaction scores, and lack of community awareness of medical emergencies. By approaching the operational issue from a scholarly perspective, her work is published, and thus affords better buy in from stakeholders. Dr. Ganti has published extensively in the field of neurologic emergencies, with high impact. Her Google scholar citations reveal an H index of 22, with more than 1,890 citations to her work just in the last few years and over 110 indexed papers. To put this in perspective, the median H index for Professors of Emergency Medicine is 11, with a median of 23 papers. One such example of translating research to clinical practice is her contribution to the acute management of transient ischemic attacks. She designed an emergency department protocol that would allow the rapid triage and evaluation of these patients, which ultimately decreased hospital admission rates, and enhanced revenue while having similar or improved patient outcomes.
Throughout her career, Dr. Ganti continually paired her boots on the ground experience with formal training. A few years after teaching herself how to data mine clinical information, she obtained a Masters in Clinical and Translational Research from the Mayo Graduate School. As her research became central to improving operational inefficiencies in the healthcare systems where she worked, she was sponsored to undertake the executive MBA at the Kellogg School of Management, the top MBA program in the country.
Dr. Ganti has a track record of leadership. She was the first Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, a charter member of the Mayo Clinic Center for Translational Science, and the inaugural Chair for the Division of Emergency Medicine Research, which she founded. Under her leadership, research productivity soared by 420%, and at one time, her research group showcased the maximum number of research presentations (3 out of only 8 oral and 17 out of 400 posters) at the American College of Emergency Physicians Scientific Assembly. Her passion to seamlessly integrate research with outstanding patient care, education and advocacy led to her current post, where she leads a team of diverse researchers, and educators utilizing technology and Telehealth solutions to expand access and timely delivery of world class care for those served our country.
Dr. Ganti is also a gifted teacher, as evidenced by her many teaching awards. She is the author of the First Aid Clerkship books, which are the number one best sellers amongst medical students. Dr. Ganti is a published scholar with over 380 scientific abstracts and manuscripts, and 26 books. Indeed, one of the talks she frequently gives at national and international meetings is entitled: “Get Published Now!” She is a sought after speaker, and has lectured as a Visiting Professor at Harvard Medical School, and in various parts of the world, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, France, India, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.
Dr. Ganti is the founding Editor in Chief for the International Journal of Emergency Medicine. The journal has enjoyed tremendous success, having tripled its readership and achieved Medline indexing within its first 18 months of launch. Dr. Ganti serves on several committees for ACEP, SAEM, and the American Medical Association. She also serves as a Scientific Review Officer for the United States Military’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs and is an active member of AMSUS, the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States.
Dr. Ganti has won over 18 national awards, including the EMRA Academic Excellence award, the ACEP National Faculty Teaching award, the AMA’s William Beaumont Award, the first EMRA Mentorship Award and was also celebrated as one of the “Heroes in Emergency Medicine” by the American College of Emergency Physicians in honor of the organization’s 40th anniversary. She won the 2010 American Medical Association Young Physician Section Award for Community Service, for her work on stroke research, education, and outreach- a program she titled BEST for “Better Early Stroke Treatment.” Dr. Ganti was also honored as a 2013 Fulbright Scholar for her project entitled “Strategy & Innovation in Clinical Research for the Global Health Era.” Most recently, she was bestowed the AMA’s Women Physicians’ Section “Inspirational Physician Award,” for her work mentoring women physicians.
Dr. Ganti obtained her MD from the Ponce School of Medicine, completed her Emergency Medicine residency at the Jacobi-Montefiore Program, and a Vascular Neurology fellowship at the University of Florida.
David Lebowitz, MD, FAAEM
Dr. David Lebowitz is the Curriculum Director for the University of Central Florida (UCF), College of Medicine, Emergency Medicine Residency Program at Osceola Regional Medical Center in Kissimmee, Florida.
Dr. Lebowitz received his MD from SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY and served as Chief Resident of the Emergency Medicine Residency Program at Florida Hospital in Orlando, Florida.
During his residency training, Dr. Lebowitz was awarded Resident of the Year, the Academic Achievement Award (2 years consecutively) and the Emergency Ultrasound Award.
Dr. Lebowitz successfully completed a certificate in Informatics from AMIA – OHSU/ACEP. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at UCF, College of Medicine where he teaches the Medical Informatics Longitudinal Curricular Theme
Dr. Lebowitz has a strong passion in integrating technology with medical education and patient care. He resides in Orlando with his wife and 2 daughters.
Tracy MacIntosh, MD, MPH, MS
Dr. MacIntosh is Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Central Florida, College of Medicine. She is also the Medical Student Clerkship Director for UCF students in the Osceola Regional Medical Center Emergency Department.
Dr. MacIntosh has a clinical interest in trauma and critical care medicine as well as international health. She enjoys using ultrasound in the care of emergency patients and is eager to teach residents and medical students on its clinical use in the ED.
She attended Yale School of Medicine and completed her residency training at Yale New Haven Hospital, with an academic concentration in Global and Public Health. She has worked with Partners in Health in Haiti, providing emergency care, teaching residents and helping to open a new emergency department.
Dr. MacIntosh received the award for Outstanding Resident Teaching in 2014, and is excited about creating an innovative residency program and training the next generation of emergency physicians.
Rene Mack, MD, RDMS
Dr. Mack is the Ultrasound Director for the University of Central Florida (UCF) Emergency Medicine Residency Program at Osceola Regional Medical Center in Kissimmee, Florida.
Dr. Mack completed her Emergency Medicine Residency at Orlando Regional Medical Center in Orlando, Florida and went on to complete her Ultrasound Fellowship at Orlando Regional Medical Center. In addition, Dr. Mack obtained her RDMS (Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer) from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography. She enjoys teaching the many ultrasound applications focused on enhancing patient care and safety.
The growth and longevity of the EM profession is another area of special interest for Dr. Mack. She is actively involved in the ACEP and FCEP (Florida College of Emergency), serving on the FCEP Board of Directors. She also serves as a committee chair and Chair of Symposium by the Sea, the FCEP annual CME conference.
Haru Okuda, MD, FACEP
Haru Okuda MD is the National Medical Director for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Simulation Learning Education and Research Network (SimLEARN). In his role at SimLEARN, he oversees the identification and development of VHA’s simulation-based clinical training programs across the nation and helps to define the strategy for the use of simulation throughout the 152 medical facilities within the VHA. In addition, he is currently advising in the construction and deployment of VHA’s 51,000 square foot national simulation center. Dr. Okuda is also co-Director of the VHA’s Advanced Fellowship in Health Professions Education, Evaluation, and Research. He holds an academic appointment as Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine in Orlando, Florida.
Prior to joining the Veterans Health Administration, Dr. Okuda was Assistant Vice President and founding director of the Institute for Medical Simulation and Advanced Learning (IMSAL) with the New York City Public Health System (HHC). In this role, he helped to build HHC’s 10,000 square foot simulation center focused on improving patient safety throughout the system, developing training focused on interprofessional teamwork and clinical procedures. H was also the Director of Undergraduate Simulation at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Associate Residency Director of their Emergency Medicine Residency Program.
Dr. Okuda graduated from Brown University where he majored in Neuroscience. He received his MD from New York Medical College, completed his Emergency Medicine Residency at Mount Sinai Hospital, and finished a Clinical Quality Fellowship with the Greater New York Hospital Association. He is certified in Emergency Medicine by the American Board of Emergency Medicine.
He is the co-creator of SimWars, a simulation-based clinical competition, which has spread across 4 continents and is held annually at the International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare. He has published multiple textbooks including SimWars Simulation Case Book: Emergency Medicine and Emergency Medicine Oral Board Review Illustrated. Dr. Okuda was recognized by Crain’s NY Business Magazine as one of 40 under 40 NY Rising Stars and by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of its 25 Rising Healthcare Leaders under 40. His has held multiple national positions including Chair of the Emergency Medicine Special Interest group for Society for Simulation in Healthcare and Vice-Chair of the Simulation Academy for the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.
Javier Rosario, MD, FAAEM
Assistant Simulation Director
Dr. Rosario is the Assistant Simulation Director for the University of Central Florida (UCF) Medical School Emergency Medicine Residency Program at Osceola Regional Medical Center in Kissimmee, Florida. Dr. Rosario received his MD from San Juan Bautista School of Medicine in Puerto Rico. As a medical student he founded the Emergency Medicine Interest Group for his school and promoted the use of such group to educate students about EM and its procedures. He completed his residency training from the University of Puerto Rico Emergency Medicine Residency Program, where he participated in education for students, nurses, residents and promoted the program. Dr. Rosario moved to Florida and joined Florida Emergency Physicians to complete an Ultrasound Fellowship Program. During his Fellowship he developed a quarterly newsletter, an ultrasound quick book, helped with credentialing and recruiting future fellows. He was appointed the role of Ultrasound Assistant Fellowship Director where he revised and updated the fellowship curriculum to meet ACEP standards, helped with recruiting, and served as the Ultrasound Coordinator and Credentialing Facilitator for the Florida Hospital Orlando Emergency Department. Additionally he has completed an Advanced Simulation Instructor Course with the Harvard Medical affiliated Center for Medical Simulation, in Boston. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at UCF, College of Medicine. His passions include ultrasound use and development, simulation, resident wellbeing and medical student education. He currently resides in Orlando, FL with his wife and two daughters