Your 2021 ACLM Trainees Executive Board

medical education courses, events, and information on how Lifestyle Medicine treats and reverses chronic disease
Co-President
Renae Thomas

medical education courses, events, and information on how Lifestyle Medicine treats and reverses chronic disease
Co-President
Alexandra Kees

Aneeha-Dalal
Secretary & MIG Liaison
Aneeha Dalal


Executive VP of Communications
Rianna Goetting Capelj


Executive VP of Education
Megan Alexander


Executive VP of Research
Albert Barrera


VP of Communications
Leonie Dupuis


VP of Communications
Jasmin Aldridge


VP of Communications
Gabriella Hall


VP of Development
Robert Bhatia

Emmanuel-Akpan
VP of Development
Emmanuel "Manny" Akpan

Alyssa-Kramer
VP of Development
Alyssa Kramer 

Alex-Teshon
VP of Education
Alex Teshon

Kelsea-Sandefur
VP of Education
Kelsea Sandefur

Jadon-Neuendorf
VP of Education
Jadon Neuendorf

Ashten-Duncan
VP of Research
Ashten Duncan

Stas-Amato
VP of Research
Stas Amato

Richard-Wolferz-Jr
Residency Liaison
Richard Wolferz, Jr.


Residency Liaison
Ryan Herring


MIG Liaison
Genevieve Saliuk


MIG Liaison
Tatiana Znayenko-Miller


MIG Liaison
Erica Veazey

Taylor-Collignon
MIG Liaison
Taylor E. Collignon

Ai-Ohno
MIG Liaison
Ai Ohno

Greetings from the ACLM-Trainees Executive Board!

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Contact trainees@lifestylemedicine.org with any questions


Board Bios

Co-President, Renae Thomas

Dr. Renae Thomas, MD/MBBS (honors), B-BMed (Nutrition and Exercise Physiology), is an Australian-born, PGY4 Family and Preventive Medicine Resident, at Loma Linda University Health. Renae is completing a master's in Public Health (Population Medicine), and a Lifestyle Medicine Specialist Certification. She has also completed an internship at True North Health Centre, yoga teacher training in India, and the McDougall Starch Solution and Dietary Therapy courses. She is a published co-author on vegetarianism and cancer, a WIC-collaborated guide to healthy eating for less than $4 per day, as well as numerous online, print, and audio content collaborations. Renae recently completed her senior research evaluating a Lifestyle Medicine Curriculum in medical education, and has presented at numerous conferences on evidence-based and clinically-relevant nutrition and health, both in the USA and internationally. Renae’s professional content largely focuses on evidence-based nutritional medicine for both physicians and patients. This is Renae’s fourth year serving on the ACLM Trainee board and she is honored to join Alexandra as co-president this year. 

Co-President, Alexandra Kees

Alexandra Kees is a Master of Public Health student with a concentration in Epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health- University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Her initial passion for what she would later learn to be Lifestyle Medicine emerged six years ago while working in a semi-rural inpatient oncology unit in West Virginia which saw a severely medically underserved community characterized by a high prevalence of preventable chronic disease co-morbidities. This experience resulted in a search for answers and a cross-country move to Colorado where she completed her Bachelor's of Science in Integrative Health Care at Metropolitan State University of Denver. During her undergraduate education, Alexandra served as the founding president of the MSU Denver LMIG; helped to develop Lifestyle Medicine service learning, volunteering, and research opportunities for students; and assisted with curriculum development for the first Bachelor's of Science Lifestyle Medicine program offered in the country. Alexandra's continued passion and commitment to Lifestyle Medicine has allowed her to serve on past ACLM Trainees Executive Boards as a Vice President of Development, an Executive Vice President, and now as Co-President. Alexandra looks forward to a career path which scientifically supports the implementation of lifestyle medicine as the foundation of health both clinically and in population-level public health efforts.  


 

Aneeha-Dalal

Secretary & MIG Liaison, Aneeha Dalal

Aneeha Dalal is a second year Health Sciences student on the Physical Therapy track at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. Growing up with a healthy and active lifestyle characterized by a plant-based diet and regular exercise, Aneeha's interest in lifestyle medicine began to grow. She wants to help educate others about the benefits of lifestyle medicine by incorporating healthier habits to live longer lives and reducing the risk of chronic diseases or health complications. Aneeha is an avid figure skater, and this is her sixth-year skating for a synchronized skating team, Team Excel which is located in Boston. Besides figure skating in her free time, Aneeha loves to ski, play piano, bike, bake, and spend time with friends and family. After a year of helping out on the Trainee Executive Board, Aneeha is thrilled to take on the position of secretary for this coming year.

Rianna-Goetting-Capelj

Executive VP of Communications, Rianna Goetting Capelj

Rianna Goetting Capelj is serving her third year on the ACLM Trainees board as the Executive Vice President of Communications. She is a class of 2020 Oakland University (Rochester Hills, MI) graduate, attending Naturopathic Medical School in 2022. Rianna constantly seeks opportunities to expand Lifestyle Medicine and the power of prevention to her community. Through being a wellness mentor to Pontiac Schools' students, to hosting her own LMIG events, she enjoys bringing people of all backgrounds together to celebrate health and life! Currently, Rianna is working as a research assistant for ACLM’s Type 2 Diabetes Remission Task Force, and has assisted in Lifestyle Medicine research both at her local hospital and her university. She loves volunteering with Plant-based Nutrition Support Group (PBNSG), and working at her current job at an organic garden. During her year off, she is planning on creating a youtube channel where she will share plant-based diet and holistic living tips. Her greatest passions are building relationships, travelling, writing poetry, weight-lifting, hiking, creating art and content, and learning! She is very grateful for all of the inspiring people she's met along her Lifestyle Medicine journey, and is thrilled to see all of the beauty that this year brings.

Executive VP of Education, Megan Alexander

Megan Alexander is a 4th year medical student at Boston University School of Medicine. Originally from Las Vegas, NV, she completed her undergraduate degree at Stanford University and her Masters in Community Health and Prevention Research at Stanford School of Medicine. Her passion for lifestyle medicine began in high school. Upon learning the extent to which common, debilitating conditions can be improved and prevented, she made lasting personal changes and even helped her father transition off of hypertension meds. She’s spearheaded 3 nutrition student groups, leading dozens of workshops, and partnered with Meals on Wheels to create an accessible exercise program. A current focus of hers is expanding lifestyle medicine training. To this end, she’s partnering with her own university and ACLM to push forward change. She loves all things women’s health, and looks forward to supporting women at key milestones (which often impact future health!) as an OB/GYN. Things she always makes time for—morning oatmeal, getting outdoors, and her ever-growing podcast list.

Albert-Barrera

Executive VP of Research, Albert Barrera 

Albert is a research trainee at the National Institutes of Health in a translational research laboratory focused on elucidating the molecular mechanisms of cardiovascular biology and studying the potential use of genetic variation for the susceptibility of cardiovascular disease at the clinical and population level. His goal is to study the intersection of lifestyle and cardiovascular science at the cellular, clinical, and social levels, and implement the necessary changes for reducing chronic disease morbidity.

VP of Communications, Leonie Dupuis

Leonie Dupuis is a student at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine. Leonie’s passion for Lifestyle Medicine began in college where she worked as the Group Fitness Coordinator and taught Zumba, barre, step, and HIIT classes. She became passionate about helping others improve their health and wellness by making lifestyle changes, especially through movement and nutrition. During medical school, Leonie started a Lifestyle Medicine Interest Group at UCF and helped start up the Healthy Lifestyle Initiatives, a volunteer program designed to teach underserved high schoolers about the pillars of Lifestyle Medicine, and Lifestyle Central, a student-run Lifestyle Medicine magazine for the Central Florida area. She looks forward to continuing to learn more about Lifestyle Medicine and to get more students excited about the field.

Jasmin-Aldridge

VP of Communications, Jasmin Aldridge

Jasmin Aldridge is a Family Medicine resident at UT Health San Antonio. She hails from Dallas, Texas where she first developed a passion for health and wellness while being an athlete in high school with a variety of extracurricular pursuits. Jasmin completed her undergraduate studies at Duke University where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. She then earned a Master of Public Health degree, focusing on Health Promotion & Behavioral Sciences, from the UT Health Science Center at Houston. During that time, she worked at the Cooper Aerobics Center and fostered a passion for approaching health through the lens of diet, exercise, and stress reduction. She carried that passion through medical school and received her Doctor of Medicine degree from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. During medical school, she was active in many enriching organizations, including the Integrative Medicine club and Texas Medical Association. Jasmin discovered Lifestyle Medicine early in her intern year and was overwhelmed with inspiration to integrate her original passions into her budding practice as a physician. She is currently working to implement the Lifestyle Medicine Residency Curriculum at her program and could not be more excited for the future.  She enthusiastically joins the team as she continues to practice, advocate for, and inspire others to pursue the six pillars of health.

VP of Communications, Gabriella Hall

Gabriella Hall is currently a graduate student in the accelerated Kinesiology & Integrative Wellness cohort at Point Loma Nazarene University in sunny San Diego, California. She is originally born and raised in New York, and has always had a passion for food and finding new ways to modify dishes to optimize both nutrients and taste. Gabriella began her lifestyle medicine journey during her pre-med studies Freshman year of undergrad when she realized there was a disconnect between western medicine and the pursuit of wellness. After graduating from the Didactic Program in Dietetics at Long Island University Post with a bachelor’s in Nutrition & Dietetic Health, she took up a job as a leading Dietetic Clerk at NYU Langone Hospital. There she helped treat acute and chronic illnesses interprofessionally by carefully regulating diets in conjunction with their other treatments. Gabriella is ecstatic about collaborating with fellow health and wellness advocates to spread awareness about integrating complementary medicine into everyday life. When she is not pursuing her conquest to eradicate chronic illness, Gabriella enjoys an eclectic variety of activities such as reading, writing, cooking, traveling with her two dogs, Peloton biking with her husband, spending time outdoors, playing video-games and watching foreign dramas.

VP of Development, Robert Bhatia

Robert Bhatia is currently a second-year Osteopathic medical student at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in Yakima, WA. Prior to medical school, Robert earned a Master's Degree in Medical Sciences at Heritage University. His journey to becoming a physician has been driven by his deep desire to serve his future patients by empowering them to achieve their personal health goals and aspirations. He maintains a whole-person, patient-centered, and plant-predominant philosophy to overall well-being. He seeks to improve quality of life and longevity through facilitating the human body’s natural healing ability and an evidence-based approach to medicine. While serving as President of his medical school’s LMIG, he created a broccoli sprouting starter kits fundraiser, started a Wellness Challenge, and stimulated discussions on budget-friendly nutrition. As a child, he developed a deep appreciation for the art of blending flavors by helping his mother prepare delicious homestyle Indian dishes. This Spring, he will host his own virtual cooking demonstration through a Culinary Medicine program. He will begin his clinical rotations this Summer in Anchorage, Alaska and awaits new adventures. Robert is honored to serve on the Executive Board and envisions the day that all healthcare providers will use the power of lifestyle medicine in their lifelong service to their patients.

Emmanuel-Akpan

VP of Development, Emmanuel "Manny" Akpan

Emmanuel Akpan is an osteopathic medical student at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Class of 2022. Originally from NJ, Manny completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Scranton (*cue the Office opening credits*) and was fortunate to serve as Fulbright U.S. Student to Cyprus. During his first year of medical school, through a plant-based nutrition lecture series, Manny was introduced to the world Lifestyle Medicine. Shortly after, he adopted evidence-based lifestyle modifications and shared the physical and mental health improvements with family and friends. He believes that the key to being an effective healthcare provider is rooted in education and approachability. With a variety of enriching experiences in educational and clinical environments, Manny wants to ensure that the global community has access to the resources and knowledge of evidence-based lifestyle changes that can be supplemented with a whole food plant-based diet. His professional interests include mental health and preventive medicine/public health. Outside of medicine, he is an R&B DJ and spin instructor in Columbus, OH. As a member of the Development team, his goal is to connect with institutional Lifestyle Medicine Interest Groups (LMIG)  and encourage them to reach their organizational goals. Ultimately, he views advocacy of lifestyle medicine as the future of healthcare and is blessed to be working with a team of passionate and motivated individuals.

Alyssa-Kramer

VP of Development, Alyssa Kramer

Alyssa Kramer is a 4th year medical student at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. She attended UC Davis for her undergraduate education, followed by working in clinical research in the Bay Area and then left sunny California for slightly less sunny Dublin to begin medical school. Alyssa's love for cooking and fascination of nutrition led to her initial interest in Culinary Medicine, after which she shortly discovered the field of Lifestyle Medicine. She quickly understood the gap in the medical school curriculum of all things nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine, and realized it would be an independent pursuit to supplement her education. Since then, she founded the first and only Lifestyle & Integrative Medicine Student Society in Ireland, hosting an array of free nutrition lectures, workshops, exercise classes, competitions and much more. Alyssa is thrilled to join the like-minded community of ambitious students eager to change the way health and wellness is understood and taught. When not introducing someone to LM, you can find her running through the parks of Dublin, FaceTiming her dogs back at home or cleaning up the mess she made cooking in the kitchen.

Alex-Teshon

VP of Education, Alex Teshon

Alex Teshon is a 3rd year medical student at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville with a lifelong passion for healthy and happy living. He attended the University of South Carolina for his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry, and University of Florida for his master’s degree in Toxicology. Growing up, Alex has always loved exercise, a passion that followed him throughout his life and led him to become a personal trainer and compete at the international level as a Powerlifter. As a medical student, this passion for health has evolved into a desire to empower patients to become active players in their own healthcare, using lifestyle medicine as a way to prevent, treat, and reverse chronic disease. Alex has worked both with USC School of Medicine Greenville and with national policy to provide funding for schools to incorporate lifestyle medicine into their curriculum, as well worked to design curriculum resources to educate and train healthcare providers.

Kelsea-Sandefur

VP of Education, Kelsea Sandefur

Kelsea Sandefur, DO is a current PGY-2 Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) resident at Case Western MetroHealth in Cleveland, Ohio. Born and raised in Camden, Maine she enjoyed an adventurous upbringing on the ocean and in the mountains. She completed her undergraduate degree at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York studying Neuroscience. As an undergraduate, she also managed to spend a year abroad in Madrid, Spain to boost her medical Spanish and Latin dancing skills. By medical training, she is a proud osteopath from A.T. Still University (ATSU), Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. While at ATSU, she helped initiate a LMIG and remains a proud member of the ACLM since 2016. During her clinical years of medical school, she got to work with Dr. Barnard and Dr. Loomis at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Dr. McDougall and Dr. Lim at The McDougall Program and Health Center. She also got exposure to the Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP) and the Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease program with Dr. Esselstyn. In residency, she was selected as intern of the year at the Berkshire Medical Center Internship with Osteopathic Recognition. She then chose PM&R as her specialty, to focus on function and quality of life as a base to integrate into her planned career as a Lifestyle Medicine specialist. Along the way she has given multiple local lifestyle medicine talks and has various publications in the field. She was trained in both mindfulness-based stress reduction and wilderness medicine and has a diploma in international medicine and a certification in advanced scuba! In Cleveland she is now the proud owner of a little sailboat and a windsurfer. Her hobbies include doing anything outdoors such as camping, kayaking, hiking and swimming, as well as plant-based cooking, Latin dancing, yoga, gardening and sustainable tiny home living.

Jadon-Neuendorf

VP of Education, Jadon Neuendorf

Jadon Neuendorf is a second-year medical student at The California University of Science and Medicine. His passion for Lifestyle Medicine was ignited while living in American Samoa and Samoa where he was impacted by the evident effects of a calorie-rich, nutrient-poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle on the health of a population. Since his time there, he became driven to bring real and lasting change to the standard practice of healthcare by promoting Lifestyle Medicine as a first-treatment approach for addressing the root causes of chronic disease. He established a Lifestyle Medicine interest group at his school and is enthusiastic about furthering the mission of ACLM as a member of the Trainee Executive Board and in his future practice as a physician.

Ashten-Duncan

VP of Research, Ashten Duncan

Ashten Duncan, MPH, CPH, is a fourth-year medical student and aspiring family physician at the OU-TU School of Community Medicine. Ashten attended the University of Oklahoma for his undergraduate program and completed a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology with minors in Chemistry and French in 2016. He received a Master of Public Health with an interdisciplinary focus from the University of Oklahoma Hudson College of Public Health in 2019. He was an Albert Schweitzer Fellow who rolled out a project targeting psychosocial wellbeing indicators in Tulsa's homeless adult population. Since then, Ashten has continued to conduct theoretical and applied positive psychology research. Passionate about writing, he has published dozens of articles in scholarly and other publications, collaborated on several large writing projects, and edited for major publications. He sees lifestyle medicine as a way for the modern health care provider to treat and prevent disease as well as promote health in entire communities. After residency training, Ashten will be fulfilling his contract to the National Health Service Corps, likely working in Indian Health Service facilities.

Stas-Amato

VP of Research, Stas Amato

Stas Amato, MD, MSc, is a general surgery resident at the University of Vermont Medical Center. Prior to becoming a physician, Stas studied global health and served as a technical officer at the World Health Organization. She is interested in evidence- and science-based health policy. Stas enjoys researching the ecology of our most common diseases and the role of plant-based nutrition on inflammation, wound healing, and diseases that impact surgical patients and outcomes. She is a founding resident advisor of the Lifestyle Medicine Interest Group at the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine and is passionate about facilitating the integration of lifestyle medicine into medical education and patient care.

Richard-Wolferz-Jr

Residency Liaison, Richard Wolferz, Jr.

Rich Wolferz is currently a first-year family medicine resident at the University of Utah. He graduated from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in 2020. He previously served as executive vice president for the ACLM trainees board and as VP of Development. As an executive member of the lifestyle medicine interest group at NJMS, he organized culinary workshops in underserved communities, developed a lifestyle medicine after school workshop for high school students, and was a founding member of the Newark Walk with a Doc chapter. He has particular interests in plant-based nutrition, exercise as medicine, and addiction medicine. In his career, Rich looks to further his involvement in public health and preventive, community-oriented primary care through lifestyle-medicine. His personal interests include marathon running, backpacking, and figuring out new ways to prepare local produce from the farmer’s market.

Residency Liaison, Ryan Herring 

Ryan Herring, MD, MPHc is a graduating Preventive Medicine resident physician at Loma Linda University Health where he is also obtaining a Master of Public Health in Population Medicine. He received his Medical Degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine. Ryan previously served as an Executive Vice President and VP of Communications on the Trainee E-board. He is excited to become a Residency Liaison to help expand Lifestyle Medicine training in Graduate Medical Education. He has been an active leader throughout residency as his program’s Lifestyle Medicine Champion, including authoring multiple units of ACLM’s Lifestyle Medicine Residency Curriculum, co-developing a Culinary Medicine Curriculum for residents, and educating medical students and other residency programs. Ryan is thrilled to have accepted a job at Lifestyle Medical, a hybrid value-based Lifestyle Medicine practice model owned by past President of ACLM Dr. Wayne Dysinger.

MIG Liaison, Genevieve Saliuk 

Genevieve is about to complete her second year of medical school at University of Texas at Galveston. Her hope is to spread the message of Lifestyle Medicine to her peers and help to integrate it into medical education. She began an LMIG chapter at her school, established a Walk with a Doc chapter in Galveston, and is currently creating a Lifestyle Medicine curriculum for a Dallas-based educational company. Her goal is to practice whole-person care in either Family or PM&R, allowing her to serve at both the individual and large-scale level.

Being born and partly raised in Uganda, Genevieve grew up on a largely plant-based diet as Uganda’s staples are binyebwa (peanut sauce), beans, rice, posho (cassava/corn flour), and matoke (green bananas). However, the longer her family stayed away from home and began adopting more of the Western diet, the more she noticed their health followed the Western health model. She didn’t come to this realization right away. Genevieve's journey to Lifestyle Medicine was first born out of her own health journey. She was overweight as a teenager and cycled through numerous diets before finding a LIFESTYLE that was sustainable and gentle for herself, her friends of the world, and the planet. After going plant-based, Genevieve felt the best she had ever felt in her life and wanted everyone to feel this joy: to know that life is so beautiful and that we need to nourish ourselves properly, both physically and mentally, in order to experience that joy. In her free time, she loves to hang out with her best friends (her hubby and 2 year old son), move her body daily (yoga, HIIT, running, animal flow, etc.), and embrace the peace and stillness that each day brings.

MIG Liaison, Tatiana Znayenko-Miller

Tatiana (Tati) Znayenko-Miller is a current DrPh in Preventive Care student at Loma Linda University (LLU). Her current research focuses on investigating the relationship between lifestyle factors and infectious disease outcomes (including COVID-19), as well as longevity.

Since 2018, Tatiana has worked at The Center for Mind-Body Medicine with James S. Gordon, MD to develop and deliver programs to relieve stress and address the challenges of psychological trauma in diverse populations across the nation and world. She is the founder of a non-profit organization in North Carolina that provides basic health management education to underserved populations throughout the state. She is the Vice President of Public Relations for LLU's School of Public Health Student Association, and also serves as a Peer Tutor for students at The George Washington University School of Medicine.

MIG Liaison, Erica Veazey

Erica Veazey is a 4rd year student at Brown Medical School with a passion for Lifestyle Medicine. This incredible interest began in Alaska, where she grew up on a ski hill spending lots of time outdoors playing soccer, running, skiing, and hiking. Erica moved to Maine for college where she studied Neuroscience and Education, after which she traveled for one year on a Watson Fellowship investigating happiness and purpose across cultures. During medical school, Erica started a Lifestyle Medicine Interest Group at Brown and helped start Providence's first Walk with a Doc chapter. She is applying into Family Medicine and hopes to eventually pursue a fellowship in Lifestyle Medicine. Erica is thrilled to continue learning about this amazing field, and is excited to have the opportunity to serve on the Trainee Executive Board!

Taylor-Collignon

MIG Liaison, Taylor E. Collignon

Taylor Collignon is currently finishing her degree at the University of Tampa with a B.S. in Biochemistry and will be attending medical school in the fall of 2021. She became fascinated with nutrition and disease prevention after several years of modeling where she first discovered the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. As an undergraduate, Taylor has been heavily involved in research and plans to continue this in her future medical career. She has conducted cardiovascular research at the Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida, and is currently working on a project at her undergraduate institution investigating the cancer protective effects of green tea. She also serves as President of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology chapter at the University of Tampa. She published an article, "A New Approach to Medicine: Prevention with Nutrition," in the In-Training Online Medical Journal in an effort to educate aspiring physicians on the importance of disease prevention, and she encourages her pre-med classmates to be informed on the topic. Taylor actively promotes lifestyle medicine to her peers and on her social media where she enjoys sharing healthy recipes, research articles, and fitness tips. In her free time, Taylor enjoys spending time outdoors, cooking, thrift shopping, weight lifting, and relaxing with friends.

Ai-Ohno

MIG Liaison, Ai Ohno

Ai Ohno is a 2nd-year medical student at California University of Science and Medicine (CUSM). She completed her Bachelor of Science in Psychobiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she researched neuroprotective treatments for multiple sclerosis and long-term retention of context-dependent memory. Her passion for lifestyle medicine stems from her upbringing, as she was raised in a family that follows a whole-food plant predominant diet. She is one of the founding board members of the Lifestyle Medicine (LM) Interest Group at CUSM. At CUSM, she has been researching interventions that promote wellness among medical students, and this research was awarded the LM 2020 Scientific Research Abstract Poster Award. With an interest in neurology and oncology, she is also involved in anatomical research of the cervical spine and breast cancer research. Outside of academics, she enjoys Pilates, yoga, cooking, and serving as a U.S. Figure Skating Official.