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Excela Health Welcomes New Physicians to Award-Winning Family Medicine Residency Program

LATROBE, PA, September 1, 2020… Excela Health welcomes eight new physicians to the Latrobe Family Medicine Residency Program. Established in 1974, the three-year program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and affiliated with Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

The new residents began their assignments July 1 and will alternate clinical rotations and office-based practice, while supporting the 24/7 coverage at Excela Health
hospitals and broadening their understanding of the continuum of care. Recognized by
the National Committee for Quality Assurance at the highest level as a Patient-Centered
Medical Home, the program is also the recipient of the prestigious DeWitt C. Baldwin,
Jr. Sponsoring Institution Award is given by the ACGME and Arnold P. Gold Foundation.
The award is presented to accredited residency/fellowship programs that are exemplary
in fostering a respectful, supportive environment for medical education, and the delivery
of patient care, which leads to the personal and professional development of learners.

The Family Medicine Residency Program is based at Excela Square at Latrobe, which
serves as the program’s hub.

To learn more about the Latrobe Family Medicine Residency program visit:

A lifelong interest in sports and outdoor activities coupled with his father's experience as a medical device engineer provides the framework for Shane Bealer, DO, in his pursuit of a healthcare career. Hailing from the Philadelphia suburb of Levittown, Bealer began his medical studies in exercise science at the Abington campus of the Pennsylvania State University before transferring to East Stroudsburg University where he earned both a bachelor's and master's in Exercise Physiology. As part of his program, Bealer volunteered as a health coach for patients having difficulty with their personal wellness to help them overcome obstacles to good health.

Following graduation, he worked as a Medical Fitness Trainer to assist patients
returning from medical leave and/or with weight gain/obesity issues while enrolled in
medicine study at LaSalle University as a transitional year. He completed his education at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) where he received both PCOM foundation and alumni scholarships.

Bealer chose the Excela Health Latrobe Hospital Family Medicine Residency
program because of previous residents’ positive experiences in addition to his own
preferences for sports medicine. A current practitioner of martial arts, he previously
played high school football and basketball and enjoys boating and fishing. He is
assigned to Excela Health Latrobe Family Medicine at Excela Square at Latrobe.

Abigail Casey, DO, hails from Allentown, PA, where she began her postsecondary education at Cedar Crest College and received a degree in Biology. Casey
won the Frank M. Cressman Award while at college, translating to Valedictorian of her
graduating class. In addition to her college experience, from 2011 to 2016, Casey
volunteered at St. Luke’s University Health Network as an office clerk and patient
transporter, accumulating more than 300 hours of patient contact.

She continued her education at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
(LECOM) where she also distinguished herself academically, receiving school scholarships in both 2018 and 2019. She also served as a mentor for students who were new to the medical school environment.

Among Casey’s interests are writing, cooking, and playing classical music on the
piano. She also enjoys running and hiking which led her to the Laurel Highlands and
the Excela Health Latrobe Hospital Family Medicine Residency program. She was
attracted to the hard-working and dedicated people within the program, and the program environment itself. Casey is assigned to Excela Health Frick Family Medicine at Excela Square at Frick.

Nancy Copeland, MD, brings a world view to her family medicine residency,
which will serve her well as she adapts to her new surroundings. A native of suburban Philadelphia, Copeland graduated from Lafayette College in nearby Easton with a degree in Biochemistry and mathematics minor. But the adventure was calling, as she pursued her Ph.D. in BioInformatics at the University of Dundee in Scotland. Her experience in the United Kingdom not only offered her research opportunities that lasted throughout her entire stay, but also the chance to continue teaching. She had been a tutor and undergraduate teaching assistant so she was prepared for the challenge and the responsibility. Similar opportunities to tutor, create curriculum and lead small group discussions presented themselves once she returned to Philadelphia and medical school at Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. Additionally, she was able to bridge a language and healthcare disparity gap using her conversational Cantonese as a volunteer interpreter at the free Chinatown Clinic in Philly for uninsured and undocumented members of the community. That sense of community as well as the program's reputation drew Copeland to Excela Health. And she'll find an extended family for her husband and young daughter in the teaching staff, attendings, and other residents. Her love of running, hiking, arts and crafts, Zumba, and yoga as well as past competition in the sport of fencing will provide many opportunities to socialize. She is assigned to Excela Health Latrobe Family Medicine at Excela Square at Latrobe.

They say that medicine is both art and science. Elliott Hirsch, DO, will blend
both as he follows in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, present and former
family physicians in Lancaster. His father also welcomed Hirsch onboard during his third and fourth years of medical school for rotations with his practice. Inspired by their desire to impact the lives of others, the younger Hirsch studied Health Sciences at Gettysburg College before enrolling at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
(LECOM) in Erie.

As passionate about art as he is science, Hirsch has created numerous digital art
commissions including a stained-glass window installation for Google's headquarters in Mountain View, CA. He continues to pursue his artistic interests including his latest
commission for a mural in a Crossfit gym in Lancaster.

His interest in Excela's Family Medicine Residency Program was piqued by the
friendliness of the personnel and the sense of family he experienced as he was
introduced to the program. The welcoming attitude and demeanor gave him a reminder of his own family experiences in the medical field. Hirsch is assigned to Excela Health Latrobe Family Medicine at Excela Square at Latrobe.

Emily Kukura, MD, will have a natural affinity for the patients who will be in her
care throughout her Family Medicine residency. Having grown up nearby in Black
Lick, Indiana County, and attended Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, she'll find shared life experiences will help to build rapport. 

An outdoor enthusiast who enjoys hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking in the Laurel Highlands, Kukura is equally passionate about the ocean and the environment. She has been a licensed SCUBA diver for 15 years, and more recently a certified rescue diver and had ample opportunity to pursue that avocation while attending medical school at St. George's University School of Medicine, Grenada.

And just as she was guided to Excela Health during her undergraduate days by peers, she was led to St. George's by other physicians within the program and appreciated the substantial opportunities the school provided. 

During her medical schooling, Kukura spent a year stateside in New Jersey in St. George’s Atlantic Health Medical Humanities program where she learned the importance of being socially and culturally aware in all medical and patient settings.

Returning to her roots, she is assigned to Excela Health Latrobe Family Medicine at Excela Square at Latrobe.

Katherine McGowan, DO, was born in Washington, DC, but spent most of her
younger life in Vienna, VA, where she had plenty of time to consider her future. But
her mind was not always focused on a path to medicine, despite her father’s occupation as a virologist with the National Institutes of Health and her mother’s own work there, as well. 

Instead, McGowan had her sights set on Theater or Law when she entered James Madison University, but she quickly determined she enjoyed studying medicine and completed her undergraduate degree in Health Science. During her studies, she earned certification as a nurse aide and volunteered with the Rockingham-Harrisonburg Free Clinic. She would also accept her first of many research assignments that would deepen her understanding of heart disease, infectious disease, and patient communication preferences. 

While completing a post-baccalaureate program at the University of Massachusetts, McGowan served as a patient liaison for Compassionate Care Hospice. After graduation, she worked as an Emergency Department Technician at George Washington University Hospital in DC before enrolling at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) at Seton Hill University. While at LECOM, she would volunteer as a Naloxone Educator for the Westmoreland Drug and Alcohol Commission.

After bouncing among states, McGowan decided to remain settled in Pennsylvania for residency training having fallen in love with her fiancé’s native Pittsburgh. She also had received so much positive feedback from others in the Excela Health residency program her decision was an easy one.

McGowan is a member of the American Academy of Osteopathy, The American
College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians, The American Osteopathic Associations, and the Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association. She is assigned to Excela Health Saltsburg Family Medicine.

With roots in rural Greene County, Jessie Milliken, DO, knows all too well the
value of relationships that last a lifetime, like those between a patient and a family
doctor. He'll have his Western Pennsylvania upbringing, schooling, and residency
training to thank for a career that points to community medicine.

Valedictorian of Jefferson-Morgan High School, the Mather native studied Biology
and Pre-Med at Gannon University in Erie. During his undergraduate years, Milliken
volunteered as a tutor for underprivileged students as well as learned fundamental
medical techniques at Central Greene Pediatrics in Waynesburg during a summer
student experience. Milliken himself was a former patient in the same office growing up, which piqued his interest in medicine at an early age. This helped him realize his goal to become a family physician so he could help families grow, especially when taking care of families in rural areas.

Milliken remained in Erie for medical school at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic
Medicine (LECOM). He also worked for a year full-time at Arnot Ogden Medical Center just over the state line in Horseheads, NY, gaining experience in ambulatory medicine, pediatrics, and more.

Milliken appreciates that Excela's Family Medicine Residency also offers diverse
opportunities and will allow him to engage more personally with patients over time. His interests in hunting, fishing. kayaking and camping will help in building those
relationships. A member of the American Osteopathic Association, he is assigned to
Excela Health Frick Family Medicine at Excela Square at Frick.

Alexander Porter, DO, calls the rural Northeastern Pennsylvanian town of
Sayre, home. That's where he raised sheep and saw his parents as excellent role
models. He began his career journey at Allegheny College in Meadville, where he
majored in Chemistry with a minor in Economics. But it was while enrolled at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) at Seton Hill University in Greensburg that his path forward crystallized.

Choosing the Excela Health Latrobe Hospital Family Medicine Residency program was an easy decision, as Porter had many opportunities to connect with Excela staff and physicians, including Dr. James Masterson, sports medicine, and concussion management, among others during medical school rotations. He is equally fond of the area and the supportive nature of the Excela staff with whom he interacted.

His various volunteer experiences with social service agencies as well as Special
Olympics, Muscular Dystrophy, and a summer preceptorship at the Richard G. Lugar
Center for Rural Health in Indiana also helped to shape his interest in family medicine.

A member of the Family Medicine Education Consortium, the American Academy
of Family Physicians, and the Pennsylvania Medical Society, Porter looks forward to
serving the community at Excela Health Saltsburg Family Medicine.

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