Second-Year Scholars (2013-2015 Cohort)

Bongionanni, Tasce

Tasce Bongiovanni, MD, MPP (VA Scholar) earned her undergraduate degree from Santa Clara University and her medical degree from UCSF during which time she also earned a Master of Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Dr. Bongiovanni is completing her surgical training at UCSF. She is interested in health policy and healthcare delivery for underserved communities, particularly Native Americans. 

Ted Long

Theodore Long, MD received his undergraduate degree in political science and American healthcare policy from Yale College. Prior to starting medical school, he worked for the California Medical Association and established an undergraduate health policy journal at Yale. He received his medical degree from Keck School of Medicine at USC, where he started USC's first student-run free health clinic. He completed internal medicine training at Yale and is a general internist. As a resident, he was a founding member of the VA Center of Excellence in Primary Care Education site in West Haven, an interprofessional model for primary care training. 


Carley Riley, MD, MPP grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago. She received both her undergraduate education in English Literature and her medical degree from Northwestern University. She subsequently earned a Master of Public Policy from UCLA, completed residency training in Pediatrics at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, and then graduated fellowship in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Through her research and activism, Dr. Riley strives to create healthier communities across all demographics by building positive health assets, fostering resilience, and promoting population health from childhood to adulthood.

B. Roy

Brita Roy, MD, MPH, MS (VA Scholar) is a general internist who grew up in New Jersey and Michigan. She earned her undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University and subsequently studied at Wayne State University where she earned an MS in Biomedical Engineering. She went on to the University of Michigan where she completed a combined MD/MPH program in health behavior and health education. Dr. Roy then completed her internal medicine residency training and served one year as Chief Medical Resident at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Roy anticipates a career in academic general internal medicine where she may continue her research as well as teach medical students and residents. She is interested in improving graduate medical education and in reducing gender and racial disparities in cardiovascular disease through promoting positive psychosocial adaptive processes. Her goal is to help lead change in shifting our nation's culture towards the promotion of well-being across all demographic and social sectors by fostering resilience and building positive health assets through research, policy and activism.

Mark Silvestri, MD graduated with honors from Harvard College and subsequently earned his medical degree from the University of Chicago. He completed OB/GYN residency at Yale, and led the program as an Administrative Chief Resident. Dr. Silvestri’s work focuses on caring for urban underserved women while striving to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of health care delivery. His research is focused on identifying overuse within the health care system and building strategies to reduce unnecessary costs. Having interned for both Connecticut State Medicaid and the White House Council of Economic Advisers, he is interested in using health economics to inform health policy.

First-Year Scholars (2014-2016 Cohort)

William Fleischman

William Fleischman, MD received his undergraduate degree from Touro College and his medical degree from the University at Buffalo School of Medicine. He recently completed residency in emergency medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, serving as Academic Chief Resident in his final year of residency. Dr. Fleischman is interested in factors affecting physician clinical decision-making , the cost-effectiveness of US emergency department care, and cost-sharing and resource utilization in US health care.

Nir Harish

Nir Harish, MD, MBA is an Emergency Physician who completed his residency training at Denver Health Medical Center where he also served as a chief resident. He received his undergraduate degree from Yale University in Biology and International Studies. He then earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, along with an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he studied health care systems and operations. He has previously worked on process improvement for the CDC in India, developed quality improvement curricula for medical students, participated in Emergency Department redesign at two academic medical centers, and worked in business development for a medical device company. 

Michael O'Brien

Michael O'Brien, MD (VA Scholar) received his undergraduate degree from the State of New York at Albany and his medical degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He recently completed residency in combined internal medicine-pediatrics at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Dr. O'Brien is interested in new models of primary care delivery, environmental justice and primary health care, and decentralized health care delivery systems. 

Amy Salerno

Amy Salerno, MD (VA Scholar) received her undergraduate degree from Case Western Reserve University and her medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She completed her residency in internal medicine at Emory University and worked for the Indian Health Services in Tuba City, Arizona before joining the Program. Dr. Salerno is interested in the social determinants of health, policy changes and their effect on quality of care and has specific interests in health policy and hospital based care of Native Americans.

Wagahta Semere

Wagahta Semere, MD (VA Scholar) received her undergraduate degree in Biomechanical Engineering from Stanford University then spent one year at the National Institutes of Health through the Academy Fellowship studying health disparities. She received her medical degree from the University of Michigan. Dr. Semere completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital and served an additional year as a Chief Resident. She is interested in managing chronic medical conditions among refugees, assimilation of refugees into health care systems, and health disparities medical curriculum development. She is a Clinical Instructor affiliated with Yale Refugee Clinic and Yale Center for Asylum Medicine.