Follow us on social media 

For the latest news and developments, follow @EVMSMedicine on Twitter and Internal Medicine on Linkedin.

Virginia Business - Top Doctors

We are delighted to extend our heartfelt congratulations to the distinguished doctors affiliated with Macon and Joan Brock Virginia Health Sciences at Old Dominion University (Brock VHS) for their well-deserved recognition as Top Doctors of 2024 by Virginia Business magazine. Their tireless dedication to delivering exceptional healthcare services has not only earned them this prestigious accolade but also made a lasting impact on the communities they serve. Each of these medical professionals exemplifies excellence in their respective fields. Their commitment to advancing healthcare and improving patient outcomes is truly commendable. We celebrate their achievements and express gratitude for the positive influence they bring to the field of medicine. Congratulations once again to the outstanding doctors from Brock VHS for their continued commitment to healthcare excellence. 

Here's a shout-out to the outstanding professionals that were selected from our Department:

  • Dr. Catherine Derber, Infectious Disease, Norfolk
  • Dr. Marissa Galicia-Castillo, Glennan Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, Norfolk
  • Dr. Sean Hesselbacher, Sleep Medicine, Norfolk
  • Dr. David C. Lieb,  Internal Medicine, Norfolk
  • Dr. Thomas J. Manser,  Internal Medicine, Norfolk
  • Dr. Aaron Mills, Internal Medicine, Norfolk
  • Dr. Hamid R. Okhravi, Glennan Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, Norfolk
  • Dr. Rehan Qayyum, MD, Internal Medicine, Norfolk
  • Dr. Joshua M. Sill, Sentara Pulmonary Critical Care and Sleep Specialists, Norfolk

Winterfest 2024

Last Friday marked a memorable occasion as the Medicine Department came together to celebrate Winterfest, a festive event brimming with warmth and community spirit. The department joined forces with the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, showcasing a commendable commitment to philanthropy. The primary goal of the event was to raise funds in support of the Foodbank's crucial mission, which plays a vital role in addressing food insecurity in the region. The collaborative effort garnered active participation from a diverse array of attendees, including faculty members, staff, residents, and fellows. This dynamic gathering not only strengthened the sense of camaraderie within the community, but also underscored the department's dedication to making a positive impact beyond the realms of medicine. As individuals from various roles converged at Winterfest, it became a vibrant testament to the power of unity and generosity, reflecting the shared values that define the Medicine Department.

Academic Honors and Awards

We are delighted to share the news that Dr. Sami Tahhan has received the academic honor of the Brock VHS/Sentara Endowed Chair of Academic Leadership, while Dr. Bahar Niknejad is the esteemed recipient of the Rosemary Fenton and Garnett Jordan Professorship in Geriatrics. Congratulations Dr. Tahhan and Dr. Niknejad!

Dr. Bahar Niknejad

AHEAD 3-45 Study

Dr. Hamid Okhravi's clinical trial holds the promise to halt Alzheimer's progression using FDA-approved medication. Dive into the details of this game-changing study that targets memory loss early, potentially preventing the disease. The call for participants aged 55-80, especially from underrepresented communities, is crucial. Join the movement, delve into the world of clinical trials, and support the cause to envision a future without Alzheimer's.

2023 Service and Recognition Awards Ceremony

On November 15th, 2023, some members of our faculty accepted awards at the 2023 Service and Recognition Awards Ceremony! Congratulations to all the nominees and winners! Your dedication to advancing the academic mission of our medical school is both commendable and invaluable. Here's to a future filled with continued scholarly pursuits and medical excellence! 

The honorees at the event were:

  • LaConda Fanning, PsyD, received the President’s Champion of Diversity & Inclusion Award.
  • Mily Kannarkat, MD, received the Fine Family Academy Of Educators Award for Educational Leadership.
  • Rehan Qayyum, MBBS, MHS, received the Faculty Mentoring Award.
  • Sami Tahhan, MD, received the Faculty Excellence Award.

A photo of Dr. Alfred Abuhamad and Dr. LaConda Fanning holding a trophy. Dr. Abuhamad is presenting Dr. Fanning with the award in honor of her being selected as the winner of the President’s Champion of Diversity & Inclusion Award

A photo of Dr. Alfred Abuhamad and Dr. Mily Kannarkat holding a trophy. Dr. Abuhamad is presenting Dr. Kannarkat with the award in honor of her winning the Fine Family Academy Of Educators Awards FFAOE Award for Educational Leadership for 2023.

A photo of Dr. Alfred Abuhamad and Dr. Rehan Qayyum standing and holding a trophy. Dr. Abuhamad is presenting the award to Dr. Qayyum in honor of winning the Faculty Mentorship Award for 2023.

VA ACP Awards Ceremony

Internal Medicine had a stellar showing at the awards ceremony during the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Virginia Chapter of the American College of Physicians (ACP) on Sept. 22, 2023, in Richmond. Internal Medicine faculty dominated the recognition ceremony, bringing home awards in seven of 10 categories. The university had far more award recipients than any other academic institution.

The EVMS honorees at the ACP event were:

  • Matthew Bernens, MD, received the Community Teaching Award. Dr. Bernens is an Assistant Professor and Associate Program Director, at Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Fellowship.
  • Thomas Manser, MD, received the Outpatient Internal Medicine Teaching Award. Dr. Manser is a Professor and Division Chief for Internal Medicine.
  • Aaron Mills, MD, received the Inpatient Internal Medicine Teaching Award. Dr. Mills is an Assistant Professor and Internal Medicine Clerkship Director.
  • Hamid Okhravi, MD, received the Paul Florentino Volunteerism Award. Dr. Okhravi is an Associate Professor in the Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine division.
  • Timothy Ori, DO, received the Inpatient Subspecialist Teaching Award. Dr. Ori is an Assistant Professor in the Pulmonary and Critical Care division.
  • Rehan Qayyum, MBBS, received the Mentorship Award. Dr. Qayyum is the Harry H. Mansbach Chair in Internal Medicine and Professor and Chair of Internal Medicine.
  • Christian Weaver, MD, received the Outpatient Subspecialist Teaching Award. Dr. Weaver is an Assistant Professor in the Infectious Diseases division.

SNGH Clinical Excellence Award

Congratulations for Kelly Hill, MD on being recognized as the Clinical Excellence Award for Physician-in-Training award winner for Quarter 3 of 2023! The Clinical Excellence Award Program aims to honor those esteemed individuals within Sentara Norfolk General, who have demonstrated exceptional clinical expertise, patient outcomes, and a commitment to excellence in their respective specialties. This recognition and celebration of the remarkable efforts of our medical professionals will foster a culture of excellence and inspire others to raise the bar in providing the best possible care for our patients. 

A photo of the award from the SNGH Clinical Excellence Award Program, featuring a photo of Dr. Kelly Hill, EVMS Endocrinology and Metabolic Disorders fellow.

SummerFest 2023

This past Saturday, our department came together with our faculty, residents, fellows, and their families for an unforgettable Wellness event - SummerFest 2023! We couldn't have asked for better weather, and the atmosphere was filled with laughter, camaraderie, and positivity. It's truly inspiring to see our team come together not only as colleagues but as friends and families. Stay tuned for more exciting events and opportunities to foster wellness and unity within our department. We're looking forward to an even brighter future together! 

A group of people standing on the sand at the beach. A woman is holding hands with a toddler, who is petting a Greyhound dog. The dog is standing next to a man and a woman in bathing suits. In the foreground are sand toys and a water bottle. The background shows a clear blue sky, with the Atlantic ocean and waves breaking upon the shore.

Research Bootcamp

The Department of Internal Medicine is pleased to announce that we will be hosting a 1-day, FREE research workshop on Saturday, August 26. The workshop’s content will cover various topics about the clinical research process. It is meant to be an introductory overview of information but is open to any EVMS student, staff, or faculty. Please see the Boot Camp flyer below which includes a session breakdown of topics. If you have any questions about the event, please do not hesitate to ask. For questions, please contact Julie Sill at

A light lunch will be provided - please RSVP to ensure an accurate headcount.

Invitational flyer for an event with the following text:

SELECT trial results

Novo Nordisk announced yesterday the topline results of the SELECT trial for which the Internal Medicine Division of Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders was a site. We are excited to tell you that the study showed the GLP-1 analog & weight loss drug semaglutide (Wegovy) at 2.4 mg was shown to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, or heart-related death by 20% in a clinical trial in obese people, without diabetes, with cardiovascular disease. The first to show a weight loss drug alone can have such a protective effect. This is the first time that any medication given to a patient with obesity (but no diabetes) has been shown to result in CV benefit.

We would like to thank our entire research team who worked hard to make our participation effective.

A physician discusses palliative care in recent podcast

Hosts of the “We Grieve Differently” podcast, Carolyn K. Williams and Dawn Allen, sat down with Marissa Galicia-Castillo, MD, MSEd (MD'97, Internal Medicine Residency '00), on June 20 to answer one question: Does palliative care mean end of life?

Dr. Marissa Galicia-Castillo posing for a photograph
Listen to the full podcast on Spotify.
Learn more about the Glennan Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology and hospice and palliative medicine.

Cosmopolitan Day

Nearly 40 years ago, the Cosmopolitan Club of Norfolk played a lead role in the fundraising effort that launched the Strelitz Diabetes Research Center. In the years since, the group has remained a committed and dedicated partner, with group members fundraising, volunteering, and raising awareness, the center, and diabetes research. Find out more about research and the impact of donor support.

We're proud of our dedicated IM faculty members who are dedicated to lowering diabetes rates in Western Tidewater. Thank you to all of our local community partners who are collaborating with us on this invaluable endeavor.
A photo of three doctors posing for a photograph with a woman

American College of Physicians Conference 

Congratulations to Dr. Sami Tahhan who was recognized as an ACP-Virginia Chapter laureate!Dr. Sami Tahhan being honored as the Virginia ACP Laureate.

Drs. Ayeman Basith and Sarah Al Allawi (PGY3’s) stand next to their posters with Drs. Sami Tahhan  and McKenna Johnson (VACCHS)

Drs. Ayeman Basith and Sarah Al Allawi (PGY3’s) stand next to their posters with Drs. Sami Tahhan (EVMS) and McKenna Johnson (VACCHS)

20+ IM faculty, residents, medical students, and staff attended The Society of Hospital Medicine conference in Austin, TX March 26-29.  Congratulations on your hard work and national recognition!

A group of people smiling in front of a decorative poster at the Society of Hospital Medicine conference.

Research abstracts

Accepted for Plenary Session: Carr C, Tahhan S, Avila C, Qayyum R. The effect of Medicaid expansion on 30-day hospital readmissions
Travel Grant Awarded: Avila C, Qayyum R. The case-mix index and readmission rates across U.S. hospitals [Travel Grant of $1000 by SHM]

Poster presentations

  1. Gupta G, Tahhan S, Goodman BM, Qayyum R. Validation of the hospital score to predict 30-day readmissions
  2. Deo M, Avila C, Qayyum R. Long-term hospital readmission rates based on teaching vs. Non-teaching status
  3. Schinderle C., Kurbanova N., Bahniwal R., Avila C., Qayyum R. NT-ProBNP and long-term mortality risk in healthy adults

Clinical vignettes

  1. Varava J, Tahhan S. One diagnosis does not rule out another
  2. Al Allawi S, Tahhan S. This disease is not your bud

A year in review of scholarly activity

Announcement - Dr. Jennifer Hanrahan has joined the Internal Medicine Department as the Chief of the Infectious Diseases Division. Dr. Hanrahan has also been honored with the EVMS Foundation Distinguished Professorship in Internal Medicine, effective January 3rd, 2023. She comes to us from the University of Toleda College of Medicine and Life Sciences in Toledo, OH. Welcome to the team, Dr. Hanrahan!

December 2022 - Announcements

6 of 10 ACP-Virginia Chapter Awards were given to EVMS Internal Medicine faculty this year - we are honored to have such a fabulous team!

  1. Dr. Sami Tahhan (Virginia ACP Laureate Award)
  2. Dr. Joshua Sill (Inpatient Subspecialist Teaching Award)
  3. Dr. Hamid Okhravi (Outpatient Subspecialist Teaching Award)
  4. Dr. Benjamin Goodman (Mentorship Award)
  5. Dr. David Johnson (Community Teaching Award)
  6. Dr. Catherine Derber (Paul Florentino Volunteerism Award)

Very excited to announce that our very own Natalie Gray has been honored with the Program Coordinator of the Year Award! Natalie supports the department in a critical role and we are grateful for her management and leadership. Congratulations Natalie! 

An award recognizing the Program Coordinator of the Year Award winner, Natalie Gray, for 2022.

November 2022 - Announcements

Several faculty members of the Department of Internal Medicine were recognized and received awards at the 2022 Faculty and Staff Recognition ceremony on Nov. 2!

  • Marissa Galicia-Castillo (Community Service)
  • B. Mitchell Goodman (Mentoring)
  • Catherine Derber (Excellence)
  • Hamid Okhravi (Excellence)
  • Siraj (Outstanding Achievement)

A group of EVMS faculty and staff pose for a photograph at an awards ceremony

At the ACP Virginia Chapter resident abstract competition several awards were won by EVMS team!

  • 1st place (High Value Care): Hannah James presented “Sterile vs. clean gloves unlikely to impact intraamniotic infection or postpartum endometritis rates in labor at term”
  • 2nd place (Research): Anum Javaid presented “Long-term Effect of Financial Penalties on 30-day Readmission Rates”
  • 2nd place (Well-being): Ashley Carter presented “Medical Student’s Medntal Health – Do We Take the Red or Blue Pill?”
  • 3rd place (Clinical Vignette): Jacob McAuliffe presented “Fistula to Failure: An Unexpected Source of Biventricular Cardiomyopathy”