Donna Franco, RPA

Physician Assistant

Donna Franco is an expert in the field of bariatric surgery. She leads a team of physician assistants at the New York Bariatric Group. Prior to working at New York Bariatric Group, she worked with various surgeons in multiple fields of surgery in a hospital setting. She has worked with bariatric patients for the past 20 years and feels fortunate to be able to assist patients on their weight loss journey. Patients are likely to meet Donna during both the pre-op and post-op process as she provides guidance towards achieving their weight loss goals.

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Eva Pilchman

PA-C, MS

Eva Pilchman has been with the practice since 2012. She received her Bachelor of Science in diagnostic genetic sciences from the University of Connecticut and Master of Science degree in physician assistant studies from Hofstra University.

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Kelly Emmert

PA

Kelly is a native of Texas, received her Bachelor's of Science from Austin College in Sherman, Texas in 2011. She subsequently obtained her Masters of Physician Assistant studies from New York Institute of Technology in 2015.

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Sarah Kennedy-Etheridge

Sarah Kennedy-Etheridge

PA-C, MHS

Sarah joined NYBG in 2019 after receiving her Masters of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from Quinnipiac University. Prior to becoming a board-certified Physician Assistant, Sarah received her Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science Studies from Quinnipiac University in 2017.

Sharon Meltzer

PA-C, RD

Sharon completed her undergraduate education at Syracuse University earning a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition/Dietetics and worked in clinical nutrition for seven years. Sharon completed her Master’s Degree in Physician Assistant Studies from Pace University – Lenox Hill Hospital Physician Assistant Program and started practicing bariatric and general surgery with Ballem Surgical in 2013.

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Eden Bessaleli

Eden Bessaleli

MSPAS, PA-C

Eden Bessaleli is a board-certified physician assistant who received her Master's of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from Touro College of Health Sciences. After completing her surgical rotation at NYBG in 2019, Eden discovered her profound interest in laparoscopic surgery and in helping others achieve their weight loss goals. This interest led Eden to return to NYBG in 2020 for an extended advanced training clinical rotation, where she continued to train with and learn from the doctors and PAs at NYBG. After earning her master's degree, Eden returned to NYBG full-time to be part of the team - where she is assisting in surgery and seeing patients in the office for pre- and post-op care.

Emily Meyer

Emily Meyer

MSPAS, PA-C

Emily is a board-certified Physician Assistant specializing in bariatric surgery. She completed her Master’s of Science in Physician Assistant Studies at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT). Before starting PA school, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biobehavioral Health from The Pennsylvania State University.

Karen Sanchez

Karen Sanchez

PA

I completed my Bachelor of Science degree at Stony Brook University on Long Island. I then obtained my Masters of Physician Assistant Studies at Marist College in 2020.

Chelsea Freeman

Chelsea Freeman

PA-C, M.S.

Chelsea Freeman is a board-certified physician assistant who trained at Seton Hall University by earning Bachelor' Degree in Biology and Master' Degree in Physician Assistant studies. Initially, she began working in orthopedic surgery in 2020, with a specialization in sports medicine. In a variety of clinical settings, she intricately treated and rehabilitated patients with personalized treatment plans. She grew her ability to skillfully assist in the operating room.

In 2022, Chelsea joined New York Bariatric Group to pursue her passion as a physician assistant in general, bariatric, and colorectal surgery. She focuses on minimally invasive techniques, including robotic surgery, and supports patients with medical weight loss management. Chelsea is committed to excellent patient-centered care and enjoys supporting patients throughout their wellness journeys.

Tess Dokmanovich

Tess Dokmanovich

PA-C

Tess Dokmanovich is a board-certified physician assistant specializing in Bariatric Surgery. she received her Masters of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. As a Connecticut native, Tess is excited to serve her local community and provide the highest quality of patient care throughout your weight loss journey.

Alaa Barbour

Alaa Barbour

PA-C, MSPAS

Alaa Barbour is a board-certified physician assistant specializing in bariatric surgery and medical weight loss management. She received her Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from Saint Elizabeth University. Before starting PA school, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Anthropology at Saint Peter's University. After completing her general surgery and her elective bariatric surgery rotation, Alaa discovered her interest in laparoscopic procedures. She grew an even stronger interest in health and wellness.  Alaa is ready to work closely with patients pre-operatively and post-operatively to help her patients attain their personal weight loss and health goals through dietary counseling, nutritional education, and support.

Kesi Penny

Kesi Penny

PA-C

Born and Raised in NJ, Kesi Penny received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from the College of Saint Elizabeth in 2016. She returned to Saint Elizabeth University to receive her Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies in 2021. She has been practicing with NYBG since July of 2022. Kesi’s favorite aspect of the job are the transformations. “The best part of the job is discussing the activities that our patients can get back to doing as a result of their transformations, thing most people take for granted.” She is excited to continue her career with NYBG and assist in many more transformations.

Mary Horan

Mary Horan

PA-C

Mary is a board-certified physician assistant that started with NYBG Plastic Surgery in early 2022. She received her Master's Degree in Physician Assistant Studies at Touro College of Health Sciences in 2021 after receiving her undergraduate degree in Integrative Neuroscience at SUNY Binghamton in 2017.  Mary has been working in plastic surgery since the start of her career and has a passion for not only assisting in the operating room, but her patients post operative recoveries! As a Long Island native, she is happy to be serving her community.

Cassandra Burba

Cassandra Burba

PA-C, MPAS

Cassandra Burba is a board-certified Physician Assistant specializing in plastic surgery. She completed her Bachelor's Degree in Biology at Virginia Tech before receiving her Master's Degree in Physician Assistant Studies at South University, Richmond campus. Prior to joining NYBG she worked in burn and reconstructive surgery in her home state of Virginia.

Dana Chan

Dana Chan

PA-C

Dana, born and raised in Queens, NY, is a board-certified Physician Assistant. She completed her Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) in 2021. Prior to becoming a PA, she attended St. John’s University and received her Bachelor of Science in Toxicology. Before joining NYBG in 2022, Dana worked in vascular surgery at the Mount Sinai Hospital. She is excited to work closely with patients and make a positive impact on their lives.

Diana Thao

Diana Thao

PA-C, MPH

Diana Thao is a board-certified Physician Assistant specializing in bariatric and general surgery. She is a graduate of The George Washington University Physician Assistant program. She has diverse experience in family medicine, neurosurgery, and urgent care. She joined New York Bariatric Group in January 2023 and currently works out of the Westchester office. Diana’s goal is to provide compassionate and quality care to patients and their families before, during, and after surgery.

John Milici

John Milici

PA-C, MS

John Milici is a board-certified physician assistant. He attended Touro College where he completed a dual degree program obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences and a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies. Prior to becoming a physician assistant, he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Seton Hall University. During clinical rotations, he developed a special interest in minimally invasive surgical procedures. He previously worked in Hematology and Oncology where health and wellness was an important aspect of patient care. He looks forward to working with a diverse group of patients and supporting them in their weight loss journey at New York Bariatric Group.

Michelle Valencia

Michelle Valencia

PA-C

Michelle Valencia is a board-certified Physician Assistant who received her Master's of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from Stony Brook University in 2022. Before starting PA school, she received her Bachelor's Degree in Biology from Montclair State University in 2018.

Stephanie Guarin

Stephanie Guarin

PA-C

Stephanie is a bilingual, compassionate, board-certified physician assistant dedicated to ensuring that each patient feels valued. She completed her undergraduate education with honors in Exercise Science at Adelphi University in 2017. Stephanie went on to earn a Master’s degree in Physician Assistant studies from Touro College in 2021. She loves being in the operating room and has experience in robotic and laparoscopic techniques for general and bariatric surgery. She is excited to see you at the office at New York Bariatric Group and be your provider during this life-changing journey.

Nicole Rogucki

Nicole Rogucki

APRN-RNFA, CNL, CNOR

Nicole Rogucki became a Registered Nurse in 1999, holds a certified Nurse Operating Room (CNOR) certification and has over 20 years of experience in surgery. In 2007, she received her Masters of Science in Nursing and her Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) certification from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield,