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Our Residents


Varun copy.png Varun Ayyaswami, MD 

 Hometown: Yardley, PA 
 Undergrad: University of Pittsburgh 
 Medical School: University of Maryland School of Medicine 


Varun grew up in Yardley, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. He attended the University of Pittsburgh for undergrad where he majored in Biological Sciences and completed an honors thesis studying muscle stem cells. After college, he served in the National Health Corps as a Patient Advocate in West Philadelphia which engendered a strong interest in primary care and working with socioeconomically disadvantaged patients. He completed medical school at the University of Maryland in 2020 where he was a member of the primary care track. During medical school, he dedicated a year to pursuing intensive research in the area of health literacy and digital health, publishing his work in several peer-reviewed journals. He is proud to be part of the inaugural class of the Internal Medicine/Primary Care Track Residency at UMass!  Ultimately, Varun hopes to pursue a career in general internal medicine as both a primary care physician and hospitalist, and do research. In his spare time, Varun enjoys watching his favorite Philly sports teams, trying new cuisines, international travel, meditation, and listening to podcasts. 

ZanetaFranklin (1).jpg Zaneta Franklin, MD

 Hometown: Beltsville, MD 
 Undergrad: University of Pittsburgh 
 Medical School: University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine 


Zaneta did her undergraduate and medical education in Pittsburgh, majoring in Biological Sciences and minoring in Chemistry and Religious Studies. She became actively involved in teaching, as a peer tutor at the Writing Center and as a UTA for Genetics for three semesters. She received the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Teaching Fellowship to conduct a project with weekly guided practice sessions for struggling students. After college, she spent a year working as a practice administrator for a primary care clinic, improving workflow and establishing community partnerships. 

During medical school, Zaneta worked at the Center of Creativity, volunteered as a Spanish translator at a free medical clinic, and developed a culinary medicine elective. Zaneta did an additional year of training in the Clinical Scientist Training Program, completing foundational coursework in clinical research methods (survey design, qualitative, community-based participatory) and healthcare disparities. During this program, she worked on longitudinal research projects examining the applications of mobile technology in behavioral medicine and the role of neighborhood walkability for patients with heart failure.   

Zaneta is dedicated to providing medical care that reinforces patients’ autonomy and agency while taking into account the complex behavioral and psychosocial factors affecting their health. She also loves the differential diagnosis process and the strong emphasis on clinical reasoning within internal medicine. Zaneta is thrilled to be in Worcester, MA as part of the inaugural Primary Care residency program! In her free time, Zaneta enjoys dancing, watching plays, making art, traveling, being outdoors, and spending time with friends/ family.

Hwang copy.png Alexia Hwang, MD 

 Hometown: Fort Lee, NJ 
 Undergrad: Harvard University 
 Medical School: Albany Medical College 

Alexia grew up in Fort Lee, NJ and obtained her undergraduate degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Harvard University. After graduating college, she spent several years working at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC, NY performing research on/with RNAi and CRISPR technology. She then moved on to Albany Medical College where she held leadership positions in multiple extracurriculars including the HIV/AIDs Education Program and Patient Navigators Program. Her love of research, first fostered in high school, continued even in medical school - she has been involved in multiple projects in a variety of disciplines, including Quality Improvement, Otolaryngology, and Pediatric Infectious Disease. In her free time, Alexia enjoys trying out new hobbies – she hopes to one day find one that sticks!

Needell copy.png Lauren NeedellDO, MPH 

 Hometown: Gastonia, NC 
 Undergrad: Elon University 
 Graduate: East Carolina University (MPH) 
 Medical School: Edward Via College of Osteopathic 
Lauren grew up near Charlotte, NC and attended Elon University for her undergrad where she studied Anthropology. After college, she attended East Carolina University and received a Master of Public Health degree. While there, she participated in research focusing on obesity prevention and intervention programs. She also worked as a medical assistant in an internal medicine office and fell in love with primary care. She attended Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Spartanburg, SC for medical school and honed her passion for primary care. She thinks she ultimately would like to work full time in an outpatient primary care office, but is open to other opportunities. Although she’s a Carolina Girl, she’s very excited to be in Massachusetts and closer to family in Boston. During her free time, you can find her trying out new restaurants, breaking a sweat at Orangetheory, hiking New England, or binge-watching the latest TV series.



 Victor Acosta-Rivera, MD

 Hometown: Bayamón, PR
 Undergrad: Sacred Heart University of San Juan
 Medical School: Ponce Health Sciences University

Victor grew up in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, and obtained his undergraduate  studies    in Natural Sciences at Sacred Heart University (Universidad del Sagrado Corazón) in San Juan. During his time in college, he was a teaching assistant to the STEMmED program director and helped design an online course for his university. Furthermore, he was working as an administrative assistant in a primary care office in his hometown which fueled his interest in primary care medicine and patient care. He then moved to Ponce where he obtained his master’s degree in Medical Sciences from Ponce Health Sciences University where he later attended medical school and obtained his medical degree. As a medical student, he joined the TUNA music group, where he played traditional Spanish folklore music and partook in community and volunteer work, especially after the events of Hurricane Maria, the earthquakes of 2020, and helped in the administration of COVID-19 vaccines.  In his free time, Victor likes to relax at home with his wife and dog, watch TV or play guitar.

Douglas, Elizabeth.png Elizabeth Douglas, DO, MPH

 Hometown: New Braunfels, TX
 Undergrad: Texas A&M University
 Medical School: University of North Texas Health Science
 Center- Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine

Liz grew up right outside of San Antonio, Texas. She completed her undergraduate degree at Texas A&M University then moved to Fort Worth, TX after graduation. She attended medical school at the University of North Texas Health Science Center where she completed her MS, DO, and MPH. She then later focused on social determinants of health in primary care. During her career at UNTHSC, she stayed busy leading the medical student government, volunteering in various community gardens, and working on QI projects at the institution's COVID testing site. 

While Liz loves the variety and acuity of inpatient medicine and taking care of patients on the wards, she also wants to prevent hospitalizations with high-quality evidence-based primary care. She is excited to be a part of the best primary care track in New England and is settling in well at UMass Chan. In her free time, she gardens, lifts weights, and takes her dog's hiking. 

NielsenE.png Eric Nielsen, MD

 Hometown: Durham, CT
 Undergrad: University of Rochester
 Medical School: University of Rochester School of Medicine 
Eric is from central Connecticut. He attended the University of Rochester for his undergraduate and medical school, graduating with a BS in Neuroscience, a BA in Chemistry, and his MD. During medical school, he helped start and run the Rochester chapter of Primary Care Progress and was in the Latino Health Pathway, a specially designed track for developing medical Spanish. Following medical school, he was commissioned in the US Navy, completed an IM internship at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego where he also completed Navy dive school in Panama City, FL. Here he trained in dive/hyperbaric medicine. Eric completed a tour as an Undersea Medical Officer, practicing primary care at a submarine squadron in Norfolk, VA.  Ultimately, Eric hopes to pursue a career in academic internal medicine and primary care. Additional interests include Geriatrics, Palliative Care, Headache, and Obesity Medicine. In his spare time, Eric enjoys running and hiking with his wife Lauren and dog Sadie. He’s also thrilled about the Italian food here in Worcester!

Teebagy, Patrick.png Patrick Teebagy, DO

 Hometown: Shrewsbury, MA
 Undergrad: College of the Holy Cross
 Medical School: University of New England College of
 Osteopathic Medicine

Patrick was born in Worcester and grew up in Shrewsbury, MA. He earned a degree in History with a concentration in Peace & Conflict Studies at the College of the Holy Cross. While a college student, he participated in volunteer and outreach efforts in the community and was honored with a Key to the City of Worcester. After college, he worked in research, utilizing microRNA and exosomes in urologic cancer screening and nerve regeneration. He participated in wound healing and adipose-derived stem cell research then later earned his Master’s in Physiology from Georgetown University and attended medical school at UNECOM.

In medical school, he continued to participate in community service and discovered an interest in wellness programming, mindfulness, and reflective writing in medicine. Patrick’s experiences and exposure to primary and rural medicine developed in Maine and from there his interest in Primary Care Medicine grew. He is currently taking advantage of every learning opportunity residency offers, allowing him to formulate his career path. He loves the outdoors, playing sports, cheering for Boston sports teams, spending time with his family, friends, and pets, brewing beer, and traveling. He promotes Worcester whenever he can and is thrilled to be going through residency in his home city.


Gupta Primary Care Track Kanav Gupta, MD

 Hometown: Acton, MA
 Undergrad: Saint Louis University
 Medical School: Saint Louis University

Kanav was born in Jammu, India where he spent half of his childhood and the remainder half in Acton, MA. During his education at Saint Louis University, Kanav took part in multiple service organizations for local communities and teaching roles for undergraduate students. After graduation, he took a gap year which consisted of doing an internship at New England Biolabs and becoming a medical scribe at an outpatient clinic in Burlington, MA. As a scribe, Kanav witnessed the importance and diversity of primary care, fueling his desire to pursue internal medicine as a specialty in medical school. During medical school, he continued his passions for teaching and community service. He was consistently involved in leadership roles throughout medical school and taking opportunities to lead small group sessions for second year medical students. Ultimately, Kanav hopes to pursue a career in academic internal medicine, rotating through clinic and inpatient services. In his spare time, Kanav likes to cook Southeast Asian cuisine, read Japanese manga, watch Formula 1, and play video games such as Overwatch.

Daniel Primary Care Track Joseph Daniel, DO

 Hometown: Longmeadow, MA
 Undergrad: UMass Amherst
 Medical School: University of New England

Joseph Daniel, is one of the Primary Care Internal Medicine interns here at UMass Chan. He originally grew up in Massachusetts and attended UMass Amherst for undergraduate education and then the University of New England for medical school. Professionally he wants to pursue a Nephrology fellowship after residency and after fellowship he hopes to work at an academic institution so that he can have the opportunity to teach students and residents on top of practicing clinically. Another one of his professional interests is working on quality improvement projects as he helped developed 2 projects while he was a student and hopes to work on others during his residency. Personally, some of his hobbies include attending concerts, live sporting events, trying new craft beers, and being a huge foodie as well.

 Hillary Meeker, DO

 Hometown: Potomac, MD 
 Undergrad: University of Virginia
 Medical School: Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Virginia Campus

Hillary is excited to be a part of the UMass Internal Medicine Residency program. She hopes to pursue a career in primary care or hematology-oncology. In her spare time, Hillary enjoys being outdoors, playing sports, and spending time with her friends and family. She spent the summer out west, hiking through Olympic National Park and making her way down the Oregon coast.

Paulson Primary Care Track Jacob Paulson, MD

 Hometown: Lexington, MA
 Undergrad:University of Rochester
 Medical School: University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School

Jacob is a Massachusetts native. He went to Medical School at UMass where he worked on projects examining therapies for Seasonal Affective Disorder and medical cannabis in Parkinson’s Disease populations. He is interested in health policy and improving healthcare disparities, as well as medical technology. Jacob spends his time outside of the hospital making furniture for his small woodworking business and playing piano and trombone. He’s trying to learn Spanish this year.