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Who We Are

About the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery at UMass Chan Medical School

Director’s message

The Colon and Rectal Surgery Fellowship at UMass Chan Medical School is a one-year fellowship accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. The fellowship received initial accreditation in 2011 and matriculated our first fellow in 2012.  eligible candidates must have completed an ACGME-accredited general surgery residency and be eligible for the American Board of Surgery qualifying and certifying exams. The Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery in the Department of Surgery comprises five board-certified colon and rectal surgeons, three nurse practitioners, an inpatient physician assistant and a clinical research nurse. Division faculty are very active in the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons and hold leadership positions within the society. Several faculty are on the editorial board of the society’s primary journal Diseases of the Colon and Rectum.  The fellow will gain knowledge, experience and expertise in the management of the essential components of anorectal and major abdominal surgery, endoscopy and office management of common anorectal conditions during the year-long clinical fellowship.  The fellow will also gain significant experience in advanced minimally invasive approaches, including Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery (TEM), robotic assisted approaches, and Transanal TME (TaTME). In addition to the diverse clinical experience, the fellow will be expected to engage in scholarly activity, including completion of a clinical research project culminating in submission of a completed manuscript. This research experience is supported through the division by the Colon and Rectal Surgery Research Core comprising the four faculty members; a fully funded research resident; a clinical research coordinator; a data analyst; and a statistician. The overall aim of the fellowship is to graduate well-rounded surgeons and leaders who will advance the field of colon and rectal surgery through research and investigation.   

Karim Alavi, MD
Associate Professor of Surgery
Director, Colon and Rectal Surgery Fellowship
Director, Department of Surgery Research Core


Our four-part mission statement encompasses the goals of the UMass Memorial Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery at UMass Chan Medical School and UMass Memorial Medical Center:

  1. Providing exceptional, state-of-the-art care for our patients
  2. Educating medical students, residents and practicing physicians
  3. Advancing the field of colorectal surgery through research and investigation
  4. Serving as an educational resource and advocate for the Central Massachusetts community



Kinga Laska-Bostock, MBA

Physician extenders

Katelyn Stickney, FNP, clinical coordinator
Dorcas Taylor, FNP
Katelyn Stickney, FNP
Jennifer Guertin, PA

Current Fellow

Samantha Rivard, MD

Growing up in New Jersey, Samantha Rivard, MD is delighted to return to the east coast to spend a year with the colorectal division at University of Massachusetts for her colon and rectal surgery fellowship. She attended the University of Michigan for undergraduate training and graduated with honors with a degree in Movement Science from the School of Kinesiology. She then pursued her medical doctorate at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC. Returning to Ann Arbor, Sam completed her general surgery residency training program in 2023 at the University of Michigan. During her dedicated academic development time, she focused on improving medical care for colorectal patients, especially rectal cancer survivors, through quality improvement initiatives with the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative and exploring the patient experience to understand quality of life issues. Her research benefits from qualitative research methodology which she studied during her research fellowship at University of Michigan's Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy. Samantha pursued further training in surgical education, specifically in curriculum development, which she translated into improvements in her residency training program. She has presented her work nationally and been published in several surgical journals including Diseases of Colon and Rectum. Sam is continually supported by her husband RJ (Robert Jerome), whom she met in college, as well as her two beautiful children, Arya and Owen. 




Current Location

Jennifer S. Davids, MD

2013 Graduate

Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Associate professor of surgery at UMass Chan Medical School and UMass Memorial Medical Center, Worcester, Massachusetts

Erica B. Sneider, MD

2014 Graduate

UMass Chan Medical School

Colon and Rectal Surgical: A Division of ProHEALTH Care, Lake Success, New York

Pasithorn Suwanabol, MD

2015 Graduate

University of Wisconsin

Assistant professor of surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Andrew T. Schlussel, DO

2016 Graduate

Tripler Army Medical Center

Assistant professor of surgery, Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, Washington

Uma Phatak, MD

2017 Graduate

University of Texas at Houston

Assistant professor of surgery, University of Texas, Galveston, Texas

Cristina Harnsberger, MD

2018 Graduate

University of California San Diego

Sansum Clinic Multi-Specialty Clinic, Santa Barbara, California

Clayton Tyler Ellis, MD

2019 Graduate

University of North Carolina

Assistant professor of surgery, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky

Sue Jean Hahn, MD

2020 Graduate

Mount Sinai Hospital (N.Y.)

Assistant professor of surgery, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, New York

Jeremy Springer, MD

2021 Graduate

McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario, Canada

McMaster University, Hamilton Ontario, Canada

John R. Konen, MD

2022 Graduate

University of Vermont Medical Center (Vermont)

Assistant Professor of Surgery, Rush Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois

Dong (Don) Yoon, MD

2023 Graduate

University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California

General and Colorectal Surgeon
St. Jude Medical Center

Contact us for more information