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Faculty

Brenda K. Fann, M.D., FAAFPDr. Brenda Fann

Director, Rush-Copley Family Medicine Residency Program, Assistant Professor, Rush Medical College

Dr. Brenda K. Fann is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and has always had an enthusiastic interest for teaching medical students and residents. Except for a two-year hiatus, Dr. Fann has been at our residency program and Assistant Professor at Rush Medical College since 2001.

Prior to that, she was Assistant Clinical Professor of Biomedical Sciences at the University of California in Riverside, California. There, her medical students awarded her the "Best Clinical 5th Year Professor". Inpatient medicine, case-based teaching rounds, interactive didactic are just a few of Dr. Fann's interests.

Besides her work in the residency program, Dr. Fann is Chair of the Credentials Committee for the hospital and was chosen by her peers to receive the Medical Staff Leadership Award for her work on this committee.  Also active in her community, she is currently an Honorary Board Member after having served for years on the Board of Directors at a local free medical clinic. There, she created three chronic care clinics emphasizing education and compliance for asthmatic and hypertensive patients and was honored with the YWCA Women of Distinction Award and the Daily Points of Light Award for those accomplishments. Dr. Fann has also given several presentations to a variety of community groups on topics such as women and heart disease, alternatives to hormone replacement therapy, preventive medicine, well childcare, and cold & flu self-management.

Dr. Fann graduated in 1995 from the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford with Alpha Omega Alpha Honors. After completing her internship at St. Michael Hospital Family Practice Residency in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she graduated from Kaiser Permanente Family Practice Residency in Riverside, California.

Spending time with her family, reading, raising chickens, and camping are some of Dr. Fann's personal interests.

Majad Ali, M.D.

Family Medicine Faculty, Rush-Copley Family Medicine Residency Program

Dr. Ali has been at Rush-Copley since 2001, where he first started as a Family Medicine resident. He was selected as “Resident Teacher of the Year” by his fellow residents and medical students.  Dr. Ali is one of our part-time adjunct faculty and has his own private practice. Dr. Ali likes performing in-office procedures such as joint injections and minor surgical procedures, which complement his interest in musculoskeletal medicine.

Dr. Ali graduated from UTESA (Universidad de Technologica de Santiago) and he is fluent in Spanish.

He is board certified in Family Medicine and is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

This year Dr. Ali was awarded the “Teacher of the Year” by the residents and he received the “2011 Nursing Award for Physician of the Year.”

Brett Cassidy, M.D.

Obstetrics & Gynecology Faculty, Rush-Copley Family Medicine Residency Program

Dr. Cassidy is a board-certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist who has been practicing over for 10 years. Born in Madison, Connecticut, he received his undergraduate degree from Bucknell University and his medical degree from Emory University. Dr. Cassidy performed his residency at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center in Chicago. He practiced as an Obstetrician in the United States Air Force and was stationed in Charleston, South Carolina for four years.

Dr. Cassidy has been practicing in Sandwich and Yorkville for two years. He resides in Yorkville with his wife and two daughters.

Natalie Choi, M.D.

Family Medicine Faculty, Rush-Copley Family Medicine Residency Program, Assistant Professor, Rush Medical College

Dr. Natalie Choi is a board-certified family physician who enjoys practicing full scope family medicine. She graduated from Southern Illinois University and completed her family medicine residency at the University of Missouri-Columbia. After graduation, she spent time practicing and teaching at both the University of Missouri and the University of Florida prior to coming to Rush-Copley.

Her clinical interest is women’s health, including prenatal care, gynecologic office procedures, and preventative medicine. A member of Society of Teachers for Family Medicine, she enjoys teaching residents and medical students both in the inpatient and outpatient setting. Dr. Choi is also interested in resident learning/education and how to best prepare future physicians as family medicine evolves as a specialty.

When not at work, she can be found relaxing at home with her husband, son, and 3 dogs. She enjoys running, cooking and traveling.

James Hawkins, D.O.

Obstetrics & Gynecology Faculty, Rush-Copley Family Medicine Residency Program

Dr. Hawkins is a board-certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist who has been practicing over 19 years. Born in Evergreen Park, Illinois, he received his undergraduate degree from Illinois Benedictine College and his medical degree from Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Hawkins performed his Obstetrics & Gynecology residency at Cook County in Chicago.

He has been practicing in Sandwich and Yorkville for over 5 years. He resides in Yorkville with his wife and seven children.

Neha Kapil, M.D.Dr. Kapil

Family Medicine Faculty, Rush-Copley Family Medicine Residency Program

Neha Kapil, M.D., completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago and earned her medical degree from St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine in 2009.  She graduated from the Rush-Copley Family Medicine Residency Program in 2012 where she served as Chief Resident during her final year.

Dr. Kapil currently practices with Yorkville Primary Care as a private attending physician offering the full scope of family medicine.  She has a special interest in women’s health, preventive care and pediatrics.  Dr. Kapil believes creating a sound rapport with patients and family keeps patients involved in their healthcare and healing process.  She has an interest in teaching and enjoys working with the residents.

Garrett Katula, D.O.Garrett Katula DO

Family Medicine Faculty, Rush-Copley Family Medicine Residency Program

Dr. Katula completed his undergraduate at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. He graduated with Honors from Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1993 and completed his residency at LaGrange Family Medicine Residency, where he was their Chief Resident.

Dr. Katula has been on the medical staff of  Rush-Copley Medical Center since 1996 and has been a teaching attending on the inpatient medicine service since the inception of the resident program. Recently, Dr. Katula has been a part-time preceptor in our Family Medicine Center. Dr. Katula is currently the Department Chair of Family Medicine at Rush-Copley since 2009 and also is the Medical Director at the Yorkville Primary Care Center.

Dr. Katula is active in youth sports, coaching baseball and football. He serves as the medical advisor for the Yorkville Youth Tackle Football team.

Maria Lasher, D.O.

Family Medicine Faculty, Rush-Copley Family Medicine Residency Program

Dr. Lasher practices broad spectrum family medicine with the exception of obstetrics, and is board certified in family medicine. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Purdue University in 1980 in Industrial Management.  After a successful career in business, she returned to school and earned her medical degree from Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2002.  Dr. Lasher completed her residency in family medicine at Rush-Copley Medical Center where she was Chief Resident.  She has been a faculty member since 2005, except for a 2 year hiatus when she worked as a locums physician in various clinic and hospital settings.

Dr. Lasher was honored as the recipient of the 2012 Physician Promise Award. She was nominated by her peers for exemplifying the Rush-Copley Promise which demonstrates respectful, kind and compassionate care to patients, families, and colleagues.

Dr. Lasher is a professional member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and holds certifications in Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Advanced Trauma Life Support. She is interested in all aspects of family medicine, especially preventative medicine, women’s health and rural medicine.

Dr. Lasher continues to travel to clinics in rural locations of the western United States where she also works as a locum tenens physician.

Gregory Milani, M.D.

Family Medicine Faculty, Rush-Copley Family Medicine Residency Program

Dr. Milani completed his undergraduate studies at University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and subsequently graduated from Loyola University Medical Center in June of 1992. Dr. Milani is an advocate for finding ways to improve the care of our patients and remains active in several hospital committees. He currently serves as the Chair of the Medication Safety Committee and has been a teaching attending for the Rush-Copley Family Medicine Residency program since its inception.

Dr. Milani has been with Rush-Copley Medical Center for over 13 years. Currently serving as the Medical Director of Rush Copley Primary Care Associates, Dr. Milani’s interactive, good-natured and friendly personality keep patients devoted to his practice. From pediatrics to general medicine and health maintenance, he has the tools and expertise to care for the entire family.

In 2001 and 2009, Dr. Milani received the “Teacher of the Year” award and recently was the recipient of the “2011 Medical Staff Quality/Safety Award.”

Daniel Novella, M.D.Dr. Daniel Novella

Family Medicine Faculty, Rush-Copley Family Medicine Residency Program

Dr. Novella is a Board Certified Family Medicine Physician with the Rush-Copley Medical Group. As such, he specializes in treating people of all ages. This includes newborns, the elderly, and women's health. He graduated medical school from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine in 2009 and graduated from the Family Medicine Residency Program here at Rush-Copley Medical Center in 2012.

Deepak S. Patel, M.D., FAAFP, FACSM

Director of Sports Medicine, Rush-Copley Family Medicine Residency Program

Dr. Patel is board certified in family medicine and primary care sports medicine.  Prior to joining Rush Copley, Dr. Patel was Associate Director at Flower Hospital Family Medicine Residency and The Toledo Hospital Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship in Ohio.

Dr. Patel was honored as the recipient of the 2012 Julius S. Newman, M.D. Education Award which honors outstanding commitment to the education of physicians as exemplified by the late Julius S. Newman, M.D. by his dedication to the continuing education of fellow physicians and healthcare professionals.

He enjoys many aspects of family medicine and sports medicine, including his special interests in evidence based medicine and preventive medicine.  He has authored, mentored, and served as section editor for several publications and textbooks on family medicine, but more often on sports medicine topics.  He lectures on sports medicine topics at the annual AAFP Scientific Assembly in addition to local and regional CME events.  He maintains a private practice in family and sports medicine in Yorkville.  Currently, he is also the team physician for Plano and Oswego High Schools.  Throughout his career, he has served as team physician for High Schools, Division-I Universities, and Semi Professional sports teams. 

He completed his family medicine residency at University of Illinois College of Medicine in Rockford and also served as chief resident.  Subsequently, he completed his primary care sports medicine fellowship at University of Michigan.   He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, education committee member of American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, member of the American College of Sports Medicine, and Assistant Professor at Rush Medical College. He also serves as Chair of the CME committee for Rush-Copley Medical Center.

Leena Deshpande Vajaria, Pharm.D., BCACP

Clinical Assistant Professor/Ambulatory Care Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, UIC College of Pharmacy at Rockford
Family Medicine Faculty, Rush-Copley Family Medicine Residency

Dr. Leena Vajaria is a board certified ambulatory care pharmacist.  She recently joined the Rush-Copley Family Medicine Faculty to establish clinical pharmacy services within the Family Medicine Center, create an experiential rotation site for pharmacy students, and educate pharmacy students and family medicine residents about an interdisciplinary approach to patient care.

Dr.  Vajaria graduated from Midwestern University College of Pharmacy in 2009. She completed a pharmacy practice residency at the VA North Texas Health Care System in Dallas, Texas in 2010. She also completed specialized training in ambulatory care pharmacy practice through Texas Tech Health Sciences Center School of Pharmacy in 2011.  She began working at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland in the Fall of 2011. Her responsibilities included providing anticoagulation management services within the Hematology department as well as chronic disease state management at the Johns Hopkins Community Physicians Internal Medicine Clinics. Her clinical interests include providing care for patients with diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and heart failure.

Dr. Vajaria recently relocated to Illinois after getting married. She is excited to return to Illinois and is looking forward to teaching students and residents at Rush-Copley Family Medicine Center.