Upper GI Cancer Care Team

Medical Oncology

Oncologist

Khaldoun Almhanna, MD, MPH, is a gastrointestinal oncologist at the Lifespan Cancer Institute, specializing in hematology and oncology. Dr. Almhanna earned his medical degree from Damascus University in Syria and a master of public health degree from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. His research interests include esophageal cancer and gastrointestinal malignancies. He is a member of the American Medical Association, the American Diabetes Association and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. He is fluent in English, Arabic and French.

Hematologist/Oncologist

Rimini A. Breakstone, MD is a medical oncologist who specializes in gastrointestinal cancers. She received her medical degree from the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Rutgers University and completed her residency and fellowship at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Dr. Breakstone is board certified in hematology, oncology and internal medicine.

Prior to joining the Lifespan Cancer Institute, she was an instructor at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and served on the Unit Based Clinical Leadership Committee focused on inpatient quality improvement measures. Dr. Breakstone is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Medical Association. Her research interests include malignancies of esophagus, stomach, biliary system, pancreas, colon and rectum.

Hematologist/Oncologist

Alexander G. Raufi, MD, is a hematologist/oncologist at the Lifespan Cancer Institute at Rhode Island and The Miriam hospitals, where he specializes in gastrointestinal oncology. Dr. Raufi received his medical degree from The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of California Irvine. He performed his fellowship in hematology/oncology at Columbia University/New York-Presbyterian. His research interests include the development of novel immunotherapy combinations in gastrointestinal malignancies. Dr. Raufi is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Hematology, and the American Association for Cancer Research.

Chief, Hematology Oncology

Howard P. Safran, MD is the chief of hematology/oncology at the Lifespan Cancer Institute at Rhode Island, The Miriam and Newport hospitals, and the medical director for the Brown University Oncology Group. Safran is a professor of medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and a nationally recognized leader in the development of new treatments for upper GI cancers. He is a member of the U.S. National Cancer Institute's pancreatic and gastrointestinal cancer task forces.

Surgery

Surgeon

Rachel E. Beard, MD, is fellowship trained in surgical oncology and in surgery of the liver, pancreas, and biliary tract. She is an assistant professor of surgery at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Her research focuses on minimally invasive approaches to liver and pancreas surgery, and immunotherapy for the treatment of widespread malignancies.

Director, Division of Thoracic Surgery

Thomas Ng, MD, is a thoracic surgeon at Rhode Island Hospital and is an associate professor of surgery at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Ng received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto and his medical degree from Queen’s University School of Medicine in Kingston, Canada. He completed his residency in general surgery at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, a fellowship in critical care medicine at the University of Toronto and a fellowship in thoracic surgery at the University of Ottawa. Ng is active in a number of societies, including the American College of Surgeons, Canadian Association of Thoracic Surgeons, Cancer and Leukemia Group B, New England Surgical Society, Rhode Island Medical Society, Royal College of Surgeons of Canada, Society of Surgical Oncology and Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

Thoracic Surgeon

Steven Milman, MD, is a board-certified general and thoracic surgeon and a clinical assistant professor of surgery at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He earned his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College, followed by a residency at Rhode Island Hospital. Dr. Milman completed a fellowship at Rush University Medical Center.

His clinical interests include endobronchial therapy and esophageal stenting for palliation of intrathoracic malignancies.

Chief of Surgical Oncology, Rhode Island Hospital

Thomas Miner, MD, is chief of surgical oncology at Rhode Island Hospital. He is an associate professor of surgery at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and an expert in gastric cancer surgery.

Dr. Miner's research interests include the use of hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) for cancers with diffuse involvement of the abdominal cavity.

Radiation Oncology

Clinical Director, Radiation Oncology

Thomas DiPetrillo, MD, is clinical director of radiation oncology at Rhode Island and The Miriam hospitals. He is a leading authority on a variety of radiation treatments for cancer, including intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy. DiPetrillo is a pioneer in the use of IMRT, a noninvasive procedure that allows physicians to pinpoint delivery of radiation therapy, resulting in better tumor control with less toxicity. He is also an expert in the use of HDR brachytherapy, a treatment that involves the use of a robotic arm to deliver a radioactive “seed” to a tumor. 

DiPetrillo is a graduate of the University of Vermont College of Medicine and completed his residency at New England Medical Center (now Tufts Medical Center). He is an associate professor of radiation oncology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and an adjunct associate professor at Tufts University School of Medicine.

Radiation Oncologist

Timothy J. Kinsella, MD, is an internationally recognized radiation oncologist and a research scholar professor of radiation oncology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Kinsella received his undergraduate degree from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY; a master’s degree with honors from Brown University; and both his master of science in radiation biology and his medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine in Rochester, NY. He completed his residency training in internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic, fellowship training in medical oncology at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA, and his residency training in radiation oncology at the Harvard Radiation Oncology Program. He was a fellow of the American Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology. Kinsella has been editor-in-chief of Frontiers in Radiation Oncology and editorial board member of eight other journals. He is board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology and radiation oncology. His areas of clinical expertise include the treatment of bone and soft tissue sarcomas, brain tumors, lymphomas, gastrointestinal cancers and pediatric cancers. He has laboratory expertise in the development of intraoperative radiotherapy, radiation sensitizing drugs and small molecules that modify DNA repair processing of radiation damage.

Radiation Oncologist

Kara Leonard, MD, is a radiation oncologist at Rhode Island Hospital and an assistant professor of radiation oncology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Leonard received her undergraduate degree in neuroscience from Columbia University in New York, her master of science from Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania, and her medical degree from Albany Medical College in Albany, New York. She completed an internship in internal medicine at Albany Medical Center, followed by a residency in radiation oncology at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. She specializes in treating breast, gastrointestinal, and head and neck cancers. She is a member of several national honor societies, including Alpha Omega Alpha and Psi Chi.

Radiation Oncologist

Esther Yu, MD, is a radiation oncologist at Rhode Island Hospital. A 2012 graduate of Emory University School of Medicine, Dr. Yu has published her research on breast, central nervous system, and gastrointestinal cancers in many medical journals, and has presented at several national meetings for radiation oncology. She was named chief resident during her final year of residency at Tufts Medical Center in 2016-2017.

Dr. Yu is a winner of the American Brachytherapy Society’s 2016 HDR Scholarship Award. She holds a number of professional memberships including the American Society for Radiation Oncology and the American College of Radiation Oncology.

Interventional Radiology

Director, Interventional Oncology

Jason Iannuccilli, MD, is a radiologist with particular interest in vascular and interventional radiology. He specializes in both transarterial chemoembolization and ablative technology. He is an assistant professor of diagnostic imaging and vascular interventional radiology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Director, Interventional Radiology, The Miriam Hospital

Bryan Jay, MD, is the director of interventional radiology at The Miriam Hospital. He specializes in treating cancer and cancer-related problems using targeted minimally invasive image-guided procedures, including tumor ablation and catheter-directed vascular therapies. Dr. Jay is a clinical assistant professor of diagnostic imaging and interventional radiology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Interventional Radiologist

Gregory Soares, MD, FSIR, is a vascular radiologist at Rhode Island Hospital. He is an expert in transarterial chemoembolization (TACE), a method to treat cancers in the liver by directly injecting chemotherapy into the hepatic artery and using particles to cut off the blood supply of tumors. He is an Associate Professor of Diagnostic Imaging at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Director, Interventional Radiology, Rhode Island Hospital

Gregory Dubel, MD, FSIR, is a vascular radiologist who specializes in the administration of small particles that deliver radiation directly into liver tumors that cannot be surgically removed. He is an Assistant Professor of Diagnostic Imaging at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Interventional Radiologist

Ethan Prince, MD is a radiologist whose primary interest is vascular and interventional radiology. He is a Clinical Instructor of Diagnostic Imaging at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Pathology

Vice Chief, Pathology

Murray Resnick, MD, PhD, is director of anatomical pathology and GI pathology at Rhode Island Hospital. He is also director of the molecular pathology core facility of the COBRE Center for Cancer Research Development and a Professor of Pathology and laboratory medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Psychiatric Oncology

Psychiatrist-in-Chief, Rhode Island Hospital, The Miriam Hospital and Lifespan Physician Group

Jody Underwood, MD, FACLP, DFAPA is psychiatrist-in-chief at Rhode Island Hospital, The Miriam Hospital and Lifespan Physician Group. She is board certified in internal medicine, psychiatry and psychosomatic medicine. Dr. Underwood has been a faculty member at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University for 15 years, and during this time she has developed, structured and led several medical programs and served as mentor and teacher to students, residents, physicians, and other medical professionals. She also participates as a leader on the medical advisory committee of the Rhode Island Free Clinic. 

Dr. Underwood’s areas of expertise include adult therapy and medication management, psychopharmacology, psychosomatic psychiatry, transplant psychiatry and psychiatric oncology.

Gastroenterology

Director, Therapeutic Endoscopy at Rhode Island Hospital and Director of Gastroenterology, Lifespan Physician Group

Fadlallah Habr, MD, is the director of gastroenterological services for Lifespan Physician Group as well as director of therapeutic endoscopy at Rhode Island Hospital. He is an associate professor at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. After earning his medical degree from Lebanese University School of Medicine in Beirut, he completed his internal medicine residency at the Hospital of Saint Raphael with Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. Dr. Habr then completed a gastroenterology fellowship at Rhode Island Hospital/The Alpert Medical School, and gained further expertise in therapeutic endoscopy at Saint Michael's Hospital, affiliated with the University of Toronto.

Dr. Habr’s main interests are endoscopic therapy for bile duct diseases in addition to innovative endoscopic therapies for the treatment of Barrett's esophagus and esophageal cancers. Dr. Habr is the recipient of multiple Dean's teaching awards, GI fellows outstanding teaching awards as well as the Beckwith Family Teaching award. Areas of expertise include advanced pancreatico-biliary endoscopy, endoscopic therapies for GI cancers, and inflammatory bowel diseases.

Director, Endoscopic Ultrasound at Rhode Island Hospital, and Gastroenterologist at Lifespan Physician Group

Sarah Hyder, MD is the director of endoscopic ultrasound at Rhode Island Hospital and a gastroenterologist at Lifespan Physician Group. Dr. Hyder received a medical degree from The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She completed her internal medicine residency at Brown University’s program at Rhode Island Hospital, The Miriam Hospital, and the Providence Veterans Medical Center. Dr. Hyder is a graduate of the gastroenterology fellowship at Brown University and the interventional endoscopy fellowship at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Hanover, NH.

Dr. Hyder was an instructor of medicine at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and is currently an assistant professor of medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She received an Exemplary Teaching award from Brown University and is the 2014 recipient of the Joseph A. DiMase Brown University Gastroenterology Research Award. Areas of expertise include biliary disorders, pancreas disorders, and therapeutic endoscopy including ERCP And EUS (endoscopic ultrasound).

Gastroenterologist

Paul Akerman, MD, is a board-certified gastroenterologist and a clinical assistant professor of medicine and surgery at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. After earning a medical degree from George Washington University School of Medicine, he completed a residency in internal medicine at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dr. Akerman completed fellowships in gastroenterology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, nutrition and metabolism at New England Deaconess Hospital, and therapeutic endoscopy at Wellesley Hospital in Toronto. His clinical interests include endoscopic oncology, therapeutic endoscopy, Zenker’s diverticulum management, anastomotic reduction after gastric bypass, and removal of large colonic polyps.

Gastroenterologist

William Chen, MD is a board-certified gastroenterologist whose practice focuses on therapeutic endoscopy, including endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, pancreatobiliary diseases, endoscopic mucosal resection, and endoscopic treatment of Barrett’s esophagus. He received his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, followed by a residency at Rhode Island Hospital. Dr. Chen completed a fellowship in gastroenterology at Rhode Island Hospital, The Miriam Hospital and the Providence VA Medical Center in affiliation with Brown University, and another in advanced endoscopy at Lenox Hill Hospital, New York. He is a clinical assistant professor of medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, chairman of Bayside Endoscopy, and co-director for advanced endoscopy at University Gastroenterology.

Gastroenterologist

Jason Ferreira, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist specializing in the endoscopic management and treatment of patients with gastrointestinal cancers. He earned his medical degree from The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, followed by a residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School. Dr. Ferreira completed fellowships at Rhode Island Hospital and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire.

Dr. Ferreira performs endoscopic ultrasound to detect, biopsy, and stage pancreaticobiliary and luminal malignancies as well as endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography to relieve malignant biliary obstruction. He endoscopically resects localized luminal cancers, stents malignant bowel obstructions, and performs endoscopic cryotherapy to ablate esophageal cancers. Dr. Ferreira is a clinical assistant professor of medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Gastroenterologist

Tian Gao, MD, is a gastroenterologist with the upper GI cancer care team at Lifespan Cancer Institute. She is an assistant clinical professor of medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Dr. Gao specializes in advanced endoscopy and has authored many book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles on the subject. She is a member of the American College of Gastroenterology and the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

Gastroenterologist

Pranith N. Perera, MD, is a gastroenterologist specializing in endoscopic ultrasound, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, endoscopic mucosal resections, celiac neurolysis, and pancreaticobiliary disorders. He earned his medical degree at University of New Mexico School of Medicine, and completed his residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Dr. Perera completed fellowships in gastroenterology at Rhode Island Hospital/Brown University and advanced endoscopy at Michigan Medicine/University of Michigan Department of Gastroenterology.

Nurse Navigators

Amy Doorley, MSN, RNP
Nurse Practitioner

Amy Doorley, MSN, RNP, is a certified nurse practitioner who has expertise in primary care, interventional radiology, and the assessment, education, and management of patients with gastrointestinal cancers. Doorley is also a clinical coordinator who helps guide patients through the health care system and the course of their treatment in multiple ways, including the coordination of services, facilitation of communication with health care professionals, arrangement of interpreters and transportation, assistance with insurance and financial questions, education, and emotional support.

Derek Tessier, MSN, RNP
Nurse Practitioner

Derek Tessier, MSN, RNP, is a nurse practitioner in the diagnostic imaging department at Rhode Island Hospital, and clinical manager of the image-guided tumor ablation services. Tessier received a master’s degree from the University of Rhode Island with a specialization as a family nurse practitioner. His expertise is in primary care and in the assessment, education, and management of patients undergoing tumor ablation procedures.