Meet Our Med-Peds Leadership
Meet our Penn-CHOP Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Program leadership team.
Dava Szalda, MD, MSHP, Program Director, Med-Peds Residency Program
Dava grew up in New York and went to SUNY Stony Brook for medical school. She came to Penn-CHOP for her Med-Peds residency and served as the inaugural chief resident for the program. Following her chief year, she completed a Pediatric Hematology-Oncology fellowship at CHOP, with a focus in cancer survivorship. She completed a master’s in Health Policy Research at Penn, allowing her to explore health services for adult survivors of childhood cancer and adolescent and young adult (AYA) oncology patients. She remained active in medical education by becoming an Associate Program Director for the Med-Peds Program prior to becoming Program Director. Dava currently works in Pediatric Oncology and serves as an internist with an expertise in adult survivors of childhood cancer. Her academic interests are in cancer survivorship and transition from pediatric to adult medical care for all patients with pediatric-onset chronic illness. She is involved in several institutional initiatives to improve care for such patients. She is an educator at heart and enjoys teaching, learning from and advocating for students, residents and Med-Peds as a discipline at all available opportunities. Out of the hospital, she enjoys spending time with her husband, three sons, dog and taking advantage of the great restaurants, parks and community in Philadelphia.
Oana, one of the program's Associate Program Directors and the Adolescent Medicine Fellowship Director, has been at Penn for more than 20 years, coming here for medical school and staying on as faculty. She is passionate about medical education and teaches at all levels of medical training. As both an Adolescent Medicine specialist and an adult primary care doctor, she has an interest in healthcare transitions of young adults with special healthcare needs. Another one of her clinical interests is Mind-Body Medicine, and she cares for her patients using an Integrative Medicine approach. She oversees the Physician Wellness curriculum for the Med-Peds and categorical Internal Medicine programs and is the faculty mentor of the Resident Wellness Initiative, a resident-run committee that sponsors wellness events throughout the year. Her research focus currently is studying the effects of the Physician Wellness curriculum on resident burnout, coping strategies and resiliency.
Chad is a rheumatologist, internist and enthusiast of medical education. He went to Penn State for medical school, Brown for residency and the University of Iowa for fellowship prior to joining the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. Aside from supporting our Med-Peds residents, Chad enjoys attending on the General Medicine wards and caring for Rheumatology patients in his young-adult transition clinic and as a co-director of the Penn Sjogren’s Syndrome Center. When not teaching learners about the wonders of methotrexate, Chad can be found beating residents and fellows at various board games, running up and down the Schuylkill River Trail, learning Turkish on his iPhone, playing guitar and trying not to spend his life savings eating out at all of the ridiculously delicious restaurants Philadelphia has to offer.
Nikki is core faculty for the Med-Peds Program. She hails from the great city of New York, though is now proud to have adopted Philly as her second hometown. She completed medical school at Boston University, and then came to CHOP for residency and hasn’t looked back since! She has an interest in children with special healthcare needs and in serving an underserved population — both of which she is able to do while working as a primary care doctor at one of the CHOP resident clinics in West Philadelphia. She also spends time in the CHOP Leukodystrophy Center of Excellence. She is passionate about teaching and enjoys helping all the residents who cross her path discover their hidden love for primary care. When not hanging with the kids of West Philly, Nikki can be found exploring the city with her favorite sidekicks, her child and 90-pound dog. She can also be found exploring the delicious foods of Philly with her husband or friends.
Laura is a primary care pediatrician and internist. She grew up in Indiana, then went to Duke for college, where she studied cultural anthropology, biology and French. After college, she spent a year working for the New York City Coalition Against Hunger as an Americorps VISTA volunteer. She returned south and crossed basketball enemy lines to attend University of North Carolina for medical school. Laura completed her residency training in the Penn-CHOP Med-Peds program in 2017 and served as the Med-Peds chief. Her clinical and academic interests include primary care for children and adults, transitions of care for adolescents and young adults with chronic illness, caring for caregivers, and narrative medicine. Over the past years, Laura has become an avid fan of all things Philadelphia. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking and shopping in the Italian Market.
Sheila is an internist and Adolescent Medicine physician. She completed her Combined Internal Medicine-Primary Care residency at Yale and her Adolescent Medicine fellowship at CHOP. Her clinical interests include reproductive health and healthcare transitions, both of which have heavily influenced her research and quality improvement efforts in recent years. She loves teaching and learning from her trainees and colleagues. She also leads the Wellness Initiative for CHOP's Pediatric Residency Program. Above all, Sheila's true passion lies at the intersection of medicine and the humanities, especially the role it can play in medical education.
Bhavesh Patel, MD
Bhavesh is the Med-Peds chief resident for academic year 2021-2022. He is from Cumming, GA (just north of Atlanta) and went to Emory University for undergrad and medical school. He is interested in combined adult and pediatric critical care and plans to start a PICU fellowship after his chief resident year. He enjoys all things Med-Peds and MedEd. He absolutely loves the Med-Peds family at Penn and CHOP and is appreciative of the categorical Medicine and Pediatrics families as well. When not chief-ing, he can be found running, biking and exploring outdoor spaces in Philadelphia.