Local Health Care Professionals Honored for Volunteer Service

Sunday, March 11, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Six local health care providers were recognized for their outstanding volunteer service and tireless efforts in serving the community’s healthcare needs at the luncheon following the 27th annual Rose Mass today at the Church of the Little Flower in Bethesda.

The Rose Mass, held each year on the Fourth Sunday of Lent (known as Laetare Sunday) is organized by the John Carroll Society to invoke God’s blessings on the medical, dental, nursing, and allied healthcare workers and the many health care institutions in the Archdiocese of Wash­ington. The Mass and luncheon provide an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the work of the volunteers of the Catholic Charities Health Care Network, originally founded as the Archdiocesan Health Care Network in 1984. This network is composed of volunteer health care workers from all faith backgrounds who connect low-income and uninsured patients with specialized, pro bono health care services. This much-needed program provides millions of dollars in free outpatient services to thousands of people in need through the generosity of volunteer nurses, doctors, dentists, and podiatrists and area hospitals.

The awards are given each year by the John Carroll Society, a Washington area organization that provides spiritual, intellectual, charitable and social opportunities for Catholic professionals and business men and women in service to the Archbishop of Washington. This year’s honorees are:

Pro Bono Health Care Awardees

Dr. Mark Abbruzzese, M.D.

Dr. Mark Abbruzzese was born in Pittsburgh and raised in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, in the heart of the Pocono Mountains. In his youth, he was an Eagle Scout and spent summers at the National Scout Ranch in New Mexico, where he mentored young Scouts. Dr. Abbruzzese graduated from Wilkes University as a four-year tennis letterman. He went on to earn his medical degree from The American University of the Caribbean. He met his wife, Carol, in Pittsburgh, while serving in his clerkship years, and then moved to Washington, D.C. to further his medical training. He completed his Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine at the VA Medical Center. He went on to subspecialize through a fellowship program in Infectious Diseases at Georgetown University Hospital. Dr. Abbruzzese entered private Infectious Disease practice at Drs. Kane and Davis in 1986, providing clinical services and consultation to Georgetown University Hospital, Sibley Memorial Hospital, and Suburban Hospital, and is currently employed by the MedStar Medical Group. Dr. Abbruzzese has assumed many administrative challenges, serving on the boards of both MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and Sibley Memorial Hospital. He was the only non-full-time faculty to ever serve as President of the Medical Staff at Georgetown University Hospital and currently, he is serving as President of the Medical Staff at Sibley. He participates on the Executive Committees of the Medical Staff of both Georgetown and Sibley. He is the chair of both the Pharmacy and Infection Control committees at Sibley. Dr. Abbruzzese continues to be an active member of his national society (IDSA) and translates the national guidelines into practice at the hospitals to provide evidenced based Infectious Disease expertise for his patients. He has been involved with the Catholic Charities Health Care Network since 1989 and continues his contributions to this day, and is a former chair of the Rose Mass. Dr. Abbruzzese and Carol are the proud parents of two daughters, Allison and Amy, and grandparents to Nora. On a rare day off, you can find Dr. Abbruzzese working in his yard or woodworking in his garage. He enjoys playing golf with friends and spending time with his family, especially with his granddaughter.

Dr. Christopher Cannova, M.D.

Dr. Christopher Cannova has served as an orthopedic surgeon for Bethesda Chevy-Chase Orthopaedic Associates since 2005. He specializes in joint reconstruction and total joint replacement. A Kansas City native, Dr. Cannova completed his undergraduate and medical school education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City before arriving in Washington D.C., where he completed his residency at Georgetown in 2004. Following a fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, Dr. Cannova returned to D.C. to begin his private practice with Bethesda Chevy-Chase Orthopaedic Associates in 2005. Dr. Cannova derives simple satisfaction from helping patients get back to their lives. Since 2005, he has enthusiastically contributed to the Catholic Charities Health Care Network. Pro bono hip and knee replacements have become a routine part of Dr. Cannova’s practice. In 2014, Dr. Cannova helped lead a mission trip to Guatemala, where he spent a week operating on trauma patients and performing joint reconstructions. A parishioner of Little Flower Church, Dr. Cannova resides in D.C. with his wife, Sarah. They have four wonderful children: Sadie, Milly, Beatrix, and Jasper.

Dr. Vikram Nayar, M.D.

Dr. Vikram Nayar is an Associate Professor of Neurosurgery and the Director of Cerebrovascular Surgery at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. Dr. Nayar grew up in Maryland and received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University in Biochemical Sciences. He received his MD from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and completed his Internship and Neurosurgical residency at Baylor College of Medicine. He completed a Fellowship in Skull Base and Cerebrovascular Surgery at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He joined the faculty at Georgetown University School of Medicine in 2011 and has served as an attending Neurosurgeon at the Washington Hospital Center and Georgetown University Hospital. At Georgetown, he serves on the OR Safety Committee, the Stroke Care Steering Committee, and is the Surgical Director of the Stroke Response Team. Dr. Nayar has published more than 20 scholarly articles and book chapters, and has given numerous invited lectures. He has been a continued supporter of the Catholic Charities Health Care Network, caring for complex neurosurgical patients. He lives in Virginia with his wife Sonia and son Sanjay.

Dr. Gayatri Reilly, M.D.

Dr. Gayatri Reilly has served as a Vitroretinal Surgeon for The Retinal Group of Washington since 2013. A native of Staten Island, Dr. Reilly completed her medical school education at Pennsylvania State University before arriving in Baltimore for her residency in Opthalmology. Following a Surgical Vitroretinal Fellowship at Washington Hospital Center / Georgetown University Hospital, Dr. Reilly began her private practice with The Retina Group of Washington. Dr. Reilly has generously shared her time and talent seeing numerous patients pro bono for the Catholic Charities Healthcare Network. Additionally, Dr. Reilly participates in medical mission trips two to three times per year to the impoverished Caribbean Islands to perform cataract surgery and diabetic eye exams and treatment.

The Imaging Center of the Sullivan Breast Center

The Sullivan Breast Center was founded at Sibley Memorial Hospital in 1998 through the vision of breast cancer surgeon Colette Magnant and the philanthropic efforts of Tom and Rachel Sullivan. The Sullivan’s personal experience with breast cancer was the inspiration for a center dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. A critical component of the services provided by the Sullivan Breast Center at Sibley is breast imaging. Drs. Pouneh Razavi, Sara Shaylor, and Sandra Polin are the breast imagers in the Sullivan Breast Center dedicated to interpreting breast ultrasound, mammography, and MRIs. These imagers and their staff at the Sullivan Breast Center have been committed to providing breast imaging services to the underserved for many years. In 2017, the Sullivan Breast Center provided more than 100 breast imaging services to patients in the Catholic Charities Healthcare Network. Dr. Razavi is the Director of Breast Imaging at the Sullivan Breast Center and Director of Community Breast Imaging in the Johns Hopkins system in the national capital region. Dr. Razavi earned her undergraduate and medical degrees from Georgetown University. She completed her residency training in radiology at Georgetown University Hospital and fellowship training in breast imaging at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She joined the Sullivan Breast Center in 2008 and is a leader of the breast team there.

Msgr. Harry A. Echle Award for Outstanding Service in Health Care Ministry

Reverend Tesfamariam Baraki

Born in Ethiopia, Father Tesfamariam Baraki has traversed two continents touching the lives of countless people and faith communities through his service to God as a priest, hospital chaplain, missionary, and peacemaker. Fr. Baraki began his journey to the priesthood at 14 when he entered the Cistercian Minor Seminary in Mendid, Ethiopia. He continued in the Order’s seminaries in Ethiopia and Eritrea and was ordained a Cistercian priest in Addis Ababa in 1975. A year later his Order sent him to the Cistercian Monastery of Our Lady of Fatima in New Jersey where he furthered his education studying Psychology and Counseling Services at Seton Hall University. During this time, the Ethiopian Episcopal Conference invited Fr. Baraki to minister as a missionary priest to Ethiopian Catholic immigrants and refugees living in the United States. Archbishop James Hickey and the Archdiocese of Washington welcomed Fr. Baraki for such a ministry. From 1984 to 2000, Fr. Baraki served as pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Kidane-Mehret) Ge’ez Rite Parish, bringing together the Ethiopian and Eritrean communities, two once pastorally neglected and politically divided nationalities. Around the Lord’s Table, he facilitated unity and harmony among the parishioners. Fr. Baraki’s gift in pastoral diplomacy was noted by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration Committee, which asked him to assist dioceses across the country to coordinate pastoral care and ministries for Ethiopian and Eritrean Catholics. His leadership in helping to unite the Washington region’s Ethiopian and Eritrean communities was also recognized when he received the 1999 Washingtonian of the Year Award from Washingtonian magazine. In 2001, Fr. Baraki assumed the role of Catholic Chaplain at Howard University Hospital. Today Fr. Baraki continues in this ministry offering spiritual comfort and the Sacraments to the hospital community. Fr. Baraki also provides for the spiritual needs of the parishioners of St. Gabriel Church where he lives in residence.

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