A Successful Society Requires Decisive Leadership
As with any volunteer organization, strong leadership is essential for success. During July of each year, the Pima County Medical Society Elections Committee meets to begin the task of recruiting officers, Board of Directors, Resident and Student candidates. Election ballots are then mailed to vote-eligible members. Winning candidates are announced at our December Board of Directors meeting. Terms vary depending on the leadership position.
Members interested in playing a personal and more active role in the direction of the Society and organized medicine should seriously consider running for office. If interested or have any questions, please contact Executive Director Dennis Carey.
PCMS Board of Director Candidate Profiles
Past President – Loewenstein MD
Dr. Loewenstein served on the PCMS Executive Committee from 2015-2019 and was President in 2018.
He also has served on the Board of Directors for the Arizona Medical Association.
He is a primary care internist at Rillito Internal Medicine, which is part of Arizona Community Physicians.
He graduated medical school from the University of Washington and completed his residency at the
University of Arizona. He is part of the faculty for the new internal medicine residency program at TMC.
He views the PCMS as a catalyst for physicians to improve health care in Pima County.
President – Farshad Shirazi MD
Farshad “Mazda” Shirazi, MD, PhD, associate professor, is a clinical toxicologist and serves as the
medical director of the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center and director of the Medical
He graduated from the University of Arizona College of Medicine in 1997. He completed his residency
toxicology at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas in 2000 and earned a fellowship in
toxicology at the University of Arizona in 2006.
President Elect – Michael DeLong MD
Dr. DeLong is a practicing Nephrologist in northwest Tucson. After graduating from the University of
Cincinnati College of Medicine in 1999, he came to Tucson for his residency and fellowship, then
fellowship at the University of Arizona.
He practiced at Tucson Veterans Affairs Medical Center until entering private practice. He is now a
partner in Arizona Kidney Disease and Hypertension Center, where his outpatient clinic has served
Northwest Tucson since 2006. He practices inpatient Nephrology primarily at Northwest Medical Center
and Oro Valley Medical Center and maintains privileges at all major hospitals in Tucson. He serves as
Medical Director at Fresenius Kidney Care units in Central and South Tucson with active dialysis care at
these units as well as Fresenius Northwest.
Vice President – Wendy Huempfner MD
Dr. Huempfner is currently a board-certified OB-GYN physician transforming my practice toward
consultation on Menopause and the aging woman’s health, and work.
“As a public health nurse implementing high-risk mother-Infant follow up programs, then as a school
health nurse, and Nursing Supervisor of a long-term care facility, taught me what a powerful role
community health played. My experience on the Thai-Cambodian border in a refugee camp, reinforced
the importance of communicable diseases and world health. In the past few years, I have been an active
practitioner, administered medical practices, and developed an understanding of Specialized Physicians,
Hospital Systems, the complexities of the business of everyday physicians including documentation, IT,
credentialing, certifications, regulations, EMR, billing, and Insurance interfacing.
“I view PCMS as a collaborator of all levels of healthcare work including private and public sectors, all
socioeconomic levels, including the needs of the homeless and shelters, bridging and supporting
physicians with upcoming changes in IT, political regulations, essentially any changes affecting their day-
to-day patient care flow. Also, to proactively and operationally interface with any platforms to support
physicians legally, politically, and economically.
I worked as a Public Health Nurse prior to attending Medical School, so have knowledge and an
appreciation of how both local and distance disease ultimately affects us all. I have traveled and worked
abroad in a Refugee Camp on the Thai-Cambodian Border, so have an understanding of infectious
disease, and cultural diversity issues. My private practice was culturally diversified.”
Secretary Treasurer – Anil Prasad MD
Dr. Prasad is President and Medical Director of Arizona Diagnostic Pathology Associates PLLC, Tucson. He
is a pathologist with special expertise in FISH assay development for bladder and prostate cancer. He is a
staff pathologist at Northwest Medical Center and Medical Director at Santa Cruz Valley Regional
Hospital Laboratory & Northwest Hospital, Sahuarita. He is an associate professor of pathology at the
University of Arizona College of Medicine and a member of the teaching faculty of Burrell College of
Osteopathic Medicine. He was elected to the PCMS Board of Directors in 2022 and is a representative on
the Arizona Healthcare Advocacy Coalition.
He received his medical degree from Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and
Research, Pathology. His completed his residency in anatomic pathology and clinical pathology and
received a fellowship in cytopathology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and earned a fellowship at
Mayo Clinic in surgical pathology.
Board of Directors
Michael Daines MD
Dr. Daines is an Associate Professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine Pediatrics
Department. He specializes in allergy, immunology and rheumatology.
He received his medical degree and completed his residency in pediatrics from St. Louis University. He
earned a fellowship from Duke University in allergy immunology. He is certified by the American Board
of Pediatrics and the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. His research interest includes
determining how genetic and environmental factors combine to produce allergic diseases, such as allergic
rhinitis, asthma, food allergies and eczema, discovering better ways to prevent and treat allergic
disease in children.
Mateja de Leonni Stanonik, MD
Dr. de Leonni Stanonik is a board-certified neurologist with additional training in vascular/stroke
neurology, neurodegenerative diseases, and headache/pain, as well as neurological issues pertaining to
women. She is founder of the Vita Medica Institute which focuses on women’s neurological issues.
Dr. de Leonni Stanonik was the former Surgeon General of the Republic of Slovenia and Consul to the
United States from the Republic of Slovenia. She has had 15 years of experience designing and
implementing telemedicine system in the US and around the world. Dr. de Leonni served as the Chair for
the 2014 Heart and Stroke Walk and is an advisor to the Southern Arizona Chapter of the Alzheimer’s
Ryan Matika MD
Dr. Matika, Associate Professor in the anesthesiology department at the University of Arizona College of
Medicine, was raised in the Chicago, Illinois. After serving in the US Army in Alaska, he attended Illinois
State University receiving a BS in Biological Sciences. He went on to complete a Master’s program at
Northwestern University and Kellogg School of Management with an emphasis in Biotechnology. He
worked as a marketing and finance consultant in a consulting firm in Chicago. Changing directions, Dr.
Matika entered medical school at the University of Illinois at Chicago. After a transitional internship year
at Evanston Hospital in Evanston, Illinois, he received a fellowship and completed the Anesthesiology
residency program at the University of Arizona. Dr. Matika joined the faculty of the Department of
Anesthesiology in July 2010. He has published award-winning papers.
Karissa Wasiak MD
Dr. Wasiak was the alternate Resident representative on the PCMS Board in 2022. She is now on the
faculty as an Associate Professor in the Family and Community Medicine Program at the University of
Arizona College of Medicine and a candidate for the Board of Directors in 2023. She is from Las Vegas
and graduated from the University of Nevada – Reno College of Medicine.
Kavitha Yaddanapudi MD
Dr. Yaddanapudi is Associate Professor and Chief of the Cardiothoracic Imaging Division at the University
of Arizona College of Medicine. a fellowship trained Cardiothoracic and Nuclear medicine radiologist
who is double boarded in Radiology and Nuclear Medicine. After completing four years of fellowship
training at Cleveland Clinic, she worked as an Assistant Professor of Radiology and Internal Medicine at
Stony Brook University Hospital.
She also served as Co-Chief of Thoracic Imaging at Stony Brook. She trained at Cleveland Clinic with fellowships
in Nuclear Medicine, Cardiovascular Imaging, Thoracic Imaging, and Musculoskeletal Imaging.
Melissa Zukowski, MD
Dr. Zukowski is Medical Director of Pediatric Emergency Education at Banner University Medical Center
in Tucson. She attended the University of Arizona College of Medicine and continued her training with
her residency in pediatric emergency medicine at the University of Arizona. She received her MPH with a
focus on maternal and child health.
Dr. Zukowski worked at TMC in the Emergency Department from 2012-2017 and was director of the
Pediatric Emergency Department for three years. She moved to Banner UMC Medical Center last year
“I have loved being back in academic medicine over the past year and a half where I direct the Peds ED. I
love teaching the medical students and residents. Teaching has always been a strong passion of mine.
I am also highly involved with our work with Sexual Assault and Child Abuse here in Tucson and am
involved with the Children’s Advocacy Center.”
Her interests outside of her practice include time with her family – husband Tom and 3-year-old
daughter, Sophia. They enjoy traveling and cheering on the Wildcats during basketball season. Bear
Jennifer Berg Stepp
Dr. Stepp came to Tucson from Ahwatukee to train in the University of Arizona Family and Community
Medicine program because of the focus on integrative medicine and providing preventive care in under-
“I am particularly drawn to preventative medicine and rural medicine. I am passionate about closing
disparity gaps of underserved and resource limited populations.”
Her bucket list items include learning American Sign Language and visiting the Christmas Market in
Dr. Suhale is a resident in the University of Arizona Family and Community Medicine program. He chose
the program for the integrative medicine education. He is also interested in mental health in primary
He is from Chicago and enjoys the warm weather of Tucson for most of the year. He also enjoys being
near national parks. Some of his bucket list items are visiting the Pyramids of Giza, traveling to Japan
and seeing Mt. Fuji and to go to Jerusalem.
(Student profiles may be updated. Please check back for possible additional information.)
Gabriela is a bilingual research assistant the University of Arizona College of Medicine. She received
bachelor’s degrees in physiology and Spanish literature from UA. She is conducting research to
investigate the role of Syndecan-1 in pain sensation. She has volunteered at Clinica Amistad and served
as a translator and assisted with clinical services.
As I begin medical school, I know the journey to becoming a physician is long and full of turns. But I hope
to always remind myself of my “why” whenever I feel lost. My “why” is service. Caring for patients who
otherwise would be at risk to go without care. Bridging the urban – rural healthcare disparity in Arizona,
through service and policy changes. This is my “why.” And Pima County is my community, and I want to
better understand it through working with mentors and the medical community. As a board member of
the PCMS, I hope to work together to bridge accessibility gaps, and ensure physicians are heard and
given the resources they need.
In my free time, outside of medicine, I enjoy watching movies, spending time with family, and traveling.
My favorite recent place I travelled to was Flagstaff. I enjoyed the beautiful hikes, old-timey downtown,
and cooler weather.
I was born and raised in Arizona. I completed two bachelor’s degrees in Applied Biological Sciences and
Psychology, a certificate in Cross-Sector Leadership, and a Master of Science in the Science of Health
Care Delivery with an emphasis in health policy. Currently, I am a first-year medical student at the
University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson.
My interests within the healthcare field include the intersection of maternal/child health and health policy.
I have local institutional policy experience changing the way Registered Dietitians screen for postpartum
depression at my local WIC clinic, state- level policy experience interning for a Maricopa County Board
of Supervisors candidate as a health policy advisor, and federal policy experience publishing in Health
Affairs on food insecurity in college students during COVID-19 and doing research on federal farm to
school programs and how federal school policy impacts childhood obesity.
In addition, I have worked in a pediatric breastfeeding clinic as a scribe and was the Director of Client Services
for the Phoenix Cancer Support Network, where I have worked with underserved patients all over Arizona
connecting them to various community resources.
As a medical student, I intend to continue my work in health policy and advocacy as President of U of A’s
American Medical Association and Co-Founder and Policy Chair of the Health Policy and Advocacy club at
my medical school.
I am currently working on creating policy writing workshops for medical students to be able to translate
their advocacy work into publishable pieces and continuing my research on childhood obesity policies
such as farm to school. Additionally, I am the Lead Coordinator for U of A medical school’s free LGBTQ+ clinic,
where I will be leading the effort to provide free healthcare and address the social determinants of health
in this vulnerable community.
I would be honored to have your vote for the opportunity to serve as Student Representative on the
Board of Directors for Pima County Medical Society and expand my impact in policy and advocacy to
Pima County at-large.