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Leadership Within The Program

We believe a strong residency leadership team strikes the balance between an Executive Team and Educators. That’s why we recruit individuals who are accountable, set clear & high expectations, have a love of lifelong learning and communicate honestly. At the end of the day, it is about picking the right team who’s individual strengths compliments everyone else and they is what we’ve done with Associate Program Director, Chief Resident and the Coordinators. 

Program Director Biography
Fred Buckhold, M.D.
Fred R. Buckhold III, M.D. Associate Professor Director, Internal Medicine Residency Program 

I came back to Saint Louis – specifically SLU – after a slightly prolonged undergraduate hiatus at the University of Arizona in Tucson.  Since coming to SLU for medical school, I never left, finishing school, then residency in Internal Medicine, before joining the faculty right of residency in 2010. 

SLU has provided me opportunities that I’m not sure I would have gotten elsewhere, including the ability to work in a collaborative fashion with wonderful faculty, residents, and students in a rich clinical environment.  I’ve also been able to fancy my interests, whether it be in medical education, quality improvement, or in administration.   

What has been unique for me to work at SLU is the commitment of enthusiastic faculty that provide not only excellent care but provide excellent educational experiences for our learners.   

I’ve been Program Director since August of 2014, and I’ve never had more fun.  The job simply gets better and better. The ability to be involved directly in the training of future internists has already provided me with a lot of fulfillment.   

Associate Program Director Biographies
Rasika Karnik, M.D.

Rasika Karnik, M.D.

The winds of change brought me to St. Louis University. Originally from Detroit, Michigan, I spent time in Pune, India for high school and came back to Michigan for my post secondary education; starting at the University of Michigan and then Wayne State University for medical school. I made my way to the Lone Star State to complete my residency at the University Texas-Southwestern in Dallas, where I stayed on as an academic hospitalist for two years. My husband's residency led us to St. Louis, and I joined the Primary Care Department at the John Cochran VA in order to be able to practice both inpatient and outpatient internal medicine in an environment enriched by outstanding trainees.

As a Wellness Champion for the program, my interest lies in finding ways for residents to find and maintain their own sense of well-being during training and beyond. In addition, I am the site director for the VA Continuity Clinic. I enjoy seeing my own panel of patients and precepting resident clinic. 

Maureen Lyons, M.D.

Maureen Lyons, M.D.

I came to SLU after training in Chicago: I graduated from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine in 2012 and stayed at U of C to complete my Internal Medicine Residency followed by a Chief Resident year. I also completed fellowship training in Medical Education Research, Innovation, Teaching, and Scholarship (MERITS) during that time.

I came to SLU in 2016, and am currently an Associate Program Director for the Internal Medicine Residency Program. I also work with medical students: I direct the medical school’s Ambulatory Internal Medicine Clerkship. Within the residency, I work to optimize the ambulatory educational experience through the ambulatory curriculum and am currently working to develop and implement a leadership curriculum for the residents. Clinically, I am an academic internist. I see my own panel of patients, precepts residents in continuity clinic, and attend on the inpatient wards.

Adam Mernado, M.D. Assitant Professor

Adam Merando, M.D.
Assistant professor

I completed my undergraduate degree at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas (Go Gorillas!) and then medical school, residency and chief residency at the University of Kansas (Go Jayhawks!). I joined the faculty at SLU (Go Billikens!) in 2015.

I am a hospitalist and see patients at Saint Louis University Hospital. I have interests in hospital based quality improvement including assessment of overuse and underuse of medical resources. Additionally, I have interests in education surrounding simulation, ultrasound, and resident wellness and burnout. I have been active in developing our afternoon school curriculum.


Jennifer Schmidt, M.D. Asstiant Professor

Jennifer Schmidt, M.D.
Assistant professor

I grew up in Saint Louis but went to undergrad at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI where I majored in biomedical engineering. I returned to St. Louis for medical school at SLU, then headed back to Milwaukee for residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin. After completing my chief resident year with a focus in quality improvement and patient safety, I returned to St. Louis to join the General Internal Medicine faculty at SLU. After 12 years of bouncing between these two wonderful cities, I’m so excited to be back!

I see primary care patients at the Doctors Office Building with medical students and residents. I love helping residents navigate the world of ambulatory General Internal Medicine, working with them to improve not only our patients’ experiences but our clinical operations as well. One of the most exciting parts of my job is working with residents to develop QI projects to address issues important to them. I never know where these projects might lead!

Stephanie Shieh, M.D.

Stephanie Shieh, M.D.

I am originally from Saint Louis but did the majority of my training in California including IM Residency and a Chief Resident year at UC Irvine, as well as a nephrology fellowship at UC San Francisco. I returned to Saint Louis in 2014 and have been working at St. Louis University and the John Cochran VA in both nephrology and internal medicine.

My interests are varied and include home dialysis therapies, innovations in educational teaching, and healthcare policy both within and outside the VA.

Working with SLU and the Veterans Affairs has afforded me the ability work with a diverse patient population with exposure to different models of healthcare delivery. My experiences working with residents, fellows, and medical students have helped me to become a better mentor, educator, and clinician.


2019-2020 Chief Residents
Zarir Ahmed, D.O. 
Hometown: Saint Louis, Missouri  
Undergraduate School: Saint Louis University 
Medical School: Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University 
I wanted to come to SLU after an amazing away rotation at SLU in the ICU. What struck me most was the compassion and willingness to help out among the residents, and my time here has only cemented that belief. From the diversity of the staff and residents to the emphasis on high-value patient-centered care, SLU offered the best training. The last few years have challenged me to work harder while cultivating patient relationships, creating life-long friends and delving into scholarly activities. I decided to become a chief resident to give back to a program that has helped me discover my true passions.  I am excited to teach residents and medical students while maintaining a positive work environment. I hope to inspire future internists in the same way my mentors like Dr Buckhold have inspired me to be where I am today. 
Paul Kunnath, M.D. 
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio 
Undergraduate School: Washington University in Saint Louis 
Medical School: Saint Louis University School of Medicine 
I chose SLU for two main reasons: the people I get to work with and the mission of the hospital and university. I love going to work every day because I get to work with incredibly smart people who are fun to be around. We take our work, but not ourselves, very seriously, and that is the environment I wanted to be a part of to learn and grow as a physician. I also love the SLU hospital and university mission of extending compassionate care to all. We essentially function as the safety net hospital for the region, providing the best care possible to anyone who comes to us, regardless of their financial situation. I wanted to become chief resident because one of my career goals is to be a good teacher for students and residents, and I wanted an opportunity to improve my teaching skills in a supportive environment while continuing to improve our residency program.  
Jason Lunt, D.O. 
Hometown: Thatcher, Arizona 
Undergraduate School: Arizona State University 
Medical School: Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine 
I chose to come to SLU because of the people. At SLU, the residents work hard and truly enjoy each other through the process, and the leadership team regularly uses input and feedback from residents to guide future change. The combination of excellent teammates, caring leadership, and medically complex patients has made SLU residency a fulfilling and holistic training experience. I am excited to pursue a chief position so that I can be more actively engaged in resident education and advocacy, while giving back to the program and making a positive impact for future residents.  
Maria Srour, M.D. 
Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana 
Undergraduate School: Indiana University 
Medical School: Indiana University School of Medicine 
SLU appealed to me on the interview trail because of the culture and atmosphere of the program. I was looking for a place where residents were actually friends with one another and brought a great attitude to their work. What I have found since starting here has far exceeded my expectations. Despite the grueling demands of residency, I can honestly say that I work with incredible colleagues in a very collaborative environment. SLU residents put their patients first and their co-residents at a close second, which makes for a phenomenal experience that I am proud to be a part of and cultivate for the classes coming after us. 
2020-2021 Chief Residents

Stacey Chu, M.D.
Hometown: Fort Dodge, Iowa
Undergraduate School: University of Iowa

Medical School: University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine
I chose to come to SLU for many reasons, and I still love it for those reasons and more. Our program is the perfect size. It’s small enough that I know everyone (not just in my year, everyone in the entire program). But it’s large enough that we get the benefits of a full roster (having enough people for a night float team means we don’t have overnight call, etc). I also love the Midwest vibe. Midwesterners will get what I mean. Non-midwesterners will see what I mean (I hope you like friendly people in the elevators randomly asking about your day and complimenting your shoes). And the common thread is that I love the people I work with! When I searched for a program I wanted to find my people, my support system, my crew. I wanted my work hours spent with people I would choose to spend my free hours with. I was embraced by that feeling on my interview day and that feeling never left me. I’m excited to be a chief because our program supported me in all the ways I asked for (and in ways I didn’t realize I needed). I want to help all of our residents to feel the same way so they can become the physicians (and people) they’ve always aspired to become. 
Gassan Daher, M.D.
Hometown: Beirut, Lebanon
Undergraduate School: American University of Beirut
Medical School: American University of Beirut Faculty of Medicine

One of the main reasons that made me choose SLU is the harmony and the great atmosphere between the residents themselves and among faculty members. Our program’s values helped shape the person and physician I am today. The commitment and dedication that was on display on a daily basis by every member of the physician and support staff is exceptional. I believe the complexity and the diversity of our patient population is second to none and has provided us with an extremely enriching and rewarding experience. I have developed a deep affinity to the program’s mission which today drives me towards contributing back to the program through the Chief Resident position. With my passion for academic medicine, I hope to relay to residents through scholarly teaching, activities, and day to day involvement in their development.

Alex Lane, M.D.
Hometown: Edwardsville, IL
Undergraduate School: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Medical School: Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

I chose SLU because of the great resident culture and community. Even from my interview I could tell SLU residents were a supportive group working together to give great patient care. I feel lucky to be able to treat such a diverse and underserved population under the direction of SLU's excellent faculty. As chief resident, I plan to continue to foster this great culture and further my own journey as a clinical educator and physician.
Gerald Wade, M.D.
Hometown: Memphis, Tennessee
Undergraduate School: University of Tennessee
Medical School: University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine

When choosing a residency program, I sought a place with a strong academic reputation and a great house staff that was located in a vibrant, urban setting. The Saint Louis University Internal Medicine program fit the bill. On interview day I was impressed by program leadership, the strong sub-specialty divisions, and the residents' camaraderie. I spent a few days in St. Louis after my interview day and concluded that it also would be a great fit for me personally. I have been grateful for the excellent clinical training and for the wide array of educational and research opportunities afforded by this program. The people have been terrific as well. With the new hospital on the way, it is a great time to be at SLU. I am excited to assist with this transition as chief resident and am eager to work with residents, faculty, and future interns to ensure our program continues to excel.

The Clinical Competency Committee

The Program Director, Associate Program Directors, Core Faculty, and Chief Residents meet on a regular basis to assess the residents’ competency within the ACMGE milestones. The goal of these meetings is to establish where each individual is in the progression to independent practice. We take time to recognize excellence in residents, and develop a comprehensive learning plan for a resident in need. We find this the most important process we do as clinical educators.

Teaching Faculty

All of the general medicine floor teams that the residents cover are overseen by either a teaching hospitalist or clinical faculty whose sole focus is covering a teaching team when on service. This was important to us to have a core of individuals who would focus on rounding and finishing at the appropriate time so the residents could finish their work and attend lectures. They are also readily available in the afternoon for teaching, overseeing procedures or simply there for residents to ask further questions. We found that physicians who rush off to afternoon clinic and private physicians who want to co-manage patient are distracting to the learning environment.