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Leadership Within The Program

We believe a strong residency leadership team combines skillful day-to-day program administration with excellence in education. That’s why we recruit individuals who are accountable, set clear and high expectations, have a love of lifelong learning and communicate honestly. At the end of the day, it is about choosing a team whose members’ strengths complement one another, and this is what we’ve done in selecting Associate Program Directors, Chief Residents and Coordinators. 

Program Director 
Fred Buckhold, M.D.

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

Originally from St. Louis, Dr. Buckhold went to the University of Arizona for his undergraduate degree before attending Saint Louis University for medical school and staying at SLU for IM residency. He joined the faculty after graduating in 2010 and became Program Director in 2014. 

Dr. Buckhold has held plenty of different roles and responsibilities in his tenure at SLU. Above all of these, the most fulfilling is the role of PD, which provides the opportunity to exponentially improve patient care, build the careers of early physicians, and interact daily with a fantastic community of residents that provides such a positive impact on the program and the institution. Despite the bald jokes. 

Dr. Buckhold has four daughters, a dog, and now a guinea pig (because what’s another mouth to feed), and a saint of a wife who puts up with such madness. In his spare time, Dr. Buckhold loves to hear from former residents, particularly if they stressed him out, just so he may return the favor or hit them up for money for current residents. He also religiously watches his soccer (#COYS) and cannot wait for St. Louis City SC.

Twitter: @DrBuckholdSLU
Instagram: im_slu_pd


Associate Program Directors
Stephanie Shieh, M.D.

Stephanie Shieh, M.D.
Senior Associate Program Director 
Division: Nephrology
Primary Practice Site: John Cochran VA Hospital

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 Saint 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.

Roshani Desai, M.D.

Roshani Desai, M.D. 
Division: Gastroenterology
Primary Practice Site: SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital

Roshani Desai completed medical school at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and then ventured to the other side of the state to complete her residency and fellowship training here at Saint Louis University. She attends at SLUH on the gastroenterology and liver services.

Ghassan Kamel, M.D., F.C.C.P.

Ghassan Kamel, M.D., F.C.C.P. 
Division: Pulmonary, Critical Care, & Sleep Medicine
Primary Practice Site: SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital

Ghassan Kamel moved to Saint Louis in 2011 from Beirut, Lebanon after completing his medical school training at the American University of Beirut. Saint Louis University has been his home since then. He completed his internal medicine training, chief residency, and pulmonary and critical care fellowship at SLU. He was fortunate enough to stay on as faculty and to become an associate program director for the program that helped him become the physician he is today. 

He has a strong interest in airway diseases - in particular asthma and acute respiratory distress syndrome, as well as quality improvement and improving health care metrics, especially in the Medical ICU, where he serves as the Associate Director. 

On a personal level, he is a father of two beautiful daughters and he loves spending time with them and his amazing wife. He enjoys tennis, basketball, and sports in general.

Twitter: @GKamelMD

Paul Kunnath, M.D.

Paul Kunnath, M.D. 
Division: General Internal Medicine
Primary Practice Site: SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital

Paul Kunnath received his undergraduate degree at Washington University in St. Louis, where he studied biomedical engineering and music. He worked as a research and development engineer in St. Louis prior to completing medical school, residency and chief residency at Saint Louis University. He joined the SLU faculty in 2020. 

Dr. Kunnath is a general internist and sees primary care patients at the Saint Louis University Doctors Office Building (soon to be Center for Specialized Medicine). He also attends on the general internal medicine wards at Saint Louis University Hospital. His teaching interests are in clinical reasoning and evidence-based medicine. His research interests are in reduction of low-value medical practices and physician and patient numeracy. He is deeply grateful for the opportunity to teach and learn from residents and students. 

Twitter: @PaulKunnath

Philip Mar, M.D., Pharm.D.

Philip Mar, M.D., Pharm.D. 
Division: Cardiology
Primary Practice Site: SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital

Philip Mar grew up in Atlanta, and earned his pharmacy degree at the University of Georgia. After pharmacy school, he worked for a few years as a pharmacist while attending medical school at the Medical College of Georgia, and then completed his internal medicine residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He then moved to Kentucky to finish his general cardiology fellowship at the University of Louisville, where he also served as chief cardiology fellow. After cardiology fellowship, he finished an advanced fellowship in clinical cardiac electrophysiology at Indiana University before starting his career in academia at Saint Louis University. In his free time, Philip enjoys playing table tennis and is always looking for a good challenge!

Headshot of Justin Purdy

Justin Purdy, M.D. 
Division: Hospital Internal Medicine 

Primary Practice Site: SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital 

Dr. Purdy completed his medical school training at the University of Missouri and residency at the University of Kentucky. He also completed a hospital medicine fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and stayed on as faculty.  He is originally from St. Louis and jumped at the opportunity to move back in 2019 and join the hospitalist group at Saint Louis University Hospital. Upon joining SLU, Dr. Purdy helped develop a hospital medicine track for our senior residents and continues to serve as the co-director of the track. His research interests are focused on professional development, shared decision making, and preserving autonomy for patients and learners.   

When not in the hospital he enjoys spending time with his family which usually requires that he try and maintain some semblance of peace as his three children work tirelessly to destroy the house.  When a quiet moment can be found Dr. Purdy enjoys watching sports, binging prestige TV and playing golf or hockey.


Martin Schoen, M.D., M.P.H. 
Division: Hematology and Oncology

Primary Practice Site: John Cochran VA Hospital

Dr. Martin Schoen is a hematologist/oncologist and hospitalist at St. Louis Veterans Affairs Medical Center and assistant professor of medicine at Saint Louis University. After attending Harvard Medical School and completing an internship at Naval Medical Center San Diego, he served in the Navy and was deployed with the Marine Corps to Djibouti, Africa. He earned a masters degree in public health at University of North Carolina before returning to residency at Saint Louis University and then fellowship in hematology/oncology. He conducts research into health outcomes and disparities in cancer treatments using national VA data to the focus on comparative effectiveness of treatments and personalized medicine based on patient co-morbidities. He is the proud father of twin girls, Ana and Miriam, and is married to Rachel Tabak, a professor and researcher at a little university down the street from SLU.

Twitter: @mwschoen



Keniesha Thompson, M.D. 
Division: Hospital Medicine

Primary Practice Site: SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital

Dr. Thompson grew up in Jamaica and migrated to Kansas during her final year of high school. She completed her undergraduate degree in biology at Howard University in Washington, DC, and went on to medical school at the University of Kansas in Kansas City. After completing internal medicine residency and chief resident years here at Saint Louis University, she was invited to join the Saint Louis University School of Medicine faculty where she now serves as associate program director in internal medicine. In addition, she is heavily involved in medical-student education as co-director of the internal medicine core clerkship.

Her current focus is on student and resident engagement and the development of quality-improvement projects in clinical and non-clinical areas with the aim of improving workflow and affecting health outcomes. Her research interests include health-outcomes research, physician-patient communication, patient safety and medical education. She is passionate about Saint Louis University, where caring for our community requires compassion and commitment. Her clinical time is spent attending on the inpatient internal medicine wards.

Twitter: @DrKThompsonMD


2021-2022 Chief Residents

Khadeeja Ashai, D.O.
Hometown: Yorktown, VA
Undergraduate School: University of Virginia
Medical School: Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine

I remember coming to interview at SLU and just feeling how friendly and welcoming of an environment it was. People seemed to genuinely like each other and enjoy working together. As residents, we spend so much of our time in the hospital and to have that camaraderie with your co-workers makes the experience a significantly better one. I have had the chance to really learn from my peers in a place where we are challenged everyday to think deeply about our patients and the complexities of their conditions. I do feel like I am learning to become a stronger physician because of the learning environment here. I think the diversity of cases that we see and the frequency with which we work with other specialties and sub-specialties teaches us to approach our patients in a well-rounded manner. Outside of the hospital, I've really enjoyed getting to explore St. Louis, not being a native of the Midwest. People are so friendly, there are lots of outdoor activities such as hiking, running and biking, and there are so many restaurants to explore as well. I hope to be able to convey that same enthusiasm to others!

Jordan Hendrickson, M.D.
Hometown: Owasso, Oklahoma
Undergraduate School: University of Tulsa
Medical School: Saint Louis University 

When looking for residency programs, I was drawn to the programs that first and foremost would prepare me for my role as an independent practitioner. As a student here at SLU, I was always impressed by the residents' abilities to handle incredibly complex patients, difficult rapid responses, and codes with composure and competency. As I've moved into residency here, I never thought that one day I'd be able to follow in their footsteps. The days were long, but intern year was very short, and I found my confidence and knowledge growing. The program also gave me the opportunity to grow and do things I never thought I could do - presenting at Grand Rounds, leading conferences, presenting at a national convention, and even getting to be part of a podcast. Through all of these experiences, I feel confident that I will leave this program with the skills needed to be a productive and informed internist. I am looking forward to the opportunity to help teach and learn from this program more as I go into my chief year.

Piotr Horbal, D.O.
Hometown: Chicago
Undergraduate School: University of Illinois - Chicago
Medical School: Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine - Midwestern University

Choosing a residency program, I had a list of priorities including academic reputation, faculty mentorship, graduates’ trajectories and comradery amongst the residents. While on the interview trail, I soon realized the similarities amongst many programs, making the decision even more difficult - that is, until my SLU interview experience. From the pre-interview dinner through the last interview a significant and refreshing sense of community in an academic environment immediately made itself apparent. This unique aspect of establishing a family within residency has undoubtedly been the most important and stress relieving part of the past few years in my life. This atmosphere with the academic rigor and ongoing success of our graduates and faculty is what I plan on fostering and expanding during my chief year!

Jason Zoglman, M.D.
Hometown: Garden Plain, Kansas
Undergraduate School: Pittsburg State University (Pittsburg, KS)
Medical School: University of Kansas School of Medicine - Wichita

Choosing SLU for continuing my education was an easy decision after my interview day. The camaraderie and obvious friendships I witnessed that day left little doubt that this is where I wanted to be. The pattern has held true over the last several years, and I've been able to form some incredible bonds with my co-residents and other hospital staff. We work hard while we're here, but we get to do it with friends that have become like family, and that makes it bearable, and even fun on some days!


2022-2023 Chief Residents

Yan Chu, M.D.
Hometown: Lexington, Kentucky
Undergraduate School: Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
Medical School: University of Kentucky 

"When I was applying to residency, I really had no idea where I would end up. I interviewed for dozens of programs across the country and my experience at SLU stood out. My priorities in choosing a program were being able to serve a diverse patient population, having a variety of pathology resources, and be a part of a friendly and supportive environment. SLU fit all of those perfectly. We take care of many patients who are acutely ill and complex, many from underserved areas. I had never been to St. Louis before my interview and had no family or friends locally, but I grew close to my co-residents very quickly and made lifelong friendships with them. Residency is not easy, but it is immensely more enjoyable to do it alongside a group of people who are smart, kind, and always have your back. I am looking forward to my chief year to learn more and contribute to this program!"

Heather Eschbach, D.O.
Undergraduate School: Rockhurst University
Medical School: Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine

Being a native St. Louisan, I was looking forward to my month rotating at Saint Louis University (SLU) as a sub-intern. Very early in my rotation, I felt welcomed and a sense of belonging. I was impressed by how capable the residents were while managing complex patients. I compared every program I visited afterwards to SLU and knew this was where I wanted to continue training. A positive learning environment was most important to me in a residency program. While each day presents new challenges, I see my colleagues supporting each other throughout. My class was in our intern year during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we have rallied around each other through many unforeseen circumstances. I look forward to my chief year and being able to give back to the program that has taught me so much. 

Mackenzie Steck, M.D.
Hometown: Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania
Undergraduate school: Butler University
Medical School: Indiana University 

When choosing a residency program, my main priority was to find a place where I would feel accepted and supported as I grew as an internist in training. I still vividly remember meeting the residents, faculty, and staff on my interview day at SLU and feeling a genuine sense of community. Our residents love spending time with each other inside and outside of the hospital, which is not the case at every program. Residency will always be challenging no matter the location, but having a group of co-residents and faculty that provide support and genuinely care about its residents’ well-being is what makes SLU such a special place. Through the guidance of this supportive environment, we have the opportunity to take care of extremely complex patients from diverse backgrounds, which prepares residents to practice Internal Medicine in any environment after graduation. I am excited to follow in the footsteps of the chief residents before me and continue to nurture this collaborative environment for future residents to come! 

Kelvin Pollard, M.D., M.H.S.
Hometown: Oklahoma City/ Memphis
Undergraduate School: Austin Peay State University
Graduate School: Mississippi College & Meharry Medical College
Medical School: Meharry Medical College

I aspired to match into a program that served the underserved, provided exceptional teaching and learning opportunities, promoted collaboration between colleagues, provided direction and mentorship, and exposure to diverse patients and pathologies. SLU has provided me with the above and so much more. In addition, I wanted to match to a program that felt more like a family environment than just colleagues. I am more than happy with my decision and can confidently complete my training knowing that I am ready to serve the masses with the unique knowledge and skills that I have acquired since training at SLU!