Health Professions Alumni Council

Washington College's Health Professions Alumni Council is comprised of alumni working across various health professions and serves as an additional resource for our students and Pre-Health Professions Programs.

Health Professions Alumni Council (HPAC)

The Washington College Health Professions Alumni Council (HPAC) empowers alumni who are leaders in the health professions to engage with the College’s Pre-Health Professions Programs advisors and students.

While members of the HPAC serve our programs and students in a formal role, the College has a larger network of alumni in the health professions ready and willing to answer our students' questions, provide mentoring, or even sometimes provide shadowing or internship opportunities. 

Members of the HPAC are appointed by the Pre-Health Professions Programs advisors, in counsel with the office of Advancement and Alumni Relations, and serve three-year terms. Members may be invited to accept additional service following each term. 

Current HPAC Members

Dr. Michelle Crosier is an experienced veterinarian and co-owner of Companion Animal  Veterinary Associates in nearby Middletown, Del.  She has held a number of leadership positions with the Delaware Veterinary Medical Association and is currently in her second stint as president of the organization. She has served  on Washington College's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee since 2011 and has volunteered with the Bear (Del.) Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and 4-H. Dr. Crosier previously worked as an associate veterinarian at Lums Pond Animal Hospital in Bear, Del., and South Arundel Veterinary Hospital in Edgewater, Md., and also as a veterinary advocate for Bayer Animal Health in Kansas City.  Dr. Crosier received her D.V.M. from North Carolina State University. While a student at Washington College, she majored in Biology and won a number of awards throughout her undergraduate studies. She was inducted into the Society of Junior Fellows and Omicron Delta Kappa, worked as a Resident Assistant, and was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha and the Panhellenic Council.   

Dr. Brian Desaulniers is a shareholder for Emergency Service Associates, a democratically-run physician group providing emergency services at TidalHealth Peninsula Regional, TidalHealth Nanticoke, TidalHealth McCready, and Atlantic General Hospital on the Delmarva Peninsula. He is an emergency department physician, lead scheduler, Vice President, and Assistant Medical Director at TidalHealth Peninsula Regional and TidalHealth McCready. Dr. Desaulniers earned his M.D. from the University of Maryland and completed his Residency at Palmetto Health/the University of South Carolina and is a fellow of both the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. While a student at Washington College, he majored in both Biology and Environmental Studies and minored in English and began working as an EMT-B with the Kent and Queen Anne’s Rescue Squad. He was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa and served as Treasurer on the Student Events Board.

Inside Emergency Medicine with Dr. Brian Desaulniers '04

Caitlin Donis is an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner at the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air, MD, and is an adjunct faculty member for the University of Maryland School of Nursing’s Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner doctoral program. She has previously worked for Johns Hopkins University as a Nurse Clinician IIM in the Cardiology Care Unit and as an adjunct faculty member. She received her MSN from the University of Maryland School of Nursing and her BSN from Johns Hopkins University. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Nursing from the Villanova University School of Nursing. She also holds an AGACNP-BC from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, an ACCNS-BC from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, and a Post-masters certificate in Teaching in the Health Professions from the University of Maryland School of Nursing.  She graduated magna cum laude with a BS in Biology from Washington College, where she was a member of the Cater Society of Junior Fellows. She also served on the Student Events Board and in the SGA and competed in intramural sports. 

David Heiber is currently an Emergency Medicine Physician Assistant, Regional Traveler for ApolloMD, based in Charlotte, NC and has been recognized by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) as one of “50 PAs Making a Difference.” He previously spent eight years working as an Emergency Medicine PA for MedStar Health, serving as Chief PA for four years. Mr. Heiber earned his M.M.S. from Saint Francis University and completed the PA Studies program at Anne Arundel Community College. He is certified by the NCCPA and added an NCCPA Certification of Added Qualifications in Emergency Medicine. While a student at Washington College, Mr. Hieber majored in Biology and minored in Chemistry, was a team captain of the men’s soccer team, served as a Resident Assistant, and won the College’s Senior Award for Exceptional Community Service. He also began working with the Kent and Queen Anne’s Rescue Squad as an EMT during his time as a student and was named the 2007 Kent County EMT of the Year. Following his graduation, he spent one year as the Interim Residential Life Coordinator and received the Washington College Exceptional Service to Students: Staff and Faculty Award in 2008.

The Alumni (PA)nel

Bio coming soon!

Vanessa Makarewicz was promoted to Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Wash., in July 2021 after previously serving as the Infection Control Operations Manager and Infection Prevention and Control Manager. As Infection Prevention and Control Manager, Ms. Makarewicz helped lead one of the earliest responses to COVID-19 in the United States in early 2020. 

Prior to moving into infection control, Ms. Makarewicz was a Med-Surg/Vascular Access Clincal Nurse Specialist at the University of Washington Medical Center for nearly four years. She received her MN, Infectious Disease Clinical Nurse Specialist from the University of Washington in  2008 and her BSN from Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing in 2004. She received a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Studies from Washington College in 2002 and was a member of the swim team all four years.   

Trailblazing a COVID-19 Response - presented by Vanessa A. Makarewicz ’02, RN MN CIC

Dr. Leslie O’Neill is the Associate Director, Neurologic and Older Adult Clinic, and an Assistant Professor of Practice for the University of Delaware’s (UD) Department of Physical Therapy. She is also the University of Delaware Director for the Johns Hopkins and UD Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency Programs and a faculty member for UD’s Geriatric and Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency Programs. She has had additional experience as a physical therapist with Wilmington (DE) Hospital, Spaulding Rehabilitation Institute in Boston, and Unity Health System in Rochester, NY. Dr. O’Neill received her DPT from the University of Delaware and completed the Ithaca College – Unity Health Physical Therapy Neurologic Residency. She has presented at several conferences and has twice been a co-author of articles on She has served on several task forces and committees in service to the physical therapy profession and is a Board-Certified Specialist in Neurologic Physical Therapy. Dr. O’Neill received a BS in Biology from Washington College while carrying a minor in Chemistry. She was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa, Beta Beta Beta, and Sigma Xi.  

Dr. Amy Peterson is currently the CDC Zimbabwe Associate Director of Science and has been a Commander in the U.S. Public Health Service for the past decade. She received her DVM from the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine and a PhD in Infectious Disease Epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is also a board-certified diplomate from the American College of Veterinary Preventative Medicine.

Dr. Peterson has an extensive background in veterinary medicine with experience with large and small animals, pathology, and emergency services. In her work for the CDC and U.S. Public Health Services, she has utilized her expertise in both veterinary medicine and epidemiology in a wide range of deployments, often in Africa. Among those are deployments to both Liberia and Rwanda for Ebola preparedness and response. She has also been a part of the CDC’s Covid-19 response. She has a number of academic publications to her credit in both veterinary medicine and epidemiology.

Dr. Peterson has received several honors for her work. She was named the Commissioned Corps Veterinary Responder of the Year in 2015, has twice been recognized with the President’s Unit Citations (2015, 2021), received the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal for COVID-19 Support in 2021, and was awarded the CDC Honor Award for Excellence in Front Line Public Health Service in 2022.   

A Biology major and Philosophy minor while a student at Washington College, Dr. Peterson competed in both rowing and swimming as a varsity athlete. She was also a “Printers Devil” for the O’Neill Literary House printing press and received a Junior Fellows Society grant to study agriculture and the impact of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in Scotland.  

Dr. Michael Powell is the owner of Affordable Dentures & Implants in Port Charlotte, FL, and is a contributing author of the book “Dental School Personal Statements: A Resource for Pre-Dental Students.” He earned his D.D.S. from the University of Maryland, where he received the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Diversity Recognition Award and was inducted into the Gorgas Odontological Honor Society for graduating in the top third of his class. He completed fellowships with the International Congress of Oral Implantologists and the American Academy of Implant Prosthodontics. Dr. Powell has also served on the Admissions Committee at the University of Maryland, Baltimore College of Dental Surgery. He graduated magna cum laude from Washington College with a degree in Art & Art History and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, and Gamma Sigma Epsilon. He was awarded the College’s Outstanding Community Service Award as a senior and held a number of leadership positions on campus, including the President of Kappa Sigma Fraternity, the Vice President of Interfraternal Council, and Senator and Secretary of Service within the SGA.    

Colin Rainey is an Orthopedic Physician Assistant at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. He previously worked as a PA for Annapolis Neurology Associates. He completed the Towson University/CCBC Essex PA Program, earning his Master’s of Physician Assistant Studies from Towson. In addition to his PA certification, he holds certifications in Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, and Basic Life Support. Mr. Rainey majored in Biology while an undergraduate student at Washington College. He was a member of the club soccer and club lacrosse teams and was active in Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Chestertown.

The Alumni (PA)nel

Dr. Edward Schulman is a renowned researcher, educator, and clinician with backgrounds in both Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine and Clinical Immunology and Allergy. He has over 40 years of experience in the field of asthma, airway research, and practice.  He was the first to describe the synthesis and release of the primary cyclooxygenase products in the human lung. He spent over three decades of research focused on the human lung mast cell, becoming the first to isolate and purify the human mast cell, which is the primary instigator of human allergies, anaphylaxsis, and allergic asthma. He has chaired three Drug Safety Review Boards in recent years and is an American Thoracic Society representative on the International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS) Scientific Advisory Board.

Dr. Schulman has a long and distinguished career in medical education at Jefferson Medical College, Hahnemann University, Allegheny University School of Medicine, and Drexel University College of Medicine (DUCOM). He served as the Director of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at Hahnemann for 25 years. He is currently a Professor Emeritus at DUCOM.

From 2003 through 2016, Dr. Schulman was named to the “Best Doctors in America” list under Asthma, Critical Care, Interstitial Lung Disease, COPD, and General Pulmonology. In 2018, 2019, and 2020 he was named to Philadelphia Magazine’s list of Top Doctors. His breakthrough research on the human lung mast cell earned him Top Research Paper honors at the 1981 American College of Chest Physicians Annual Assembly. He received a Clinical Research Scholar Award from DUCOM in 2006 and the John DiGregorio MD, PHD Outstanding Teacher Award at the Drexel Physician Assistant graduation in 2016. He was honored with the inaugural John A. Conkling, PhD Distinguished Award for Excellence in Science at Washington College’s 239th Commencement in May 2022.

Dr. Schulman received his MD from Jefferson Medical College (now known as Sidney Kimmel College of Medicine), where he was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha and served as President of the Hobart Amory Hare Internal Medicine Honor Society. He was also named honorable mention for the Internal Medicine Award at his graduation from Jefferson Medical College. He completed his Junior and Senior Residency in Internal Medicine at Duke University Medical Center, a Clinical Fellowship in Pulmonary Diseases at the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the University of California, San Francisco, and a Fellowship in Pulmonary Diseases and Clinical Immunology (Allergy) at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.  

A Chemistry major and honor society inductee, Dr. Schulman had a broad range of interests as an undergraduate at Washington College. He served as News Editor of The Elm, President of the William James Philosophy Forum, and First Chair of the Washington College Concert Band. He also performed stand-up comedy as a Spring Weekend Entertainer and was a member of the SGA. 

Dr. Stephanie Spitznagel is a General Practice Dentist at Reznik Family Dentistry in Bel Air, MD. She received her DDS from the University of Maryland, where she received the Timothy O. Heatwole Award as “the senior who has best exemplified the qualities of ethical standards, kindness, and humanitarianism” and was inducted into Gamma Pi Delta, the prosthodontic honor society. She completed a general practice residency at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and held a one-year clerkship in Special Care & Geriatrics at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. Dr. Spitznagel earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Washington College while minoring in Biology. While at WC, she was inducted into Gamma Sigma Epsilon and received the Undergraduate Chemistry Student Award from the American Chemical Society (ACS). She served as President of the College’s ACS Student Affiliates Chapter and was also a member of HOSA, an Organic Chemistry Tutor, a Biology Lab Assistant, and a Premed Assistant. Before beginning dental school, she received a Post-Baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award from the NIH and assisted in research at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research’s Biomedical Sciences Laboratory.

Dr. Brittany Palasik Torres is currently an Associate Professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) at Fort Worth College of Osteopathic Medicine, an Associate Professor of Pharmacotherapy at the UNTHSC College of Phramacy at Forth Worth, and a clinical pharmacist at Medical City Forth Worth Hospital. A graduate of Washington College's 3+4 dual-degree program with the University of Maryland's School of Pharmacy, Dr. Palasik Torres completed post-graduate residencies at West Virginia University Medicine and University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics before beginning her career as both an educator and pharmacist. 

Dr. Palasik Torres has been the lead or co-author of a number of peer-reviewed publications and has given numerous presentations on her research. She has been a Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist since 2013. Her awards and honors as an educator include being named the 2021-22 Advanced Pharmacy Practices Experiences (APPE) Faculty Preceptor of the Year.

As a student at Washington College, Dr. Palasik Torres graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Biology, was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, and was recognized with the Biology Department's Allied Health Professions Award. She was a standout field hockey player, earned All-Region and All-Centennial Conference honors and breaking several school, conference, and national records for defensive saves. She currently volunteers as a coach for the Dallas Lone Star Field Hockey Club.

For further information regrading the HPAC, please contact Director of Pre-Health, Dr. Elizabeth Yost, or Coordinator of Pre-Health Professions Programs, Phil Ticknor.