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Addiction Medicine Fellows

Welcome to the incoming Addiction Medicine Fellows for 2022-2023

Parth Saraiya, MD

Residency: Morehouse School of Medicine
Medical School: MD, VCU School of Medicine

Primary Specialty: Preventive Medicine

What are your areas of interest in addiction medicine?  Addiction Medicine is really an interdisciplinary specialty that is closely aligned with prevention- as by addressing patients’ substance use disorders, we partner with patients to achieve their goal of living healthier lives and preventing deaths, using the harm reduction approach. One of my interests is in the screening of substance use disorders, and looking both at population level epidemiological trends and individual patient level, and also addressing disparities in care of patients. I am also interested in treating patients’ co-morbid psychiatric illnesses and how they impact their care in addiction. Often times, we are the only clinicians that patients with substance use disorders see, and so I am interested in providing a holistic and comprehensive care to patients with substance use disorders.

What led you to choose this fellowship program? 

I was drawn to this program because of its commitment to provide addiction medicine care to every corner of North Carolina, making care more accessible to every patient, not just those who live around here. The hub and spoke model, that was created by Dr. Robyn Jordan, our program director, is an innovative approach, and I hope to utilize and implement this approach where I go. I was also drawn here because of supportive faculty who push us to do our very best and become lifelong mentors who we can reach out to at every stage of our careers. Motivational Interviewing, pioneered and taught by Dr. Roy Stein, one of our faculty, is also emphasized here, and it is a valuable skill that is useful in pretty much any specialty, and allows us to foster a therapeutic patient physician relationship, especially in our field, where patients face a lot of stigma and barriers. We also have an opportunity to work in an OTP and an inpatient detoxification program. Furthermore, we have opportunity to work closely in a team of peer support, counselors, social work, and staff who are all very collegial. I also saw that the program strives to take in fellows from every specialty, from Preventive Medicine to Psychiatry, and each specialty brings in their own perspective, creating a dynamic learning environment. Lastly, I was drawn here due to the reputation of UNC Health, which is one of the best health care systems in the country to train at.

What things do you like about the Triangle area? We are located near the center of our state, and so it the area is very accessible. This is one of the fastest growing areas in the country, translating into good restaurants, shopping and living. There are also a lot of gardens, parks and museums which one can enjoy in the mild weather of Triangle.

Fun Fact about me:  One of my hobby/interest is in art and its intersection with history, and also learning about different cultures… I often ponder how civilizations existed 2000 years ago..!

Denise Torres, MD

Residency: Meharry Medical College
Medical School: MD, Howard University College of Medicine

Primary Specialty: Preventive Medicine

What are your areas of interest in addiction medicine? Clinical interests include racial justice and gender differences in substance use disorders, development of effective treatments for substance use disorders in special populations such as women, communities of color and people with substance use and cooccurring psychiatric disorders.

What led you to choose this fellowship program? I chose the UNC Hospitals at Chapel Hill Addiction medicine fellowship for the diverse exposure to multiple clinical settings -from inpatient consults to continuity of care clinic, OTP and IOP’s.  The emphasis of our clinical experiences is on enhancing the fellows learning experience.  In addition, the wide array of underserved patient populations served from Appalachia to historically underserved communities of color have served as an invaluable experience in maximizing my interests in community outreach to underserved populations.  My training has provided a spectrum of experiences from clinical research, community partner experiences to working on creating content for the North Carolina Medical Board’s pain and substance use CME requirements task while maintaining my clinical training.  I feel uniquely prepared to serve my patients in the inpatient and outpatient setting, as well as continue public health research and advocacy.

What things do you like about the Triangle area? I am fitness enthusiast with a love for spending time outdoors.  There is no shortage of peaceful escapes and picturesque trails in the triangle area ideal for running and biking.

Fun Fact about me: I am a proud patient ambassador & sponsor for several children to receive medical care at Shriner’s Children’s Hospital.

Madeline McCrary, MD

Residency: Christiana Care Health System /UNC Health
Medical School: MD, University of North Carolina

Primary Specialty: Internal Medicine/Infectious Diseases

What are your areas of interest in addiction medicine? I am interested in the intersection of infectious diseases and addiction medicine and the ways we can leverage hospitalizations for IDU-associated infections as “reachable moments,” both in helping patients realize their substance related goals, but also in addressing other health issues – the possibilities are endless! I hope to use my dual training in ID and addiction (an emerging sub-specialty field in ID) to provide patient-centered clinical care for this population, develop and improve inpatient/outpatient multidisciplinary approaches in care and have a particular interest in low-barrier Hepatitis C treatment including the inpatient initiation of DAAs, utilizing telehealth and Hepatitis C in pregnancy.

What led you to choose this fellowship program? I was an ID fellow at UNC and worked closely with the Addiction Medicine team through an informal rotation during my first year in ID, on inpatient consults and outpatient clinic (so many mutual patients). We also collaborated to develop an inpatient Hepatitis C treatment and evaluation telehealth program, which has been pretty successful though I may be biased. I wanted to stay at UNC for further training because of the excellent mentorship, multidisciplinary team approach, variety in training sites and to continue to develop the sustainability of my prior initiatives.

What things do you like about the Triangle area? I love the Triangle! I live in Durham, which is only a 15 minute drive away. There are great breweries, restaurants, an AWESOME music scene and of course fantastic beaches and the mountains nearby.

Fun Fact about me: I love to scuba dive and will gladly join any diving adventure (or really any adventure)

Uma Pendam, MD

Residency: UNC Health Southeastern
Medical School: MD, St. George’s University School of Medicine

Primary Specialty: Family Medicine

What are your areas of interest in addiction medicine? During my family medicine residency training, it was apparent how needed addiction medicine resources are in local communities. I would like to continue expanding my expertise and truly provide broad spectrum care to my patients. The heart of Addiction Medicine lies in empathy and understanding who the patient is as a whole. As a family medicine physician, I thought I was practicing this, but through this journey there is more I can do and learn. Learning and exploring this field has re-ignited my initial passion for medicine.

What led you to choose this fellowship program? The fellowship consists of various clinical settings including the hospital, and multiple community addiction treatment facilities. Everyone in the program is easily approachable, from the faculty to care coordinators, Peer support, and the Fellows. The fellowship class size is robust, all of whom have varying backgrounds which enriches my learning. The faculty is incredibly knowledgeable and meets you at your learning level. Overall, it is a collaborative environment, and I am looking forward to learning in this supportive setting.

What things do you like about the Triangle area? There’s something for everyone here. The climate is comfortable year-round, so I can be outdoors during all seasons. Things I personally enjoy are trail running, concerts at the Music Pavilion, various gyms/exercise classes, and the unlimited grocery store options. There is always something to do here, with the bonus of no traffic. I am from Northern Virginia so in terms of traffic everywhere is better.

Fun Fact about me: I was an extra for the “Dark Knight Rises” film, if you squint you can see me in the football stadium sequence.

Christopher Thompson, MD

Residency: Piedmont Columbus Regional
Medical School: MD, Xavier University School of Medicine

Primary Specialty: Family Medicine

What are your areas of interest in addiction medicine?  I want to combine my work in Hospice and Palliative Medicine with Addiction Medicine.  I got my DEA X-waiver and found the training fascinating.  I took additional courses to learn more and more.  This led me to think about a change in specialty and to the UNC Fellowship in Addiction Medicine. Learning about Addiction Medicine has gotten me excited and energized.  I feel with this Addiction Medicine training, I can impact my patients, their families, and our community.

What led you to choose this fellowship program? I was familiar with the UNC Fellowship due to working in the area.  After I connected with the Program Director, I saw the importance of Addition Medicine.  The faculty is amazing and so knowledgeable and connected in the field of Addition Medicine.  The diversity of the program and scope of rotations available are unmatched in any other program.

What things do you like about the Triangle area?  The Triangle has so much to offer.  I have lived here for 7 years and love it. The Triangle has great food, shopping, weather, schools/education, healthcare, and recreational activities. The Triangle is always listed as the nation’s “Best Places to Live” for a reason.  It truly is a great place to live.

Fun Fact about me: I worked at the Pentagon for 5 years as a systems engineer.  Then I became a National Registered Paramedic.  That sparked my interest in medicine and sent me on this wild journey.  I can also solve a Rubik’s Cube in less than 2 minutes.

Frank Oliver, DO

Residency: Jefferson Northeast
Medical School: Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine

Primary Specialty: Family Medicine

What are your areas of interest in addiction medicine?  As a primary care physician, I sit at the hub of an interdisciplinary and dispersed healthcare field. Part of my job is to treat the more common healthcare disorders while understanding all the treatments available for patients. I am interested in specializing and helping patients from my primary care office find, enter, and benefit from addiction treatment.

What led you to choose this fellowship program? After interviewing at this program, I was immediately impressed by how friendly everyone was, how engaging and dedicated the faculty was, and how everyone genuinely cared about your growth in the medical profession.

What things do you like about the Triangle area?  The Triangle has the vibrant large city with a small-charm charm atmosphere. It is home to elite universities, top of the line health care, rich culture and history, comfortable weather, and a great food scene.

Fun Fact about me: I have a (very) distant family relation to Jorge Posada (old catcher for the Yankees).

Oscar Quintana, MD

Residency: Baylor College of Medicine
Medical School: MD, University of Texas Health Science Center Houston

Primary Specialty: Anesthesiology

What are your areas of interest in addiction medicine: My areas of interest in Addiction Medicine is the treatment of Opiate Use Disorder in Pregnancy, treatment of Cocaine Use Disorder.

What led me to choose this fellowship? I chose UNC because it is very diverse and

inclusive as well as a prestigious university.

What do you like about the Triangle area? I love the topography, the trees, and lots of biking paths and walking paths.

Fun facts about me? I am into fitness, biking, and spirituality. I like to learn foreign languages for fun!