2019 NLN Conference Faculty
Laurie Kilmartin, PT, DPT is a Clinical Specialist at Rusk Rehabilitation at NYU Langone Health. She is a board certified clinical specialist in Women’s Health from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. She is CAPP-OB and CAPP-Pelvic certified by the APTA, and is a certified lymphedema therapist through the Lymphology Association of North America. She has been practicing for 14 years, serving a variety of populations including pelvic health, cancer rehabilitation, transgender, osteoporosis, and pregnancy. Specializing in Women’s and Men’s Health rehabilitation; she provides care and treatment for these patients; trains and mentors staff on all aspects of assessment and treatment for related diagnoses; and lectures frequently to physical therapy doctoral students, allied health care professionals, and the community. She is a published author in the Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy, an adjunct faculty member at New York University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, and was on the Section on Women’s Health Clinical Education Task Force from 2015-2018.
Dr. Chen is a plastic surgeon specializing in reconstructive microsurgery and supermicrosurgery. After graduating from University of California at Berkeley with honor, he completed his general surgery residency at State University of New York, and his plastic surgery fellowship at University of Illinois at Chicago. He then completed a second fellowship in advanced microsurgical training at the prestigious Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan. Dr. Chen is Board-certified in both general surgery and plastic surgery.
Dr. Chen is world-renowned for his expertise in complex reconstruction in head and neck, breast, trauma, burn, and in lymphedema. He is particularly known for his unique supermicrosurgical lymphaticovenular anastomosis for treatment of therapy-refractory lymphedema. Dr. Chen pioneered several key microsurgical and supermicrosurgical innovations in lymphedema reconstruction, including the now widely practiced “Octopus” LVA, the “Flying Squirrel” lipectomy, and the ultra-thin supermicrosurgical vascularized lymph vessel transfer techniques. He also holds record of having accomplished several national firsts including performing the first supermicrosurgical vascularized lymph vessel transplant.
Dr. Chen serves as director of UIHC Center for Lymphedema Research and Reconstruction, and treats lymphedema patients from across the country and from around the world. He assumes leadership roles in many professional plastic surgery organizations including serving as the president of the Midwestern Association of Plastic Surgeons. In 2015, Dr. Chen was recognized by the Marquis Who’s Who as one of the most influential American reconstructive plastic surgeons.
Alexa Ercolano is a writer living with primary lymphedema in her right leg. By day, she works in the marketing and communications department of Johns Hopkins Medicine; by night, she runs her website, The Lymphie Life.
Alexa launched The Lymphie Life in 2011, having felt frustrated with the lack of online resources for young adults living with lymphedema. What began as a personal blog has since evolved to include articles detailing patients' personal experiences as well as tips and tricks, research news, product reviews, and interviews with healthcare professionals and community advocates. The blog and its social media accounts enjoy a global audience of lymphedema patients and specialists alike from over 200 countries.
Alexa holds a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing from the University of Baltimore, and currently resides in Baltimore, MD. When she’s not writing about medical topics, Alexa can be found browsing local art museums or tucking into a good book – with her leg elevated, of course!
Jan Weiss is a 1977 graduate of Indiana University and completed her Doctor of Health Science degree from the University of Indianapolis in 2010. She has worked as a physical therapist at numerous locations in the United States and Germany, as she and her family often moved during the years her husband served in the military.
Jan moved to Springfield, Missouri in 1994 to continue her career in physical therapy in Outpatient Rehabilitation at CoxHealth. After receiving her MLD/CDT certification in 1996, she established the Lymphedema Clinic at Cox and until her retirement in 2019, served as the Lymphedema Resource Therapist for her hospital, while treating a variety of patients with edema and lymphedema.
Her professional interests include clinical research and teaching. She has presented studies at national and international lymphedema conferences, has taught for Klose Training since 2000, and is on the physical therapy faculty at Missouri State University. Professional accomplishments include developing the Lymphedema Life Impact Scale (LLIS), a validated quality-of-life outcome measure used in clinics across the country. Additionally, she has authored and co-authored numerous research articles in the field of lymphedema.
Leslyn Keith, OTD, OTR/L, CLT-LANA, has a Clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy with an emphasis on lymphedema and obesity. She was certified as a Lymphedema Therapist in 2000 and became LANA-certified in 2001. Dr. Keith has started four lymphedema therapy programs in California including two in private practice. In addition to treating lymphedema and other lymphatic disorders, she currently researches, consults, and lectures on lymphedema, lipedema, and obesity nationally. She is Director of Research for The Lipedema Project and an instructor for Klose Training and Consulting.
Catherine Seo, PhD is Director of Lipedema Simplified, Co-Director of The Lipedema Project, course director for MasterClass: Beyond Lipedema and a professor of psychology. She produced and directed the documentary, The Disease They Call FAT, and was one of the co-authors of the book, Lipedema-The Disease They Call FAT: An Overview for Clinicians. Catherine’s research focuses on empowering women who experience the distortions of body image applying self-compassion and other meditation techniques and also keto for lipedema. She holds a doctorate in Media Psychology. She has lipedema, lymphedema, and has struggled with obesity. Catherine brings knowledge, compassion, and humor to living with a chronic condition. She was recently certified as a Laughter Yoga Leader.
Dr. Andrea Leifer, PT, DPT, CLT, WCC is a physical therapist and certified lymphedema therapist in New York City whose mission is to empower individuals struggling with lymphedema to feel like themselves again. Hearing one patient’s story of her challenges to access treatment for lymphedema in a city as limitless as New York was a defining moment inAndrea’s early career. She ignored those who said it was too soon to specialize and carved her own path to become a lymphedema therapist less than a year after beginning her clinical practice.
Andrea has turned her own daily mindless scrolling through social media into a more focused practice that challenges her as a person and clinician. Careful not to disrupt the beautiful web built by patient advocates in the form of online lymphedema support groups, Andrea observes mostly silently the stories told by a community longing to be heard. The trust and support fostered in those groups moved Andrea to reframe her conversations with her own patients to help them feel less alone or ashamed in managing their disease. Social media provides a platform for storytelling and Andrea believes its true power comes not from its ability to influence but to inspire and to be inspired.
Derly Munoz PT.CLT.MTC.CFC.ATRIC received her Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Therapy from the Rosario University in Bogota, Colombia in 1990. She moved to the United States in 1993 and completed a postgraduate Certification in Manual Therapy in 1995 from the University of St. Augustine, before returning to Colombia. While in Colombia, she was married as well had two sons. In 1996, she moved back to the U.S. and specialized in orthopedics and sports medicine, utilizing her manual therapy skills and exercise expertise, as well as beginning to integrate aquatic therapy.
In 1998, Derly became certified in aquatic therapy from the Aquatic Therapy and Rehab Institute. In 2012, she became the team leader for the oncology rehab program at UF Health in Gainesville, Florida, and became a Certified Lymphedema Therapist. The Cancer Rehab program has more than doubled its size concerning clinic space, patients served and therapists on the team since she has been the team leader. Additionally, Derly has specialized in the evaluation and treatment of temporomandibular disorders. Her skillfulness and ingenuity encouraged her to obtain a Cranio-facial-certification with Mariano Rocabado at the University of St Augustine in 2016.
Oncology being her main passion led to the opportunity to work with Dr. Dhruv Singhal, with whom she developed a lymphedema surveillance program for the vascular lymph node transplant patients, as well as a lymphedema surveillance program beginning at pre-op for the breast cancer patients at UF. Through this work, she has been a co-author of publications on the surveillance with the transplant patients and received The Breast Journal Award in 2015. Derly has also continued to develop a Head and Neck cancer program in which she sees the patients pre-op and two weeks post/surgery to identify any signs that could indicate lymphedema. She works closely with the multidisciplinary team to maintain a continued surveillance of these post-op patients.
She has been involved as a Clinical Instructor and CCCE for Physical Therapy students from multiple universities in the country, as well as in Colombia. She has also served as a guest instructor at the University of Florida Doctorate program and a full-course instructor at Rosario University Manuela Beltran University in Colombia. Derly speaks frequently at academic, clinical and professional settings and performs clinical research that she presents and publishes nationally and internationally. Her presentations include two National Lymphedema Network conferences and one Harvard Lymphedema Symposium.
Dr. Joshua Trock, PT, DPT, CLT is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and the Director of Rehab at a locally owned and operated home health company in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Trock established the therapy department in 2011 and has since built the department to focus on primary care physical therapy with an emphasis on novel treatments for edematous and lymphostatic diseases. Dr. Trock’s current focus is on ways to improve the quality and standard of care for individuals with lymphedema, CVI, phlebolymphedema, lipolymphedema, orthopedic edema, cardiac edema, and lipedema along with advanced practices for edematous wounds. Dr. Trock received his CLT through Klose Training and Consulting in 2011 and Edematous Wound Specialty training through the Norton School of Lymphatic Therapy in 2014. When Joshua isn’t braving the south Texas heat rendering care you can find him with his wife and daughter traversing the Texas Hill Country for some good hikes and even better barbecue.
Dr. Jay Granzow is an internationally respected lymphedema surgeon. He serves as Professor of Surgery in the Division of Plastic Surgery at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, and Assistant Chief of Plastic Surgery at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. He is Board Certified both in Plastic Surgery and Head and Neck Surgery.
A pioneer in lymphedema surgery, Dr. Granzow successfully integrated lymphedema therapy with three types of lymphedema surgery including vascularized lymph node transfer (VLNT), lymphaticovenous anastomosis (LVA) and suction assisted protein lipectomy (SAPL). He has published major scientific articles on lymphedema surgery in leading medical journals. Dr. Granzow is a frequent lecturer at U.S. and international conferences, educating patients, therapists and physicians on the latest advances in lymphedema surgery as part of a holistic approach to lymphedema care. Dr. Granzow provides lymphedema treatment for patients in his private medical practice located in the Los Angeles area.
Guenter Klose, MLD/CDT Certified Instructor, CLT-LANA received his initial training in Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) and Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) at the Foeldi Clinic in 1984 and became certified as Instructor for MLD/CDT in 1986. He came to the United States in 1990 to assist Dr. Robert Lerner in establishing the first CDT treatment centers in the U.S.
In 2003, Guenter established his own lymphedema training company, Klose Training, dedicated to providing the highest-quality live and online lymphedema therapy continuing education. He is a leading advocate for high-quality lymphedema treatment and has lectured extensively in the United States and abroad at conferences, therapist and physicians' meetings, and lymphedema support groups. Guenter is a member of the ISL and a founding member of the Lymphology Association of North America (LANA).
Jean LaMantia is a registered dietitian, cancer survivor, and co-author of the newly released The Complete Lymphedema Management and Nutrition Guide, author of the best selling Essential Cancer Treatment Guide and Cookbook and creator of the Cancer Risk Reduction Guide. She provides nutrition counselling for individuals and is a regular speaker on topics of cancer risk reduction and nutrition for lymphedema. You can find out more about her and her speaking, personalized nutrition sessions and read her Cancer Bites blog on her website http://www.jeanlamantia.com/
Alphonse G. Taghian, MD, PHD, FASTRO
Professor of Radiation Oncology, Harvard Medical School
Breast Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital
Director, Lymphedema Research Program,
Dr. Alphonse Taghian, Professor of Radiation Oncology at Harvard Medical School, earned his Medical Degree from Alexandria University in Egypt. He completed his residency in Radiation Oncology in France, after which he pursued clinical and research fellowships at Gustave-Roussy Institut, Paris.
After obtaining his PhD in Radiobiology from Paris XI University, Dr Taghian was appointed as staff in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is now the Director of Lymphedema Research Program and Co-Director of the Breast Cancer Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital.
An internationally recognized leader in breast radiation oncology, in particular in the field of Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (APBI), Dr. Taghian has published more than 180 peer reviewed articles, general reviews and chapters. He has edited 2 books, one of them on the multidisciplinary approach in the treatment of breast cancer. He was awarded several NIH grants totaling around $2.7 Million for research in breast cancer related lymphedema. His main interests include screening and early intervention for lymphedema, methods to minimize cardiac exposure to radiation, accelerated partial breast irradiation and indications for post-mastectomy radiation.
Carmen Recupero, BS, LPTA, CMT, CLT, is a Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant and Certified Massage Therapist, with a specialty certification in lymphatic therapy. She has over 25 years of experience in leadership roles with hospitals/health systems, long-term care, health care start-ups, and a principal at a continuing education and consulting business. In 2010, Carmen created Monarch Continuing Education, one of only seven nationwide training programs for allied health certifications, and has taught hundreds of students in her lymphatic certification courses. She has been a presenter for Cross Country/ Vyne Education since 2008, lecturing on various topics in healthcare management in leadership.
From 2008-2015, Carmen was the owner/manager of Lymphatic Care Specialists, LLC, a full service oncology clinic serving patients in Virginia. Carmen also worked for Kindred Healthcare from 1996-2005. During her time with Kindred, Carmen developed and grew employee development programs starting with on-boarding and expanding the continuum to develop employees as leaders as well as C-Suite executive coaching, in addition to providing strategic vision and oversight of a 90 bed comprehensive rehabilitation unit by adding and expanding outpatient and home health services.
Carmen is a MBA graduate at UVA/Darden School of Business and earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Management from California College of Health Sciences, National City, California, and an Associate of Science in Physical Therapy (Magna Cum Laude) from Jefferson College of Health Sciences, Roanoke, Virginia. She completed a 140-hour certification course in Manual Lymphatic Drainage and Complex Decongestive Physiotherapy through the Upledger Institute. She is also a WCC certified wound care specialist through the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy.
Mrs. Recupero continues to further her education annually by attending national and international seminars to stay current with the latest research findings on lymphedema. Carmen studied at the Vodder School in Austria in July of 2014 to advance her skills. Her training program was recognized by the National Lymphedema Network in 2010, and she looks forward to the continued development of her programs to educate and train medical professionals in order that they might better help people with lymphatic disorders. Carmen currently lives in Virginia with her husband and 2 children. She enjoys traveling, hiking, and outdoor activities.
Erica Demarch is the founder of Step and Connect and the inventor of Balance Matters®.
After graduating with a Master's degree in Physical Therapy from Boston University in 2002, Erica started her career at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in New Jersey where she worked primarily with the neurological population and specialized in traumatic brain injury.
In 2006, she moved to New York City where she continued to build upon her neurological expertise by working with the geriatric and multitrauma population at NewYork-Presbyterian / Weill Cornell Medical Center. In 2010, she moved to Denver to work at South Valley Physical Therapy, a specialized vestibular and neurology clinic.
In 2008, Erica became certified in vestibular rehabilitation through Emory University and in 2009 completed the National Parkinson Foundation Allied Team Training. As a trained Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery clinician expert, Erica teaches specialized exercise classes with the Parkinson Association of the Rockies.
She is a certified instructor in ‘A Matter of Balance’ which is an evidence-based falls prevention program that was developed at Boston University for older adults who are limited in activity due to fear of falling.
Erica is also a certified instructor of ‘N’Balance’ which is an evidence-based falls prevention program developed by the Consortium for Older Adult Wellness. This system was designed using the same principles of human kinetics that inspired FallProof!, a balance program created by California State University, Fullerton.
She has been treating clients with balance and walking problems in a wide variety of settings for 15 years. Her clinical expertise in neurorehabilitation has led her to found Step and Connect, a company that offers educational programs and clinical services geared towards promoting balance. Erica has taken all her experience, knowledge and inspiration from her patients over the years to develop and manufacture the product, Balance Matters®.
Erica speaks at local support groups for people with Parkinson’s disease on the benefits of exercise and is currently active in research at Regis University.
Karen Wonders, Ph.D. is the Founder and Director of Maple Tree Cancer Alliance®. She first became interested in Cancer Exercise Rehabilitation in 2003, while earning her doctoral degree in Exercise Physiology at the University of Northern Colorado. There, she became certified as a Cancer Exercise Specialist and worked at the Rocky Mountain Cancer Rehabilitation Institute as a cancer exercise trainer. It was through this work experience that she was able to witness first-hand the positive effect that supervised exercise and proper nutrition can have on the life of an individual being treated with cancer.
In 2006, Dr. Wonders moved with her family to Dayton, Ohio. Currently, Dr. Wonders works as a Professor of Exercise Science at Wright State University, and serves as the Director of the Sports Science program. Dr. Wonders remains an active researcher in the area of exercise and cancer treatment-related pain and neuropathy and has given over 100 presentations on the national, state, and local levels as well as authored several professional manuscripts, books, and book chapters on this topic.
Finally, Dr. Wonders also holds a Master’s degree in Ministry from Cedarville University. With this degree, she hopes to provide Christ-centered encouragement to those who are battling cancer.
Karen Ashforth began her career in occupational therapy in 1981 and initially worked in acute, home health, outpatient, and adult day health settings. She served as a rehabilitation clinical specialist in two of these settings and managed a multi-disciplinary staff of 16 occupational, physical, and speech therapists and social workers. Karen became Board Certified in Hand Therapy in 1993. That area of practice led her to lymphedema. She completed her lymphedema certification in 2003.
Karen’s passions in lymphedema practice are equipment innovation and development, treatment of underlying fibrosis and inflammation, and assessment of complex and difficult cases. She is considered an expert in clinical use of pneumatic compression and has participated in development of numerous devices and appliances. She currently works at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Stockton, California, providing inpatient and outpatient lymphedema treatment. Karen also has a private consulting practice.
Karen speaks frequently at academic, clinical, and professional settings and performs clinical research that she presents and publishes nationally and internationally. Her presentations have included four International Lymphology Congress meetings: 2017 Spain, 2015 USA, 2011 Sweden, and 2009 Australia, as well as medical conferences in the United States, Canada, and Israel. She is an adjunct faculty member with the University of the Pacific in the Doctoral Physical Therapy Program.
Karen has been published in: Lymphology Journal (USA), AOTA Practice Journal (USA), OTAC Journal (USA), Pathways (Canada) and Journal of Lymphoedema (UK.)
Emad Abdallah PT, CLT- LANA, CES is a Physiotherapist & Certified Lymphedema Therapist at National Center for Cancer Care and Research in Doha, Qatar. He received his bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy from Cairo university, Egypt in 2005 and has been working mainly with Oncology, Hematology & Lymphedema patients and providing lectures to his community about Lymphedema and its management for over 12 years.
In 2012, he completed his initial lymphedema certification and received his advanced Lymphedema Certification in 2016 from Klosetraining Center at Foeldi clinic in Germany. He obtained his Edema Specialist certification (CES) from the American Physiotherapy Association (APTA) Oncology section in Michigan, USA in 2017 and became LANA certified in 2019.
As a member of the International project for Axillary Web Syndrome Assessment & treatment protocol, he participated in a published poster for the protocol outcome in Asia Pacific Lymphology Conference in Darwin-Australia in 2016.
In his effort to spread the awareness for the lymphedema and its management, he has presented at various national & international conferences and has led many workshops. Most recently at the 8th International Lymphedema Framework conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands in June 2018, he presented about establishing the 1st dedicated Lymphedema management clinic & its impact on the population of Qatar.
He won the grand prize award in poster presentation competition at the 2nd Doha Heidelberg Research conference in Doha, Qatar in February 2019 about constructing a model of care for postoperative Breast Cancer related Lymphedema & Functional impairments.
He also arranged the 1st Walk to fight Lymphedema in the Middle East which took place in Doha, Qatar on March 16th, 2019 in recognition of March as Lymphedema awareness month.
Dr. Kathleen Francis is the Medical Director and a Course Instructor for Klose Training & Consulting, LLC in Lafayette, Colorado. She graduated from the University of Medicine and Dentistry-New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ in 1989.
Dr. Francis retired from Lymphedema Physician Services, her private practice specializing in lymphedema, in September, 2018, but beginning in January, 2019, she will serve as the Lymphedema Specialist in the Center for Breast Health and Disease Management at the St. Barnabas Ambulatory Care Center. There, she will see patients with, or at risk for, breast cancer-related lymphedema.
Dr. Francis’ past clinical positions include Director of Outreach Services, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, 1996–2004; Clinical Director, Kessler-Lerner Lymphedema Services, 1997–2004; Clinical Director, ALS Clinic Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, 1994–2004; Clinical Director, Lymphedema Treatment Center, St. Barnabas Ambulatory Care Center, 2004 – 2008.
Dr. Francis is a member of the St. Barnabas Breast Program Leadership Committee and the Cancer Committee. Until 2016, she was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the National Lymphedema Network.
Dr. Francis draws from many years’ experience treating patients with lymphedema. Among her numerous awards and honors, she was selected for “Best Doctors of New York”, New York magazine, “New Jersey’s Best Doctors” NJ Monthly magazine, Castle Connolly New York Metro Area Top Doctors, Inside New Jersey magazine Top Doctors, and Best Doctors in America database. She was named by U.S. News & World Report as among the top 1% of physicians in her specialty.
Dr. Francis has lectured extensively in numerous clinical and academic settings across the nation, including at hospitals, patient seminars, webinars, and numerous medical conferences including the biennial National Lymphedema Network conferences.
Dr. Francis is a member of the International Society of Lymphology, the American Lymphedema Framework Project, the American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, and the American Medical Association. She is also a Fellow with the American Association of Electrodiagnostic Medicine.
At the University of Florida, I serve as the Clinical Lead for the UF Health Breast Center and a member of the UF Health Cancer Committee. I play an active role both clinically and academically. I provide leading care in breast health, breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, as well as assessment and counseling of high breast cancer risk women. I serve as the Clinical Lead of the lymphedema surveillance program at the University of Florida, and have instituted the use of lymphovenous bypass procedures to reduce the incidence of arm lymphedema. To complement my career as a surgeon, I am actively involved in furthering the education of our future surgeons and medical students. I serve as a leader on the Admissions Committee for the University of Florida College of Medicine. As well as being the former Associate Clerkship Director for the Department of General Surgery and the Educational Lead of the breast, melanoma, sarcoma, and endocrine services at the University of Florida
Bryan Groleau has been a lymphedema and wound therapist since 2003 with experience in breast cancer-related upper-extremity lymphedema and axillary web syndrome; lower-extremity obesity-related lymphedema and lipedema; head, neck, and facial lymphedema; wound care; stage III elephantiasis; geriatric mixed edemas; lymphatic filariasis; and lymphedema in the home-health setting. Throughout his career, Bryan has treated extensively in both outpatient and home-care settings. He has managed teams of lymphedema and wound therapists for multiple clinics and home health agencies.
Currently, Bryan is a National Senior Clinical Education Manager for mediUSA and also serves on the medi for help medical-missions project to treat and educate on lymphedema and wound care for those with lymphatic filariasis in Léogâne, Haiti.
Educating clinicians on advanced lymphedema and wound care is a passion of Bryan’s. His vast experience in various settings, scenarios, and with atypical diagnoses, will empower clinicians to feel confident when treating wounds and lymphedema, no matter their level of experience.
Additional Faculty: Cheryl L. Brunelle, Arin Greene, Michael Alatriste, Robyn Bjork, Jen Norton, Kathe Hotz, Amy Rivera, Terrence Hicks, Brittany Williams, Veronica Seneriz, Kathryn Davis, Deborah E. Crow, John Beckwith, Cristina Hankins, Judith Whatley, Bill Lobosco, Suzie Ehmann, Julia Osborne, Jeannette Zucker, Karen Herbst, Antoine Louveau, Matthew Carmody, Christine Porsche, Dhruv Singhal, Mindy Bowen, Jodi Winicor.