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23 NYC Health + Hospitals Doctors Recognized for Their Outstanding Achievements at Annual Doctors’ Day Celebration

Doctors across the health system in various specialties from primary care to surgery are nominated by their Chief Medical Officer for the recognition

May 09, 2023

Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Machelle Allen (bottom row, center) and the Doctors Day 2023 honorees (Credit: NYC Health + Hospitals)

NYC Health + Hospitals today celebrated its Doctors’ Day and the 23 doctors recognized for their outstanding achievements, such as doubling capacity for women’s health services at a NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health site, founding an LGBTQ+ health center at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, and increasing flu and HPV vaccination rates among adolescents. The doctors were nominated by their facility’s Chief Medical Officer to qualify for the achievement. President and CEO Dr. Mitchell Katz and Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Machelle Allen joined staff at The View at Battery Park to recognize outstanding doctors in the nation’s largest municipal health system. Biographies of the 23 doctors recognized in this year’s event are available here.

“These doctors stood out among their peers for their dedication to their work and their commitment to closing equity gaps,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “They exemplify the mission of NYC Health + Hospitals to serve all New Yorkers.”

“This year’s Doctors Day honorees have experience working in countries around the world, and they have brought that passion to NYC Health + Hospitals to bring us the best in patient care,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Machelle Allen, MD. “We are so lucky to count them among our own. Congratulations to the honorees!”

Honorees include the following:

  • Dr. Deborah Ottenheimer joined NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Morrisania in the summer of 2021 as its Director of Women’s Health Services, and she has already nearly doubled the program’s capacity for patient care. Her career includes providing forensic medical evaluations of women seeking asylum; abortion services at Planned Parenthood here in New York; acute care for earthquake survivors in Haiti, as well as lectures to local midwives; a free clinic for uninsured survivors of Hurricane Sandy in Far Rockaway; development of evaluation for pediatric mass rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo; development of a multi-specialty clinic for women affected by genitalia mutilation; and the establishment of a refugee health program for survivors of torture.
  • Dr. Robert Anwar Pitts founded what’s now known as NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue’s Pride Health Center, which now cares for nearly 400 LGBTQ patients, 20 percent of whom are uninsured, 20 percent of whom speak a primary language other than English, and 80 percent of whom identify as either Black or Latino. In five years of care, none of them have become HIV-positive thanks to a suite of innovative and empathetic approaches, including a clinical trial for long-acting injectable PrEP.
  • Dr. Thomas Richardson has increased flu and HPV vaccination rates among adolescents over the last three years as the supervising physician at three of NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health’s school-based health sites. He also started and coordinates Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Sydenham’s Reach Out and Read literacy support program.

The full list of NYC Health + Hospitals Doctors’ Day 2023 Award recipients:


NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Belvis
Karam Abdul Karim Al-Shaikhly, MD
Primary Care Physician

NYC Health + Hospitals/Correctional Health Services
Sady R. Sultan, MD

NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi
Steven R. Hahn, MD, FACP
Attending Physician

NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln
Laura Z. Hyde, MD, MPH
Attending Surgeon

NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Morrisania
Deborah Ottenheimer, MD, FACOG
Director, Women’s Health Services

NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx
Yvonne Man-Yee Choi, MD, FACOG
Director of Labor and Delivery


NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, East New York
Evlyn Brown, MD, ABFM
Primary Care Physician

NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County
Michelle L. Feinberg, MD
Attending Neurosurgeon and Medical Director of Neurosciences ICU

NYC Health + Hospitals/McKinney
Beena Alexander, MD
Attending Physician

NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health
Rafael Fazylov, MD, FACS
Associate Chairman, Department of Surgery

NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull
Lisa D. Brabham, MD, FACOG
Director of Gynecology


NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue
Robert Pitts, MD
Medical Director, HIV Prevention and Pride Center

NYC Health + Hospitals/Carter
Pappathi Anbalagan, MD
Interim Deputy CMO and Nursing Facility Medical Director

NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler
Howard J. Finger, DO
Attending Physician

NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Gouverneur
Anthony J. Dedousis, MD
Chief of Integrative Psychiatry

NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Sydenham
Thomas Richardson, MD
Attending Physician, Pediatrics

NYC Health + Hospitals/Gouverneur
Shilpi Ahluwalia, DMD

NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem
Vel Sivapalan, MD, FACP
Director, Infectious Diseases Fellowship Training Program

NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan
Savi Mushiyev, MD, FACC
Chief, Division of Cardiology


NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst
Guandong Liu, MD, FACP, FASAM
nding Physician, Internal Medicine

NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens
Debra Ann Ferman, MD
Attending Physician, Queens Cancer Center


Julie Myers, MD, MPH
Deputy Chief Medical Officer

NYC Health + Hospitals/Simulation Center
Daniel Lugassy, MD
Emergency Medicine Attending Physician and Director of Simulation

MEDIA CONTACT: 212-788-3339; PressOffice@nychhc.org

About NYC Health + Hospitals
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest municipal health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 43,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org and stay connected on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.