Primary Care Residents

The diversity of backgrounds and experiences amongst Weill Cornell Primary Care residents fosters a rich dynamic in which residents learn from each other on both professional and personal levels. All share an underlying dedication to primary care that unites our "Primary Care family" in a special way.


Dr. John Debella
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John Debella, M.D.

Hi and welcome to Cornell PC! I was born and raised just a train ride away from NYC in the scenic Hudson Valley. I left for the first time to attend Johns Hopkins University, where I majored in Public Health Studies and developed passions for infectious disease and health disparities. Upon graduating, (as a first-generation college grad!) I opted for a gap year, where I returned home to the Hudson Valley to work in HIV/STI testing and prevention at a local non-profit. I eventually landed at Brown for medical school, and I continued investing in my interests through researching disparities in PrEP access and providing medical care for Providence’s undocumented community.

I ranked Weill Cornell #1 because I found it to be filled with the most genuine, down-to-earth people I encountered throughout the interview trail. I knew I wanted to prioritize “fit” and also that I would thrive caring for & being part of the incredibly diverse population of New York City. Furthermore, the primary care track provided exactly what I was looking for in a program--flexibility, emphasis on ambulatory training, and a smaller community within the greater residency.

In my future career, I hope to strike a balance between my interests in ID, primary care, public health, and community outreach. I also have a particular interest in HIV primary care, which I plan to add as my second outpatient clinic next year. In my free time, I can often be found tending to my house plants & aquarium fish, taking long walks with coffee in hand, or working to explore every cultural enclave within the borders of NYC.

Dr. Simone Prather
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Simone Prather, M.D.

Hello! I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon where I lived with my younger sister and parents through high school. For college I headed two hours south to Eugene, OR, where I majored in human physiology at the University of Oregon. In college I became a teaching assistant and discovered a deep love for teaching. This inspired me to apply to Teach for America, and I was assigned a position in Baltimore, MD. In Baltimore I taught middle school science for two years and also received my Master’s degree in education. Next I moved back to Eugene, OR where I taught for a year at an alternative school for at-risk youth. Working with students in marginalized and oppressed communities allowed me to gain a better understanding of the systemic inequities that shape our education system and society at large. Through this experience I decided that a career in medicine would be the best opportunity for me to address these inequities by combining my love for education and interest in human health. I attended medical school at Oregon Health and Science University, where I found a passion for Internal Medicine, diagnostic reasoning, medical education and health equity. When it came time to decide how and where to continue my training I was instantly attracted to the primary care program at Cornell. This program combines the best facets of a traditional IM residency training with a close-knit community and focused attention on outpatient medical training. On interview day I was so impressed by how happy the residents from this program appeared, and I am happy to report that it's true! A few interests I hope to pursue during residency are health equity/justice, medical education, interprofessional team building, palliative care and geriatrics in addition to becoming an excellent primary care provider. Outside of the hospital you can find me getting outdoors as much as possible and exploring this incredible city and the communities that call it home! I love to rock climb, walk/hike/run, go to art galleries, catch Broadway shows and eat anything and everything. I look forward to sharing these experiences with everyone who joins the primary care family!

Dr. Stephanie Tu
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Stephanie Tu, M.D.

Hi, my name is Stephanie, and I was born and raised in Southern California. I attended the University of California, Irvine where I studied Human Biology and was part of what is now called the Campuswide Honors Collegium. I took one year off between college and medical school working as a medical assistant and scribe for a gastroenterology practice. I then moved to the East Coast to attend medical school at Yale School of Medicine. Cornell Primary Care was my top choice for a number of reasons, including the second continuity clinic, assistant ambulatory chief resident experience, and diverse patient population, but more importantly, the warmth, camaraderie, and opportunities for mentorship I felt from the residents and faculty that I met on my interview day. I am interested in either outpatient/home-based palliative care and caregiver support versus community-based participatory research in the rheumatology realm. I enjoy spending time with friends and family, reading, writing, trying out new restaurants, gaming, and hiking. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions and welcome to Cornell's Primary Care program!

Dr. Alice Zhao
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Alice Zhao, M.D.

Hi! My name is Alice. I'm originally from Phoenix, Arizona, but I moved to the East Coast for college at Yale and haven't left! After graduating from Yale with a degree in Molecular, Cellular and Development Biology, I attended Weill Cornell Medical College and moved across the block for residency. My main clinical interest is endocrinology, specifically diabetes prevention and management. During medical school, I conducted research in diabetes education as well as lifestyle interventions, such as how the order of food can affect glycemic control. I'm also interested in medical education and the medical humanities, especially non-fiction writing. I chose the PC track specifically because of its focus on outpatient clinical work, the customizability of the track, and the close-knit community and support the track offers. Outside of medicine, I like reading fiction and The New Yorker, eating at the many, many restaurants in NYC, and taking walks around the city.


Dr. Isha Lamba
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Isha Lamba, M.D.

Hi! I’m Isha. I was born in Mumbai, India where I spent the first eight years of my life before my family relocated to Doha, Qatar. I attended med school at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar and moved to New York City for residency at Weill Cornell. Having spent different phases of my life in such vastly different places, I’ve always loved talking to people and getting to learn about their cultures and experiences. This is what drew me to the diverse city of NYC, and to the wonderful Primary Care program at Weill Cornell.

Although I started off as an intern in the Categorical track, I quickly found myself yearning for my ambulatory blocks. My favorite aspect of these blocks was having the opportunity to form longitudinal relationships with my patients, learn about their lives outside of the hospital and empower them with knowledge about their health. I am so happy with my decision to switch into the Primary Care track! The warmth within the PC family, the individualized mentorship, attention to med-ed and engagement in community activities make me feel fulfilled every day.

Outside of the hospital, I enjoy running in Central Park, painting, creative writing and dancing. This year, I hope to start skating again and learn how to salsa!

Dr. Christina Pugliese
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Christina Pugliese, M.D.

Hi there! I grew up in Ottawa and went to undergrad at McMaster University where I studied Biology and Psychology. After graduating, I spent six months backpacking in India, Nepal, and Southeast Asia, then worked for a year as a high school science teacher in Guatemala. I then worked for two years in clinical research before attending medical school at George Washington University. As a medical student, I was part of the global health track and took a year off to do malaria research in West and Central Africa. What drew me most to the Primary Care Program at Cornell was its extended ambulatory curriculum, focus on research, and the genuine warmth and support I felt from the residents and faculty I met on my interview day. I am interested in global health, infectious diseases, and working with vulnerable populations. Outside of the hospital, I enjoy reading, doing crosswords, cooking, drinking coffee, and going on walks in Central Park with my husband.

Dr. Rachel Tenney
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Rachel Tenney, M.D.

Hello and welcome to Cornell Primary Care! I grew up an hour and a half outside of San Francisco in Gilroy- the garlic capital of the world! I attended University of California, Berkeley for undergrad, where I majored in Integrative Biology and minored in Anthropology. After college, I taught middle school science in San Jose, California through Teach for America. After teaching, I spent two years conducting qualitative and qualitative research at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. Hearing the stories and wisdom of study participants sealed the deal on a career in medicine for me. I attended the University of California, San Francisco for medical school, and was drawn to the Cornell Primary Care program for residency, both because it is located in vibrant NYC, and because within minutes of meeting the program directors and current residents I felt the sense of community and support that characterizes the Cornell Primary Care program. In my future career, I hope to work with underserved populations and be involved with medical education. Clinically, I am broadly interested in addiction medicine, pain and symptom management, and the management of chronic diseases. Outside of medicine, I love discovering new coffee shops, bookstores, thrift shops, and parks (my favorite isn't actually Central Park!) on long walks around the city. I look forward to meeting you and welcoming you to the Cornell Primary Care program!

Dr. Jared Silberlust
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Jared Silberlust, M.D., M.P.H.

Hi! I'm Jared--I'm from Long Island, NY, and I'm thrilled with the opportunity to train here at NYP-Cornell. I studied engineering, medicine, and public health down at the University of Miami, and I hope to combine these disciplines to improve patient care in my career as a physician. I believe that improvements in medical technologies, like telemedicine, mobile health, and electronic medical records, have the ability to target the upstream determinants of health and reduce disparities in care delivery. I ranked Cornell's Primary Care program at the top of my list because of the dedicated mentorship, structured project opportunities, and small-group feel (with an awesome group of people!) within our large academic medical center. On my time off, I'll be watching my teams lose at a Mets or Jets game, hanging out with my family and friends doing things in the city, or flying down to south Florida to play 18 holes.

Dr. Linda Yu
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Linda Yu, M.D.

Hi there! I grew up in the Bay Area in California and lived in San Francisco prior to making the inevitable cross-country move to experience – firsthand – the vibrancy of New York City. I chose Cornell’s Primary Care track because I felt, even from a virtual interview day, that the program was centered around tailoring our residency experience to our unique interests. I was also looking for a smaller community within the residency to thoughtfully process the complexities and challenges of learning and practicing medicine. Within medicine, I love thinking about everything from immigrant health, to the intricacies of patient-provider communication, to the ways that we as physicians can best assure that our patients are receiving care that is aligned with their values. Outside of medicine, I can usually be found exploring the city by foot, looking for small businesses to support, ordering dishes off menus I’ve never tried before, and in time, soaking in the music and arts scene this city is known for.


Dr. Megan Creasman
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Megan Creasman, M.D.

I grew up in Berkeley, CA and studied Neurobiology and Modern Thought & Literature at Stanford before attending UC San Francisco School of Medicine. After discovering Cornell's Primary Care program I knew I had no choice but to pick up and move across the country. I was drawn to the opportunities to focus in an ambulatory specialty, the support for meaningful research, and the rich, engaged community. I am interested in rheumatology, community-based participatory research, and increasing patient participation in health decision-making. I feel fortunate to have joined Dr. Iris Navarro-Millan's CARE-RA research team, studying how patient education and peer coaching improves cardiovascular screening in the rheumatoid arthritis population. In my free time you can find me reading and writing fiction, or exploring the city's parks and libraries.

Dr. Melina Manolas
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Melina Manolas, M.D.

Hi, I'm Melina! I'm from Long Island, NY and I studied Human Development and Design at Cornell undergrad. My interest in medicine stemmed from various opportunities in education that highlighted health disparities - from working as an ESL instructor to adult Latino immigrants to teaching 6th grade math with AmeriCorps. I pursued an MD/MPH at Tulane after falling in love with the resilient city of New Orleans and its overall mission of service to others, with the intention of gaining tangible skills in community health.

Throughout my intern year, I found great satisfaction in outpatient medicine and longitudinal, preventive care. I enjoyed seeing my patients in their "regular" clothes, with the goal of keeping them out of a hospital gown. For these reasons, in addition to the unparalleled individual mentorship structure and value-based career guidance, I switched from Cornell's categorical program to the primary care track. The track has opened doors for me by putting me "in the room" with the important actors in the fields I care about, and has given me the flexibility to pursue interests in endocrinology and medical education without becoming lost in the sea of experiences residency has to offer. My ultimate goal is to become a clinician educator with a focus on social determinants of health and the utility of social media digital platforms for learning and storytelling. Follow me on #MedTwitter @Melina_Manolas! Outside of medicine, I enjoy exploring new restaurants, watching foreign reality TV, and curating new music for my Spotify playlists.

Dr. Lauren Mitchell
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Lauren Mitchell, M.D.

I grew up outside Chicago, then attended Harvard for undergrad where I majored in Linguistics. After college, I worked for a year in Peru with Partners In Health, then spent a year in Chicago working with the Affordable Care Act, then spent a year working a sexual assault hotline. I went to Harvard for medical school, where I took (yet another) year off to do depression research in India. I felt the pull of the magic of New York City and I loved the Cornell primary care program – the supportive clinical learning environment, the strong focus on research, and the wonderful people I met when interviewing made it my number one choice! I am interested in working with underserved populations through primary care practice and my research interests lie in the role of community health workers in managing chronic diseases. Outside of the hospital, I like dining out, walking around the city, and vintage/thrift shopping. Please let me know if you have any questions – I’d be happy to talk anytime!

Dr. Kara Ryan
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Kara Ryan, M.D.

Hi, I’m Kara! I grew up in Marshfield, Massachusetts, then went to college at Boston University where I majored in human physiology before attending Tufts University School of Medicine. After 26 years in Massachusetts, I finally left Boston for New York City and matched into the categorical track here at Cornell. While I navigated intern year, I felt most fulfilled by the relationships I was developing with my patients at WCIMA. That, plus the robust mentorship and community afforded by being a smaller program within a program drew me to switch into the Primary Care Track and I’m so happy I did!

I’m interested in addiction medicine, particularly the treatment of opioid use disorder and harm reduction strategies as well as helping to shape medical education in substance use disorders to ensure these patients receive compassionate and equitable care in every medical encounter. On my days off, I can be found running in Central Park and/or getting ice cream at Emack and Bolio’s.

Dr. Brittany Toffey
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Brittany Toffey, M.D.

I grew up in a town in New Jersey. I attended Dartmouth College, where I studied biochemistry. After college, I attended Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, where I received my MD/MPH. I am passionate about epidemiology, primary care, and preventative health. I was attracted to the Cornell PC family because of the enthusiasm and support of the residents and faculty. I was very fortunate to match at Cornell PC and join a talented, amazing group of people. When I am not in the hospital, I love to run, hike, and travel.

Dr. Raymond Zou
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Raymond Zou, M.D.

Hello! I was born and raised in NYC. I went to the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education/CUNY School of Medicine program, where I developed my passion for primary care. When looking for a primary care training program, I wanted one that had extensive outpatient training, a tight-knit community feeling, and strong mentorship. I found all of that at Cornell and knew I wanted to come here for residency. Looking back, I am so grateful to have matched here because of my coresidents and mentors, who have been extremely supportive of all of my endeavors. This program has strengthened my passion for primary care and I will be applying for primary care jobs this year.

Outside of medicine, I enjoy working out, taking walks in Central Park, and going to Omakase restaurants.

Contact Information

Mailing Address

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/
Weill Cornell Medical Center
Weill Department of Medicine 
525 East 68th Street, Box 130
New York, NY 10065

Residency Office

530 East 70th Street, M-507
New York, NY 10021
Tel: (212) 746-4749

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