Chief Executive Officer
Joseph Garcia is the Chief Executive Officer for Gastro Health. Joseph joined the team in February of 2018 and has a broad range of healthcare experience. Over his career, Joseph has led teams at high growth provider-based healthcare companies.
Previously, Joseph was the Chief Executive Officer at Sage Dental. While at Sage, Joseph oversaw the rapid expansion of the group from twenty to over sixty practices in Florida and Georgia. Prior to Sage, Joseph was the Chief Operating Officer at 21st Century Oncology, which he helped to grow into the largest provider of Radiation Oncology in the United States and Latin America. Before 21st Century Oncology, Joseph was a Division Vice President at DaVita, where he honed his multi-site experience and recognized the power of culture. Prior to DaVita, Joseph was a Vice President of Operations at Sterling Healthcare, iHealth Technologies, and Vivra Specialty Partners.
Joseph has a BSBA and M.B.A. from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.
Lawrence G. Freni, CPA
Chief Financial Officer
Larry is the Chief Financial Officer of Gastro Health, joining the Company in January 2017. With over twenty-five years’ experience in healthcare, Larry has a proven track record of helping companies grow both organically and through strategic acquisitions.
Previously, Larry was the CFO of AxelaCare Health Solutions, a home infusion company in Kansas that grew to be the 4th largest home infusion company in the country until being sold to United Health Group. Before joining AxelaCare, Larry was the CFO at Jefferson Radiology in Hartford, Connecticut. Larry started his career at Deloitte & Touche in Boston.
Larry is a CPA and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
He earned a Master’s in Accounting (MSA) and an M.B.A. from Northeastern University and a B.A. from Middlebury College in Vermont.
Chief Operating Officer
Alan is the Chief Operating Officer of Gastro Health, joining the company in May 2022. In his role, Alan oversees aspects of business operations and optimization, as well as setting strategies in place for organic growth as a company. He works closely with other members of our leadership team to develop, implement, and manage operational strategies, systems, and programs to drive optimum performance of our practices nationwide.
Prior to joining Gastro Health, Alan spent 22 years with Mednax where he held several roles throughout his time there including serving as Chief Operating Officer, as well as Chief Financial Officer, Chief Administrative Officer, and President of their national medical group.
Alan's commitment to public service and professional growth is evident in his affiliations within the Florida Hospital Association Political Action Committee, American College of Healthcare Executives, and Healthcare Financial Management Association.
James Leavitt, M.D., FACG
Director of Clinical Quality and Outcomes
James Leavitt, M.D., FACG, a Board-certified gastroenterologist, is the Director of Clinical Quality and Outcomes, working as the physician lead for the purposes of improved patient outcomes and research. Over his many years of service to the organization, he has held the titles of President and Chief Clinical Officer. Dr. Leavitt graduated magna cum laude from Dartmouth College. He earned his medical degree from State University of New York–Brooklyn and completed an Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology Fellowship at the University of Miami. He has been in private practice in Miami since 1980. As a founding physician of Gastro Health, Dr. Leavitt has been instrumental in growing the organization from the original four physician practice to the current multistate gastrointestinal platform.
Dr. Leavitt has been the past president of the Florida Gastroenterology Society, has served on the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) and American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) practice management committees, as well as serving as two-term South Florida Governor for the ACG. He has twice been named by Becker’s ASC Review to their “Top 100 Gastroenterologists” list.
Eugenio J. Hernandez, M.D.
Senior Vice President of Clinical Affairs, Florida
Eugenio Hernandez, M.D., is the clinical leader for Florida working closely with the Division Vice President providing strategic and operational support to all its providers and care centers. In addition, he provides physician leadership in clinical governance, compliance, credentialing, business development, and across all ancillary divisions.
Dr. Hernandez began private practice in South Florida in 1998 and is a founding member of Gastro Health. He has served on the executive team as well as on the Board of Directors for Gastro Health for many years. His previous experience also includes the development of clinical service lines and ambulatory surgical centers.
He earned both his BA and MD from Duke University, where he also completed his residency in Internal Medicine. He completed fellowships in Gastroenterology and Advanced Therapeutic Endoscopy at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX. He is Board-certified in Gastroenterology and is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the FIU Herbert Wertheim School of Medicine.
Division Vice President, Florida
Chris Weinstein, Division Vice President, Florida, is the principal leader for Florida, providing strategic and operational support. She has over 20 years of healthcare leadership and physician practice management experience. Before Joining Gastro Health, Weinstein served as Senior Vice President of Operations and COO for a joint venture partnership with Envision Physician Services (Formerly Sheridan Healthcare). Previously, she held progressive management roles for Health Management Associates and U.S. Healthworks. She earned her MBA from Regis University, her BA from the University of Colorado, and is board certified by the Medical Group Management Association as a Medical Practice Executive.
Miles E. Gresham, M.D.
Vice President of Clinical Affairs, Alabama
Miles E. Gresham, M.D., is the clinical leader of Alabama working in collaboration with the Division Vice President to provide strategic and operational support for clinicians and care centers. Additionally, he provides physician leadership in clinical governance, compliance, credentialing, and business development.
Dr. Gresham has been in private practice in Birmingham, AL since 1986 and continues to practice at the St. Vincent’s East location. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama and his medical degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Gresham performed his internship and residency at Carraway Methodist Medical Center in Birmingham and his fellowship at the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Gresham is Board-certified in both Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.
Dr. Gresham is a member of the State Medical Association, American Medical Association, American College of Gastroenterology, American Gastroenterological Association, the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, and the Alabama Gastroenterological Society.
Division Vice President, Alabama
Mark Johnson, Division Vice President, Alabama, is the principal leader for Alabama, providing strategic and operational support. He has over 26 years of healthcare leadership and physician practice management experience, including 14 years in Gastroenterology. Mark joined Gastro Health in April of 2019 as part of Gastro Health’s acquisition of Southeast Gastro in Birmingham, AL, where he served as Practice Administrator. Mark earned his BA from the University of Alabama. He is a member of the Medical Group Management Association as a Medical Practice Executive and the American Gastroenterological Association.
Janelle Brown-Chang, M.D.
Vice President of Clinical Affairs, Washington
Janelle Brown-Chang, M.D., is the clinical leader of Washington working in collaboration with the Division Vice President to provide strategic and operational support for clinicians and care centers. Additionally, she provides physician leadership in clinical governance, compliance, credentialing, and business development.
Dr. Brown-Chang earned her medical degree from Harvard Medical School. She completed her residency and fellowship at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Brown-Chang's professional interests include Endoscopic Ultrasound, pancreatic disorders, and general gastroenterology. Dr. Brown-Chang is Board-certified in Gastroenterology and currently practices out of our Kirkland location.
Division Vice President, Washington
Melody Fitzgerald, Division Vice President, Washington, is the principal leader for Washington, providing strategic and operational support.
Melody has extensive experience in medical practice and surgery center operations, as well as a background in public accounting. Prior to joining Gastro Health, Melody held multiple financial and executive leadership roles with Proliance Surgeons. Melody earned her MBA in Health Services Administration from Eastern Washington University. She possesses her CPA and is a Certified Surgery Center Administrator.
Ahmed Hegab, M.D.
Vice President of Clinical Affairs, Virginia
Ahmed Hegab, M.D., is the clinical leader of Virginia, working in collaboration with the Division Vice President to provide strategic and operational support for clinicians and care centers. Additionally, he provides physician leadership in clinical governance, compliance, credentialing, and business development.
Dr. Hegab earned his medical degree from Cairo University in Egypt. He completed his residency and then a fellowship in gastroenterology at the Medical College of Virginia. Dr. Hegab is Board-certified in both Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology and currently practices out of our Fairfax and Chantilly locations.
He has served as Clinical Assistant Professor at George Washington University Hospital and has held several leadership roles including Chief of Gastroenterology, Director of Gastrointestinal Services, and Medical Director of GE Labs at Inova Fairfax Hospital. Today, Dr. Hegab serves on the Board of Directors of the Medical Society of Northern Virginia. Well-respected by his peers, Dr. Hegab has been voted a “Top Doctor” in Northern Virginia Magazine.
Josephine S. Westerfield
Division Vice President, Virginia
Josephine Westerfield, Division Vice President, Virginia, is the principal leader for Virginia, providing strategic and operational support. She has over 23 years of healthcare leadership experience managing physician operations with multi-specialty groups, private and hospital owned, including 8 years in Gastroenterology. Before joining Gastro Health, Westerfield served as Vice President of Physician Network Services at UVA Community Health. Previously, she served as Senior Director of Physician Services at Fairfax Neonatal Associates, P.C., and Senior Director of Practice Management LifePoint Health. She earned her Master of Science in Leadership from Walden University and her Bachelor of Science in Public Administration from George Mason University and is a Certified Medical Practice Executive with the American College of Medical Practice Executives.
Pradeep Bekal, M.D., FACG, FASGE
Vice President of Clinical Affairs, Ohio
Pradeep Bekal, M.D., FACG, FASGE, is the clinical leader of Ohio working in collaboration with the Division Vice President to provide strategic and operational support for clinicians and care centers. Additionally, he provides physician leadership in clinical governance, compliance, credentialing, and business development.
Dr. Pradeep K. Bekal graduated from Madras Medical School in Madras, India, and completed his Residency in Internal Medicine at New York Presbyterian Brooklyn Hospital in Brooklyn, NY. He completed two fellowships at Brooklyn Hospital Medical Center and at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. Dr. Bekal is Board-certified in Gastroenterology and currently practices out of our Clifton and Montgomery locations. Additionally, Dr. Bekal is a principal investigator on numerous clinical trials at the practice and is actively involved with teaching medical students from the University of Cincinnati and residents from Christ Hospital.
Division Vice President, Ohio
Dan Walker, Division Vice President, Ohio, is the principal leader for Ohio, providing strategic, operational and financial support. He has over 35 years of healthcare leadership and physician practice management experience, all with Ohio Gastroenterology and Liver Institute (Ohio GI). Dan joined Gastro Health in October of 2020 as part of Gastro Health’s acquisition of Ohio GI in Cincinnati, OH, where he served as Chief Operating Officer. He earned his BA from Wittenberg University. He is a member of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and the Medical Group Management Association.
Kester I. H. Crosse, M.D.
Vice President of Clinical Affairs, Maryland
Kester I. H. Crosse, M.D., is the clinical leader for Maryland working closely with the Division Vice President providing strategic and operational support to all its providers and care centers. Additionally, he provides physician leadership in clinical governance, compliance, credentialing, and business development.
At the age of 16 his grandmother died from colon cancer, igniting his passion for preventing and combating the disease. Dr. Crosse earned his undergraduate degree from Hampton University and his medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He completed his internship and residency at the University of Maryland and his fellowship in Gastroenterology at the University of Maryland Medical System in Baltimore, Maryland. He was trained in advanced endoscopic procedures. Dr. Crosse has been in private practice since 2003 and was board certified in Internal Medicine in 2000 and Gastroenterology in 2003.
Dr. Crosse has held leadership positions to include Assistant Chief of the Department of Medicine at Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. He is a member of the American Gastroenterological Association and the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Division Vice President, Maryland
Tim Lynch, Division Vice President, Maryland, is the principal leader for Maryland, providing strategic and operational support. He has over 20 years of clinical and professional healthcare executive leadership experience. Tim joined Gastro Health in March of 2021 as part of Gastro Health’s acquisition of Digestive Disease Associates LLC outside of Baltimore, Maryland, where he served as Chief Operating Officer. Tim earned an MS from the University of Maryland and a BA from Pennsylvania State University. He is a member of the Medical Group Management Association and the Healthcare Financial Management Association.
George Dickstein, M.D.
Vice President of Clinical Affairs, Massachusetts
Dr. George Dickstein is a graduate of Cornell University with honors and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine with distinction. Dr. Dickstein joined Greater Boston Gastroenterology (now Gastro Health) in 2001 after serving as the Chief of GI at Deaconess Waltham Hospital. He subsequently served as Chief of the Medical Staff at MetroWest Medical Center for two years before accepting his current position there as Chairman of the Department of Medicine.
Dr. Dickstein was on the medical advisory committee of the American Liver Foundation for many years and is published in the fields of liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease, GI bleeding and circulatory (ischemic) disorders of the GI tract. He is trained in ERCP, capsule endoscopy, and endoscopic reflux repair techniques and maintains an interest and expertise in the evaluation and management of advanced liver disease. Dr. Dickstein’s areas of interest also include disorders of the bile ducts and pancreas.
Interested in medical education throughout his career, Dr. Dickstein is currently an Academic Dean and Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine.
Dr. Dickstein is currently on staff at MetroWest Medical Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, the Boston Endoscopy Center and Charles River Endoscopy.
Division Vice President, Massachusetts
Brianne Rodriguez, Division Vice President, Massachusetts, is the principal leader for Massachusetts, providing strategic and operational support. She has over 20 years of healthcare leadership and physician practice management experience. Before joining Gastro Health, Brianne was the Director of Practice Operations at APDerm where she provided leadership and operational oversight for a rapidly growing business spanning across the Northeast Region with 32 practices. She also held the role of Regional Director of Practice Operations for Beth Israel Deaconess Healthcare, where she was responsible for and led practice operations for the Boston region. Brianne has a Master of Health Administration from Suffolk University and a Bachelor of Arts at the University of New Hampshire.
Frank Manes, CPA
Senior Vice President of Business Development
Frank Manes is a Senior Vice President of Business Development for Gastro Health. He joined Gastro Health in 2016 and is responsible for the company’s growth strategy via mergers and acquisitions, organic growth, and new business line development. He obtained his Bachelors and Masters of Accounting from the University of Florida and began his career in KPMG’s audit practice. Frank subsequently was part of the business development team at Mednax, a national medical group, where he was responsible for mergers and acquisitions of anesthesia practices and pediatric sub-specialty practices. Frank was also a part of Alvarez and Marsal’s Transaction Advisory Group, where he advised private equity clients.
Vice President of Business Development
Evan Demcoe is a Vice President of Business Development for Gastro Health. He joined Gastro Health in 2021 and is responsible for the Company’s growth strategy via mergers and acquisitions, organic growth, and new business line development. Prior to Gastro Health, Evan was a healthcare services investment banker for over 7 years, primarily with UBS in their Global Healthcare group as well as with TripleTree’s investment bank. He began his career as an engineer with General Electric’s Healthcare division.
Evan earned a B.S in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Florida and earned his MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.
Vice President of Revenue Cycle Management
Pedro Marzocca is the Vice President of Revenue Cycle Management at Gastro Health. Pedro joined the company in February 2017 and is responsible for overseeing all areas of Gastro Health’s revenue cycle operations, from charge capture, coding, billing, revenue integrity, and compliance, to accounts receivable and patient accounting. He is also responsible for developing strategies around operating activities to optimize revenue as well as developing key service and support metrics.
Pedro has over 17 years of experience in healthcare management, including operations, finance, revenue cycle, population management, and health information management. Before joining Gastro Health, he held leadership positions in companies and health systems such as Humana, Concentra, Methodist Health System and Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.
Pedro earned a Master of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University and studied Industrial Engineering in Venezuela.
Senior Vice President of Strategic Operations
Rich Weissmark is the Senior Vice President of Strategic Operations for Gastro Health. Rich joined Gastro Health in 2018 and is responsible for advancing strategic initiatives, including integration and project management office development, digital transformation, and continuing the evolution of our shared services platform. Prior to Gastro Health, Rich served in a range of leadership roles at MEDNAX, including operations, technology, and business transformation. Rich also worked in both business and technical roles in the academic medical setting as well as in consulting/professional services. At the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Rich was the Operations Director for the TeleHealth program, where he focused on the implementation and support of clinical telemedicine programs. At HSA International, Rich led digital product development, eCommerce initiatives, and overall technology operations. Rich holds a BS from Florida International University and an MS in Health Services Administration from Barry University.
Vice President of Human Resources
Christina Sullivan is the Vice President of Human Resources at Gastro Health, joining the company in 2021. Christina brings over 20 years of Human Resources experience and is responsible for leading the organization’s people strategy, building organizational capabilities, and cultivating a great culture to attract and retain top talent.
Christina has held numerous senior and executive human resources leadership roles in Information Technology, Communications, Healthcare IT and Product & Services verticals in both public and private equity settings. Throughout her career, she delivered comprehensive people programs and led large-scale initiatives that align with business priorities and optimized organizational performance.
Christina holds a BS in Business Management.
Jason Wallace, JD, MPH
Chief Compliance Officer and Vice President of Legal Affairs
Jason Wallace is the Chief Compliance Officer and Vice President of Legal Affairs for Gastro Health. Jason brings a significant amount healthcare compliance and legal experience to his role, having served in compliance leadership and regulatory counsel roles.
Previously, Jason was part of the Compliance Department at MEDNAX Services, Inc., and a managing consultant in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ health care compliance and regulatory practice. Jason’s experiences include guiding the implementation of leading practice compliance processes and systems, building compliance programs that align with organizational strategy, and providing regulatory and risk management guidance on complex issues.
He earned his Bachelor of Health Science from the University of Florida, Master of Public Health from the University of South Florida and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami School of Law. He is a member of the Florida Bar.
Vice President of Payor Contracting
John Rutherford is the Vice President of Payor Contracting for Gastro Health. He brings over 27 years of experience in the healthcare industry leading managed care strategies, contract negotiations, and building and scaling value-based care program optimization.
Before joining Gastro Health, John served as Vice President of Managed Care at American Vision Partners where he built value-based, collaborative relationships with large commercial payers and created go-to-market strategies focused on maximizing operational standards. Prior to American Vision Partners, he held senior leadership roles at PhyMed Healthcare Group, Aetna, Parallon Business Solutions, and United Health Care.