Seema Ahmad, MA
Seema Ahmad coordinates the Bariatric program with Dr. Ahmad’s practice. Seema establishes a collaborative environment and lends a personal touch to the program. To set patients’ short- and long-term goals, Seema teaches them to recognize their own eating and exercise habits, and helps them make the behavioral modifications that prepare them for future physiological and psychological changes.
Seema also runs the program’s Support Group, which meets twice monthly to discuss personal experiences and ensure reasonable expectations from the surgery. Seema regularly refreshes and updates her knowledge of the latest developments in the Bariatric field by attending ASMBS (American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery) courses focused on behavioral health. She views Bariatric surgery as both a “gift and a tool” that is a key to a new start.
Irina Tuckosh PA
Irina Tuckosh is a Physician Assistant for the Bariatric Center of Excellence. She has worked with Dr. Ahmad and the bariatric program since 2014. As a Physician Assistant, Irina works closely with Dr. Ahmad in clinic to assist in evaluation and treatment of surgical patients. Irina’s skills are also utilized in surgery in assisting with laparoscopic and robotic procedures. She is committed to providing quality and compassionate care to all patients.
Irina is a registered Physician Assistant in the state of New York and Board Certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Irina graduated with honors from Touro College school of Health Sciences with a Master’s degree in Physician Assistant studies. Irina received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Loyola University Chicago and graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors. Irina is a member of Pi Alpha, the National Honor Society for Physician Assistants and the American Academy of Physician Assistants.
Zeba Ahmad, Ed.M.
Zeba Ahmad joined the practice in 2005 and facilitates the Adolescent Support Group at Dr. Ahmad’s office. She has a Masters’ degree in Psychology from Harvard University and is studying close relationships, lifespan development and health psychology.
The group welcomes people between the ages of 17 and 30 who are having or who have had Bariatric surgery with Dr. Ahmad, and it meets monthly to discuss issues related to surgery.
These include preparing for surgery, what the hospital experience is like, and lifestyle modification including energy balance. We also address past weight-related experiences, finding support and strengthening relationships, and what to expect after surgery.
The group is nearly 4 years old and one of our greatest assets is our post-op patients, who generously and honestly answer questions from pre-ops. We have a vibrant online and text-based community, to which we welcome you! Questions about the group can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
AnnaMarie Braslow, RN, BS, CCRN, EMBA
AnnaMarie Braslow is the Nursing Clinical Coordinator for the Bariatric Center of Excellence. She has an extraordinary capacity for empathy and has provided compassionate care to bariatric patients during her years of nursing at Mather. In fact, AnnaMarie herself is a patient of Dr. Ahmad, having successfully undergone gastric bypass surgery in 2007. She has been at Mather Hospital for nearly 25 years and has worked with Dr. Ahmad and the bariatric program since its inception in 2004. AnnaMarie is certified in Critical Care Nursing and in Bariatric Nursing, has an Executive MBA and is currently finishing a Master’s degree in Nursing.
Christine Cirolli, RN
Christine’s nursing experience spans Critical Care to Bariatrics and combined with her experience as a Yogi she brings her tranquil demeanor to calm and guide our patients. Chris has been part of our bariatric team for over ten years, first caring for our patients at the bedside and today coordinating patient care, educating and supporting our patients throughout their journey.
Janet Domke, RN BSN
Janet has been a Registered Nurse since 2005. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Stony Brook University and has completed courses in Holistic nursing. She joined the Bariatrics team at John T. Mather Memorial hospital in 2014 and is currently studying for her CBN (Certification in Bariatric Nursing). Janet’s clinical expertise and attention to detail helps ensure patients are safe for surgery. Janet also facilitates support and is a reliable resource.
Jill Pryor, RN
Jill joined the Bariatric team in 2015 after practicing as an Orthopedic/Cardiac/Medical Surgical RN. She is one of our RN’s who is instrumental in coordinating and facilitating the extensive clearance process for patients who are having bariatric surgery. Jill educates patients throughout their journey and assists in guiding them down the path to weight loss surgery. Along with “the team”, Jill participates in Support Group meetings where both potential patients as well as current patients, take part in asking questions, sharing experiences, and offering support to one another. Jill’s passion for people and compassionate nature is a positive support for our patients. Jill states, “I love this population of patients because their personal outcomes are so rewarding which our staff continues to witness through the wonderful relationships we establish with one another.”
Linda Folken, MS, RD, CDN
Linda Folken, Nutrition Education Coordinator, has practiced in the health care field as a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist (RDN) for over the past 30 years. She specializes in Bariatric and Medical Weight Management. Linda currently leads a team of nutrition professionals who serve in a multidisciplinary team approach to weight management. Linda completed the CDR certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management. She is a certified Health Coach through the American College of Exercise (ACE) as well as a Spin Instructor. She serves as an integral part in helping people safely change their eating behaviors without compromising taste or nutrition.
Nicole Zaybak Drepaniotis, MS, RD, CDN
Nicole is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who has been practicing in the clinical and outpatient settings for the past 15 years, specializing in Bariatrics and Weight Management. Nicole coordinates the Medical Weight Management Program and holds a certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management and is an ACE Certified Health Coach. Nicole received a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Science Degree in Human Nutrition from Columbia University
Daphne Baldwin Kornrich, MS, RD, CDN
Daphne has been a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in a wide variety of clinical and outpatient settings. Daphne received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Queens College, completed a Dietetic Internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and has her Master’s Degree in Health Science from SUNY Stony Brook. Daphne currently works in the Bariatric and Medical Weight Management Programs. Daphne has completed the Certificate of Training Program in Adult Weight Management and is an ACE Certified Health Coach.
Helaine Krasner, RD, CDN
Helaine is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who takes great pride in helping our Bariatric and Medical Weight Management patients achieve their health and weight loss goals. She completed her nutrition education at CUNY Queens College and the Dietetic Internship at Stony Brook University, Department of Family Medicine. Helaine is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Nutrition at Stony Brook University.
Angie, a graduate of Dowling College, holds a BS in Accounting and is currently working as the Appeals Manager in our billing department since December 2009. Angie’s work experience comes from working in Banking for ten years, and a collection supervisor for thirteen years. Angie oversees all phases of the appeals process and frequently attends our support groups.
Alyssa has been part of the team for nine years. As Billing Manager, her expert billing experience plays a major role in our program. She is responsible for all aspects of billing and assists Dr Ahmad with various other tasks.
Bariatric Administration Staff
Lucia Bush, MBA
Lucia Bush, MBA, is Business Manager for the Bariatric Center of Excellence and oversees the Bariatric Insurance Verification team. She joined the team in 2013. In addition to speaking five languages, Lucia brings with her more than 16 years of experience in healthcare, of which she has held a managerial position for over 10 years. Lucia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Languages and has earned her Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration. She has successfully initiated the startup of several healthcare facilities and private practices.
Aimee joined the Bariatric team in early 2010, coming to the Bariatric Department with a BS in Biology and a passion for helping people. She is currently the Bariatric Center of Excellence Program Data Analyst and works collaboratively with the hospital and Dr. Ahmad’s office to ensure that the highest standards of care are met through all levels of patient treatment.
Karinna has been a part of the Bariatric team since 2011, with a great passion of helping others. Karinna acts as a liaison between the Bariatric department and other respective departments within the hospital, ensuring that tasks are completed thoroughly and efficiently to better help the needs of both patients and caregivers.