Pre-Medical and Pre-Health Boards & Committees

Our extensive network of medical alumni in the Western New York area stay involved with the college and directly support students as they prepare for entry into the medical and health professions. A 50+ member Medical Advisory Board assists our pre-medical students throughout their time at Canisius. The Health Sciences Advisory and Recommendation Committee submits recommendations on behalf of our students applying to medical, dental, optometry, and podiatric medical schools.



Medical Advisory Board


Board Chair: Mark J. Lema  '71 MD, PhD
Chair, Anesthesiology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute/University at Buffalo

Vice Chair: James L. Budny '70 MD
Neurosurgeon, Gates Vascular Institute/UB Neurosurgery

Secretary: Dianna Civello - Ex-Officio
Interm Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Allyson D. Backstrom, PhD - Ex-Officio
Director, The Dr. George E. Schreiner '43 Pre-Med Center

Philip J. Aliotta ’76, MD, MSHA
WNYUA-Main Urology Associates Division
Richard L. Collins, MD
Buffalo Medical Group
Thomas J. Foels ’77, MD, MMM
Chief Medical Officer,
Independent Health Association
Ann Marie Jobes ’97, MD 
Wheatfield Pediatrics 
Raquel G. Martin ’79, DO, FACEP
Kenmore Mercy Hospital
Lynn M. Steinbrenner ’76, MD 
Veterans Administration Medical Center
Paul M. Anain ’88, MD, FACS
Vascular & Endovascular Center of WNY
Elizabeth A. Conroy ’86, MD
Buffalo Medical Group
Peter Wm. Forgach, MD
Office of Peter WM. Forgach, MD 
Gregory A. Jobes ’96, MD 
Buffalo Medical Group PC, 
Monique Mirshak ’01, MD
Mercy Hospital of Buffalo
Jeffrey P. Steinig ’84, MD, FACS 
Chief of Staff,  Mercy Hospital of Buffalo
E. Kelly Bartels ’76, MD
Bartels, Powalski, Weissman & Cloud
John C. Corbelli ’75, MD 
Buffalo VA Medical Center
Andrew P. Giacobbe ’82, MD
Western New York Plastic Surgery
Justin C. Kanaley ’99, MD
Tonawanda Pediatrics
Paul C. Nasca ’78, DPM 
Office of Paul C. Nasca DPM 
Keith C. Stube, MD
Knee Center of Western New York
Christopher J. Bartolone ’85, MD 
Gastroenterology Associates
Michael R. Dlugosz ’07, MD
Highgate Medical Group 
Karen F. Giardino ’81, MD 
Meadowlands Endocrinology
David P. Kowalski ’88, MD
Kowalski Family Practice
Margaret W. Paroski, MD, MMM
Executive Vice President & Chief Medical Officer, Kaleida Health System
Mary L. Turkiewicz ’80, MD 
Southtowns Radiology Associates, LLC
Eugene L. Beltrami ’47, MS ’49, MD
Retired, Director of Medical Legal Affairs
United States Department of Veteran Affairs
Jessica Donhauser ’09, MD
Pediatric Resident, University at Buffalo,
Women & Children’s Hospital
Nicole M. Gothgen ’00, MD
Great Lakes Anesthesia Associates, PC
Peter F. Kowalski ’82, MD 
UB Family Medicine
Richard M. Peer ’65, MD 
Immediate Past President, 
Medical Society of the State of New York 
Buffalo Medical Group PC
Jean Wactawski-Wende ’81, PhD
Dean, School of Public Health & Health Professions, University at Buffalo 
Owen G. Bossman MBA ’98, MD
David J. Durante ’76, MD
Office of David J. Durante, MD
Brian A. Herbst ’02, DO
Buffalo Medical Group, PC
Joseph P. Leberer ’77, MD
Buffalo Medical Group PC
Robert J. Ramsdell ’98, MBA ’15, MD
Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo
Anthony J. Winkowski ’00, MD
Abbott Anesthesiologist Associates
Salvatore M. Calandra ’80, MD
Cardiology Group of WNY
Michael J. Edbauer MBA ’12, DO
Chief Medical Officer, Catholic Medical Partners
Steven P. Herman ’79, MD
Steven P. Herman, MD Family Practice
Kathleen A. Lillis ’82, MD 
President, Pediatric and Adolescent Urgent Care of WNY
Elisa M. Rodriguez ’00, PhD, MS
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Paul B. Wirth ’84, MD
Buffalo Medical Group PC
Gregory J. Castiglia, MD, FACS
University at Buffalo Neurosurgery
Debra L. Ehrig ’97, MD
Springville Pediatrics
Lisa B. Hoffman ’87, MD
Southgate Medical Group
Thomas A. Lombardo Jr., MD 
Northtowns Orthopedics 
John M. Roehmholdt ’81, MD
WNY Urology Associates 
Joanne L. Cobler, MD
Buffalo Cardiology and Pulmonary 
Lorna K. Fitzpatrick ’90, MD
State University of New York at Buffalo,
Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo
Christine C. Ignaszak-Nadolny
Executive Director, Medical Society of Erie County
Renee M. Mapes ’00, DO
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Sarah H. Spillman ’02, DO
Primary Care of Western New York LLP

The Health Science Advisory and Recommendation Committee (HSARC)

The Health Science Advisory and Recommendation Committee (HSARC) reviews candidates for medical, dental, optometry, podiatric medicine, and select Early Assurance Programs. A letter of evaluation is prepared on behalf of each candidate and submitted to the desired professional schools. Professional schools prefer a committee letter where available because of the quality of information regarding the candidate contained in such letters.
Current members of HSARC include:

  • Stephen Chanderbhan, PhD, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
  • Richard Escobales Jr., PhD, Professor of Mathematics
  • Terry Mangione, PhD, Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Robert Selkowitz, PhD, Associate Professor of Physics
  • Mary O'Sullivan, PhD, Professor of Organic Chemistry
  • Susan Putnam, PhD, Professor of Psychology
  • Erin Robinson, PhD, Associate Professor of Sociology
  • Neva Sanders, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology
  • Allyson D. Backstrom, PhD, Director, PreMedical Center; Chair, HSARC

Most members have taught and observed the candidates. Additional information is solicited from science and non-science faculty and mentors. Committee members then carefully examine the applicants’ permanent records, conduct a personal interview, and review a portfolio of activities and essays prepared by each candidate in order to give as complete and as balanced a report as possible. The PreMed Center assists students in the solicitation of letters from individuals and in preparation of their portfolio. This process is designed to prepare students for the actual application to their chosen professional schools.

The Committee gives a detailed analysis of the factors which determine the category of recommendation offered for each of its candidates in its letters of recommendation. The categories used by HSARC are:

  • Exceptional
  • Very Highly Recommended
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Not Recommended

The recommendation categories, while relying heavily on scholastic achievement in the undergraduate program, also take into consideration factors which are somewhat more difficult to measure, such as motivation, academic potential, personal qualities, service orientation, leadership qualities, social adjustment and general character make-up. The Committee offers favorable recommendations only for those candidates deemed academically and emotionally capable of succeeding in a health science professional school and ultimately being a credit to their chosen profession.

The recommendation category assigned a given applicant represents the best collective judgment of the committee. For many years, comparisons have been made of the outcomes of our health profession alumni with their recommendations upon leaving Canisius. As a result of these studies, the category, "Exceptional" is reserved for the student from whom we expect an exceptional performance in professional school and have an undergraduate portfolio that is well above other candidates. On the other hand, the category, "Recommended" means that the candidate is compared favorably with other students from Canisius who have succeeded in graduating from professional school, but in some cases, with irregular progress.