2023 Changing into 2024

FPG in 2023: Our Year in Review

In 2023, First Physicians Group welcomed 63 primary and specialty care physicians and advanced practice providers, as well as over 100 Anesthesia providers. FPG Psychiatry got a new home in the Cornell Behavioral Health Pavilion, and a new specialty office opened with Neurointerventional Surgery. Our teams continue to grow and services continue to expand to new parts of Sarasota and Manatee counties.

Check out the details:

Cornell Behavioral Health Pavilion Opens

Located on the SMH-Sarasota campus, the Cornell Behavioral Health Pavilion was designed using best practices and innovative design elements to provide a warm, welcoming environment where people of all ages can be comfortable seeking treatment for a range of behavioral health issues, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other mental health disorders.

FPG psychiatrists provide a full range of inpatient and outpatient services, lead by Matthew Thomas, MD, director of SMH Behavioral Health services, Parlane Reid, MD, Medical Director for Adult Outpatient Programs, and Robinder Bhangoo, MD, Medical Director for Adolescent Outpatient Programs, and supported by a team of about 150 mental health nurses, therapists, social workers, behavioral health technicians, and support staff. FPG hired 3 new psychiatrists this year to expand care in the new facility – Gerard Ardoin, MD, Nathan Karakad, DO, and Sonal Patel, DO.

For more information on Behavioral Health services with FPG, click here.

New Services

Neurointerventional Surgery

In 2023, First Physicians Group introduced Neurointerventional Surgery to our specialty care offerings.

Our new team of board certified and fellowship trained surgeons specializes in vascular brain and spinal cord conditions such as stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, cerebral aneurysm, tumors of the head, neck and spine, and other vascular issues of the brain and spinal cord.

Eyad Almallouhi, MD
Vikas Gupta, MD

Eyad Almallouhi, MD is board certified and fellowship trained in Neurology, Vascular Neurology and Neurointerventional Surgery. He has an extensive body of research focused on endovascular therapy and neurointerventional surgery.

Vikas Gupta, MD is board certified and fellowship trained in Neurology, Vascular Neurology and Endovascular Surgical Neuroradiology.

For more information on Neurointerventional Surgery, please visit their webpage, or call (941) 262-3100.


With a transition lead by SMH Physician of the Year, Matthew Waldron, MD, alongside a team of fellow anesthesia providers, First Physicians Group opened its own anesthesiology practice in 2023 to meet the region’s growing medical needs. Dr. Waldron’s advocacy and dedication to patients, as well as his ability to unify and inspire his peers helped SMH and FPG to establish the Anesthesia practice that combined longtime community anesthesiology professionals with new providers recruited by SMH and FPG.

Trauma Care

In addition to Orthopedic Trauma Care, FPG now includes Trauma Care services. Our trauma surgeons have all undergone advanced training and certification to perform emergency, lifesaving surgeries that include blunt force and penetrative trauma.

Our highly specialized, board certified trauma surgeons and advanced practice professionals provide care at Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s Level II Trauma Center at the Sarasota Campus.

For more information on Trauma Care and our trauma team, please visit their webpage.

Expanded Services in Venice

New Urology Office Opens

In addition to our Urology practice in the Venice Medical Office Building, FPG has opened a second Urology practice in Venice. Ramsay Kuo, MD, will be providing Urology specialty care full time at 425 Commercial Court Suite A in Venice. To make an appointment with FPG Urology in Venice, please call (941) 261-2700.

Gastroenterology at the Venice Medical Office Building

Gastroenterology services are now available at the Venice Medical Office Building. Jahnavi Koppala, MD offers appointments now in Venice and at our Gastroenterology practice in Sarasota. For more information and to make an appointment at the most convenient location, please call (941) 262-0400.

Primary and Specialty Care Teams Continue to Grow

First Physicians Group continues to expand services and recruit top specialists in specialty care and primary care to maintain access to high quality care for all patients.

In Sarasota, this includes key members of surgical teams in Cardiovascular Surgery, Colon & Rectal Surgery, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, and Thoracic Surgery:

Kristen Walker, MD specializes in cardiovascular and aortic surgery, including endovascular procedures. Her specialties include complex aortic surgery, coronary artery bypass surgery, and transcatheter aortic valve replacement.



Jennifer Holl, MD is double board certified and fellowship trained in colon and rectal surgery. She focuses on personalized treatment plans to focus on whole body wellness. Her specialties include minimally invasive, robotic, and single-incision surgery and surgery for rectal, anal and colon cancers.


Jerette Schultz, MD is board eligible in Plastic Surgery and fellowship trained in Microvascular Surgery. Alongside Kenneth Leong, MD, she performs a wide array of plastic and reconstructive procedures, including reconstructive microsurgery, extremity reconstruction, skin cancer removal and reconstruction, and scar revisions.


M. Blair Marshall, MD is triple board certified in Thoracic Surgery, Cardiac Surgery, and General Surgery. She specializes in minimally invasive robotic techniques for complex thoracic procedures of both benign and malignant thoracic pathology. She performed the first single port thymectomy in the U.S. and continues to develop innovative thoracic surgery techniques and presents and publishes on these procedures worldwide.


For non-surgical specialties, Ryan Hafner, MD has joined our Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation team.  He is board certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and fellowship trained in interventional spasticity management. He is an expert in designing comprehensive, patient-centered treatment plans focused on optimizing long-term function for patients with a variety of disorders. Dr. Hafner works with outpatients in our new Outpatient Rehab practice at Waldemere Medical Plaza, along with Steven Papuchis, DO.


Our Head and Neck team has gained a new Otolaryngologist, Shaun Baker, DO. Dr. Baker specializes in the treatment of ear and sinus disorders for adult and pediatric patients. His practice focus includes treatment of ear disease and hearing loss, treatment of dizziness and balance disorders and the management of sinus disease.

We have also expanded our Vascular Neurology team. New providers Alexander Senetar, MD and R. Roland Faigle, MD join David Stone, MD in a new suite at Waldemere Medical Plaza to provide specialized neurological care. All three doctors are fellowship trained in Vascular Neurology and specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of cerebrovascular diseases of the brain and spinal cord, including stroke.

In Venice, new providers joined our Interventional Cardiology, General Surgery and Obstetrics and Gynecology practices:

Carson Turner, MD is board certified and fellowship trained in interventional cardiology and cardiovascular disease. He performs a wide range of cardiovascular testing and procedures, including echocardiography, cardiac catheterization, angioplasty and stenting, and pacemaker insertion and follow-up.



James Shepherd, MD is board certified in General Surgery and specializes in vascular medicine and endovascular surgery. He utilizes robotic and minimally invasive surgery to perform surgeries for a wide range of abdominal disorders, including appendix, gall bladder, hernia, spleen, colon and rectum.


Sharfi Sarker, MD is board certified in General Surgery and fellowship trained in minimally invasive surgery including robotic and laparoscopic procedures. She specializes in breast cancer surgery, and also performs surgeries for a wide range of abdominal disorders.



Francisco Battaglia, MD transitioned from an OB/GYN hospitalist at Sarasota Memorial Hospital to the FPG OB/GYN team in Venice, where he works alongside Anthony Canino, MD and Angela Marshall, MD. Dr. Battaglia is board certified in Obstetrics & Gynecology.



New Primary Care physicians joined us in Lakewood Ranch and North Port:

Jennifer Scheer, DO joined our pediatrics practice in Lakewood Ranch alongside Katherine Keeley, MD and Jose Tavarez, MD.  Dr. Scheer is board certified in pediatrics and provides primary care for children from birth through age 18.



Alberto Arias, MD is board certified in Family Medicine and provides primary care for patients of all ages. He is fluent in English and Spanish. He joined Jessica Perez-Cardwell, MD at FPG’s family medicine practice in North Port.

We’ve recruited many new physicians for our hospital teams, including medical hospitalists, OB/GYN hospitalists, Post Acute, Palliative Medicine, and Trauma Services:

Our Medical hospitalist team welcomed the following providers this year:

  • Blake Studer, MD
  • Dillan Patel, MD
  • Dulip Ratnasoma, MD
  • Ian Nora, MD
  • Jonathan Meyer, DO
  • Mark Wysokinski, MD
  • Minje Ha, MD
  • Shivan Ramsamooj, DO
  • Stephanie Williams, MD
  • Vasily Simaev, MD
  • Zyad Asi, MD

FPG’s Obstetrics and Gynecology hospitalist team welcomed Christine Trupiano, MD.

Our Post Acute team welcomed Kathleen Welch-Wilson, MD.

Our Palliative Medicine team welcomed John Rutkowski, MD.

Elijah Kim, MD transitioned from our hospitalist team to our new Trauma Care team.

We thank all of our providers for an incredible year and look forward to a great 2024!

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