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Atlanta Plastic & Reconstructive Specialists


Atlanta Plastic & Reconstructive Specialists

This week I featured 3 of the physicians from Atlanta Plastic & Reconstructive Specialists.  They are known for providing expert care for patients in need of reconstructive surgery after cancer treatment or trauma as well as for those who are seeking aesthetic procedures.

Dr. Donald Nunn is a triple-boarded surgeon and unique in the fact that he completed residencies and board certification in 3 specialties, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, Ear, Nose, & Throat, and Plastic surgery.  He is able to bring this range of training and experience to bear for his patients who need facial surgery as well as the full scope of plastic surgery procedures.

Dr. Bahair Ghazi shared how he benefited from spending several months training in Belgiam, learning some subtle differences in approach that he’s able to apply in his work when it can enhance the final outcome of his surgeries.  It’s clear talking with Dr. Ghazi he is passionate about plastic surgery and how it can have such a positive impact on quality of life for the patients he sees.  He shared some great information on the tummy tuck and pandectomy procedures for patients who have lost significant amounts of weight or that are wanting to become more active but excess body fat inhibits doing so.

Dr. Susann Bedford talked about how she feels a special relationship with the women she’s treating with breast surgery, whether reconstructive after cancer treatment, or aesthetic for women wanting to change their look for improved body image.  She shared how she was able to spend time during her training with some of the world’s highly-regarded specialists in breast and plastic surgery, helping her provide some of the best techniques available to achieve the best aesthetic result possible for a given case.

Special Guests:

Dr. Donald Nunn, MD, of Atlanta Plastic & Reconstructive Specialists  facebook_logo_small3  twitter_logo_small-e1403698475314  linkedin_small1  youtube logo  Pinterest-logo  google-plus-logo-red-265px


  • Doctor of Dental Surgery, Medical College of Virginia
  • Residency, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, University of North Carolina
  • American Board of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Doctor of Medicine, Medical College of Virginia
  • Residency, Neck and Head Surgery, Medical College of Virginia
  • Residency, Plastic Surgery, University of California
  • American Board of Plastic Surgery
  • American Board of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery

Dr. Bahair Ghazi, MD, of Atlanta Plastic & Reconstructive Specialists  twitter_logo_small-e1403698475314  facebook_logo_small3  linkedin_small1


  • Surgical Training

    Emory University Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
    Emory University General Surgery
    West Virginia University, M.D.

  • Externships

    Cosmetic Surgery Sint Martens Latem, Belgium
    Cosmetic & Breast Reconstruction Brussels, Belgium
    Microsurgical Breast Reconstruction Ghent, Belgium

  • Board Certifications

    American Board of Plastic Surgery
    American Board of Surgery

Dr. Susann Beford, MD, of Atlanta Plastic & Reconstructive Specialists  facebook_logo_small3  linkedin_small1


  • Doctor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine
  • Residency, Plastic Surgery, Barnes-Jewish Hospital of Washington University Hospital
  • Fellowship, Breast & Aesthetic Surgery, Georgetown University
  • American Board of Surgery
  • American Board of Plastic Surgery



Peripheral Arterial Disease

Peripheral Arterial Disease

As many as 12 million Americans are dealing with peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a progressive blockage of the blood vessels that carry blood to the lower extremities.  For many of these patients, amputation is the outcome, leaving them without a foot, or in others, half or more of their leg.  Medical literature has shown that in these patients, their risk of death within 1 to 5 years of their amputation they have a 40% likelihood of amputation of the remaining leg and a significant risk of death.  It’s clearly a serious problem.

But we can reduce the rate of amputation among these patients and we can also reduce the severity of intervention required to address the problem if we catch it early.  Dr. Joseph Ricotta, vascular surgeon and director of the Northside Hearth & Vascular program, stopped by the studio to talk about what can be done to improve patient outcomes for those with PAD.  We talked about the troublesome statistics around peripheral arterial disease, including the fact that among diabetics with PAD who develop a non-healing wound resulting in amputation, as many as 50% of them never receive a non-invasive study that could prevent the loss of their leg.

That means we need our partners in primary care and foot/ankle surgery to take an aggressive stance when presented with patients who are at risk for PAD or who have a poorly-healing wound on their leg or foot.  There are numerous non-invasive studies that take only minutes in the vascular surgeon’s office that can readily identify patients who have blockage affecting blood flow to their feet.  In these cases, if caught early, surgeons like Dr. Ricotta have more options and greater probability they can reestablish adequate blood flow that helps a wound to heal, preventing or mitigating extent of amputation.

We talked about the fact that Northside offers access to 2 of the country’s 10 robotic devices that significantly improves the effectiveness of minimally-invasive procedures by allowing the vascular surgeons to access and treat previously-inaccessible locations.  Additionally, with the assistance of the robot, the surgeons are able to reduce damage that can occur on the inside of the vessel being treated, which reduces the likelihood that scarring after the procedure will block the vessel off again (a leading cause of reocclusion in PAD lesions).

I also spoke with foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. Michael Bednarz of Ankle & Foot Centers of Georgia, whose office is located in Woodstock, just north of Marietta.  He talked about treating PAD patients with wounds from the perspective of the specialist who is tasked with managing the wound and ultimately, treating it surgically as necessary (including amputation when efforts to heal the wound fail and serious infection is a risk).

We talked about the fact that amputation should be viewed as a last-ditch option.  And Mike shared that no patient should face amputation without having had a vascular study to determine if poor flow is contributing to the wound not healing.  He talked about the fact that when he’s presented with a poorly-healing wound, particularly in a patient with PAD risk factors such as diabetes, one of the first things he does is request a vascular study to assess blood flow.  He also utilizes Transcutaneous Oximetry, a non-invasive test that shows how well the tissue at the surface where a wound is located is getting oxygen.

With the results of those studies, he is able to address poor blow flow by referral to a vascular surgeon and/or to hyperbaric medicine (readily available in Atlanta and surrounding suburbs) to address poor oxygen levels in the skin.  He also evaluates other risk factors such as glucose levels and presence of infection, often resulting in consults with infectious disease and/or endocrine specialists to help heal the limb-threatening wound.  We talked about the fact that a multi-specialty approach insures that more patients can avoid amputation and the resultant high mortality rates that come with them.

Early involvement with an experienced wound specialist, vascular diagnostics/intervention, infection control, and endocrinology are all vital in helping patients avoid an amputation that might also cost them their life.

Special Guests:

Joseph Ricotta, MD, Medical Director, Heart & Vascular Institute, Northside Hospital  linkedin_small1  twitter_logo_small  facebook_logo_small3  youtube logo

Northside Vascular

  • Doctor of Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University School of Medicine
  • Surgical Residency, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Fellowship, Vascular Surgery, Mayo Clinic
  • Fellowship, Advanced Endovascular Surgery, Cleveland Clinic Foundation
  • Associate Professor of Surgery, Georgia Regents University, University of Georgia School of Medicine

Michael Bednarz, DPM, Ankle & Foot Centers of Georgia  linkedin_small1  facebook_logo_small3  twitter_logo_small  youtube logo

Ankle & Foot Centers of Georgia

  • Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, Kent State University School of Podiatric Medicine
  • Residency, Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Miami
  • Board Certified, American Board of Foot/Ankle Surgery
  • Recognized as a “Top Doc” in the WellStar Health System

Patient Engagement

Fank Martin


Patient Engagement

This week I caught up with our friend, Frank Martin, of The Medical Consultants Group.  We talked about how his consulting firm can help a wide range of medical practices, from solo offices to multi-site large groups.  Frank talked about the variety of facets of a business that is a medical practice improve operations.

Frank talked about strategies for helping patients related to managing their out-of-pocket obligation, including deductible and co-payment.  We also discussed how the ACA has placed new emphasis on patient satisfaction and outcomes relating to how the practice (or isn’t) reimbursed.  Another requirement is to provide an electronic portal that allows remote access to patient data BY the patient, coupled with a means to transmit/receive relevant information to/from patients.

We discussed the difference between legacy EMR systems (where software was installed on hardware in the office) and cloud-based applications where data and the software exist on a remote cloud-computing-based architecture.  The decision-making capability of the cloud-based applications, coupled with security and rapid access to important data, make modern cloud-based EMR applications the wise choice for practices to convert to today.  These modern applications do not require on-site updates of the application on every device.  Now, the application is updated where it lives, meaning the user’s experience is not interrupted or inconvenienced.

Frank places great emphasis on helping his client practices become better-running businesses.  To that end he works with the group to be able to change processes, or software, business plan, and/or other key facets such as office location and office space leasing to operate more efficiently and profitably.

Special Guest

Frank Martin / Medical Consultants Group Twitter Facebook


  • Past recipient, “Volunteer of the Year, Big Brothers Big Sisters”
  • Published author
  • Successful entrepreneur in the healthcare sector

Medical Association of Georgia’s 2015 Legislative Priorities

Medical Association of Georgia

Medical Association of Georgia’s 2015 Legislative Priorities

This week I sat down with Dr. Michael Green and Marcus downs of MAG to discuss Medical Association of Georgia’s 2015 legislative priorities.  We talked about several issues that have a serious impact on both patient outcomes as well as Georgia physicians’ ability to provide care.  Some key areas of focus this year include Physician Autonomy/Scope of Practice relating to physician-extending providers such as optometrists, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, Third Party Payers, Tort Reform, and Patient Access to Care/Physician Shortage.

Dr. Greene and Marcus shared important information about how the year’s priorities are decided upon from how they’re raised as issues, to how they are elevated through committee to final discussion/determination.  They also talked about how valuable it is to have active participation in the process by the members of MAG.  We discussed the ways that MAG members are able to contribute input on the process and identification of issues for the association to consider.

Marcus and Dr. Greene also talked about some important legislative issues MAG has been able to provide input on that helped shape or revise laws affecting how physicians provide care within the state of Georgia.

Special Guests:

Dr. Michael Greene, Chairman, Council on Legislation, MAG   twitter_logo_small  linkedin_small1  facebook_logo_small3

Medical Association of Georgia

  • Doctorate of Medicine, Mercer University School of Medicine
  • Former President of MAG, 2003-’04
  • Board Member, Secure Health Plan of Georgia
  • Practicing Family Practice Physician, Macon, GA


Marcus Downs, Director of Government Relations, MAG  linkedin_small1  

Medical Association of Georgia

  • Recipient, 2012, Outstanding Advocate Award, National Association of School Psychologists
  • National Institutes of Health Research Fellow, 2000
  • Former Director, Government Relations/External Coalitions/Research, Georgia Association of Educators

Complex Patients

Infectious Disease Consultants

Complex Patients

This week I sat down with our colleague, Dr. Andrew Pugliese, Infectious Disease specialist of Infectious Disease Consultants in Johns Creek.  He stopped by to talk about complex patients.  He shared how medical studies focus on single illnesses, disqualifying certain age groups and patients with multiple disease states.  Dr. Pugliese talked about the fact that in the real world medical office, rare is it that a patient walks in to be treated for a problem who is only dealing with that single disease.  More commonly, patients present with obesity, and/or diabetes, heart disease, or any number of other health problems that can affect the way the body responds to a given disease state and treatments for them.  Dr. Pugliese shared how these “multi-morbid” (having more than one health issue) patients are very complex and often do not respond to therapies as studies suggest they will.  He offered advice for providers to help them be better able to manage patients when they need care for a given problem when other health issues are present.  Check out Dr. Pugliese’s blog at

Special Guest:

Andrew Pugliese, MD, Infectious Disease Consultants twitter_logo_small  linkedin_small1  facebook_logo_small3  Blogger 2  

Infectious Disease Consultants

  • Doctorate in Medicine, St. George University School of Medicine
  • Fellowship, Infectious Disease, Winthrop University Hospital
  • Triple Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Disease
  • Pioneer in non-surgical treatment of acute and chronic sinusitis
  • President of Sinus Solutions

Swift School

Swift School

Swift School

This week I sat down with two learning specialists and three students from The Swift School in Roswell, GA.  This private school is one that focuses on the learning needs of high-potential students that are challenged with dyslexia, dyscalculia (problems with math), working memory issues, and others.  Their learning environment is designed to help these children achieve their academic potential through smaller class sizes, teaching styles (such as Orton-Gillingham method) that take these various brain types and learning process needs into consideration.

As many as 1 in 5 children deal with some sort of learning challenge such as dyslexia, according to the learning specialists, Lisa Armorer and Carol Madden.  We now know that these aren’t so much learning “disabilities” as “Brain Types”.  As Carol explained, most kids dealing with dyslexia and some of these other challenges are “Right Brain” dominant.  This affects the style of learning that is most effective for them and can have an impact on their behavior patterns to some extent as well.  Many children are misdiagnosed as having behavioral “problems” when in fact they are actually exhibiting responses to frustration and/or anxiety because they are having trouble learning and they don’t understand why.

Lisa explained how Swift School’s learning approach differs from many “traditional” learning settings and how the strategies they employ take the child’s brain type and associated learning techniques into consideration.  This empowers them to achieve academically at a high level and advocate for themselves as students as they return to middle schools and high schools in traditional class environments/teaching approaches.

I got to talk to two 5th graders, Mackenzie Day and Olivia Hall, and 8th grader, Grant Meyer.  They shared their poignant stories about how it felt to be “different” from their peers as young students, watching them excel when certain (or all) concepts seemed so difficult for them.  They talked about their experiences going to visit Swift School and what it was like to become “veteran” students once they’d been there for a while.  Olivia, Mackenzie, and Grant also shared advice for peers in the community who might be considering Swift School as an option when a traditional setting is not helping them reach their academic potential.

Lisa Armorer shared this information with me:

Is your child bright but still struggling in school?  It might not be laziness.  It might be dyslexia.

Dyslexia affects 1 in 5 students today.  Dyslexia is not just seeing words backwards.  Dyslexia is a language-based learning difference and causes difficulty with reading, writing and spelling.


  • Delayed spoken language
  • Left/Right Confusion
  • Difficulty rhyming words and sounds
  • Poor sequencing of numbers and letters
  • Difficulty sounding out, identifying, and spelling words
  • Slow to memorize alphabet and math facts
  • Avoids reading aloud.
  • Difficulty with reading and comprehension.

For more information:

The International Dyslexia Association –

Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators –


Special Guests:

Lisa Armorer, Learning Specialist, Swift School  facebook_logo_small3  youtube logo

Armorer headshot 2

Carol Madden, Middle Division Director, Swift School

Armorer Madden

Grant Meyer, 8th Grade Swift Student, President, Student Counsil


Mackenzie Day, 5th Grade Swift Student


Olivia Hall, 5th Grade Swift Student

Olivia Grant





AirWatch by vmware

This week on TopDocsRADIO we sat down with Paul McRae of AirWatch by vmware. Healthcare is evolving. As information technology advances and our health laws change, greater importance is being placed on electronic health records.  Today, digital data is flowing between departments in a hospital, to physician offices, to practitioners in the patients’ homes.  The result is greater efficiency in coordination of care, easier collaboration across multi-specialty teams, and an increased risk of compromise of sensitive HIPAA-protected information.

AirWatch by vmware provides technology that allows healthcare organizations to protect sensitive data across their enterprise, including mobile devices and laptops that may be in use outside the confines of the building or campus of the health company.  With their solution, the enterprise can determine whether certain data elements can be accessed by a given device (including BYOD), attachments can be included in outbound emails, and more.

If your organization is working to take advantage of the benefits of digital platforms and mobile devices then get to know AirWatch by vmware.  You’ll give your company the strengths that come with digitized information coupled with the confidence your information will meet compliance requirements and stay safe in the hands of those its meant to be seen by.

Special Guests:

Paul McRae, Director of Business Development – Healthcare Solutions, AirWatch by vmware  twitter_logo_small  youtube logo  google-plus-logo-red-265px  linkedin_small1  facebook_logo_small3

AirWatch by vmware

  • BA Economics, Cornell University
  • Board Member, Warrick Dunn
  • Presenter, Georgia Healthcare Trade Faire & Regional Conference 2013
  • Former SCVP of Healthcare Emerging Technology, AT&T



International Medical Graduates

 TDR 12-9

International Medical Graduates

In our ongoing series with Medical Association of Georgia, we discussed International Medical Graduates on this episode.  Today, we continue to extend the age to which we humans live. This, coupled with the large post-war baby boomer population that is now entering the elderly population, compounds the effects of the period 2-3 decades ago where it was thought we possessed a surplus of physicians. During that time the creation of new medical colleges and expansion of residency programs was limited. These factors combined to bring us to the situation we find ourselves in today: an expanding shortage of physicians in the US.

The ECFMG (Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) reports that since its inception in the 1950’s it has examined and certified over 320,000 foreign-trained physicians for acceptance to train in US medical colleges and residency programs.  Recent statistics show as many as 25% of practicing physicians in the US are foreign-trained graduates.  And they play a vital role in the delivery of healthcare in our country.  I sat down with Kate Boyenga, Director of Membership and Marketing with Medical Association of Georgia and current MAG president, Dr. Manoj Shah, himself a foreign medical graduate.

We learned about some of the reasons why Medical Association of Georgia is experiencing its largest membership with over 7500 members statewide.  And Dr. Shah shared excellent information about the steps required to study in medical school abroad with the ultimate goal of practicing medicine in the US.  He talked about the tests one can expect to take, challenges they may face while making application to schools/residencies in the US, and possible solutions for them.

Special Guests:

Kate Boyenga, Director of Membership and Marketing for Medical Association of Georgia 

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  • BA Communication, College of Charleston
  • Under her leadership MAG Membership is at an all-time high
  • 14 years with MAG

Dr. Manoj Shah, MD, of Physicians for Women and president of MAG  linkedin_small1


  • MAG’s first President from Warner Robins
  • MAG’s first president of East Indian descent
  • Doctor of Medicine, Baroda, India
  • Residency, Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit
  • Has delivered more than 7,000 babies

Dr. Khusrow Niazi

Emory Healthcare

Dr. Khusrow Niazi

This week I sat down with Emory School of Medicine’s Dr. Khusrow Niazi, Interventional Cardiologist and Director of Peripheral Vascular Interventions.  Dr. Niazi is a cardiologist but is different from many other cardiologists as he treats disease from the head to toes. He specializes in blockages of the artery which may involve coronary arteries around the heart which may cause chest pain or heart attack, carotid arteries which may cause TIA or strokes, arteries to the leg which may cause leg discomfort or slow wound healing. In addition he is one of the few cardiologists who also treat veins of the legs which may cause leg cramps, swelling, heaviness or varicose veins. He has lectured nationally and internationally and has helped many patients from getting their legs amputated.

Dr. Niazi appeared with the goal of providing the folks in the community with a cardiologist’s perspective on what they need to know about vascular disease which can affect the arteries that supply the brain, heart, and limbs.  We talked about things we can do to reduce our risk of disease in the vascular system.  He also shared recommendations on the types of tests and studies that folks who are at greater risk for vascular disease should consider having conducted.  Many of these tests are quite basic and can be performed at their local primary care physician’s office.  Persons who should consider regular monitoring for the presence of vascular disease include those who are over-weight, have diabetes, high cholesterol levels, hypertension, as well as those who have close relatives with a history of vascular problems.

Dr. Niazi advised our listeners to not ignore symptoms that might indicate a vascular problem exists such as chest tightness/pain, dizzy spells or changes in vision, speech, or ability to walk, pain in the lower legs when walking, shortness of breath at rest or with mild activity, etc.  These can be signs that vascular problems exist that could potentially be corrected with early intervention.  He also spoke about the fact that persons who have a wound on their lower leg or foot need to be evaluated for the presence of correctable vascular disease.  Many of these people go on to have amputations when they may have been prevented by intervention by a vascular specialist.

Special Guest:

Dr. Khusrow Niazi, MD, of Emory University School of Medicine facebook_logo_small3  twitter_logo_small  youtube logo  linkedin_small1


Emory Healthcare

  • Doctor of Medicine, King Edward Medical College, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Residency, Cardiology, Kettering Medical Center
  • Fellowship William Beaumont Hospital
  • Multiple published research articles