Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) School of Medicine, Department of Medicine

University Hospitals

Department Involvement

The Department of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals Case Medical Center and the Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center has long been recognized as a leader in adult internal medicine, biomedical research and the teaching of physicians in training. With the most current facilities and technologies available, the physicians and scientists in the Department of Medicine excel in adult internal medicine and remain on the forefront of scientific breakthroughs and physician training.

Since 1987 the Department of Medicine has experienced tremendous growth in the scope of its research and clinical programs and has remained on the cutting edge of physician training.

Our research program has been the fastest growing research program for any major academic department of medicine in the country, based on funding from the National Institutes of Health. We have been ranked one of the top academic departments of medicine by the NIH for several consecutive years. This success is in large part due to the critical mass of top scientists recruited to the Department who have developed significant individual and collaborative research programs to seek treatments and cures for most major illnesses.

Our clinical programs are continually evolving to meet the evolving needs of our patients and referring physicians. The Department continues to reach out to the community through the growth of our satellite locations where patients able to visit one of our physicians in their own neighborhood. We have also developed an initiative to utilize inpatient focused clinical experts to be responsive to the needs of the Department and University Hospitals Health System at large. These physicians will work to provide patient care management of general medical patients admited to University Hospitals of Cleveland.

Our education programs encompass the training of medical students in our clerkship program, medical residents, subspecialty fellows, and continuing medical education for physicians in practice. All of our education programs are on the cutting edge in training physicians, with a focus on meeting the evolving needs of patients.

The Department of Medicine is prepared to meet the challenges of the next century through the strength and balance provided by the excellence and expertise of our faculty and staff in fulfilling our mission of exemplary medical care, development and application of new knowledge and superior training of health care professionals.

Department Leadership

Daniel I. Simon, MD, FACC, FAHA, FSCAI
Chief, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine
Director, Harrington-McLaughlin Heart & Vascular Institute
Director, Case Cardiovascular Center
Herman K. Hellerstein Professor of Cardiovascular Research

Dr. Simon graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College. After earning his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, he completed his internal medicine residency and cardiovascular medicine fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospitals and interventional cardiology training at Beth Israel Hospital, Boston. He joined the faculty of Brigham and Women’s Hospital where he rose through the ranks to Associate Director, Interventional Cardiology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School. A recipient of numerous research awards, Dr. Simon was elected into the American Society for Clinical Investigation, Association of University Cardiologists, and the Association of American Physicians. He is a recipient of the prestigious MERIT Award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. . He is also a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, and the Society of Cardiac Angiography and Interventions. Dr Simon’s main area of research interest is the role of inflammation in vascular injury and repair. His research is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health. Using cutting edge transcriptional profiling approaches, his laboratory has identified a novel biomarker called MRP-8/14 that predicts the risk of future heart attack and stroke. As Director of the Ohio Cell-based Therapy Consortium-Cardiovascular, Dr Simon is committed to advancing stem cell and regenerative medicine efforts to treat advanced heart and vascular disease. He is an active interventional cardiologist and continues to play a leading role in national and international clinical trials investigating new devices and anti-thrombotic drugs. Dr Simon has published extensively in peer-reviewed basic science and clinical journals. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Circulation and Journal American College Cardiology, and recently completed a stint as Associate Editor for Circulation where he continues to serves as Guest Editor.

Fabio Cominelli, M.D., PhD.
Chief, Division of Gastroenterology and Liver Disease
Professor of Medicine and Pathology
Hermann Menges, Jr. Chair in Internal Medicine
Director, Digestive Health Center

Dr. Cominelli received his B.A., in Classical Literature in 1976 from Liceo Classico Galileo and his Medical degree and postgraduate training from University of Florence, Florence, Italy, 1986. In 1989 Dr. Comenelli completed a GI fellowship at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA. and received his PhD in 1991. He spent several years in California at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and the USC School of Medicine serving in several clinical and leadership capacities from 1989-1995. From 1995-2008 Dr. Cominelli was the David Stone Professor of Internal Medicine, Division Chief for Gastroenterology, and Director of the Digestive Health Research Center and Training Program at the University of Virginia Health System. Dr. Cominelli joined the Faculty at Case Western Reserve University in 2008. Throughout his career, he has become a nationally and internationally known expert in inflammatory bowel disease. Dr. Cominelli’s research programs span the gap between the bench and bedside, with a focus on the role of cytokines and interleukins in the pathogenesis and therapy of inflammatory bowel disease. He currently has an NIH Merit Award, a Program Project Grant and 1 of 15 Silvio Conti Digestive Health Centers, among others research funding. He is serving or has served on numerous editorial boards including the Journal of Immunology and the New England Journal of Medicine, and serves on a number of national and international advisory boards and committees. He is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians.

Baha M. Arafah, MD
Professor of Medicine
Interim Division Chief, Endocrinology
Director, Fellowship Training Program

Dr. Arafah received his medical degree from the University if Beirut in 1976. He completed his Residency Training at the University of Massachusetts Affiliated Hospitals and Fellowship training at Case Western Reserve University. His areas of special interests and expertise in Endocrinology are Pituitary & adrenal functions. The Division of Endocrinology at Case Western Reserve University has been recognized nationally and internationally for many years for its academic contributions in many areas within endocrinology. These include diabetes mellitus, thyroid cancer and other thyroid illnesses as well as diseases of the pituitary and adrenal glands.

Rajesh Chandra, MD
Assistant Professor
Division Chief, Geriatrics and Internal Medicine

Dr. Chandra has been a member of the Case SOM academic faculty in the Department of Medicine since 1999. Born and raised in Patna, India, he obtained his medical degree from Patna Medical College and then migrated to the US to pursue his postgraduate medical training. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine from Mount Sinai Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio in 1996. After a short stint of 3 years in a primary care practice in rural Arizona he came back to Cleveland and joined the Division of General Internal Medicine as a clinician educator in the Section of Hospital Medicine. In 2001 he assumed the role of the Section Chief of Hospital Medicine and in this role he led a group of Internists who focus on acute inpatient general medical care and are now part of a rapidly growing group of physicians known as “hospitalists”. Under his leadership the section of hospital medicine has expanded the inpatient general medicine service at UHCMC to now include 2 teaching and 3 non-teaching services. In July 2008 Dr. Chandra was appointed as the Division Chief of General Internal Medicine & Geriatrics. Dr. Chandra’s own practice focuses on medical care of the hospitalized patient. He has a special interest in the improvement of care delivery in the inpatient setting and focuses on enhancing the quality and safety of inpatient medical care. In this regard he serves on several hospital committees including the Medicine QA and Medication Utilization Safety committees. His professional interests also include medical student and resident education with an emphasis on bedside clinical teaching, diagnostics and medical decision making. Over the past several years he has been the recipient of multiple housestaff and medical student teaching awards within the Department of Medicine.
Some of his other professional interests include Perioperative Medicine, Medical Consultation and Medical Informatics.

Neal Meropol, MD
Professor of Medicine
Chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology

Dr. Meropol is the Dr. Lester E. Coleman, Jr. Professor of Cancer Research and Therapeutics and Chief, Division of Hematology and Oncology in the Department of Medicine at UHCMC and CWRU. He also serves as Associate Director for Clinical Research of the NCI-designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, and as Associate Director for Clinical Programs of the Ireland Cancer Center, University Hospitals Case Medical Center.

Dr. Meropol received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University in Philosophy in 1981. His medical degree was granted in 1985 from Vanderbilt University.

Dr. Meropol is a medical oncologist with extensive experience as a clinical trialist and health services researcher. He has led cancer treatment clinical trials ranging from phase I-III, including biomarker identification and validation studies and holds NIH funding for studies of patient decision making and doctor-patient communication, with a particular focus on decisions regarding clinical trial participation.

Dr. Meropol holds several national leadership positions related to the conduct and infrastructure for cancer clinical trials, including chair of the National Cancer Institute GI Steering Committee Colon Cancer Task Force, chair of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Cancer Research Committee, and chair of the ASCO Comparative Effectiveness Research Task Force.

Robert A. Salata, MD, FACP, FIDSA
Professor of Medicine
Executive Vice Chair
Division Chief, Infectious Diseases
Fellowship Director

Robert A. Salata, MD, FACP, FIDSA is Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology/Biostatistics and International Health at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals Case Medical Center. In the Department of Medicine, he serves as Executive Vice Chair and is Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine. He is Medical Director of Infection Control and Prevention at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. Dr. Salata has ongoing research interests in the epidemiology and management of healthcare-associated infections and international HIV/AIDS. He is the author of over 200 articles and chapters in general infectious diseases and HIV Medicine.

Donald E. Hricik, MD
Division Chief, Nephrology

Dr. Hricik is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Georgetown University School of Medicine. He has been on the faculty of Case Western Reserve University since 1982 and is currently Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Nephrology. He is Medical Director of the Transplantation Service at University Hospitals of Cleveland. Research interests include complications of immunosuppression and immune monitoring in kidney transplant patients.

Kingman Strohl, MD
Professor of Medicine
Interim Division Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
Fellowship Program Director, Sleep Medicine

Dr. Strohl is a Professor of Medicine, Anatomy, and Oncology and Director, Center for Sleep Disorders Research, the Louis Stokes Cleveland DVA Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University. He has been a faculty member at the Case School of Medicine since 1980, and is board certified in Internal Medicine (1977), Pulmonary Medicine (1980), and Sleep Medicine (2007), He currently holds administrative positions as the interim Chief, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine; as the Director of the Sleep Disorders and Home Oxygen Programs at the VA Medical Center; as the Co-Director, Case Fellowship Program in Sleep Medicine; and as P.I. NIH Training Grant in Sleep Medicine Neurobiology and Epidemiology. His research interests are in the control of breathing during wakefulness and sleep, clinical decision making in sleep medicine, and sleep loss and fatigue. His research is supported by the National Institutes of Health, the VA Research Service, and industry.

Ali D. Askari, MD
Professor of Medicine
Chief, Division of Rheumatology
Fellowship Program Director
Director of Rheumatology, University Hospitals

Prior to joining University Hospitals Case Medical Center as full-time faculty in 1997, Dr. Askari was the Director of the Division of Rheumatology at Saint Luke’s Medical Center and the Medical Director of the Arthritis Center and Rehabilitative Services (including sports center and physical/occupational therapy) at Marymount Hospital, both in Cleveland. Dr. Askari was previously Director and founder of the Division of Rheumatology at Veteran’s Hospital in Cleveland, an affiliated Case Western Reserve University Department of Medicine from 1974-84. He was a clinical professor in the Department of Medicine from 1990-97, when he was promoted to full professor at Case. From his initial faculty assignment in 1974, he participated in education of students, residents and postdoctoral fellows in rheumatology with comments to be an outstanding teacher and received the “Best Teacher Award.” Presently he directs the fellowship program in the Division of Rheumatology. Dr. Askari received his MD from Tehran University in 1966 and after two years serving in the armed forces, he started his internship with St. Vincent Charity Hospital in Cleveland from 1968-69 and his residency in internal medicine at Case Western Reserve University affiliated hospitals from 1970-72, was chief resident in Medicine and completed a fellowship in Rheumatology at University Hospitals of Cleveland in 1974 at which time he became a faculty member at Case Western Reserve University and a staff physician at University Hospitals.
Dr. Askari has served in a number of prestigious professional societies in different capacities including Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Lupus Foundation (until May 2002), Chairman of the National Sjogren’s Syndrome Association Medical Board (1992-95), President of the Medical Advisory Board of the Lupus Foundation of Greater Cleveland and President of the Cleveland Rheumatism Society (1976-78, 1989-91), fellow of the American College of Physicians and founding fellow of the American College of Rheumatology and a member of the American College of Rheumatology Planning Committee. Currently, he is the President of the Board of Directors of the National Sjogren’s Syndrome Association and Medical Director of University Hospitals Health System Sjogren’s Syndrome Center. Dr. Askari has been published in a number of scientific and refereed journals including Arthritis & Rheumatism, American Journal of Medicine, Archives of Internal Medicine and Journal of American Medical Association. Some of Dr. Askari’s areas of interest are Sjogren’s Syndrome; Myalgia and Myopathy Inflammatory Myopathy; Cardiac Involvement, Steroid Induced Myopathy; Reiter’s Syndrome, Bechet’s Syndrome; Arthritis of Hemachromatosis and Paget ’s disease; and Management of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus.