Alexander D. Abkin, M.D., FACS
Dr. Alexander Abkin is a board-certified general surgeon and experienced bariatric surgeon, having performed over 6,000 bariatric procedures in the past 10 years. He performs several types of bariatric surgery procedures, including Gastric Bypass Surgery, Lap Band Surgery, Realize Band Surgery, Sleeve Gastrectomy, Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery (SILS), ROSE Procedure, and Vertical Banded Gastroplasty (VBG). Dr. Abkin performs most bariatric procedures laparoscopically, averaging 8 to 10 procedures per week. Dr. Abkin received his medical training at First Leningrad Medical University in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he received his M.D. in 1986. He completed his residency at Morristown Memorial Hospital. Dr. Abkin also has specialized training in laparoscopic and bariatric surgical techniques, completed under the guidance of Dr. Philip Schauer in Pittsburgh. In 2001, Dr. Alexander Abkin started his own successful practice, Advanced Laparoscopic Surgeons, in Florham Park, NJ. He is a member of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery , the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons, and the American Medical Association. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS). Dr. Abkin was the first surgeons in the North East states to implement the REALIZE™ Band procedure. In addition, he is one of 29 people selected in the country to proctor and train on the use of it.
Anish Nihalani, M.D.
Dr. Nihalani is a graduate of the UMDNJ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, New Jersey. He completed his Advanced Laparoscopic Bariatric Surgery Fellow at University Medical Center at Princeton in Princeton, N.J. and did his General Surgery Residency as Chief Resident at Montefiore North Medical Center (formerly known as Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center) in Bronx, N.Y. Besides his extensive education, training and clinical research, Dr. Nihalani has been published in several medical journals and is also fluent in five languages. He has also set up a Colorectal Cancer database at the College of Physician & Surgeons of Columbia University in New York City which tracks the short-term and long-term outcomes of surgical cancer patients. He is a member of several professional organizations including the American College of Surgeons (ACS), and American Society of Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).
Mikhail A. Botvinov, D.O.
Dr. Mikhail Botvinov is an experienced surgeon who has primarily focused on laparoscopic and minimally invasive surgery. These surgical techniques are used to treat and address issues associated with obesity and other general surgery conditions. He has a dual medical education as both a medical doctor (M.D.) and doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.). Dr. Botvinov completed medical training initially at I.M. Sechenov First Moscow Institute of Medicine in Moscow, Russia, the oldest and largest national medical higher education institution in the Russian Federation. While in Russia he worked as a general surgeon at the Institute of Laser Surgery. Dr. Botvinov obtained a National Patent for converting a gastrointestinal device to the use of carbon dioxide laser while at the National Institute of Laser Surgery, Moscow. In the United States, Dr. Botvinov completed his medical education in the College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYCOM), Westbury, New York. His surgical training was completed in Flushing Hospital, Flushing, New York. He also completed minimally invasive,laparoscopic and bariatric training in Staten Island University Hospital, Staten Island, New York. Dr. Botvinov is licensed to practice medicine in the states of New Jersey and New York. He has joined the practice of Alexander D. Abkin, MD, FACS to continue his focus on laparoscopic surgery. He is a member of the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons (ACOS), the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), the American College of Physicians (ACP), the American Medical Student Association (AM SA), the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS). Dr. Botvinov is a candidate member of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES).
Patricia L. Sullivan, BSN, RN, CNOR, CBN – Program Coordinator
Patricia, a graduate of the Muhlenberg School of Nursing, is a registered nurse who brings with her over 24 years of clinical nursing experience. While an RN First Assistant in the operating room, she developed an interest in the perioperative care of the bariatric surgery patient. As program coordinator she is able to supervise the entire pre and post-operative process of the patients in the JFK For Life program. Patricia oversees monthly support group meetings, organizes new patient seminars and provides pre and post operative education. Patricia is committed to making each patient’s weight loss journey successful and to provide them with the tools they need to live healthier lives.
Besides her work, Pat’s passions are theatre, film and her two dogs, Gus and Misty.
Kelly Di Fabio, RD – Nutrition Counseling
Kelly’s passion for nutrition began at a young age when she scheduled her first appointment with a dietitian for weight management. After successful weight loss, Kelly saw how body image and self-esteem affected many young women around her – her best friend began to battle anorexia nervosa. It was then she knew, at 15, her mission was to empower her clients through nutrition; to build their confidence and allow themselves a second chance and an open opportunity to become the person they wanted to be without food and negative thoughts getting in the way. Kelly graduated from La Salle University with her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition Degree after completing the Coordinated Program in Dietetics with a minor in Psychology. The Coordinated Program in Dietetics put Kelly two years ahead of her cohort and allowed for hands on experiences at Pennsylvania Hospital, Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital, The Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance, AquaHab Fitness and Rehabilitation Centers, and Bryn Mawr College Food Services Department. Outside of work, Kelly loves spending time with her family and exploring the tri-state through Groupon.
Karen Rose, MSW, LCSW – Behavioral Therapist
Karen is a passionate and caring counselor committed to enabling her clients to achieve their goals and cope with their stressors and behavioral health issues. As a social worker with 30 years experience, her foundation was laid at NYU’s masters program on the core tenets of ego psychology and its evolutions. Her areas of focus with clients have been weight management issues, especially for people who are obese or morbidly obese and/or pre- and post-bariatric surgery, depression, chemical dependence, dual diagnosis, dementia and caregiver stress, as well as a wide range of mental illnesses. Her approach to counseling and coaching empowers clients to set realistic and actionable goals to improve the quality of their lives and coping strategies both immediately and in the long term. She will be your coach and counselor to help you cope with the challenges you face.
Karen enjoys oil painting and shares her home with a feline companion named Bear.
Joann Costarella – Surgical Scheduling Representative
Joann handles all aspects of the scheduling process. She personally assists each individual patient with completing all their pre operative requirements in a timely manner. Her goal is to provide a positive experience for each patient. Joann has become the “go to” person when patients have questions or concerns. Everyone appreciates her warm and welcoming personality. Joann loves to cook for her extended family and she recently became a first time grandmother.
Teresa Scott – Office Coordinator
Good office management depends on people knowing who is responsible for what and how to get things done. Terri is that person. She has over 20 years experience in managing a medical practice. Terri oversees all of the day-to-day administrative tasks that are required to keep the JFK for Life office running smoothly. Terri has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Rutgers University. Terri enjoys all kinds of outdoor activities. She loves to travel and has a Jack Russell named Penny.