LIFT Speaker Series

Program Overview

Leading and Inspiring Faculty Trajectories (LIFT) is the college's junior faculty mentoring program derived from evidence-based mentoring practices. It is a critical component to the career advancement of our faculty and is designed to enhance the vitality of our faculty by meeting mentoring needs across a broad spectrum of topics. These Include:

  • Career development.
  • Research and scholarly writing.
  • Teaching and clinical skills.

LIFT is a cohort-based, nine-month program, that combines traditional mentorship with a peer group dynamic. The program hosts a series of structured evening mentoring and networking events on topics related to career progression throughout the year. It is open to all assistant and associate professors (on any track) holding a UA College of Medicine – Phoenix faculty title.

The Office of Faculty Affairs and Development at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix is committed to developing a vibrant, engaged, diverse community of faculty who have access to programs that inspire and enrich their growth and development. Many departments at the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix have active mentoring programs for their members. This program is designed to supplement the departmental mentoring programs, as well as to aid junior and mid-career faculty in finding mentors for specific areas and needs that they have identified.

LIFT is now accepting Interest Submission Forms; rolling review begins in February. 


  • To provide primary or supplemental mentoring to junior faculty of the College of Medicine – Phoenix.
  • Expand participants' professional network to include affiliates and outside disciplines.
  • To advance the professional goals of the mentees.
  • Expose faculty to a peer group mentoring dynamic.

Program Model

  • Nine-month program cycle.
  • Cohort-based.
  • Mentees select program mentors.
  • One senior mentor to several junior mentees.

2019-2020 Cohort Mentors

Linda R. Nelson, MD, PhD
Director, REBLS Block, and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, UA College of Medicine –

Linda Nelson, MD, PhDMy goal is to help faculty shape their career pathway by recognizing what they love doing and playing on their strengths to be successful.

I have followed my passion to be an educator and researcher by obtaining a PhD in Physiological Psychology from UCLA (researching animal models of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) while teaching Psychology at LA Valley Community College. I became interested in clinical medicine during this training, and I found that women’s health was the best fit for me. I subsequently obtained an MD from the University of Miami and completed an obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) residency at UCLA and a reproductive endocrinology and infertility (REI) fellowship at University of California – San Francisco.

At the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix, I am the preclinical block director for the MS2 block: Reproduction, Endocrine, Biological Basis of Behavior, Life Span (REBLS), and I work with MS3 OB/GYN Clerkship students at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Maricopa Integrated Health System. I continue to blend my teaching with clinical practice, and I am board-certified in OB/GYN and REI. I have a small private practice dedicated to all aspects of assisted reproductive technology at Arizona Reproductive Medicine Specialists. At all of these clinical sites, I enjoy working with residents from both UA and Creighton on their OB/GYN and REI rotations.

Steve Zangwill, MD
Director, Heart Transplant and Heart Failure Program at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and Clinical Professor, Child Health, UA College of Medicine – Phoenix

Steve Zangwill, MDTwenty-five years ago, I chose to subspecialize in heart transplantation mainly because I was told I could do all the biopsies and coronary angiograms, and I really did like the cath lab. Everyone in medicine has a unique journey, and I enjoy helping people find their path. Before joining the faculty at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and the College of Medicine – Phoenix, I served as director of heart transplantation at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. While there, I started the pediatric heart failure program, served as medical director for the Wisconsin Donor Network and was director of the cardiology fellowship program. I also had the opportunity to participate in some really fun and interesting translational research. In collaboration with the blood center, I coined the term “virtual crossmatch” as a process for transplanting sensitized children waiting for a new heart. I was/am also a co-investigator on a  five-year NIH funded study exploring the utility of donor specific cell-free DNA as a non-invasive marker of rejection in solid organ transplant recipients.

Here in Arizona, I have assumed the role as director of heart center research and have partnered with the 3D-imaging and engineering lab to develop novel ways to expand the donor pool using real-time volumetric fit assessment of donors and recipients. We have just been invited to expand this approach on a national level. I am happy to serve as a mentor and help someone else find/create their own path.

Richard Gerkin, MD, MS
Medical Director, GME Research, Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix/UA College of Medicine – Phoenix, and Clinical Associate Professor, Internal Medicine, UA College of Medicine – Phoenix

Richard Gerkin, MD, MSI am looking forward to being a mentor for LIFT. I have a background in internal medicine, cardiology, medical toxicology and occupational medicine (with the Phoenix Fire Dept.). Since 2001, after receiving my MS in statistics, I have been much more involved with academics — including journal clubs and research lectures — but have also been a faculty advisor for internal medicine and preliminary medicine residents, an interviewer of those potential residents and a mentor for residents, fellows and faculty who have research or quality improvement projects they would like to carry out.

I enjoy working with people who are motivated to succeed, and that is why I was attracted to this mentoring position in the LIFT program. I look forward the opportunity to mentor those who are advancing in their careers.

Michael Grossman, MD, MACP
Special Assistant to the Dean and Professor Emeritus, Internal Medicine and Biomedical Informatics, UA College of Medicine – Phoenix

Michael Grossman, MDIn 1982, Dr. Grossman came to Phoenix and became the director of ambulatory medicine at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. He joined the clinical faculty of the University of Arizona in 1983. He also served in the capacity of associate and then program director for the internal medicine training program. In 1992, he became the vice president of Medical Affairs for St. Luke’s Health System, and later the western regional medical director for Ornda Health Care. In 1996, he transferred to the University of Arizona as a full-time faculty member and directed the Arizona Medical Education Consortium for several years.

Dr. Grossman has been a faculty member of the University of Arizona since 1983, when he directed the ambulatory medicine program at St. Joseph’s Hospital. In 1996, Dr. Grossman took on a key leadership role with the college, serving as the associate dean for Graduate Medical Education, as well as the director of the Arizona Medical Education Consortium. He also is professor emeritus of Internal Medicine and Biomedical Informatics at the University. Dr. Grossman also serves as the vice president of Academic Affairs at Maricopa Integrated Health System.

Over his career, Dr. Grossman has assumed a number of positions within Arizona's health care system — former governor of Arizona for the ACP, active member of the Advisory and Institutional Appeals Committees, served nine years on the Conjoint Committee for CME under the CMSS and was the past president of the Association for Hospital Medical Education (AHME), to name a few. In 2003, he was inducted as a Master of the American College of Physicians. These many accomplishments have led Dr. Grossman to receive several prestigious awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Maricopa Health Foundation.

LIFT 2019-2020 Cohort

  • Kendall Novoa-Takara, MD, associate professor of Internal Medicine, Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix
  • Bidur Dhakal, MD, assistant professor of Internal Medicine, Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix
  • Mahmoud Alsayed, MD, assistant professor of Internal Medicine, Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix
  • Jay Varma, MD, assistant professor of Neurology, Barrow Neurological Center
  • Ricardo Correa, MD, assistant professor of Internal Medicine, Phoenix VA Health Care System
  • Allison Kaplan, MD, assistant professor of Family Medicine, Desert Glove Family Medical
  • Joyce Lee-Iannotti, MD, assistant professor of Neurology, Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix
  • Lisa Yanex, EdD, assistant professor of Internal Medicine, University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix
  • Shoma Bommena, MD, assistant professor of Internal Medicine, Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix
  • Lisa Shah-Patel, MD, assistant professor of Radiology, UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix
  • Mohan Belthur, MD, associate professor of Child Health, Phoenix Children's Hospital
  • Cynthia Funes, PhD, assistant professor of Neurology, Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix
  • Julie Hastings, MD, assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center Phoenix


LIFT Mentoring Awards, 2017-2018 Cohort

Congratulations to the 2017-2018 cohort of LIFT Faculty Mentoring Program for completing the program!

Hamed Abbaszadegan Nichole Mahnert
Shaghayegh Abdollahi Emily Mallin
Mahmoud Alsayed Jon McGreevy
Mohan Belthur Laura Mercer
Clairmar Borrero-Mejias Michele Munkwitz
Viet Do Alexander Ngwube
Jennifer Hartmark-Hill Alena Petty
Maheshwor Kafle Zebulon Timmons
Erin Kreml Benjamin Wright


Thank you to our past mentors!

Maria Manriquez, MD Robert Roberts, MD
Terry Stull, MD Jonathan Lifshitz, PhD