Clinical Services & Team

TRAUMA SURGERY

Our Level II trauma center provides definitive trauma care regardless of the severity of the injury and serves as a regional tertiary referral center. Our highly trained trauma team has the specialized training, experience and equipment needed to sustain the most critically injured patients, and provides exceptional care through the trauma continuum: from the patient’s initial arrival to the Emergency Department, to the operating room and intensive care unit, and finally through the recovery phase, discharge and outpatient follow-up in our Trauma Clinic. Our clinical team is comprised of  trauma surgeons who are board certified in General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care.  Partnering with them are an elite group of Advance Practice Providers that assist in all phases of patient management. Subspecialists in Emergency Medicine, Orthopedic Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Neurosurgery, Anesthesiology, Thoracic Surgery, Interventional Radiology and others are always available as needed for the wide range of traumatic injuries seen in our community. The trauma surgeons also serve as consultants to other practitioners and clinical staff, as well as to the emergency medical services (EMS) community.

ACUTE CARE GENERAL SURGERY

The Trauma Trust Acute Care Surgery Service (ACSS) provides comprehensive emergency general surgery services to patients with urgent or emergency surgical conditions at both St. Joseph Medical Center and Tacoma General Hospital.  This service is available 24/7/365 for emergency consultations as well as for referrals for elective surgical procedures.  All surgeons are Board-Certified in General Surgery and are assisted by our  Advance Practice Providers, and manage the care of the patient from hospital admission until discharge and follow up in the outpatient clinics at the Frank S. Baker Center (Tacoma General Hospital) and the Virginia Mason Franciscan Health /St. Joseph Medical Center. For elective surgical outpatient consults, please have the PCP referrals sent directly to the clinics.

Meet Our Surgeons:

  • Teresa D Bell, MD

    Dr Bell received her medical degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, TX, and completed her general surgery residency and her surgical critical care fellowship with the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. After her training she stayed in Tennessee where she advanced to the rank of Associate Professor of Surgery with the James H. Quillen College of Medicine and also directed the surgical intensive care unit at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Johnson City, TN. Dr Bell has been in Tacoma practicing acute care surgery and critical care since the inception of the Trauma Trust in 2000, and is board certified in General Surgery and Surgical Critical care. She has additional special interests in minimally invasive surgery as well as medical acupuncture, and is an avid cyclist, mountaineer, SCUBA diver and sailor.

  • Veronica Bustillo-Aruca, MD

    Dr Bustillo-Aruca graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Puerto Rico and went on to obtain her medical degree from the University of Maryland in Baltimore.  She then completed a general surgery residency with the Christiana Care Health System program in Newark, DE which was followed by a surgical critical care fellowship at the Christiana Care Hospital System in Wilmington, DE.  Prior to joining the Tacoma Trauma Trust Dr Bustillo-Aruca worked as a trauma and acute care surgeon in Las Vegas, NV.

  • Megan M Cecchini, MD

    Dr. Cecchini received her medical degree from West Virginia University School of Medicine. She completed her internship and residency in General Surgery at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, WA. She became board certified in General Surgery in 2016. She is currently an attending surgeon for the Trauma Trust Acute Care Surgery Service at both Tacoma General Hospital and St. Joseph Medical Center. Dr. Cecchini enjoys taking care of patients with acute surgical issues. Her outside interests include traveling, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and supporting local sports teams.

  • Albert Hsu, MD

    Dr. Hsu is board certified in General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care. He completed his General Surgery residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA. During his residency, he also completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that was funded by the National Institutes of Health. Subsequently, he completed a fellowship in Surgical Critical Care and Trauma at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, FL. He joins the Trauma Trust from UF Health Jacksonville Division of Acute Care Surgery where he was an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Florida College of Medicine teaching numerous medical students, residents, and fellows.

  • Jennifer L Hubbard, MD, FACS

    Dr. Hubbard is board certified in Surgery and Surgical Critical Care. She earned her medical degree and completed her General Surgery residency at Loma Linda University. During residency she also finished her Pediatric Surgery Research fellowship at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. She then completed her Critical Care fellowship at both the Medical College of Wisconsin and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.  Dr. Hubbard has offered her services in multiple third world countries as a medical and surgical volunteer. Her interests include Transfusion Medicine, the Complex Abdomen, and Surgical Education. She has experience as an Associate Professor of Surgery teaching medical students, residents, and Surgical Critical Care and Acute Care Surgery fellows.

  • Paul T. Inouye, MD, FACS

    Dr. Inouye is board certified in General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care. Dr. Inouye received a B.A. from Pomona College. He then completed a Masters in Public Health at the University of California in Los Angeles at the Division of Epidemiology. He received his medical degree from George Washington University. Dr. Inouye completed his general surgery residency in the Temple University Health System, and then a surgical critical care fellowship at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Camden.

  • Ekaterina Knowlton, MD

    Dr. Knowlton received her medical degree from the University of Minnesota in 1993, and completed a surgical residency at the University of Washington in Seattle in 2000 as well as a 2 year research fellowship at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center through the University of Washington studying the genetic mechanics of breast cancer. She became a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons in 2001, and after 12 years of private practice started working for the Trauma Trust in 2012, joining the permanent staff in 2016. Dr. Knowlton enjoys minimally invasive, acute, trauma and palliative surgery, as well teaching and the outdoors. Her goal is to provide outstanding care in a straighforward, compassionate manner as part of a superb surgical team.

  • John K. Lam, MD

    Dr Lam obtained his medical degree from the Loma Linda University School of Medicine, in Loma Linda, California.  He completed his General Surgery residency at the Wayne State University / Detroit Medical Center in Detroit, MI. and has since practiced as a trauma and acute care general surgeon in several major hospitals in California, including the Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Vacaville and Enloe Medical Center in Chico.  Dr lam is certified by the American Board of Surgery and is also an active ATLS and Bleeding Control instructor.

  • Vimukta Mahadev, MD

    Dr. Mahadev received his medical degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School. He then completed his General Surgery residency at the University of Washington followed by his Surgical Critical Care fellowship at Harborview Medical Center. He became Board Certified in General Surgery and Surgical Critical care in 2021. In addition to trauma surgery, critical care and acute care surgery, Dr. Mahadev’s clinical interests include rib fixation and robotics. He enjoys teaching and is currently an active ATLS instructor. Since joining the Trauma Trust in 2021, he has been devoted to providing compassionate and evidence-based care with a multidisciplinary approach. He seeks to understand his individual patients’ goals and priorities in order to provide medical care that is aligned with their values. His outside interests include skiing/snowboarding, traveling, cooking and spending quality time with his family.

  • Jamison S. Nielsen, DO, MBA, FACS

    Dr Nielsen obtained his undergraduate degree in zoology from the University of Washington in Seattle.  He obtained his medical degree from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences and completed his general surgery residency at the Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawai’i.  A Surgical Critical Care fellowship was then obtained at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, OR.  Dr Nielsen most recently completed a burn surgery preceptorship at the US Army Institute of Surgical Research in San Antonio, TX.  He also obtained an MBA degree from the Rockhurst University Helzberg School of Management in Kansas City, MO.  He has distinguished himself with multiple military awards, including the Meritorious Service Medal and the Bronze Star Medal for his military service in the Middle East, to where he has been deployed as a trauma surgeon on multiple occasions.

  • Constantine G. Saites, MD, FACS

    Dr. Saites is board certified in General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care. Dr. Saites was raised in Milwaukee, WI and completed his undergraduate education at St. Norbert College.  He then completed a Masters in Physiology at Georgetown University. Dr. Saites graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 2008 where he was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society and recipient of the Lillienfeld Award in Physiology. Dr. Saites was a categorical General Surgery resident at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN, and completed his Surgical Critical Care fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Brigham & Women’s Hospital in 2012.  He completed his residency training at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan from 2015-2017.  Dr. Saites is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and a member of the Mayo Clinic Alumni Association, The Henry Ford Medical Group Alumni Association, the Society of Critical Care Medicine, and the Chest Wall Injury Society.  Dr. Saites’ interests include chest wall reconstruction and rib fixation for traumatic rib fractures, intercostal nerve cryoablation, surgical physiology, and teaching.  He is published in numerous peer-reviewed journals.  Dr. Saites’ family resides in Seattle, WA, and he is an active member of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Tacoma.

  • Lisa M. Schomogyi, MD, FACS

    Dr. Lisa Schomogyi received her medical degree from the University of California at Irvine. She completed her general surgery internship and residency at the University of Washington. Previously she has been a surgical attending physician for Indiana Surgical Specialists and Three Rivers Surgical Associates in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In 1994 she became a Fellowof the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Schomogyi currently is an attending surgeon for Trauma Trust’s Acute Care Surgery Service.

  • Paulesh Shah, MD

  • Cabrini L Sutherland, MD, M.P.H.

    Dr. Cabrini LaRiviere Sutherland grew up in Western Washington and completed her undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. She attended medical school at Ross University School of Medicine in the Caribbean, on the beautiful island of Dominica. After receiving her MD, she trained in Trauma and General Surgery at Louisiana State University in New Orleans, LA. During residency she returned home to complete two years of research at Seattle Children’s Hospital and earned her Master’s in Public Health at the University of Washington. During her research she focused on surgical best practices, clinical safety and outcomes, and improving quality of surgical care. She completed her fellowship training at the University of Michigan in Surgical Critical Care and returned to the Northwest to practice.  Dr. Sutherland is Board Certified in General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care

  • Long D. Tran, MD, FACS

    Dr. Tran received his medical degree from the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, NJ. He completed his general surgery residency at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He completed his Surgical Critical Care Fellowship at the University of Connecticut Hartford Hospital. Dr. Tran is Board Certified in General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care and is an attending physician on the Trauma and Acute Care Surgery services.

  • Caesar M. Ursic, MD, FACS

    Dr Ursic is the Medical Director of the Trauma Trust. He received a B.S. in Biology/Chemistry from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX and his Medical degree from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. He completed his General Surgery residency with the University of California San Francisco at Fresno, and a Surgical Critical Care fellowship at the Boston University Medical Center. He has served as Trauma Medical Director at several trauma centers including, the Alameda County Medical Center in Oakland, CA, the St. George Public Hospital in Sydney, Australia, and most recently the Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, HI. Dr. Ursic is Board Certified in General Surgery and in Surgical Critical Care.

Meet our elite team of Advanced Practice Providers:

Mary Benefield, ARNP
Jamie Lines, PA-C
Christopher Boeger, PA-C
Emily Little, PA-C
Chrystal Buchanan, PA-C
Ralph Mitchell, PA-C
Aaron Clancy, PA-C
Dawn Reynolds, PA-C
Elliott Collins, PA-C
Anna Sorrell, PA-C
Hana Cha, PA-C
Randy Templeton, PA-C
Tiffany Crabb, PA-C
Heather Templin, ARNP
Josh Evans, PA-C
Drew Thompson, PA-C
Ken Hyde, PA-C
Jody Veatch-Janin, PA-C
Shi Chian Khor, PA-C
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