2021 – 2022 Task Force –Bios and Photos


Angela Leung, MD

Angela M. Leung, MD, UCLA and VA Greater Los Angeles – WIT President

Angela M. Leung, MD, MSc is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. After pursuing her undergraduate studies at Occidental College, Dr. Leung completed her internal medicine residency and endocrinology fellowship training at Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center. She also obtained a master’s degree in Epidemiology from the Boston University School of Public Health. Dr. Leung has particular clinical and research interests in iodine status, environmental thyroid toxicants, and maternal-child thyroid health. Within the American Thyroid Association (ATA), she has served on the Patient Education and Advocacy Committee, is a past chair of the Public Health Committee, and has participated in several Annual Meeting Program Organizing Committees, including having served as the Clinical Co-Chair of the 2017 Annual Meeting in Victoria, British Columbia. She currently serves on the board of directors of the ATA and is the board liaison of the ATA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force. Finally, she is currently Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Thyroidology, one of the ATA’s journals, and a member of the ATA Differentiated Thyroid Cancer guidelines writing committee. Dr. Leung is a strong advocate for supporting the career development and involvement of early career members and trainees in the ATA; promoting the platform and ideas of the DEI movement; and helping foster an even stronger and collegial professional society for all its members.

Maria Papaleontiou, MD

Maria Papaleontiou, MD, University of Michigan – WIT President-Elect

Maria Papaleontiou, MD, is an an adult endocrinologist at the University of Michigan with a clinical and research focus on thyroidology and aging. I have been a member of the ATA since 2011 and for the past decade it has been my scientific home. The ATA has played an instrumental role in my career development from the get-go and I have been impressed by the spirit of inclusivity, collegiality and support. I have served on several committees including the Patient Affairs and Education Committee, the Research Committee, the Survey Evaluation Task Force and the 2020 Spring Satellite Symposium Program Committee. I am currently on the ATA Annual Program Committee, an Associate Editor for Clinical Thyroidology and on the Editorial Boards of Thyroid and Clinical Thyroidology for the Public. Illustrative of my passion to actively support women’s advancement, this year I diligently advocated for more deserving women to be nominated for ATA awards, which included writing letters of support for strong women candidates (as Dr. Castro mentioned in her last newsletter only 11% of awards have gone to women to date), as well as advocating for increased representation of women in committees and speaking engagements. I also recently received the 2020 Women Advancing Thyroid Research Award. In addition, I have and continue to mentor several female trainees and ensure the inclusion of several clinical female faculty in my research projects to help boost their publication track records and their academic promotion. At the regional level, this year I participated in the State of Michigan American Cancer Society ResearcHERS initiative, a campaign aimed at raising funds in order to bring attention to women cancer researchers. Over the years, I had the opportunity to attend the annual WIT events and to learn from and network with strong women role models. These interactions have inspired me to also strive for women advancement, and advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion. In the era of the COVID-19 pandemic when disparities have become more apparent, and women are particularly faced with additional barriers in their career advancement, this initiative is a step towards reducing the gap in support for all aspects of women’s professional lives. I am committed to WIT, an organization that fosters a collegial environment in a multidisciplinary and diverse setting, and will continue to work hard to recruit and retain women ATA members, increase the visibility of women within the ATA, as well as engaging them to promote professional and personal growth.

M. Regina Castro, MD

M. Regina Castro, MD, Mayo Clinic Medical School – WIT Past – President.

Dr. M. Regina Castro is a Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, and consultant in the Division of Endocrinology at that institution, where she currently serves as the Director of Endocrinology Fellowship Program. She is a also member of the Mayo Clinic Thyroid Core group.

She has been a member of the ATA since her fellowship years in 1998 and served the organization in many capacities, including as a member of:
Trainees and career advancement committee; The Editorial Board of Clinical Thyroidology for the public; Board Liaison to the Clinical Affairs committee and to the ATA awards committee: Board of Directors from 2014-2018, Chair of the Patient Education and Affairs committee 2015-2019, President Elect, President and Past president of Women in Thyroidology 2020-2022, Co-Chair ATA Spring Satellite Symposium 2021; Chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force 2020-2021 and currently as a Member of Publications Committee 2021-present.

Her research interests are in the areas of thyroid nodules, thyroid cancer and novel non-surgical therapies for benign thyroid nodules.

Over her career she has mentored many Endocrinology Fellows, mostly young women, most of whom are now very successful in Academic endocrinology.

Ernest Asamoah, MD

Ernest Asamoah, MD, Diabetes & Endocrinology Consultants
Ernest Asamoah, MD, FACE, FACP, FRCP, is an Indianapolis-based endocrinologist in the city’s Community Health Network, where he has practiced since 1999. He is also a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at both the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Marian University Osteopathic School of Medicine. After earning his medical degree from the University of Ghana Medical School, he did postgraduate training in Internal Medicine in England and became a member of the Royal College of Physicians. In 1995, Dr. Asamoah moved to the United States and completed an internal medicine residency at the University of Virginia School of Medicine (Roanoke), followed by endocrinology fellowship at Brown University School of Medicine. Dr. Asamoah’s clinical practice has a special focus on thyroid disease. In 2004, he established the Thyroid Institute, a multidisciplinary clinic comprised of on-site pathologists and ENT surgeons. He is certified in thyroid ultrasound (ECNU) and has been an active member of the ATA since 2004. For 6 years he served as a member of the Clinical Affairs Committee (2009-2014), past chair of the Public Health Committee (2016-2018). He also served as co-chair of the Diversity, Inclusion and Equity task force. Currently he is a member of the ATA board of directors.
Dr. Asamoah is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, American College of Physicians and American College of Endocrinology. He is also a member of the Endocrine Society, where he has served on the Minority Affairs Committee (2009-2012), Clinical Affairs Committee (2012-2015), and Quality Improvement Sub-committee (2015-2018). He currently sits on the of Board of Directors of Community Physician Network (a 1400 multispecialty provider group in Central Indiana) after completing a 3-year term as Chairman of this board. His hobbies include photography, running and traveling.

Debbie Chen, MD

Debbie Chen, MD, University of Michigan

Debbie Chen, MD is a Clinical Instructor in the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Diabetes at the University of Michigan from which she completed her fellowship training in endocrinology. Dr. Chen’s prior work has explored disparities in thyroid cancer care, with a focus on vulnerable patient populations. She received her medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in 2015 and completed residency training in internal medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in 2018.

David Cooper, MD

David Cooper, MD, MACP, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
David S. Cooper, MD  is currently Professor of Medicine and Radiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He has served as a Contributing Editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), and as the Deputy Editor of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Currently, he is an Editor-In-Chief for Endocrinology for Up-to-Date. He is one of the editors of the iconic textbook Werner and Ingbar’s The Thyroid. He is the past Chair of the Subspecialty Board for Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism of the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Cooper is the past President of the American Thyroid Association, and the recipient of the American Thyroid Association’s Distinguished Service Award and Paul Starr Award, the Distinction in Endocrinology Award given by American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, and the Endocrine Society’s Outstanding Scholarly Physician Award.

Sophie Dream, MD

Sophie Dream, MD, Medical College of Wisconsin

Sophie Dream, MD grew-up in Ohio and completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Cincinnati.  She began her medical education at the University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine, graduating in 2013.  She completed her surgical residency at Henry Ford Hospital and went on to finish her endocrine surgery fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.   Dr. Dream’s clinical interests include endocrine and neuroendocrine disease with a focus on thyroid and parathyroid disorders.  Her research interests focus on health services research and outcomes in patients with endocrine disorders, including hyperparathyroidism and thyroid cancer.

Natalia Genere, MD

Natalia Genere, MD, Washington University in Saint Louis

Natalia Genere, MD is currently an Instructor of Medicine at Washington University in Saint Louis. She recently graduated from fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, where she had excellent role models for women’s leadership and clinical excellence in thyroidology and beyond. At Washington University, Natalia is developing a thyroid focused practice and hope to develop inter-departmental connections with Endocrine Surgery, Ophthalmology, ENT, Pathology, and Radiology to care for patients with thyroid disease. She is thrilled to become part of WIT and to contribute to its crucial mission for the field of thyroidology.

Michele Merten, APRN

Michele Merten, APRN, Mayo Clinic

Michele Merten, APRN, clinical practice interests include indeterminate thyroid nodules, papillary thyroid cancer, and survivorship care for patients with well-differentiated thyroid cancer. Developed a low-risk thyroid cancer survivorship clinic within endocrinology and continue to seek ways to improve care and management for thyroid cancer survivors. Helped create algorithm of care for thyroid cancer survivorship through Ask Mayo Expert. Michele is an active member of the American Thyroid Association (ATA), serves on the ATA’s Patient Affairs and Education Committee, and served on the ATA’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force and Internet Communications Committee. She is also a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and Association of Southeastern Minnesota Nurse Practitioners. Michele continue to promote advancement of the nursing profession as an Assistant Professor at Viterbo University in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program and was co-chair to the First Annual Symposium for Advanced Practice Providers held at the American Thyroid Association meeting in October 2018.

Rebecca Schweppe, PhD

Rebecca Schweppe, PhD, University of Colorado School of Medicine

Rebecca Schweppe, PhD is an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Dr. Schweppe’s research is directed toward identifying novel molecular targets relevant to thyroid cancer, with a specific focus on the role of the Focal Adhesion Kinase-Src pathway.  In 2008, Dr. Schweppe published that the majority of thyroid cancer cell lines that had been used by labs around the world for the past 20 years were misidentified with cell lines from other tumor types.  This 2008 landmark study led to the global re-examination of thyroid cancer cell lines.  Dr. Schweppe has successfully competed for THANC-ATA pilot funding, K12, ACS, R01, and ARRA-Challenge grant funding.  In 2013, Dr. Schweppe was recognized with a “Rising Star” outstanding junior faculty award from the University of Colorado, Department of Medicine for excellence in research and teaching.  Dr. Schweppe is committed to training PhD and MD scientists, and in 2014, she received an Outstanding Faculty Sponsor award from the University of Colorado graduate school.  Since joining the ATA in 2007, Dr. Schweppe has served on the ATA Research Committee (2011-2014), Research Affairs Task Force (2012-present), the Thyroid Editorial board (2013-present), strategic planning retreats, Board of Directors (2015-2019), the Secretary/COO search task force (2018), and the Executive Director search task force (2019-2020).

Naykky Singh Ospina, MD

Naykky Singh Ospina, MD, University of Florida

Naykky Singh Ospina, MD, is an endocrinologist and healthcare researcher at the University of Florida. Her career goal is to improve the quality of care received by patients with endocrine disorders by focusing on providing excellent clinical care, conducting clinical research, and educating our trainees. So far, Naykky has focused on 1) understanding the quality of evidence that guides clinical care 2) developing tools to support shared decision making and 3) evaluating how implementation science can help translate evidence into practice. In fact, she currently holds a career development award by the National Cancer Institute to improve the quality of care of patients with thyroid nodules by supporting shared decision making. She completed medical school at the University of Panama, Internal medicine residency at the John Stroger Hospital of Cook County and Endocrinology fellowship at Mayo Clinic.

Jessica Smith, MD

Jessica R. Smith, MD, Boston Children’s Hospital

Jessica R. Smith, MD, is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School in the Division of Endocrinology at Boston Children’s Hospital. She received her medical degree at Tufts University and completed her pediatrics internship and residency at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center. Following, she completed a three-year fellowship in Endocrinology at Boston Children’s Hospital with an additional year focusing on Thyroidology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She has dedicated her pediatric endocrine career to develop her expertise in pediatric thyroid disorders. Jessica accomplished this through intensive clinical care, research, and teaching with a significant emphasis on Graves’ disease and thyroid neoplasia in children and adolescents. Her interest in thyroidology began while working in a basic science laboratory studying the natural history of TSH receptor autoantibodies in children and adolescents with Graves’ disease under the mentorship of Dr. Rosalind Brown and Dr. Stephen Huang. Jessica now serves as the Associate Medical Director of the Thyroid Center at Boston Children’s Hospital. In this capacity, she led several innovative efforts to optimize the care and treatment of children with thyroid disorders. As Associate Medical Director of the Thyroid Center, Jessica co-lead one of the first and largest multidisciplinary pediatric Thyroid Nodules and Cancer Programs in the nation. She also established and implemented an innovative, hospital-wide, perioperative thyroidectomy protocol designed to detect postoperative hypocalcemia. From a teaching perspective, Jessica enjoys mentoring medical students, residents, and fellows and look forward to further enhancing women in the field of thyroidology.