Vascular Surgery Fellowship Program | Loyola Medicine

Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy Fellowship

Program Overview

The Vascular Surgery Fellowship Program at Loyola University Medical Center was created in 1978, with the primary objective of providing comprehensive training for the management of arterial, venous and lymphatic diseases. In addition to the clinical training we offer at Loyola and the Edward Hines Jr. Veterans Affairs Hospital, we have established a strong tradition in graduate and undergraduate education and research. Our program is a two-year fellowship that provides exposure to the entire spectrum of arterial and venous disease, and includes non-operative care, as well as open surgical and endovascular management. The fellowship includes exposure to clinical research and non-invasive vascular laboratory training, the latter being particularly essential in the armamentarium of practicing vascular surgeons. Fellows are expected to complete the Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation (RPVI) exam by the end of their training.

Fellows divide their time and rotate between Loyola University Medical Center and the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital. These institutions are located within one block of each other, approximately 12 miles west of downtown Chicago.  Loyola University Medical Center is a 547-bed University Hospital and Level-1 trauma center. The Hines VA Hospital, the largest in Illinois, is a comprehensive 471 bed facility with extended care, rehabilitation and spinal cord injury services.

Loyola University Medical Center is an academic hospital associated with the Stritch School of Medicine. This tertiary care center offers the spectrum of open vascular and endovascular cases, including cerebrovascular, aortoiliac and infrainguinal occlusive disease, abdominal aneurysms, visceral arterial disease, arteriovenous access and venous interventions. The vascular service at Loyola supports the facility's busy Level 1 trauma center. The volume and complexity of both open and endovascular procedures easily fulfills Vascular Surgery Fellowship case requirements. All fellows to date have far exceeded this goal. In addition to participating in the operating room, catheterization lab, and outpatient clinic, fellows are expected to supervise and lead the team of medical students, surgery residents and podiatry residents rotating on the vascular service.

The Vascular Surgery Fellowship Program at Loyola University Medical Center is geared towards, but not exclusive to, the surgeon who is interested in an academic career. The fellowship emphasizes acquiring endovascular techniques, open surgical skills, a noninvasive vascular laboratory background and involvement with clinical research projects. It is expected that the fellow present and/or publish one research project per year of training.


All faculty members share appointments at Loyola University Medical Center, Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital and MacNeal Hospital.

Carlos Bechara, MD, MS

Dr. Carlos Bechara

Dr. Bechara is an Associate Professor of Surgery, who joined the division in July 2017, as Program Director of the Vascular Surgery Fellowship Program.   Dr. Bechara attended medical school at American University of the Caribbean in Cupecoy, Sint Maarten. He did both his General Surgery training at Tulane University, New Orleans and his Vascular Surgery training at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. Dr. Bechara is board certified in Surgery and Vascular Surgery. Dr. Bechara has over 50 publications and book chapters. He is a member of multiple surgical societies.  



Bernadette Aulivola, MD, RVT,RPVI, MS, FACS

Dr. Bernadette AulivolaDr. Aulivola is the Director of the Division of Vascular Surgery  & Endovascular Therapy, Professor of Surgery who joined the division in January 2005 and has served as the Program Director of the Vascular Surgery Fellowship from July 2008 to June 2017.  Dr. Aulivola is a graduate of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. She obtained her general surgery training at the Rush University Medical Center/Cook County Hospital program in Chicago, and completed a Vascular Fellowship at The Beth Israel Deaconess/Harvard Hospitals program in Boston. After fellowship, she was awarded the Marco Polo Traveling Scholarship, an international award sponsored by the Society for Vascular Surgery and the European Society for Vascular Surgery to support the exchange of vascular surgical trainees between North America and Europe. With this award, Dr. Aulivola trained in advanced endovascular techniques at the University of Bologna and several other centers in Italy prior to joining the Division. Dr. Aulivola is board certified in both Surgery and Vascular Surgery. She is RVT and RPVI certified. She was elected to the Vascular Surgery Board of the American Board of Surgeons in 2017 for a 6-year term. Her clinical areas of interest include carotid artery intervention, endovascular aneurysm repair and complex distal lower extremity revascularization.


Paul Crisostomo, MD, RPVI

Dr. Paul Crisostomo

Dr. Crisostomo joined the division in July of 2013 and is an Associate Professor of Surgery. He serves as the Director of research within the division as well as Director of  The Wound Care Center at Gottlieb Hospital. Dr. Crisostomo attended medical school at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, IL. He did both his General Surgery and Vascular Surgery training at Indiana University in Indianapolis, IN. He also spent three years of research during his general surgery training studying ischemia reperfusion, gender differences, and stem cells, and was awarded both an NIH LRP grant and an AHA Postdoctoral fellowship grant. Dr. Crisostomo is board certified in Surgery and Vascular Surgery. He is also RPVI certified. His interests include advanced endovascular revascularization, complex dialysis access, aneurysmal disease, and outcomes clinical research.


Pegge Halandras, MD

Dr. Pegge Halandras

Dr. Halandras joined the division in August of 2009 and is an Associate Professor of Surgery. She serves as Chief of the Vascular Surgery Division at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital. Dr. Halandras attended medical school at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Subsequently, she did her General Surgery training at the University of Colorado Medical Center and Vascular Surgery Fellowship at Emory University. She was in practice for one year at the University of Colorado Medical Center prior to joining the Division at Loyola. Dr. Halandras is board certified in both Surgery and Vascular Surgery. Her primary interests include the open and percutaneous treatments of thoracic and abdominal aortic aneurysms, cerebrovascular disease and peripheral arterial disease.



Michael Soult, MD

Dr. Soult joined the division in August of 2018 and is an Assistant Professor of Surgery. Dr. Soult attended medical school at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. He completed his General Surgery training at Eastern Virginia Medical School which included 2 years of research at Eastern Virginia Medical School.  Dr. Soult went on to complete his Vascular Surgery Fellowship at Northwesthern University - Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Soult is board certified through the American Board of Surgery and RPVI certified. 




Matthew Blecha, MD

Dr. Blecha joined the division in January 2020 and is an Assistant Professor of Surgery. Dr. Blecha attended medical school at Jefferson Medical College. He completed his General Surgery training at St. Joseph Hospital - Chicago, IL and completed his Vascular Surgery Fellowship training at University of Wisconsin (Madison) Hospital.  Dr. Blecha is board certified through the American Board of Surgery and RPVI certified. 



Vascular surgery is a mature program at Loyola and has been complemented by the development of our endovascular program. We offer the complete spectrum of endovascular training that includes diagnostic arteriography, balloon angioplasty of peripheral and visceral arteries (renal, mesenteric), carotid angioplasty and stenting, and endograft repair of abdominal aortic and iliac aneurysms. The endovascular program that has been developed complements our open vascular surgery experience, which includes both routine and complex procedures (aortic aneurysm and occlusive disease, lower extremity bypass, carotid endarterectomy, mesenteric and renal artery bypass, venous surgery, and arteriovenous access).

General Description

Vascular Surgery fellows alternate two-month rotations between Loyola University Medical Center and Edward Hines Jr. Veterans Affairs Hospital over the 2-year fellowship period. At both hospitals, the fellow functions as the leader of the service, helping the attending surgeons care for the patients in both the outpatient and inpatient settings. In the outpatient setting, the fellow is required to attend at least one half day of clinic per week. In addition, they participate in outpatient surgical procedures. Inpatient care consists of active involvement in providing pre and post-operative care as well as the management of inpatient consults. Fellows are expected to actively participate in the majority of inpatient surgical and interventional procedures.

The fellow works with a first and fourth year general surgery resident while rotating at Loyola University Medical Center and with a first and second year general surgery resident while at Hines VA Hospital. One or two 3rd year medical students rotate on the Loyola service for two week periods. In addition, a 4th year medical student may be on the Loyola service for one-month rotations. A podiatry resident may rotate on the service at Hines VA Hospital. The fellow is responsible for aiding attending surgeons in the teaching of these colleagues and directing them in the care of patients at both institutions.

While rotating at Loyola, the fellow will have dedicated time in the vascular ultrasound lab. This experience will consist of two separate one week blocks per year for a total of four weeks during the fellowship. It is expected that this experience will complement the didactic teaching gained through the lectures which the junior fellow gives to the division on a bimonthly basis. While in the vascular ultrasound lab, the fellow is expected to observe, perform and interpret various arterial exams to include interrogation of the carotid, aortic, extremity, renal and mesenteric circulations. In addition, the fellow is expected to observe, perform and interpret venous duplex exams. While rotating at Hines VA, the fellow can review, with the attending, all ultrasound studies performed within the vascular lab. Although the attendings' signature is required for finalization, the studies are available for review by the fellow so that he or she may sit for the Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation (RPVI) exam.

Finally, it is expected that both fellows actively participate in all conferences offered by the Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy and the Department of Surgery. Specifically, these include vascular case presentation conference, vascular topics conference, vascular lab conference, and morbidity and mortality conferences, both departmental and divisional.

The first-year fellow is responsible for weekly vascular ultrasound lab conference including speaking on assigned topics and arranging for demonstration of specific vascular ultrasound techniques and studies.

The second-year fellow is responsible for running weekly vascular case conference and weekly vascular topics conference. This includes speaking on vascular topics, organizing a journal club, and organizing morbidity and mortality conferences within the division. The second-year fellow is also expected to take responsibility for organizing the call schedule which is split between both fellows and the PGY-4 surgery resident.

Fellowship Objectives

Inpatient and outpatient care of the patient with arterial and venous disease

  • Identification and management of co-morbidities prior to planning intervention
  • Performance, interpretation and application of non-invasive vascular laboratory techniques to the diagnosis and management of vascular disease
  • The ability to provide the best treatment options, including medical management of atherosclerotic disease, as well as open and endovascular techniques
  • Open vascular surgery – routine and complex procedures, including aortic aneurysm and occlusive disease, lower extremity bypass, carotid endarterectomy, mesenteric and renal artery bypass, venous surgery, and arteriovenous access.
  • Endovascular intervention – diagnostic arteriography, balloon angioplasty and stenting of peripheral and visceral atherosclerotic lesions, carotid angioplasty and stenting, endograft repair of thoracic, abdominal, iliac and extremity aneurysms, arteriovenous access interventions, endovenous laser ablation, mechanic al and medical thrombolysis (arterial and venous)
  • Designing and conducting vascular clinical outcomes studies

Evaluation Process

At the conclusion of each two-month rotation, the fellow's performance is evaluated by all faculty members. Faculty members evaluate each fellow in the six core competencies in addition to technical skills. The fellow also is provided an opportunity to evaluate the merits of the rotation and the faculty. On a quarterly basis, fellows are expected to sit for a mock oral examination, which is also used to evaluate the fellow. On a semiannual basis, the Program Director meets with the fellow to review his or her progress in the training program. A summative review and evaluation takes place at the conclusion of the fellowship.

Vascular Fellowship Conferences

Weekly Vascular Conference: Every Friday Morning

Annual Baker Lectureship:

5/2019Joseph L. Mills, MDEvolving paradigms for assessment and management of Chronic Limb Threatening Ischemia
5/2018Alan B. Lumsden, MDAortic Dissection Management
5/2017Karl Illig, MDThoracic Outlet Syndrome
5/2016William D. Jordan, MD Redo Aortic Reconstruction: Maintaining Long-Term Survival
5/2015Kenneth J. Cherry, MDOpen Surgery for Great Vessel Disease in the Current Era
5/2014Elliot Chaikof, MDLessons from Nature: New Approaches to Repair and Regeneration
4/2013Mark H. Meissner, MDEvidence-Based Vascular Disease
5/2012Luis A. Sanchez, MDCurrent and Future Treatments of Suprarenal Aortic Aneurysms
5/2011Frank B. Pomposelli Jr, MDLower Extremity Angioplasty vs Bypass for Critical Limb Ischemia
5/2010Frank J. Veith, MDHistory and Present Status of EVAR and Ruptured AAA’s

Loyola Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy visiting lecturers

6/2020Judith C. Lin, MDMichigan State University, East LansingDeep Venous Intervention: A New Frontier
5/2020Jeffrey Siracuse, MDBoston Medical CenterVQI Data Vascular Surgery
3/2020Misty Humphries, MDUniversity of California, Davis Medical Center Telemedicine in Vascular Surgery: Where we are going and how to get there
10/2019Joseph Lombardi, MDCooper University Hospital Management of Type B Aortic Dissection 
12/2018Tom Maldonaldo, MDNYU Langone HealthThoracoabdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair: past, present & future
11/2018Matt Smeds, MDSt. Louis University Medical Center Tobacco cessation & risk factor modification in vascular surgery 
9/2018Karen Ho, MDNorthwestern University Basic Science Research
4/2017Dawn Coleman, MDUniversity of MichiganThe Contemporary Management of Pediatric Renovascular Hypertension


Current and Past Fellows

 Nader Tehrani, MD - Fellow Year 2                                                

 Mary "Kala" Zorn,MD - Fellow Year 1



YearNamePractice Following Fellowship
2021-2023Jonathan Lin, MDIncoming Vascular Surgery Fellow (Summer 2021)
2020-2022Mary K. Zorn, MD   [Photo]Incoming Vascular Surgery Fellow (Summer 2020)


Nader Tehrani, MD 

1st year Vascular Surgery Fellow

2018-2020Nida Ahmed, MD  

Northwestern Community Hospital, Arlington Heights, IL 

2017-2019Valerie Takyi, MD    

Northwestern Medicine Central Dupage Hospital, Winfield, IL 


William Yoon, MD  

U.C. Davis, Sacramento, CA

2015-2017Adel Barket, MD      [Photo]

Oklahoma Heart Institute, Tulsa, OK

2014-2016Edward Villela, MD 

Heritage Valley Health System, Beaver, PA

2014-2015Ashanga Yatawatta, MD

University of Texas Medical,  Galveston, TX


Omar Al-Nouri,D.O 

Fairfield Medical Center, Lancaster, OH


Michael Malinowski, MD

Medical College of Wisconsin, Froedhart Hospital


Pratheek Kakkasseril, MD

St. Elizabeth's, Youngstown Ohio


Robert Craig, DO

Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington DC


Arash Bornak, MD

University of Miami, Miami FL


Richard Hershberger, MD

Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood IL


Omar Dorzi, MD

Saint Francis Hospital, Federal Way WA


Hung Chu, MD

Surgical Associates of Dallas, Dallas TX


Ahmad Bhatti, MD

Suffolk Vascular Associates, Port Jefferson NY


Luis Leon, MD

Tucson VA Hospital, Tuscon AZ


James Laredo, MD

Georgetown University Hospital, Washington DC


Victor Erzurum, MD

Summit Vascular Specialists, Hudson OH


Sung Kwon, MD

Jersey Coast Vascular Associates, Brick NJ


A. Tassiopoulos, MD

Stony Brook University Hospital, Stony Brook NY


Susanne Woloson, MD

Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge IL


Paula Shireman, MD

University of Texas, San Antonio TX



For a list of new housetsaff benefit options, please refer to the Housestaff Benefits booklet

All HouseStaff will have 30 days from your hire date to elect benefits. Please note that you are responsible for making your benefits election in Workday in order to ensure coverage during your training period at Loyola. All trainees are entitled to the benefits outlined in the 2019-2020 Benefits Addendum which is part of the GME Agreement.

You may add, change or drop coverage ONLY during the annual open enrollment period, which is held once a year in the fall unless you have a loss of coverage or a change in family status. Changes in family status include marriage, divorce, birth, adoption or death. A change in coverage status due to loss of coverage or a change in family status must be made within 30 days of the event through the Human Resources office. 


All Loyola employees are automatically enrolled in a retirement plan. If you would like to opt-out of this 2% payroll deduction, you must contact Transamerica Retirement Consulting within 30 days of your start date.


2020-2021 stipend levels:

PGY 1    $59,862

PGY2     $63,731

PGY3     $65,728

PGY4     $69,062

PGY5     $72,280

PGY6     $75,202

PGY7     $77,896



Vascular Surgery Team




Life of a Vascular Surgeon



 Graff Stent XrayGraff Stent Xray





























Fellowship and Residency Education Coordinator
Danielle Taylor