Niagara Hospice Medical Leadership

Dr. Richard Castaldo, Medical Director

Dr. Richard Castaldo is the Medical Director for Niagara Hospice and has more than 25 years of experience as a physician. With specialties in internal medicine and primary care, he also serves as the Medical Director for the Pathways palliative care program and Kalos Health. His career has included an affiliation with Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center Primary Care and Suboxone Clinic.

He has been appointed a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University at Buffalo’s Jacob Medical School for his role in guiding fourth-year medical students through their hospice and palliative care elective rotations. In 2002, he was named UB’s Medical School Teacher of the Year for his work with the program.

Over the last 25 years, he also served as the primary care doctor for Division I student-athletes, specifically the Niagara University Men’s Hockey Team.

He has participated in numerous phase two and phase three research projects throughout his career and has been published in various topics.

Dr. Jay Newman, Assistant Medical Director

Dr. Jay Newman is the assistant medical director for Niagara Hospice. He is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and brings 30 years of experience to the clinical leadership team at Niagara Hospice. Under medical director, Dr. Richard Castaldo, Dr. Newman provides leadership to the clinical care team while providing comprehensive end-of-life care for Niagara County patients and families facing a terminal illness. 

He has extensive clinical experience in a hospital setting, having previously worked as an attending physician in the emergency departments at Kenmore Mercy Hospital, Buffalo VA Medical Center and Mount St. Mary’s Hospital. He received the Doctor of Distinction award from Kenmore Mercy in 2018. He previously served as Chief Medical Resident at the Buffalo Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 1991 and later as the Chief of Emergency Department at the Buffalo VA. He also served as Chief of the Emergency Department at Kenmore Mercy Hospital.

He is a graduate of SUNY at Buffalo with a B.A. in psychology and earned his M.D. at Autonomous University of Guadalajara in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Dr. Edward O’Brien III, Assistant Medical Director

Dr. O’Brien has more than 20 years of experience as a board-certified physician in internal medicine. His clinical experience includes office-based medicine where he provided hospice-related medicine for patients. He has been an ER physician for the last 20 years and has provided care in hospitals, critical care and hospice facilities.

Prior to his medical career, he served honorably in the United States Marine Corps in combat infantry. Before starting medical school, he was a clinical research scientist at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in the molecular cell biology division, where he co-authored and authored several papers. His hobbies include running, mountaineering, and rock and ice climbing.

Dr. Robert G. Wahler, PharmD, BCGP, FASCP, CPE, Director of Pharmacy Services

Dr. Robert G. Wahler has been the Director of Pharmacy Services at Niagara Hospice since 2002. He also serves as a Clinical Associate Professor in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University at Buffalo.

His research interests focus on identifying and reducing medication related fall risk in the elderly. Using the Medication Therapy Management (MTM) model, he is developing clinical decision support tools to access medication falls risk, medication cognition impairment and inappropriate medications in the elderly.

Dr. Wahler received a B.S. degree in pharmacy from Albany College of Pharmacy at Union University and his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University at Buffalo.

He is a founding member and presently on the Board of Trustees as the Niagara Hospice representative to the Society of Pain Palliative Care Pharmacists. He has served as the Pharmacist Section Leader for the National Council of Hospice and Palliative Care Professionals of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

Specialized as both a Board Certified Geriatric Pharmacist and Certified Pain Educator, Dr. Wahler includes student education in his daily practice of caring for hospice patients. In 2009, he established a student staffed Medication Reconciliation Service for Niagara Hospice’s general inpatient unit in which approximately 150 students have reconciled medication lists for more than 2,500 patients over the 10 years of the program.

Dr. Todd M. Orszulak, D.O.

Dr. Orszulak is a Niagara Falls native and graduate of Canisius College, where he was on an academic scholarship and received a Bachelor’s Degree in biology. After Canisius, he graduated from Kirksville Osteopathic medical school in Kirksville, Missouri.

While at Canisius College, Dr. Orszulak learned the difference between Osteopathic (D.O.) vs. standard Allopathic (M.D.) medicine. Osteopathic medicine is a combination of “hands on” musculoskeletal manipulation as well as standard medicine. He saw this as an opportunity to offer a more holistic approach to medicine for his patients especially in a primary care setting.

He finished his training in medical school with outpatient and medicine rotations in Cleveland. After he graduated medical school, he moved back to Buffalo and married his wife, Adrienne. He finished his residency in Internal Medicine through the University of Buffalo Program at Sisters, Buffalo General, ECMC and the VA.

Dr. Sameer Mamnoon

Dr. Sameer Mamnoon is an internal medicine physician with  more than 20 years of experience in direct patient care. He completed his residency training at the University of Buffalo in 1999. He has extensive experience in chronic disease management and believes in patient-centered care that is delivered with consideration towards the autonomy of patient and family choice and solidarity. He is the medical director at a local rehabilitation center and has many years of experience managing acute symptoms of patients in hospital settings.

Danielle M. Burngasser, RN, BSN, Vice President of Hospice Clinical Operations

Danielle Burngasser is the Vice President of Hospice Clinical Operations at Niagara Hospice. She began her career at Niagara Hospice in 2004 as a full-time home care nurse. She was promoted to Team Leader in 2006 and then to Director of Hospice Homecare Services in 2008.

In 2012, Ms. Burngasser assisted in establishing the organization’s collaborative hospice units at the Northgate Health Care Facility in North Tonawanda and Schoellkopf Health Center in Niagara Falls. 

She has been certified in Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing since 2009 and is an active member of the Certified and Palliative Care Nurses Association. She earned a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Niagara University.

Janet Ligammari, RN, Director of Hospice Facility Services, Niagara Hospice House

Janet Ligammari is a native of Niagara Falls. During her 40-year career in the health care field, Ms. Ligammari has received several awards, including the 2005 Mission in Action Nurse Award, and was nominated for the New York State Nurse of Distinction recognition. She started her career as a staff nurse at Mount Saint Mary’s Hospital, was promoted to assistant nurse coordinator, and again promoted to Director of the Medical-Surgical Department in 2001.

Ms. Ligammari also worked for Frank Altieri, MD and James Wopperer, MD for four years as an orthopaedic office nurse before joining Niagara Hospice in January 2007.

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