Niagara Hospice Clinical 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 is also currently serving as the Medical Director for the Pathways palliative care program. He previously served as the Medical Director for Kalos Health.
  Dr. Castaldo's career has also included hospital affiliations with Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center Primary Care and Suboxone Clinic, Bry-Lin, ECMC, Mt. St. Mary's and Millard Fillmore.
   For the last 25 years, he has 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 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. Bharat Kohli, Assistant Medical Director

   Dr. Bharat Kohli, MBA, is a Clinician and Physician Executive who has held leadership positions in hospital administration as well as the pharmaceutical, medical device and biotech industries in the areas of research and development, medical affairs and business development. 

   His most recent position was as Chief Medical Officer for the Community Health Centers of Buffalo, where he was responsible for the oversight, administration, planning and development of high-quality clinical services provided by the Community Health Center of Buffalo and for defining the best structure for that oversight for treating 21,000 patients. His responsibilities also included hiring and supervising clinical staff, peer review, development and implementation of the clinical quality assurance program and advising the CEO and Board of Directors on clinical issues, including quality improvement and quality assurance.

  His clinical background is in family practice and emergency medicine and he has practiced in Canada and the United States. Dr. Kohli is a graduate of the University of Toronto Medical School with specialties in primary care and emergency medicine. He also earned an MBA from the University at Buffalo. 



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.

 

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. 


Jane James, NP, Director of Admissions

  Jane James, NP, is the Director of Admissions for Niagara Hospice. She has been a registered nurse for 16 years, recently earned her Master of Science in Family Nurse Practitioner at D'Youville College and is board certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). She previously worked as a registered nurse for several years at Eastern Niagara Hospital in Lockport, where she specialized in the emergency department and critical care, before joining Niagara Hospice in February 2019.
  Ms. James also worked in the neuro-surgical intensive care unit at Gates Vascular Institute. She holds several certifications, including BLS (Basic Life Support), ACLS (Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support) and PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support). James, a resident of the City of Lockport, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Daemen College. 

 

Sandra Sauvageau, NP, Niagara Hospice House

  Sandra Sauvageau is the Nurse Practitioner at Niagara Hospice House in Lockport. Prior to joining Niagara Hospice, she served as a Nurse Practitioner in Neurology at Catholic Health. She has also worked at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and in private practice. She is a graduate of 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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