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    ALTON – Area residents have improved access to local quality health care in the River Bend area, with the help of Saint Anthony’s Physician Group.
ManpreetSandhuSandhuPalkaPalkaBonebrakeBonebrakeSherwoodSherwood    In the last four years, the doctor’s group has doubled in size with new physicians and mid-level providers, bringing the total number of providers to 29 — making Saint Anthony’s Physician Group the largest Alton-based medical practice.
    The influx of providers is called a win-win for the greater Alton community.
    “Recruiting top-notch physicians into the area not only improves access on the local level improves, but also improves the overall health status of the community,” says E.J. Kuiper, president and CEO of Saint Anthony’s.
    “Residents no longer have to drive across a bridge for primary health care and specialty care, saving both time and money.”
    Keeping the community healthy by connecting with local physicians is a priority for Patti Fischer, vice president of Physician Services for Saint Anthony’s.
     “Our primary care physicians hope to combat chronic diseases by promoting regular physician visits and health screenings before people have symptoms.
    “Early detection is the goal,” she said. SAPG internal medicine and family practice physicians offer expanded office hours and same-day appointments for patients who are sick.
    Primary care providers for SAPG include:
    Family Practice: Kevin Boyd, D.O.; Michael Klein, M.D.; Priya Kumaraguru, M.D.; Yusuf Mohyuddin, M.D.; and Manju Ramchandani, M.D.
    Internal Medicine: Edward Blair, M.D.; Colin Butterfield, M.D.; Christine Seo, M.D.; Elaine Rynders, PA-C; Courtney McFarlin, PA; and Billie Vincent, ANP-BC.
    In addition to primary care physicians, Saint Anthony’s Physician Group has a large number of specialists, including Dr. Kevin Palka, the area’s first medical oncologist to set up a practice in more than 23 years earlier this year.
    “Dr. Palka is a Fulbright Scholar and Vanderbilt University-trained medical oncologist and hematologist, as well as a Vanderbilt professor,” Fischer says. “He wanted to set up a practice in a smaller Midwestern community where he could spend time with his patients.
    “The area appealed to him, plus he was impressed by the Sisters and their Mission here at Saint Anthony’s.”
    Dr. Manpreet Sandhu, medical oncologist and hematologist, joined Dr. Palka in August. She received advanced Fellowship training in Hematology and Medical Oncology through the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in New Jersey, where she also completed her internship and residency. Board certified in internal medicine, Dr. Sandhu provides treatment for all cancers and specializes in breast cancer.
    Working closely with the medical oncologists are surgeons Paul Loethen, M.D., and Emily Albright, M.D., along with the newest addition to Saint Anthony’s Surgical Team, Michael Bonebrake, M.D.  All three specialize in general surgery and surgical oncology.
    Dr. Bonebrake recently finished a Critical Care Fellowship through Washington University. As a surgeon, his clinical interests and procedures include: Anti-reflux surgery, breast cancer, colon, gallbladder, hernia repair and minimally invasive laparoscopic procedures, as well as general, vascular and trauma surgery.
    Also joining SAPG this year: Karna Sherwood, M.D., neurologist.  Dr. Sherwood completed his Neurology Residency at New Jersey Neuroscience Institute, JFK Medical Center in New Jersey and an internship at Staten Island University Hospital. His areas of clinical interest are stroke prevention and treatment, neuropathy, headache, EMG/NCS, epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia and neurologic disorders.
    “Our community is blessed to have many talented physicians in a broad array of specialties, all available here at the local level,” adds Fischer.
    Specialists in SAPG include:
    Endocrinology: Saima Ali, M.D.
    Gastroenterology: Naeem Aslam, M.D., Mark Klucka, D.O., Shona Quick, F.N.P.-B.C.
    Surgery: Emily Albright, M.D., Paul Loethen, M.D., Michael Bonebrake, M.D.
    Otolaryngology: Philip Kannel, D.O., Keith Bonacquisti, M.D.
    Medical Oncology/Hematology: Kevin Palka, M.D., Manpreet Sandhu, M.D.
    Neurology: Karna Sherwood, M.D.
    Pain Management: Monika Buckley, PA-C
    Podiatric Surgery: John Lindsay, D.P.M.
    Radiation Oncology: James Piephoff, M.D.
    Rheumatology:  Romila Aslam, M.D.
    Urology: Soo Il Cho, M.D.
    Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine: Charles Halbeck, D.O.
    For information on any of the physicians on the Medical Staff at Saint Anthony’s, call Saint Anthony’s Physician Referral Service at (618) 463-1234.