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The GWEP Team


Naushira Pandya, M.D., C.M.D., F.A.C.P.

Geriatrics Chair
Director of the Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program
(954) 262-1425

Naushira Pandya is professor and chair of the Department of Geriatrics at the Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine and the project director of the Health Resources and Services Administration-funded Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program. She is a certified medical director and a geriatrics fellowship program director at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center.

Pandya has an active clinical practice and teaches health professions students, residents, and fellows. In addition, she collaborates with health professionals in clinical research. The focus of her publications has been on the care of frail older adults, especially those with diabetes. She is board certified in internal medicine, geriatrics, endocrinology, and metabolism.

She is past president of the American Medical Directors Association National Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine and past chair of the Interdisciplinary Clinical Practice Committee. She has participated in the development of multiple clinical guidelines and position statements and is recognized for her work in the area of diabetes in the elderly. Pandya also holds the distinction of being a Fulbright Senior Specialist Scholar.

Sweta Tewary, Ph.D., M.S.W., M.S.

Administrative Director of SFGWEP
Assistant Professor    
(954) 262-4015

Sweta Tewary is an experienced health care professional with specific training in the field of health care and technology. She is an assistant professor with the Department of Geriatrics and is also the administrative director of a federally funded Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant—the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program. She has worked on multiple grants funded through the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the Children’s Trust, HRSA, and the Retirement Research Foundation. Most of Tewary’s work involved developing program evaluations, measurements, identifying data trends, opportunities for program services improvement, making recommendations for future funding opportunities to enhance services, using data to explore and develop sustainability, and collaborating with health care providers for project implementation. She is passionate about data analytics and investigating questions that can help improve the health of the community, promote health equity, and contribute to a culture of health. Tewary has been involved in multiple projects with innovative outcomes that have led to the success of many organizations. Some of her strengths are designing evaluation protocols, conducting statistical analysis to employ the best available data using appropriate social-science research techniques, curriculum development, and developing quality-improvement measures.
Oksana Shnayder, Administrative Assistant II

Oksana Shnayder, B.S.

Program Manager of SFGWEP    

Oksana Shnayder has a long-standing career in accounting and finance and is highly skilled in financial reporting, budgeting, audit, and internal controls. She has a Bachelor of Science in Finance and worked in the banking sector and real estate investment industry for the past 15 years. She has recently earned a degree in Psychology from Florida International University. She is passionate about pursuing further education in Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Applied Behavior Analysis. Oksana is actively engaged in local community events and volunteering opportunities, including local food banks, community-based immigrant assistance programs, and free English tutoring to international students. She hopes to employ her analytical, organizational, and problem-solving skills and her great desire to help the underserved community by promoting the growth and success of the South Florida Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program.
Marie Dezine, M.S., Data Analyst, SFGWEP

Marie Dezine, M.S.

Data Analyst of SFGWEP    

Marie Dezine is a recent graduate of St. Thomas University, where she received her Masters in Bioethics. She is passionate about health & ethics. She has previously worked with grants that assisted patients in the Ryan White Program, where she was able to assist the patients find affordable housing & health insurance. Marie worked as a healthcare navigator for the Healthcare Market Place to assist many patients in communities that face many challenges with health literacy. Dezine is currently the data analyst for South Florida Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program.
Samrah Mitha, B.S.

Samrah Mitha, B.S.

Service Program Specialist
Program Coordinator of SFGWEP   


Lisa Tafares, M.Ed.

Administrative Coordinator III
Curriculum Site Coordinator of SFGWEP    

Lisa Tafares is an administrative professional with 20 years of experience managing academic and medical departments at the University of Miami. She currently serves as the curriculum and site coordinator for the NSU South Florida Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2008 and her master’s degree in education in 2018 with a specialization in higher education leadership. Tafares is in the process of choosing a doctorate that combines her passions—psychology and education with geriatrics—to help improve the treatment of senior citizens. She aims to use her education and experience to bring awareness about health issues that affect people as they age and improve quality of care.

Kimberly Valenti, M.Ed.

Medical Education Program Director
Interprofessional Education and Practice Coordinator of SFGWEP    
(954) 262-1650

Kimberly Valenti has been with NSU’s Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine (KPCOM) for nine years. Before her role in medical education, Valenti worked for the KPCOM Office of Innovation and Research writing grants while working on multiple interprofessional initiatives with the Center for Interprofessional Education and Practice. She currently serves as the program director for the Master of Science in Medical Education program and the director of interprofessional education initiatives for the KPCOM.  In addition, Valenti holds a leadership position, alongside Elizabeth Swann, Ph.D., ATC, for the recently transitioned NSU-HPD Center for Interprofessional Education and Practice, housed under the HPD Department of Educational Development.
Desiree Simon Headshot Picture

Desiree Simon, DNP, APRN, AGPCNP-BC - Nurse Practitioner

Adv. Reg. Nurse Practitioner
Assistant Professor
Clinical Trainer of SFGWEP    

Dr. Desiree Simon has extensive clinical experience combined with administrative oversight and staff leadership resulting in high-performing medical units with exceptional quality and service standards. Her professional experience includes over 20 years of acute care nursing (Critical Care, Oncology, Long-Term Acute Care, Orthopedics & Rehabilitation, and Community Health), in addition to clinical informatics, public health, as well as 15 years of experience as a Nurse-Physician liaison.

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