Physician assistants play an active role in your treatment. The inpatient BMT unit is staffed with physician assistants who will follow your medical care, along with the transplant physician. A physician assistant and the staff physician will perform physical exams, review treatment and follow laboratory and X-ray results on a daily basis.
Elisha M. Fleig, MPAS, PA-C
Elisha earned her Master of Physician Assistant Sciences through Saint Francis University in May of 2013. She also attended Saint Francis University for her undergraduate years as a member of the Honors Program, and she earned degrees both as a Bachelor of Science in Health Science, and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish.
Elisha joined the BMT Program at Cleveland Clinic in September 2013 as an inpatient Physician Assistant. She also works in the operating room for blood and marrow harvesting. Her interest in BMT began in 2013 when she had a clinical rotation as a PA Student in the very unit where she ended up working. She enjoys helping her patients throughout the entire inpatient transplant experience, and particularly seeing patients post-transplant when they come to visit the inpatient floor. She also looks forward to participating in research projects in the near future. Elisha is excited to be a provider at the Cleveland Clinic and Taussig Cancer Institute and to be a part of the patient experience for Blood and Marrow Transplants.
Shannon Jarancik, PA-C
Shannon has a Master of Physician Assistant Studies through the University of Nebraska. She also has a Bachelor of Science from The Ohio State University as well as Associate of Applied Science in Physician Assistant as well as Respiratory Therapy from Cuyahoga Community College. She has worked at Cleveland Clinic since 1993 and specifically with the Blood and Marrow Transplant team since 2005.
Joseph Kohuth, PA-C
Joseph obtained his Associate degree in Applied Science in the Physician Assistant program at Cuyahoga Community College. He became a certified physician assistant in 1976, and earned a Bachelor of Arts at Cleveland State University in 1982. Then, in 1992 Joseph joined the inpatient palliative care team for 3 years until leaving to join the BMT program as part of the inpatient BMT team.
Throughout your transplant experience, you will be cared for by Nurse Practitioners who play an active role in collaborating with your physician to perform physical exams, review your treatment plan, and monitor your laboratory and radiology results. Nurse Practitioners are essential members of the blood & marrow transplant team who are responsible for providing you with supportive care while focusing on your quality of life and symptom management.
Heather Koniarczyk, MSN, NP-C, AOCNP
Heather earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Kent State University in 2006. She worked at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center as a registered nurse in Hematology/Oncology/Blood and Marrow Transplant from 2007-2011 while obtaining her degree of Masters of Science in Nursing at Case Western Reserve University.
She joined the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at the Cleveland Clinic as a Nurse Practitioner in 2011. Heather also works in the operating room for blood and marrow harvesting and assists with the orientation of new NPs in Hematology/Oncology. She has published articles on blood marrow transplantation and enjoys teaching patients and caregivers about living with side effects of blood marrow transplant.
The pharmacy department is actively involved throughout the entire transplant process. Our team includes transplant specialty pharmacists, the chemotherapy satellite pharmacy, and our hospital pharmacy. Our outpatient pharmacist meets with patients prior to transplant to ensure an accurate medication list. This is used to look for drug interactions with other medications used during the transplant, including chemotherapy. These pharmacists may also see select patients following transplant. Our inpatient pharmacist helps manage drug therapy during the admission and provides medication education throughout your stay and at discharge. Both transplant pharmacists are committed to ensuring that you understand your medications and are available to answer drug-related questions.
Kelley D. Carlstrom, Pharm.D., BCOP
Hematology/Oncology Clinical Pharmacy Specialist
Kelley earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2010 from the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Aurora, Colorado. After graduation she moved to Boston, Massachusetts to complete two years of post-graduate residency training. She completed her pharmacy practice residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and an oncology specialty pharmacy residency at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Kelley joined the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at Cleveland Clinic in August 2012 as an outpatient clinical pharmacy specialist. Her interest in transplant began when she was a student after her grandmother, Barbara, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and underwent a blood and marrow transplant. Kelley is passionate about symptom management and patient education. She enjoys helping patients maximize their drug therapy and can often be heard saying that a good pharmacist is a drug minimalist.
Being new to Ohio, Kelley enjoys exploring the city and trying all the great restaurants Cleveland has to offer. She plays tennis and enjoys being outside, even in the winter! Kelley is very excited to be here at Cleveland Clinic and the Taussig Cancer Institute and looks forward to participating in the care of our transplant patients.
Catherine Weber, Pharm.D., BCOP
Hematology/Oncology Clinical Pharmacy Specialist
Cathy earned a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2008 from Duquesne University, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She completed her PGY1 training at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and specialized in hematology/oncology during her PGY2 year at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. She then went on to join the inpatient Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at Cleveland Clinic in 2010. Cathy also serves as Clinical Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice at the Northeast Ohio Medical University.
Cleveland Clinic has been distinguished as a Magnet Status Hospital since 2003.
To achieve Magnet status, Cleveland Clinic underwent an extensive review and systematic evaluation of its nursing practice by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). This involved the review of thousands of pages of documentation, and a five-day site visit by ANCC professionals who evaluated Cleveland Clinic against more than 65 stringent quantitative and qualitative standards that epitomize excellence in nursing services, clinical outcomes and patient care delivery. Cleveland Clinic must continue to pass annual reviews as part of its four-year designation.
Laura Bernhard, RN, BSN
Laura earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Kent State University in 1994. Since joining the Cleveland Clinic in 1993, she has worked as an inpatient nurse on the Blood and Marrow Transplant unit and as an outpatient BMT nurse coordinator. Laura holds a special interest in medical informatics and spent five years as a clinical analyst. She currently is the Clinical Manager for the Blood and Marrow Transplant program.
The transplant nurse coordinator is a registered nurse who works primarily in the ambulatory clinic to coordinate all of the events leading up to and following your transplant. She provides the necessary education to prepare you and your family for transplant and will search for a suitably matched donor should you require one. The nurse coordinator works closely with your transplant physician to monitor your medical condition.
The transplant nurse coordinator is a member of the multidisciplinary care team and helps transition your care to and from the hospital team when you are admitted to the hospital. When you have completed your transplant and are ready to leave the hospital, your nurse coordinator will be involved in all aspects of your recovery and care.
Transplant Nurse Coordinators
Kelly Cherni, RN, BSN, OCN®
Kelly received her Associate of Arts degree at Cuyahoga Community College and then went on to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Kent State University. She began her nursing career at Cleveland Clinic in 1987 and has worked in the Hematology & Oncology Inpatient Unit, Taussig Outpatient Chemotherapy Department, and has been a Blood and Marrow Transplant Nurse Coordinator since 2003. She received her oncology nursing certification in 2008.
Elaina Corbett, RN, BSN, OCN®
Elaina attended Cleveland State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2007. She began working in the inpatient Blood and Marrow Transplant Unit at Cleveland Clinic in 2007, and began working as a nurse coordinator for allogeneic BMT patients in 2010. Elaina earned her Oncology Nurse Certification in 2009.
Barbara Gedeon, RN, BSN, MS
Barbara graduated in 2008 from Cleveland State University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She worked in palliative care at Cleveland Clinic for five years before becoming a Blood & Marrow Transplant Coordinator in 2013. Barbara has been a member of the Ohio Nurses Association since 2008.
Christina Ferraro, RN, BSN, OCN®
Christina graduated from The Ohio State University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She has been working in the Blood and Marrow Transplant program since starting at Cleveland Clinic in 2003, first as a staff nurse and currently as Blood and Marrow Transplant Nurse Coordinator since 2006. She has been a member of the national and local chapter of Oncology Nursing Society since 2004.
Gina Green, RN, BSN
Gina graduated in 2004 from Kent State University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She has been a part of the Blood and Marrow Transplant program since 2004 and worked on the inpatient unit until December 2007. Currently, Gina works in the outpatient department as a BMT coordinator. Gina has been a member of the Oncology Nursing Society since 2005 and a member of the Cleveland Chapter of ONS since 2006.
Jamie Starn, RN, BSN
Jamie graduated in 2005 from North Central State College with an Associate Degree in Nursing and from Ohio University in 2012 with her BSN. She started working on the Blood and Marrow Transplant floor in August of 2005, and transferred to the outpatient department in September of 2008 as an Allogeneic Blood and Marrow Transplant Coordinator. Since 2005, Jamie has been a member of the Oncology Nursing Society.
The nurse manager and assistant nurse manager are responsible for the overall daily management of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Unit. The management team works with the registered nurses and nursing assistants on the unit to assure that you are receiving the best care.
If you have any questions or concerns about the condition of your room or the nursing care you are receiving, you may ask to speak with either the nurse manager or assistant nurse manager.
Patti Akins, RN, BSN, OCN®, NM
Patti attended Capital University in Bexley, Ohio and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She has been a Blood and Marrow Transplant Unit nurse since 1993 at Cleveland Clinic, and her leadership role started in 1996 as an Assistant Nurse Manager. Patti earned her Oncology Nurse Certification in 2005 and has been the Nurse Manager since 2002. Patti is also the Nurse Manager of the Leukemia unit since 2009.
Assistant Nurse Managers
Debbie Scott, RN, ANM - Blood and Marrow Transplant Unit
Debbie has been a blood and marrow transplant nurse at Cleveland Clinic since 2000. She is currently the Patient Safety Officer and is involved with Shared Governance, quality admission audits, and the Falls committee. Debbie holds membership in both the Oncology Nursing Society and the Cleveland Chapter for Oncology Nurses. She has been Assistant Nurse Manager since October of 2004.
Maureen Tarbuck, RN, BSN, ANM - Oncology Unit
Maureen attended Ohio State University and received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Ursuline College. She has been working at Cleveland Clinic since 1998 and has had the privilege of working on the Inpatient Oncology Unit, Blood and Marrow Transplant Unit, and at the Outpatient Oncology Center. Maureen is a member of the Oncology Nursing Society, and has been an Assistant Nurse Manager since October 2004.
Registered Nurses & Nurse Assistants
Registered nurses provide you with individual care during your outpatient appointments at the Taussig Cancer Center, and 24-hours-a-day while you are hospitalized. Registered nurses work together with your physician and the rest of the BMT team to plan your daily care. In the hospital, registered nurses also:
- Check your progress at frequent intervals throughout the day and night.
- Administer your medications.
- Inform your physician of any changes in your condition.
- Educate you and your family about the medications you will be taking.
- Teach you how to care for your health after your blood and marrow transplant.
- Prepare you for your discharge.
Nursing assistants work with the registered nurses to provide your daily care. They may take your temperature, blood pressure and daily weight. They also assist with your personal care and help make you comfortable during your hospital stay.
A social worker will be assigned to you and your family and will discuss any concerns you may have about your transplant or your personal situation. Your social worker will be a primary source of support during the transplant process. Social workers provide education, counseling regarding lifestyle changes and coping with treatment demands, referrals to community or national agencies and support groups, help with local lodging needs, and any other assistance you or your family may need.
Jane Dabney, LISW-S, OSW-C
Jane is a Licensed Independent Social Worker; she received a Bachelor of Arts degree at Kent State University and then continued on to earn her Master’s degree in Social Work at Cleveland State University. Jane is a Certified Oncology Social Worker and has been a member of the Association of Oncology Social Work since 2001. She has been the Blood and Marrow Transplant Special Interest Group leader since 2007. In May 2012, Jane was awarded The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Hematology Oncology Social Worker of the Year.
In addition to clinical responsibilities, Jane coordinates and co-facilitates the monthly Post Transplant Preparation Education and Support Group. She has served on professional advisory committees through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Hope Lodge, National Marrow Donor Program, and Northeast Ohio Social Work Oncology Group.
Jane also participates in psychosocial research conducted by the Blood and Marrow Transplant program at Cleveland Clinic. Jane has been with Cleveland Clinic’s Blood and Marrow Transplant Program since 2001.
Christine Lawrence, MSSA, LISW
Christine graduated from State University of New York at Fredonia with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, and received a Master of Arts Degree in Social Science Administration from Case Western Reserve University with a concentration in health care administration. She has specialized in working with hematology / oncology patients and has a background working with patients with chronic kidney disease in diverse health care settings. Christine began with Cleveland Clinic Taussig Blood and Marrow Transplant Team as a social worker in 2013.
Linda McLellan, LISW-S, C-SWHC
Linda McLellan is a Licensed Independent Social Worker and Certified Social Worker in Health Care. Her Bachelor's degree is from the University of Maine, and her Master's degree is from the University of New England. She has a post-graduate certificate in Cognitive Therapy from the Cleveland Center for Cognitive Therapy. Linda has been with the Oncology Program at Cleveland Clinic since 1991, and has been dedicated to the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program since 1997.
Linda has been a Family Support Group Facilitator for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society since 1995 and co-facilitates the "Living with Transplant" community group. Additionally, she is a long-term member of the Patient Services Committee of the Northeast Ohio Chapter of Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Linda conducts psychosocial oncology research in blood and marrow transplantation,co-authors research articles, and presents findings at medical and psychosocial oncology conferences.
The blood and marrow transplant administrator oversees the daily operations of the Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) Department to ensure maximum operating efficiency while ensuring quality care of all patients. The administrator manages the nursing, engineering, research, technical, laboratory, financial, social work and clerical personnel within the BMT Department.
Your administrative coordinator will make sure that all of your appointments are scheduled before and after your blood and marrow transplant. They will work closely with your referring physician to make sure all necessary medical records are available. They also stay in close contact with your insurance company for medical review and approval of your treatment plan.
Registered dietitians (nutrition experts) are available to help you maintain good nutrition during your blood and marrow transplant recovery. They work closely with you and your physician to provide individualized nutritional counseling. They are available to answer any nutritional questions you may have.
Your financial counselor can answer any questions you may have about insurance coverage and benefits related to your transplant and care. They will help obtain insurance approval for your transplant. Allogeneic blood and marrow transplant patients will be scheduled to meet with the financial counselor prior to their transplant. Autologous transplant patients may also schedule an appointment with the financial counselor, if desired.
Some transplant patients may be eligible for certain government programs, depending on their individual financial situation.
Infectious Disease Team
This team of physicians is specially trained in infectious disease and how it relates to the blood and marrow transplant process. Before your transplant, you will have multiple tests to detect any signs of infection.
Once you are admitted to the hospital, the infectious disease physicians will round every day with the rest of the blood and marrow transplant team. They will help control your environment to protect you against harmful sources of infection. Visitors and others will be asked to wash their hands with antimicrobial soap before entering your room. In addition, your temperature will be taken every four hours to detect early signs of infection.
Other BMT Transplant Team Members
A chaplain is available to provide spiritual guidance or counseling for all faiths. There are many other professionals such as respiratory therapists, laboratory technicians and support staff who work as members of the BMT Team to meet your medical and personal needs.
Special Care For Pediatric Patients
Pediatric patients receiving a blood and marrow transplant are admitted to Cleveland Clinic Children's. There, they are under the care of specialists, nurses, social workers, childlife workers and other health care professionals who are trained to meet the unique needs of children and their families.
Cleveland Clinic Children's provides state-of-the-art care in a home-like setting. Because the family is an important part of a hospitalized child’s recovery, the hospital rooms are designed to enable a parent to spend the night in the room with his or her child.
Transplant fellows are physicians who are training to become specialists in hematology and oncology. They work under the guidance of your staff transplant physician and will visit you daily along with your transplant physician and the rest of the BMT Team.