Welcoming the Columbia Orthopedics Residency Class of 2028
We are proud to introduce the newest members of the Columbia Orthopedics and New York Orthopaedic Hospital family. Learn more about this exceptional group of future orthopedic surgeons.
Beth G. Ashinsky, MD, PhD
Medical School: Drexel University College of Medicine
Doctorate: University of Pennsylvania College of Biomedical Engineering
Undergraduate: Carleton College
Dr. Beth Ashinsky hails from Chappaqua, New York. Her path and interest in orthopedics was piqued at age 18 after an athletic injury that resulted in an ACL reconstruction. This allowed her to complete her freshman year of college as the starting varsity goalkeeper at Carleton College, where she graduated magna cum laude, obtaining her BA in Biology. In 2015, she completed a 2-year Intramural Research Training Award post Baccalaureate Fellowship with the National Institutes of Health. Immediately after, she joined the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Spectroscopy lab at the National Institute on Aging at Johns Hopkins Bayview, where she investigated a novel MRI classification technique using pattern recognition to characterize osteoarthritis and was awarded the F30 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award. Beth completed her PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania in 2020 where her research focused on establishing quantitative microscale and macroscale outcomes that define the spectrum of degeneration and to inform regeneration. At Drexel School of Medicine, she was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, Delta Zeta Chapter and served as the President of the Orthopaedic Surgery Interest Group. Beth is an ironman triathlon, and she enjoys weightlifting, road cycling, the food network, peloton and is a self-proclaimed sour beer enthusiast. Dr. Beth Ashinsky has spent her research year developing ideas for primary ACL repair. Working with Dr. Chris Ahmad and Dr. Stavros Thomopoulos, she is characterizing the cellular and extracellular makeup of ACLs, with an emphasis on the protective sheath that wraps around the ligament. This approach could be transformative in sports medicine for the care of ACL tears. Beth and her husband James Capon, MD (Hospitalist at Lenox Hill) are expecting their first son William Michael in May 2023!
Natalia Czerwonka, MD
Medical School: New York Medical College
Undergraduate: University of Pennsylvania
Natalia Czerwonka grew up in Lowell Massachusetts where her parents emigrated to from Poland; they modeled worth ethic, determination, and grit to Natalia early on in her life. She attended the University of Pennsylvania, obtaining a BA in Health and Societies. During her time at Penn, she was a division 1 varsity rower where she was reputed by her teammates to be the “first on the boat”. Due to injury, she ultimately transitioned from rower to team manager. She graduated Cum Laude and matriculated to New York Medical College (NYMC). She was awarded the Star Student Award by the Gold Humanism Honor Society at NYMC, an award commending exemplary compassion and professionalism. She has served as a mentor, advisor, and volunteer during her time in medical school, including Perry Initative, AMWA Mentorship Program NYMC Chapter and the Medical Student Orthopaedic Society. Natalia also completed two years of work as a research coordinator at Massachusetts General Hospital under Drs. Takara Stanley and, Steven Grinspoon. She credits her strong work ethic, summer research experience during medical school, and team rowing experience to confirming her passion for orthopedics. Natalia was completing a gap year research fellowship with the division of shoulder elbow and sports medicine, under the mentorship of Dr. David Trofa, however her research acumen was so impressive that she ultimately was hired as the division's research coordinator. She has managed multiple studies, including two multisite studies with Dr. Lauren Redler, projects with Drs. Christian and Levine all while completing sub-internships and during residency recruitment. In total, Natalia has amassed 8 peer reviewed publications, 5 poster presentations, and 6 oral presentations. Natalia’s hobbies include pierogi making, hiking, and rock concerts.
Kyle Obana, MD
Medical School: University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine
Undergraduate: Amherst College
Kyle Obana makes NYOH history by being the first Hawaiian to join the family! Kyle initially attended Brown but transferred to Amherst College where he obtained a BA in Biology and Psychology. At Amherst, he was on the NESCAC All-Academic Football Team (2016 & 2017), was awarded the James E. Ostendarp Scholar-Athlete Award (2017) and won New England Small College Athletic Conference Football Championship. Kyle was an undergraduate research Intern at Columbia, working under the mentorship of Drs. Levine, Jobin, Popkin and Trofa in 2016. He was an avid and effective researcher and won best scientific presentation at Amherst for one of the many projects he worked on that summer. He continued his research with the Columbia Orthopedic faculty, led data collection, data analysis, manuscript preparation, and manuscript submission for NEISS studies with both Columbia University and Carolinas Medical Center recommending reporting standards and analyzing publication trends of orthobiologics, He not only published but presented the findings of these studies at both AOSSM and AAOS in 2019. Before attending medical school, he worked as a Research Coordinator for one year with NYOH Alumnus, Dr. David L. Skaggs, Director Spine Center of Excellence at Cedars Sinai. At the University of Hawaii JABSOM, he secured several awards including the Territorial Savings Bank Scholarship, 1st Place Medical Student research at the Hawaii Academy of Family Physicians Annual Conference and Allen B. Richardson MD Endowed Surgery Scholarship. He was elected by his classmates as AOA president and is the founder and president of the JABSOM Orthopedic interest group. In total, Kyle has amassed 18 peer reviewed publications, 22 poster presentations, and 22 oral presentations. Kyle enjoys weightlifting, cross fit running and gardening.
Medical School: Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth University
Undergraduate: Columbia University
Michaela O’Connor was born and raised in Concord New Hampshire. The daughter of an occupational therapist and orthopedic surgeon, she learned early on that her parents’ field required teamwork and skill. Michaela carried those lessons with her while attending Columbia University, where she obtained her BA in Neuroscience and Behavior. She was a defender on the Division 1 women’s Lacrosse team and was nominated by her coaching staff for the Yeardley Love Unsung Hero Award. While completing her undergraduate degree, she was heavily involved in the One Love Foundation, which focuses on encouraging discussion about domestic violence and unhealthy relationships. She volunteered as a workshop facilitator and spearhead bringing the workshop to every varsity athlete at Columbia. Michaela was a full-time research coordinator for the division of Shoulder elbow and sports medicine prior to matriculating to Geisel SOM at Dartmouth. She worked on a multitude of projects that resulted in many publications, posters, podiums, and scientific presentations. Michaela is the co-creator of the Geisel School of Medicine Disability Curriculum and is an On Doctoring - Simulation Clinic preceptor. In total, Michaela has amassed 8 peer reviewed publications, 22 poster presentations, and 6 oral presentations. An avid skier, runner and hiker, Michaela is also a dog lover, especially her Wheaton terrier Brody.
Alex Ruberto, MD
Medical School: Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons
Undergraduate: Williams College
Alex Ruberto grew up in a small community outside of Miami, as the only child of his parents who emigrated from Argentina to the United States. His parents placed a strong emphasis on education. Alex attended Williams College on full scholarship, where he was a member of the Men's Crew team, and was a member of the first-ever freshman eight in William’s history to win Gold at the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) national invitation. Alex was selected for Williams' top varsity boat for all three years following freshman year. He obtained his BA in Chemistry and won NESCAC All-Academic Honors. After graduating from Williams, Alex worked as a full time Research Associate at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard for two years before attending Columbia Vagelos P&S. He was awarded the summer NIH research fellowship and completed research with Drs. Geller and Jobin. He secured a Columbia University Anti-Racism seed grant to perform research under Dr. Jobin to analyze and understand the effects of COVID-19 on health disparities in telemedicine use. Alex co-led the Orthopedic interest group and serves as secretary and board member on Columbia’s Black and Latino Student Organization. In total, Natalia has amassed 3 peer reviewed publications, 5 poster presentations, and 2 oral presentations. Alex’s hobbies are running, Argentinian cuisine, and classic films.
Tiffany Smith, MD
Medical School: Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Undergraduate: George Washington University
Tiffany Smith grew up in West Orange NJ, a first-generation Jamaican American, with her parents and 3 sisters. Her parents’ sacrifices and commitment to education in her childhood inspired Tiffany to excel. A surgeon at heart, her participation in a Perry Initiative program confirmed Orthopedic surgery was her calling. She attended George Washington University where she competed as a Division 1 rower. She earned her BS in biological sciences and ultimately obtained a master’s degree from George Washington University in Biochemistry and Bioinformatics. She then matriculated at Rutgers RWJ Medical School. While at Rutgers she has received several awards and honors including the Ruth Jackson Orthopedic Society (RJOS) Grace Marlene DeMaio Memorial Medical Student Scholarship, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Rutgers RWJMS Gala Scholarship, New Jersey Health Foundation Lester Lages Endowed Scholarship Recipient, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School: Dean’s M1 Scholars Scholarship. She is a member of the Ruth Jackson Orthopedic Society (RJOS) Communications and Technology Committee, and American College of Sports Medicine-Greater New York Research Committee. She has participated in various research projects and initiatives and while at Rutgers, co-founded the Women Inspiring Surgical Expansion and Research Group. She is also involved in the Rugby Research and Injury Prevention Group with HSS. In total, Tiffany has amassed 7 peer reviewed publications and 4 poster presentations. Some of Tiffany’s hobbies include distance running, cooking traditional Jamaican dishes, and Double Bass. In fact she played in a symphony setting for the New Jersey Youth Symphony and performed at world renowned venues including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.
Varun Arvind, MD, PhD
Research Track, Class of 2029
Medical School: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Undergraduate: Rutgers University
Dr. Varun Arvind hails from New York. He attended Rutgers University and completed his BS in Biomedical Engineering. While at Rutgers he was awarded the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and received a grant from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. He matriculated to Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, MD/PhD program. Varun completed his PhD in the laboratory of Dr. Alice Huang, where he investigated the role for regulatory T cells in tendon repair. He developed several experimental techniques using mouse models of tendon healing and successfully demonstrated neonatal regulatory T cells capable of orchestrating Achilles tendon regeneration in adult mice, and identified a subset of genes that are critical in this process. He presented his results at several national conferences and was recognized with an Orthoregeneration Education Grant and best abstract award. He secured an F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, (NIH NIAMS) grant to fund his research. In the Cho laboratory, he has developed machine learning techniques to improve surgical outcomes following spinal surgery, to identify patients at risk for post-operative complications, and used natural language processing techniques to utilize big data to improve patient care. He presented results at several national conferences earning the best paper award at NASS and secured $75,000 in seed funding for machine learning projects. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he was able to use Epic data and assist the hospital in real time to monitor infection control, conduct COVID-19 studies, and use machine learning to predict intubation among at-risk patients and published in the Journal of Critical Care. He has obtained awards for Tendon Section Best Abstract from the Orthopedic Research Society, Orthoregeneration Education Grant (OR/ON Foundation), Young Investigator Award, Mount Sinai, a $40,000 4D Technology Development Program Award, from Mount Sinai Innovation Partners, Best Paper Award from the North American Spine Society, and a $35,000 CTSA Technology Development Awards Institute for Translational Science at Mount Sinai. Varun has an impressive 39 peer reviewed publications, and many scientific poster and podium presentations at national and international meetings. Varun’s interests include cooking diverse dishes, photography, and hiking.