The specialty team of OSVS is driven by a singular purpose: to provide world-class medical care for every pet who walks through our doors. Now, meet the team by your side.
CALEB ALEXANDERDVM, DACVIM
MARCIA AUBINDVM, MS, DACVO
M. FAULKNER BESANCONDVM, DACVS
GARY BLOCKDVM, MS, DACVIM
JAMES P. CELLINIDVM, DACVIM (Neurology)
GEORGE S. CORONADO JR.DVM, MS, DACVS
SARAH CRAINDVM, MS, DACVIM
SARAH GRADILLADVM, DACVECC
TERRY HALLOWELLDVM, DACVECC
JUSTINE A. JOHNSONDVM, DACVECC
ADAM M. KANEDVM, DACVIM
BECKY KESSLERDVM, DACVIM
KEVIN KIRCHOFERDVM, MS, DACVECC
ELIZABETH KUBASDVM, DACVIM
LAUREN MARINIDVM, DACVIM (NEUROLOGY)
SUSAN M. NEWELLDVM, MS, DACVR
S. CHRISTOPHER RALPHSDVM, MS, DACVS
LUCY H. SPELMANDVM, DACZM
DAVID SWEETVMD, DACVS
PAUL WORHUNSKYDVM, DACVIM
Dr. Caleb Alexander grew up in New York and spent summers in Rhode Island. He completed his Bachelor of Science followed by a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota. Following veterinary school, he happily moved back to the East Coast for a small animal rotating internship at Tufts University VETS in Walpole, MA. Dr. Alexander completed his training with a 3-year residency at the New England Veterinary Oncology Group in Waltham, MA to become board certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in medical oncology.
Dr. Alexander considers it a privilege to provide care and longevity to pets with cancer and hope for their families. He has a particular interest in the treatment of hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma and osteosarcoma.
Dr. Alexander enjoys alpine skiing, spending time with his family (both human and four legged), and watching his favorite sports teams, the New England Patriots and the Golden Gophers of the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Marcia Aubin received her DVM degree from Iowa State University in 1988, and then worked in general practice in the Rhode Island area. From 1998 through 2001, she attended Colorado State University, where she completed her master’s degree in clinical science and her ophthalmology residency. She became board certified by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmology in 2003. Prior to joining OSVS, Dr. Aubin was the staff ophthalmologist for a large specialty referral hospital in northern California.
Dr. Aubin has served on the board of the RIVMA from 2006–2012 and served as RIVMA President in 2011. When not working, Dr. Aubin enjoys cycling, kayaking, SUPing, and hanging with her pooches.
M. FAULKNER BESANCON
BOARD CERTIFIED—SMALL ANIMAL SURGERY
After completing his undergraduate degree in Biology at Northeastern University in 1993 Dr. Besancon attended veterinary school at Iowa State University, completing his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 1997. Dr. Besancon then completed a one-year rotating internship in Small animal Medicine and Surgery, and a two year surgical internship in Small Animal Surgery at VCA South Shore in Weymouth, MA. He then returned to Iowa State University for a year-long Orthopedic Fellowship, followed by a 3-year Small Animal Surgical Residency at the University of California-Davis to complete his formal surgical training. In 2005 he completed his board certification, becoming a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. Specializing in the practice of small animal surgery, Dr. Besancon provides care to pets suffering from a variety of diseases and conditions. He has been trained in and enjoys all aspects of surgery.
In his down time Dr. Besancon enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, along with their Golden retriever. He enjoys golfing, fishing, painting, and spending as much time as possible in the woods of Maine.
BOARD CERTIFIED—INTERNAL MEDICINE
Dr. Block completed his veterinary degree at New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University in 1991. He then completed an internship at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston in 1992. He obtained his residency training in internal medicine at Purdue University and became board certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 1994. Dr. Block pursued his interests in animal welfare and the human–animal bond by entering a degree program at the Center for Animals and Public Policy at Tufts University and he obtained his Master’s Degree in 1997. Dr. Block is past president of the Rhode Island Veterinary Medical Association and the Society for Veterinary Medical Ethics. He is the current President of the Board of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association and a board member for Foster Parrots, a Rhode Island-based bird sanctuary. He was a founding board member and Treasurer for 10 years of the non-profit Companion Animal Foundation that helps to provide reduced cost veterinary care for those in need.
He is the father of two beautiful children, Elsa and Derek, and happily married to his equally beautiful wife, veterinarian Justine Johnson. His “extended family” includes three horses, two goats, two dogs, three cats, and two tortoises—some of which his beautiful children actually help to care for.
JAMES P. CELLINI
Dr. James Cellini is originally from Kennesaw, GA and attended the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) where he received his bachelor’s degree in biology in 2005. He attended The University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine for veterinary school and graduated in 2009. Following veterinary school, he completed his small animal rotating internship at Veterinary Specialists of South Florida, followed by a neurology internship at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists in Houston, TX. He worked as an emergency doctor in Albuquerque, NM after the internship. He then completed a neurology and neurosurgery residency in New Mexico and became board certified in 2017. He worked as a staff neurologist at MedVet Chicago from 2016 to 2020. Dr. Cellini is very excited to have recently joined Ocean State Veterinary Specialists in 2021 to continue providing care for pets with neurologic dysfunction.
Dr. Cellini loves all things neurology, although he takes particular interest in spinal surgery and management of meningitis.
In his personal time, Dr. Cellini enjoys the opposing hobbies of cooking (he fancies himself a professional chef in a past life) as well as being active and exercising. Most importantly he enjoys spending time with his wife Liz and daughter Beatrice who he is excited to watch grow up here in beautiful Rhode Island.
GEORGE S. CORONADO JR.
BOARD CERTIFIED—SMALL ANIMAL SURGERY
Dr. Coronado completed his veterinary degree at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine in 1994. He then completed an internship at Purdue University in 1995. He obtained his residency training in small animal surgery at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine, where he received the resident of the year award in 1997, 1998, and 1999. He completed a master’s degree in 2000, and then worked as the staff neurosurgeon at the University of Wisconsin until joining the staff of OSVS in 2002. Dr. Coronado became board certified in small animal surgery in 2004. His surgical interests include surgical oncology and reconstruction, neurosurgery, and laparoscopic/thorascopic procedures. He is a member of the Society of Veterinary Soft Tissue Surgery, Veterinary Cancer Society, and International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management.
After a full day of work, Dr. Coronado enjoys his “quiet” time with his wife, two children, two dogs, and three cats. He enjoys bicycling, running, golf, and music. He is proud to be Texas born and raised, and he is a die-hard (Texas A&M) Aggie!
BOARD CERTIFIED—INTERNAL MEDICINE
Dr. Sarah Crain completed her veterinary degree at the University of Minnesota in 2008, followed by a rotating internship at North Carolina State University. She then spent a year practicing emergency medicine at a clinic in northeastern Pennsylvania. She returned to Minnesota for her residency in small animal internal medicine and completed a master’s degree in veterinary science, and became board certified in 2014. Following her residency, she spent several years at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts, where she taught and did research focusing on the effects of canine stem cells on the immune system. She also got involved with STEM education programs for middle and high-school students. She is thrilled to join the team at OSVS! Her main clinical interests include gastroenterology, pancreatic, autoimmune, and infectious disease.
In her spare time, Dr. Crain volunteers at low-cost spay/neuter and vaccine clinics. She loves spending time outdoors, hiking, camping, and swimming. She also loves traveling, reading, cooking, and painting and drawing. She lives in Providence with her cat, Lando, and her beagle, Baxter.
Dr. Gradilla completed her BA and MS in Industrial / Organizational Psychology from DePaul University in Chicago. After7 years as a human resources professional, she decided to follow her true passion and transitioned to a career in veterinary medicine. Dr. Gradilla graduated from Washington State University College of Veterinary medicine and completed a medical and surgical rotating internship in Colorado. She recently finished a 3 year residency program specializing in emergency and critical care in Connecticut.
Dr. Gradilla is passionate about helping critically ill or injured pets – and their people. She is dedicated to excellent patient care and to making diseases processes understandable so family members can make the most appropriate decisions for their pet and situation. She truly loves the collaboration emergency and critical care medicine offers, as well as the bond she forms with her patients and clients.
BOARD CERTIFIED—EMERGENCY/CRITICAL CARE
Dr. Terry Hallowell is a Florida native who graduated from the University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine in 2007 with a special interest in emergency and critical care. She went on to complete a 1 year rotating small animal medicine and surgery internship at Veterinary Specialists of South Florida and completed her 3 year residency training in emergency and critical care at BluePearl-Tampa (formerly named Florida Veterinary Specialists). She received her board certification and become a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care in 2011. After taking a position in Monroeville, PA at Allegheny Veterinary Emergency Trauma & Specialty for several years, she relocated to Rhode Island to join the team at Ocean State Veterinary Specialists in 2013.
Dr. Hallowell’s professional interests include pulmonary critical care and mechanical ventilation, as well as endocrine emergencies, toxicology, anesthesia, acute kidney injury, and sepsis.
Dr. Hallowell and her husband Max enjoy many outdoor activities together such as hiking, biking, boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, as well as winter activities such as skiing. Their other hobbies include traveling and exploring restaurants and music. They have two dogs named Patches and Blaze and a calico cat named Sassafras.
JUSTINE A. JOHNSON
BOARD CERTIFIED—EMERGENCY/CRITICAL CARE
Dr. Johnson completed her veterinary degree at the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University in 1991. She completed an internship at the Santa Cruz Veterinary hospital in California in 1992. After a few years doing general practice, teaching anatomy at a veterinary school, and completing a research project, she entered a residency program at Tufts University in the study of Emergency Medicine and Critical Care. She became board certified in this specialty in 1997.
Dr. Johnson has published several articles and textbook chapters in the topics of head trauma, nosocomial infections, and pain management. She has also lectured to veterinarians and technicians at regional veterinary conferences. She is an active member of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care. She is the director of the internship and residency programs at OSVS.
Dr. Johnson enjoys riding her horse, planting (but not weeding) her garden, scuba diving, and other outdoorsy stuff. Most of all she loves spending time with (but not cleaning up after) her husband (Dr. Gary Block of OSVS), two amazing children, and a menagerie of pets that includes horses, goats, dogs, cats, tortoises, and about 60,000 honeybees.
ADAM M. KANE
Dr. Adam Kane is originally from snowy Syracuse, NY and attended the University of Rochester where he received his bachelor’s degree in molecular genetics in 2003. He attended the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University for veterinary school and graduated in 2008. Following veterinary school, he completed his small animal rotating internship here at Ocean State Veterinary Specialists. He worked as an emergency doctor in Syracuse after the internship. He then moved to Raleigh, NC to participate in research on the golden retriever model of muscular dystrophy with North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He returned to the north east for his cardiology residency at the Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston, MA where he became board certified in cardiology in 2014. Dr. Kane is very excited to return to Ocean State as our first full-time cardiologist.
Dr. Kane loves all things cardiac, although he takes particular interest in electrophysiology/arrhythmias and interventional medicine.
In his personal time, Dr. Kane enjoys being active and exercising, watching movies, being a die-hard Syracuse basketball fan (go Orange!), and spending time with his wife, Missy, and his adopted greyhound, Bannon.
BOARD CERTIFIED—INTERNAL MEDICINE
Dr. Becky Kessler Vodnick, born and raised in Westchester County, NY, completed her undergraduate degree at Brown University in 2003. She then moved to the “gorges” Ithaca, NY where she completed her veterinary degree at the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University in 2007. Her post-graduate veterinary education includes a rotating internship at our very own Ocean State Veterinary Specialists (2008), a fellowship in Blood Banking and Transfusion Medicine at the Matthew J Ryan Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia (2009), and residency training at Cornell University (2012). She received her board certification from the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2012, shortly after which she relocated to Rhode Island to re-join the OSVS team that helped shape her early veterinary career. Dr. Kessler’s clinical interests are widespread and include hematology and transfusion medicine, auto-immune disease, gastroenterology, endocrinology, and renal disease, and she is thrilled to be a part of the team of passionate doctors, nurses, and support staff at OSVS.
Personally, Dr. Kessler lives locally with her husband and two daughters. Outside of work, Dr. Kessler enjoys hiking with her family, baking desserts, recreational tennis, and downhill skiing.
Dr. Kevin Kirchofer earned his Bachelor of Science from Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He then obtained a Master’s Degree in Animal Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. After working in food safety for a number of years, Dr. Kirchofer returned to Cornell University attend the College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Kirchofer pursued his small animal rotating internship at Ocean State Veterinary Specialists. He then worked as an emergency veterinarian in Syracuse, NY. Dr. Kirchofer joined his wife in a move to Scotland, and while she attended veterinary school, he worked as a general practitioner and emergency veterinarian, and he earned the VetsNow Emergency Veterinarian of the Year award in 2013. Dr. Kirchofer still owns a small area of land in a national park in Scotland, and therefore holds the prestigious title of Baron.
After his time across the pond, Dr. Kirchofer returned to Ocean State Veterinary Specialists to pursue his 3-year residency in Emergency & Critical Care. After practicing as a Criticalist in Florida for over two years, he was once again drawn to return to Ocean State Veterinary Specialists with his wife, Dr. Amanda Panissidi, to practice veterinary medicine alongside his longtime colleagues and to help train Ocean State’s intern and resident veterinarians. Dr. Kirchofer is board-certified as a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care.
Dr. Kirchofer’s special interests include trauma, sepsis, endocrine emergencies, and teaching.
In his spare time, Dr. Kirchofer enjoys cycling, hiking, and all things outdoors.
Bio coming soon…
Dr. Marini received her veterinary degree from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2006. She then moved to Washington State University for her internship and on to Phoenix, Arizona, for a neurology residency at the Veterinary Neurological Center. She completed her residency in 2010 and achieved board certification in neurology with the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2012. Her special interests within neurology include diagnosing and treating encephalitis, refractory seizure treatment, and the role of physical therapy in recovery from neurological diseases.
Outside of work, Dr. Marini enjoys playing viola in the Narragansett Bay Symphony Orchestra, riding horses, rooting for the Philadelphia Eagles (when they actually win), hiking with her dogs and drinking wine with her sommelier husband. She and Dan have a household of “partially broken” animals including two corgis named Thomas and Wally (a Cardigan and a Pembroke…with a tail) and a small black cat named Leroy.
Dr. Laurie Monhait is originally from Delaware and completed her undergraduate degree in Chemistry at Haverford College, outside of Philadelphia, PA. She then went on to complete her veterinary training at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, graduating in 2011. After veterinary school she completed a rotating internship at VCA South Shore in Weymouth, MA, and a specialty internship in internal medicine and critical care at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists in Houston, TX. She then returned to the New England area to complete her internal medicine residency at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston, MA. Dr. Monhait has recently relocated to Rhode Island and is excited to join the Internal Medicine team at Ocean State.
Outside of work Dr. Monhait enjoys running and being active, hiking, cooking, and spending time with friends and family.
SUSAN M. NEWELL
Dr. Newell completed her veterinary degree at the University of Minnesota in 1989. She then completed an internship at the Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in 1990. Her residency training was obtained at the University of Georgia and she became board certified by the American College of Veterinary Radiology in 1994. She served as an Assistant Professor and Co-Section Head of Radiology at the University of Florida for five years before joining the staff of OSVS in 2000.
Dr. Newell has published numerous journal articles and has lectured on many topics in diagnostic imaging at veterinary schools and veterinary conferences. In her free time, she enjoys raising vizslas and border terriers, growing bonsai and gardening, and chasing little white balls around pretty grassy fields.
Dr. Amanda Panissidi is originally from Connecticut but spent many summers vacationing in Rhode Island. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science with a minor in Biology at Cornell University. She then moved across the pond to Scotland where she earned her degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Glasgow. Her post-graduate veterinary education brought her back to Connecticut where she completed a rotating internship at Pieper Memorial Veterinary Center. She then moved to Florida where she completed a surgical internship followed by surgical residency at Affiliated Veterinary Specialists, BluePearl Maitland. Dr. Panissidi, along with her husband Dr. Kevin Kirchofer, are excited to return to New England where they can be closer to family and friends again.
Dr. Panissidi’s professional areas of interested include oncologic surgery, reconstructive surgery, wound management, laparoscopic procedures, and neurosurgery.
Outside of work, Dr. Panissidi enjoys cycling, hiking, and camping.
S. CHRISTOPHER RALPHS
BOARD CERTIFIED—SMALL ANIMAL SURGERY
Dr. Chris Ralphs graduated from the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University in 1998. He then continued his training with a general internship at the Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center in Norwalk, Connecticut, and a surgical internship at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists in Houston, Texas. He completed his surgical residency at the University of Minnesota. Following his residency, Dr. Ralphs was in practice for three years at Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialists in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, before moving to Rhode Island. He enjoys soft tissue neurologic and orthopedic surgery and is trained in both the TPLO and TTA procedures for cruciate ligament ruptures.
On those days when he is not at work, Dr. Ralphs enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters and exploring the outdoor pursuits in the area. They are glad to be back in the Northeast where they can see their family and friends more often.
LUCY H. SPELMAN
Dr. Lucy H. Spelman is one of 128 veterinarians board certified in zoological medicine. Her work experience includes domestic animal, zoo animal, and wildlife medicine, as well as zoo administration, media consulting, writing, and teaching. She has also traveled extensively—her patients have included giant pandas in China, Asian elephants in Burma, giant river otters in Guyana, and mountain gorillas in Rwanda. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in biology at Brown University (1985), she earned her veterinary degree from the University of California at Davis (1990), completed a residency in zoological medicine at North Carolina State University (1994), and received her board certification from the American College of Zoological Medicine (1994). She worked for the Smithsonian Institution for nearly 10 years, first as associate veterinarian, and then as director (2000–2004) of the National Zoo in Washington, DC. She was a consultant for Discovery Communications before moving to Rwanda in 2006, where she served as the field manager for the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project for nearly three years.
Dr. Spelman returned to the United States in 2009 to teach undergraduate students interested in animal health and conservation, first part-time at Brown University, and now part-time at the Rhode Island School of Design. She serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Mountain Gorilla One-Health Program, based in Rwanda, and as Secretary of the Karanambu Trust Board of Trustees, based in Guyana, South America. She enjoys public speaking and is also a published author. She and a colleague, Dr. Ted Mashima, published The Rhino with Glue-on Shoes in 2008, a collection of 28 stories by zoo and wild animal vets. In addition to long walks with her Labrador retriever, she enjoys reading, photography, and exploring the out-of-doors.
The Rhino with Glue-On Shoes: And Other Surprising True Stories of Zoo Vets and Their Patients
BOARD CERTIFIED—SMALL ANIMAL SURGERY
Dr. Sweet completed his veterinary degree at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine in 1989, and stayed on there to complete an internship the following year.
He completed his small animal surgery residency training at the North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, and became board certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 1994. He spent a year at Washington State University as a clinical instructor in small animal surgery, and then two years as an Assistant Professor of Small Animal Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Sweet joined the staff of OSVS in 2003. He was on the board of the Rhode Island Veterinary Medical Association from 2004 through 2008 and served as its president in 2007. He was honored with the RIVMA Veterinarian of the Year award in 2008. He is currently on the board of directors of the Companion Animal Foundation and the Ocean State Animal Coalition. His clinical interests include pain management, soft tissue surgery, minimally invasive surgery, and oncologic surgery including reconstruction techniques. His personal interests include tai chi, reading, and enjoying the company of his children, who get smarter and more beautiful every day (thank goodness they take after their mom).
BOARD CERTIFIED—INTERNAL MEDICINE
Dr. Paul Worhunsky graduated from Ross University in 2004 after completing his clinical year at Auburn University. He spent the next 2.5 years in general practice before moving on to a 1 year rotating small animal medicine and surgery internship at the University of Illinois. He then completed a 3 years residency training program in internal medicine at Cornell University. He moved into private specialty practice in Campbell, CA where he spent the next 3 years as a staff internist. He recently relocated to Rhode Island to join the team at Ocean State Veterinary Specialists.
Dr. Worhunsky’s interests include endocrinology and gastrointestinal disease.