Each Academy Director is elected to represent family physician members by reviewing major policies and plans of the association, and communicating the needs of its constituency.
District 1 Mackenzie Smith, MD
Mackenzie Smith is a graduate of The Brody School of Medicine and ECU Family Medicine Residency. She currently works as associate medical director at Greene County Healthcare, based in Snow Hill, NC. She is married to fellow Brody alum and future ECU Family Medicine graduate Colin Smith. They live in Greenville, NC with their 2 children, large dog and extended family. Mackenzie hopes to use her experience working with migrant and rural populations while serving on the board.
District 2 Gilbert Palmer, MD
Dr. Palmer was born in Venezuela and spent his early years in Puerto Rico. He lived in Aspen, Colorado where he met his wife Robin. He then ran a dry cleaning business in Clinton, NC, before finishing his undergraduate work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1994. He attended Brody School of Medicine at ECU with his wife and three young children (Leah, Field and Gracin) in tow. He completed his family medicine residency at ECU in 2001, then returned to Clinton, NC, and has been practicing with Clinton Medical Clinic ever since. He loves soccer and has spent many years coaching and developing youth soccer in his community. He enjoys playing golf, riding his bike and hanging out with his family.
District 3Eugenie M. Komives, MD
A graduate of The University of Wisconsin and Harvard Medical School, and with a residency at Duke Family Medicine, Dr. Komives spent 11 years in clinical practice and a variety of leadership roles with Kaiser Permanente. From October 2000 until June 2012 she served in leadership roles with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, including State Health Plan medical director and vice president and senior medical director for Healthcare Quality. In that role, she oversaw healthcare quality, including medical and reimbursement policy development, Medicare quality, appeals, and network quality, including credentialing and quality-based network programs. She implemented the Blue Quality Physician Program which provided financial incentives to primary care practices that became recognized by the NCQA as Patient Centered Medical Homes. In July 2012, she returned to clinical practice with Duke Primary Care Hillsborough. She has been honored with a President's Award by the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians for her work in enhancing the collaborative relationships between the BCBSNC and North Carolina's family medicine community, with an emphasis on idea exchange and discussion of issues impacting family physicians. Dr. Komives has also been a member of the Accountable Care Organization Task Force of the North Carolina Medical Society, and is co-chair and faculty for the NCMS Foundation Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership. She has also served on the Boards of Directors for Carolina Center for Medical Excellence, North Carolina Prevention Partners and the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians Foundation.
District 4 Shauna L. Guthrie, MD, MPH
Dr. Guthrie is a recent graduate of the NH Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency in Concord, NH. After graduation she stayed in NH to do the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Leadership Preventive Medicine Residency where she completed an MPH with a focus in quality improvement. While there her practicum project was focused on implementation of counseling on weight gain in pregnancy. Dr. Guthrie is currently working at Vance Family Medicine, a Rural Health Clinic in Henderson, NC, doing full-spectrum family care including inpatient medicine and obstetrics. She also serves as the clinic's Director of Quality Improvement and while there is working to improve the quality of care as well as obtain Meaningful Use and Patient Centered Medical Home certifications. In addition, she enjoys giving back to the profession by teaching students. In NH Dr. Guthrie was an active member of the NHAFP. She served as resident representative to the board and after graduation was a full board member. She served on the CME committee and represented her residency at the AAFP National Conference for Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students as a delegate. Dr. Guthrie lives in Henderson, NC with her husband, 2 dogs, and 6 chickens. She enjoys live music, reading, and cooking.
District 5 Dimitrios "Taki" P. Hondros, MD
A graduate of UNC Chapel Hill and Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Dr. Hondros completed his residency at Carolinas Medical Center and currently practices at Novant Health Crown Point Family Physicians in Charlotte, NC. He has been involved with the Academy since the start of medical school. As FMIG president and while at WFUSOM, Taki served on many state committees, even as a student representative. He later served on the NCAFP Foundation Board as a resident member and currently serves on the NCAFP Foundation BOT executive board. He has continued to be active within the Academy through medical student activities as well as being a master preceptor, a community preceptor, and a scholarship applicant review committee member.
District 6 Cody A. Wingler, MD
Dr. Wingler was born in Taylorsville, NC. He went to undergraduate at Western Carolina where he majored in American History and received a B.A. with Honors, graduating Summa Cum Laude. After college, he married his high school sweetheart, Melanie, and together they traveled to Greenville, NC, where Cody attended The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University (BSOM). While there, Cody was actively involved in the Family Medicine Interest Group, serving as President. He also served as a student member of the NCAFP Foundation Board of Directors. After graduation from BSOM in 2010, Cody stayed in Greenville, NC, for residency at East Carolina University Family Medicine Residency Program. While there, he served as Junior Chief as a PGY2 and then as Teaching Chief Resident as a PGY3. While in residency, Cody and Melanie had two beautiful children, Madelyn Claire Wingler in 2011 and Noah Grayson Wingler in 2013. Cody accepted a position at the Family Care Center in his hometown of Taylorsville beginning in July 2013, working in private practice. He is currently affiliate faculty in the Department of Family Medicine at BSOM. He actively teaches pre-medical students, medical students from multiple medical schools in the state, and residents from ECU. He also teaches through the Family Nurse Practitioner Program at Gardner Webb University. Cody's hobbies include kayaking, spending time with family and singing.
District 7 Jennifer Mullendore, MD
Dr. Mullendore graduated from the Georgetown University School of Medicine in 2003 and was lured to NC by Dr. Maureen Murphy with whom she did her 3rd year clinical rotation in Family Medicine. Jenni completed her residency at the Moses Cone Family Medicine Residency Program in 2006, where she served as chief resident. The following year she obtained her MSPH in Maternal & Child Health from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill. Since arriving in NC in 2003, Dr. Mullendore has been active in the NCAFP. She is currently an At-Large Director on the NCAFP Board. She has worked for the Buncombe County Department of Health in Asheville since 2007, and in 2011 she became the Medical Director for Buncombe County Health and Human Services. Her work interests are family planning & reproductive health, public health, and serving the underserved. She lives in Asheville with her husband, Josh, and their infant son, Roan (named after the Highlands and Mountain on the NC/TN border where she likes to hike!)
At-Large Jason T. Cook, MD
Jason Cook, MD, grew up in northeast Alabama. He studied Religion at The University of the South, then attended medical school at the University of Alabama School of Medicine. He completed his residency at MAHEC in Asheville in 2010, then served in the National Health Service Corps with the Hot Springs Health Program in Madison County for four years. In 2014 he joined the Asheville Family Health Centers. He is a community faculty member for both the MAHEC Family Medicine Residency Program and the UNC School of Medicine, as well as a Master Preceptor for the NCAFP's Family Medicine Scholar's Program. He is an avid fly fisherman and whitewater kayaker. He lives in Asheville with his wife, Wren, and their son Noah.
At-LargeBenjamin F. Simmons, MD
Dr. Simmons was born and raised in Virginia as the middle of three children. He completed his Undergraduate degree at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, majoring in Biology and Chemistry. He completed medical school at Howard University in Washington, DC in May of 2008 and is the first physician in his family. Dr. Simmons completed his residency at Carolinas Medical Center Elizabeth Family Medicine in Charlotte in May of 2012. Prior to moving to the Charlotte area, he completed one year of a general surgery residency in Ohio before concluding that primary care was the right direction for him. Dr. Simmons currently is the Residency Site Director of the Union County Track located at Union Family Practice Monroe, NC. He practiced at Carolinas Medical Center Urgent Care in Salisbury, NC for three and a half years prior to transitioning to core faculty. His medical interests include health care policy, anti-bullying initiatives, in-office procedures and asthma. His extracurricular activities include tennis, visual and performing arts, and wine tasting.
Osteopathic Physician Constituency Slade Suchecki, DO
Dr. Suchecki is a board certified family physician providing personalized healthcare in Brunswick County, North Carolina. Through his individualized approach, he assists and guides patients to live healthier, more fulfilling lives. After graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point, Dr. Suchecki was commissioned into the Medical Service Corps. He completed his military service as Company Commander of Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, leaving to attend Pikeville College School of Osteopathic Medicine. Upon graduating, Dr. Suchecki relocated to Wilmington, North Carolina, and completed his residency through the University of North Carolina affiliated program at New Hanover Regional Medical Center as chief resident. He is a member and serves in various leadership roles of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP), the North Carolina Osteopathic Medical Association (NCOMA), the North Carolina Society of ACOFP, the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians (NCAFP), and represents the state in the AOA House of Delegates. He is currently President-elect of the NC Society of the ACOFP, a trustee of the North Carolina Osteopathic Medical Association, Vice President of the Brunswick Chapter of the NC Medical Society, and Adjunct faculty at Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine. He enjoys spending time with his wife and two young sons as well as sailing the North Carolina coast.
IMG ConstituencyChristopher Z. Rayala, MD
Christopher Rayala graduated from the University of the Philippines College of Medicine, widely considered as the top medical school in the country. He completed his residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and has been a family physician at Duke Primary Care Morrisville since 2011. Dr. Rayala has a special interest in workflow optimization. His dream is to see twenty-four patients a day and still complete his work by 5pm. For the most part, he has been achieving this goal. Lately, he has been focusing his attention on excelling at clinical metrics as the industry continues to shift to a pay-for-performance model. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with my 2 young children as well as mountain biking and nature photography.
Minority ConstituencyJewell P. Carr, MD
Jewell Carr, MD grew up in Wilmington, N.C. and attended North Carolina A&T State University where she earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Food and Nutritional Science. She also received a B.S. in Biology from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Dr. Carr earned her medical degree from The Wake Forest University, Bowman Gray School of Medicine in 2010 and then relocated to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC to complete her Family Medicine internship and residency. She is currently a faculty member in the Department of Family Medicine at Carolinas Medical Center. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, reading, spending time with family and friends, as well as her two dogs, Henri and Audrey.
New Physicians Constituency Jessica Triche, MD
Dr. Triche attended UNC-Chapel Hill for undergraduate studies and attended medical school at the Brody School of Medicine at ECU. She completed her residency training at Moses Cone Family Medicine in Greensboro, NC where she served as co-chief resident. Dr. Triche is married and has two sons. She is currently working at Vidant Family Medicine-Chocowinity located in Chocowinity, NC. She enjoys seeing a variety of patients as well as teaching medical students.
Medical Schools Representatives Chair Warren P. Newton, MD, MPH (UNC)
Family Medicine Residency Directors Constituency Viviana Martinez-Bianchi, MD (Duke)
Dr. Martinez-Bianchi is the Program Director of the Duke Family Medicine Residency Program. She graduated from the National University of Rosario in Argentina in 1990, and the Family Medicine Residency Program at the University of Iowa in 1994. She completed a Fellowship in Faculty Development with Emphasis in caring for Underserved Populations in 2006 at the University of Cincinnati; the Chancellor's Clinical Leadership in Academic Medicine Program (C-CHAMP) at Duke in 2014, and the Family Medicine Faculty Development Fellowship in Residency Training and Scholars in Cultural Competency at the Cultural Medicine Training Center and White Memorial Medical Center in 2015. She is currently a Trustee of the NCAFP Foundation, a member of the faculty of the AAFP Foundation Family Medicine Leads, Emergent Leaders Institute, a member of the AAFP Foundation Diversity Work Group, and the North America representative to the WONCA Committee on Organizational Equity. Prior leadership activities have included representing NC minority physicians to the AAFP. She has chaired the AAFP Commission on Membership and Member Services, and she has been a delegate for Minority Physicians to the AAFP Congress of Delegates. She is a member of the Duke University Academic Council Taskforce on Diversity, and the Duke School of Medicine Diversity and Inclusion Council.
Resident DirectorAlyssa M. Shell, MD, PhD (MAHEC-A)
Dr. Shell is a resident physician at MAHEC Asheville Family Medicine Residency Program, class of 2018. Originally from New Jersey, she graduated with honors from Harvard University with an A.B. in Social Studies and a Certificate in Health Policy. Her passion for social justice and health disparities inspired her to complete an MD/PhD program in Population Health at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. Her doctoral research investigated the effects of residential racial segregation on mental health, particularly among Latino populations. More recently, Dr. Shell was inducted into the Pisacano Leadership Foundation, an organization founded by the American Board of Family Medicine aimed at cultivating future leaders in Family Medicine. As a resident, she continues to be passionate about primary care and practice transformation particularly when geared towards improving health in underserved populations. She is incredibly proud to be a family physician and is excited to be working with the NCAFP to advocate for family physicians and the patients that they serve.
Resident Director-ElectCourtland Winborne, MD, MPH (Cabarrus)
Student DirectorAngie Maharaj (Campbell)
Student Director-ElectAllyson Mentock (BSOM)
Medical School Representatives
Chair (UNC)Warren P. Newton, MD, MPH
Alternate (Wake) Richard W. Lord, Jr., MD, MA
Alternate (Duke) Lloyd Michener, MD
Alternate (Campbell) Charlotte Paolini, DO
Alternate (ECU) Chelley Kaye Alexander, MD
National AAFP Congress of Delegates
AAFP Delegate Michelle F. Jones, MD
AAFP Delegate Karen L. Smith, MD, FAAFP
AAFP Alternate Delegate Robert L. Rich, Jr., MD
AAFP Alternate Delegate Richard W. Lord, Jr., MD, MA
AAFP Board, Commissions, Committees, & Appointments
AAFP Board of Directors Mott P. Blair, IV, MD
AAFP Commission on Governmental AdvocacyKaren L. Smith, MD, FAAFP
AAFP Commission on Health of the Public & Science Shannon B. Dowler, MD
AAFP Commission on Health of the Public & ScienceAlexa Mieses, MD, MPH
AAFP Commission on Quality & PracticeBrian R. Forrest, MD