Family Medicine Residency


The knowledgeable faculty members of The University of Toledo Family Medicine Residency Program are committed to providing residents with an outstanding education in family medicine. Their diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise uniquely qualify them to prepare residents for the wide range of responsibilities facing family physicians. Our faculty strives to create a supportive, family-friendly learning environment for each of our residents.

Core Residency Faculty

Dr. Kevin Phelps

Kevin A. Phelps, DO

Associate Professor, Residency Program Director

Dr. Phelps is the family medicine residency program director. He is a native of Chittenango, N.Y. This small town in Upstate New York was home to Lyman Frank Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz. He is a graduate of The University of Toledo with a bachelor’s degree in biology. He attended the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Athens, Ohio, and completed a rotating internship at Firelands Community Hospital in Sandusky, Ohio. His family medicine residency training was completed through the former Medical College of Ohio (now The University of Toledo College of Medicine).  He has completed the National Institute of Program Director Fellowship through AFMRD as wll as the Primary Care Faculty Development Program through Michigan State University.  He is board certified in Family Medicine.

Dr. Phelps' medical interests include assisting patients with health behavior change, office procedures and electrocardiography. He is married to Kristel, and they have five children and two grandchildren.  His hobbies include following the Cleveland sports teams, mountain biking, all forms of exercise, golfing, and listening to music.

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Dr. Robert Gotfried

Robert Gotfried, DO

Assistant Professor, Residency Program Associate Director

Dr. Gotfried did his residency at Franklin Square Hospital Center in Baltimore, Maryland.  He obtained his DO degree from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.  He is board certified in Family Medicine.  Dr. Gotfried serves as the Medical Director for Glendale Medical East. 

His special interests include diabetes care,  mental health management, non-surgical orthopedic care, complex adult medical management, medical education, medical administration, and medical practice transformation. 

Dr. Gotfried is married and lives in Sylvania, Ohio. 

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Dr. Reem Tawfik

Reem Tawfik, MD

Assistant Professor

Dr. Tawfik earned her medical degree at Baghdad University in Baghdad, Iraq.  She completed her Family Medicine Residency at The University of Toledo.  

Dr. Tawfik is board certified in Family Medicine.  She is an Assistant Professor and serves as part of the core faculty for the Residency Program. 

Her clinical interests include pediatric obesity (lead physician of the Grow Well With Us Program); preschool vision screening (certified trainer for PVS through Prevent Blindness, a national organization); and skin disease in primary care.

When not working, Dr. Tawfik spends her free time with her husband and two daughters.  She enjoys reading, community service, and cooking. 

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Dr. Svitlana Zhukivska

svitlana zhukivska, md

Assistant Professor

Dr. Zhukivska earned her medical degree at Bukovinian State Medical University in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, and completed her Family Medicine Residency at St. Luke's Hospital/The University of Toledo. She completed her Faculty Development fellowship at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Dr. Zhukivska is board certified in Family Medicine. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and serves as part of the core faculty for the residency program. Dr. Zhukivska's clinical interests are office procedures, asthma and preventive medicine.

When not working, Dr. Zhukivska likes spending her free time with her husband and four children, traveling and reading.

Contact Svitlana Zhukivska

Dr. Julie Brennan

Julie Brennan, PhD, RD, LD

Associate Professor, Director of Behavioral Services

Dr. Brennan is a native of Toledo and received her bachelor’s degree with a double major of dietetics and psychology from the University of Dayton in Ohio. She completed her dietetic internship at Mount Carmel College of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio, and received her doctorate in counseling psychology from The Ohio State University in Columbus. Dr. Brennan is passionate about her opportunity to teach residents and medical students about psychology, how it relates to medicine and how to better communicate with patients.

When Dr. Brennan is not involved in teaching activities, she counsels patients in areas of psychology and nutrition and is involved in many research projects related to wellness and prevention. She has practiced both dietetics and psychology in various settings, including community mental health centers, student medical centers, hospitals, outpatient clinics, an interdisciplinary pain center and a school-based setting. Dr. Brennan enjoys most outdoor activities, especially when she's with family and friends. She and her husband, Joe, have three sons and one daughter.

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UToledo Department of Family Medicine Faculty

Dr. Linda Speer

Linda M. Speer, MD, FAAFP

Professor and Chair

Dr. Speer was appointed professor and chair of the Department of Family Medicine at The University of Toledo (UT) College of Medicine in November 2006. She earned her medical degree from Austral University Medical School in Valdivia, Chile, and completed her family medicine residency at Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn, Mich. Dr. Speer is board certified in family medicine.

After completing her residency training, Dr. Speer joined the residency faculty at Oakwood Hospital and completed a primary care faculty development fellowship at Michigan State University (MSU) in Lansing, Mich. Prior to coming to UT, Dr. Speer was senior associate chair of the Department of Family Medicine at MSU. She is a fellow in the AAMC-sponsored Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program for the development of women leaders in academic medicine, class of 2007.

Dr. Speer is nationally recognized for her expertise in women’s health and evidence-based medicine. Her research interests include medical decision-making regarding menopausal hormone use and breast cancer risk assessment in primary care practice. She has published extensively on varied topics related to women’s health and is a member of the editorial board of The Journal of Family Practice, a peer-reviewed journal. In 2005, she received the Outstanding Clinician Award from MSU and was also inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society.

Contact Linda M. Speer

Daniel Hickey, JD, MBA

Daniel P. Hickey, JD, MBA

Associate Professor, Vice chair

Mr. Hickey is an associate professor of family medicine and pediatrics. He graduated from the University of Toledo with a Master of Business Administration and Juris Doctor degrees and received a graduate certificate in Medical and Health Science Education from the former Medical College of Ohio (now The University of Toledo College of Medicine.). Mr. Hickey's areas of teaching expertise include interviewing and communication, health economics, and health law. He is board certified in health care management and is licensed as an attorney in Ohio.

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Dr. Paul Schaefer

Paul Schaefer, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor, vice chair, associate dean for student affairs and admissions

Dr. Schaefer was born and raised in Andover, Ohio (population 1,200), a small town tucked away in the northeastern corner of the state. For his education, he crisscrossed northern Ohio, going to The University of Toledo (UT) as an undergraduate, Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland for his doctorate in neuroscience and behavior, and back to the former Medical College of Ohio (now the University of Toledo College of Medicine) for his medical training. He entered an accelerated residency program in family medicine at MCO and joined the department as a faculty member.  He currently serves as the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions for the College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

Dr. Schaefer's area of academic interest is depression, especially in young adults. He is married to Kelly, and they have two children, Hope and James. He has a strong interest in natural history, his favorite hobby, for which he occasionally is able to squeeze in a little time (usually with children in tow).

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Dr. Michelle Boose

Michelle Boose, MD

Assistant Professor, Clerkship director

Dr. Boose, a Toledo native, earned a Masters in Public Health from The Ohio State University and graduated from UTCOM in 2008. She completed her residency training at Flower Hospital Family Medicine Program in 2013, at which time she became the Medical Director of Advocacy and Community Health at ProMedica. She has volunteered as a medical missionary in Kingston, Jamaica and has also volunteered at Tent City and Mobile Medical Bus.

Dr. Boose was the recipient of the 15th annual Toledo 20 under 40 award in 2010. After practicing in Virginia Beach for several years, she returned to Toledo to join the department of Family Medicine faculty as the Clerkship Director. She has two dogs and in her free time enjoys music, warm weather, paddle boarding, kayaking, and surfing.

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Dr. Donald Hickey

Donald K. Hickey, MD

Assistant Professor

Dr. Hickey, a Toledo native, earned his medical degree from The Ohio State University College of Medicine in 1979. He then returned to Toledo for his residency training, graduating from The Toledo Hospital Family Medicine Residency program.

Dr. Hickey resides in Toledo with his wife and they are blessed with two wonderful children. He has a special interest in geriatric medicine and volunteers his time at Compassion Health Toledo.

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Dr. Jyothi Pappula

jyothi sri pappula, md

Associate Professor, director of student health

Dr. Pappula earned her medical degree at Siddhartha Medical College in India and completed her Family Medicine Residency at Sparrow Hospital/Michigan State University in Lansing. She is interested in college health and women's health issues.  She is the current Director of Student Health, overseeing operations at Main Campus Medical Center, Student Health & Wellness, and Lourdes University Student Health & Wellness.

She is married to Dr. Murthy Gokula, who is a former faculty member in the Family Medicine Department, and they are blessed with two children. In her spare time, she enjoys painting, cooking and activities with the kids.

Contact Jyothi Pappula

Dr. Thomas Tafelski

Thomas Tafelski, DO, PhD

Associate Professor

Dr. Tafelski was born in Toledo, Ohio, and attended St. Francis de Sales High School. He completed his undergraduate degree at Loyola University Chicago and earned his doctorate in anatomy from the University of Cincinnati. After teaching anatomy for one year at Chicago Medical School, he attended the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Athens, Ohio, where he received his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree in 1981. He completed his residency in family medicine at the former Medical College of Ohio (now The University of Toledo College of Medicine) and has served as full-time faculty since his residency graduation.

Dr. Tafelski’s research interests are in preventive medicine, and resident and student education. He and his wife, Sharon, enjoy all outdoor activities, especially golf and hunting.

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 Dr. David Weldy

David Weldy, MD, PhD, FAAFP

Associate Professor

Dr. Weldy earned his medical degree at the former Medical College of Ohio (now the University of Toledo College of Medicine), and completed his family medicine residency at MCO and St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo. Dr. Weldy received his doctorate in exercise physiology from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, and completed a family practice fellowship in academic medicine from Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine (NEOUCOM) in Rootstown, Ohio. He is board certified in family medicine with an added qualification in sports medicine. In addition, Dr. Weldy attended Silliman University in the Phillipines for two years before completing his Bachelor in Arts & Sciences in physical education at Goshen College. He then taught physical education classes at Woodstock School in northern India for two years, followed by four years of graduate school at Kent State University prior to attending medical school.

Before returning to Toledo, Dr. Weldy spent 20 years in private practice in the Ohio cities of Hiram, Mantua and Ravenna, and since 1992, was an associate clinical professor at NEOUCOM. He has served as team physician for several high schools and Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio. He is currently the team physician for Rogers High School in Toledo. He was the past director of the sports medicine clerkship as well as past medical director of cardiopulmonary research laboratory and held a dual appointment in family medicine and in the Department of Kinesiology. He was cited in July 2011 as one of the region’s top doctors by U.S. News and World Report. Dr. Weldy is a member of many professional societies, including the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, the American Medical Association, The Ohio State Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians. He was cited as one of northeast Ohio’s top doctors in 2006 and 2007.

Dr. Weldy’s clinical interests are sports medicine and exercise physiology. His research interests are in cognition and physical fitness. Dr. Weldy is married with three grown children. He and his wife try to stay fit by spending an hour daily in the home fitness room and by water skiing in the summer. He also enjoys singing with The University of Toledo Community Choir and getting his fingers dirty maintaining and repairing household and garage items.

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Geriatric Fellowship

Dr. Anu Garg

Anu Garg, MD

Assistant Professor, Fellowship Program Director

Dr. Garg is a native of India. She earned her medical degree at the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital in Ludhiana, India and completed her Internal Medicine residency at The University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio. Dr. Garg continued her training at Cleveland Clinic in Weston, Florida where she completed a fellowship in geriatric medicine. She is board certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatric Medicine, and Hospice and Palliative Care.

Dr. Garg is married and has two children.  Her clinical interests include memory loss and osteoporosis.

Contact Anu Garg                

Dr. Zahra Aftab

Zahra Aftab, MD

Assistant Professor

Dr. Aftab is board certified in family medicine and geriatrics. She earned her medical degree from King Edward Medical University in Lahore, Pakistan. She completed her residency through The University of Toledo College of Medicine/ St. Luke's Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program in Toledo, Ohio and continued her education by completing the program's geriatric medicine fellowship.

Dr. Aftab's philoophhy of care encompases the idea of providng medical care in a way that does ot appear to be burdensome fo her paient population.  She strongly believes in her elder patient's autonomy and input in making healthcare decisions for themselves.

Dr. Aftab is married and has three children.  Her special interests include frailty, malnutrition and healthy aging, as well as transition of care and working to enable her patient's independene in the community.

Contact Zahra Aftab

Dr. Ganesh Merugu

Ganesh Merugu, MD

Assistant Professor

Dr. Merugu is board certified in family medicine and geriatric medicine. He earned his medical degree at Gandhi Medical College in India, and completed a residency in family medicine at the University of Illinois at Peoria in Illinois. He continued his education by completing a fellowship in geriatric medicine at the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During his training, he developed an interest and skills in teaching and received the 2015 Resident Teacher of the Year award from the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine.

Dr. Merugu’s philosophy of care centers on patients and their safety. He utilizes all resources to keep them healthy and active. Patient safety and quality of care are especially important to improving the health and well-being of geriatric population because according to research, even one hospitalization can increase mortality and morbidity among geriatric patients and put their prognosis and well-being at risk.

His aim as a geriatric physician is to restore the independence of patients and increase the dignity and quality of their lives. He supports his patients in independently performing daily activities, which is one of the foremost prognosis indicators in the geriatric population. He seeks to identify patients’ medical, cultural, psychological, spiritual, emotional, and social needs. His patients are encouraged to participate in the development and continual updating of their individualized plan of care. He greatly values the involvement of family and friends in determining what is and was important in his patients' lives.

Dr. Merugu’s clinical interests include frailty syndrome, polypharmacy, and wound care in long-term care settings. He would like to work on a project to improve the factors which cause frailty syndrome long-term care facilities. Having worked in three long-term care facilities, Dr. Merugu aims to improve these facilities’ ratings on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Five-Star Quality Rating System.

Contact Ganesh Merugu

Last Updated: 6/30/19