Our Staff

Margaret Ragni, M.D., M.P.H. (Medical Director)

Dr. Ragni is the Professor of Medicine and Clinical and Translational Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of Pittsburgh, and is Medical Director, Hemophilia Center of Western Pennsylvania. She received her M.D. degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 1975 and M.P.H. in 1993 from the Graduate School of Public Health. She completed her medical residency in 1978 and a fellowship in Hematology/Oncology in 1981 at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and a fellowship in Coagulation/ Blood Banking at Central Blood Bank, Pittsburgh in 1982. She is active in clinical translational research and in teaching and mentoring fellows, residents, and students. She is funded by federal research grants from NHLBI and HRSA, and her research has focused on clinical translational studies relevant to congenital hemostasis and thrombotic disorders. She has chaired clinical trials, prospective and retrospective clinical studies, and has collaborated on numerous gene therapy and novel therapeutics trials in hemophilia, and genotype/phenotype studies in VWD. She served as Co-Chair of the NHLBI State of the Science SOS Hemophilia and VWD Subcommittee (2009); as Co-Chair of the NHLBI Inhibitor Prevention and Eradication Trial Working Group (2018); and will serve as Co-Chair of the HTRS/NASTH Research Colloquium (2020). She has authored over 260 peer-reviewed publications in the area of hemophilia and von Willebrand disease. She is the recipient of the Kenneth Brinkhous Award for Excellence in Clinical Research by the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF); the Kenneth E. Schuit Award, Dean’s Award for Master Educator (Pitt); the G. David Roodman Excellence in Mentoring Award (Pitt); the Murray Thelin Researcher of the Year Award (NHF); Women Leaders in Hematology (Am J Hematology); the Maxwell Wintrobe Endowed Lectureship in Internal Medicine (Utah); and the Leadership in Research Award (NHF). She is an Associate Editor of Blood Advances, and serves on the Medical Advisory Committee of the Foundation for Women and Girls with Blood Disorders, on the Board of Hemostasis & Thrombosis Research Society (HTRS), and is a long-standing member of the NHF Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee.

Craig Seaman, M.D. (Associate Medical Director)

Dr. Seaman is an adult hematologist and the Associate Director of the Hemophilia Center of Western PA. He specializes in disorders of hemostasis (bleeding) and thrombosis (clotting) and is active in research, studying aging and aging-related disorders in patients with hemophilia and von Willebrand disease. Dr. Seaman received his medical degree from Marshall University School of Medicine and completed his internal medicine residency and hematology/oncology fellowship at UPMC. He is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.

Frederico Xavier, M.D, M.S. (Associate Medical Director)

Dr. Xavier joined the Hemophilia Center of Western PA in July 2017, as Associate Clinical Director, and with a joint appointment as an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh and faculty in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Dr. Xavier completed medical school, a pediatric residency, and fellowship training in Brazil. He then completed a second pediatric residency in New York, a pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship at St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Memphis, TN, and a pediatric hemostasis fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 2011. Following this, he completed a master’s degree in clinical research at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in 2014.

Dr. Xavier has published peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in the field of pediatric hemostasis; and is currently awarded with a research grant to study inflammation in Hemophilia.

Nicoletta Machin, D.O. (Physician)

Dr. Machin is an adult hematologist. While new to the center in August 2021, she is a Pittsburgh native and thrilled to be working in her hometown. Her area of specialization involves issues with bleeding and clotting.  She is active in research and is particularly interested in von Willebrand disease and its impact on women’s health issues, including pregnancy. Dr. Machin received her medical degree from the University of New England and completed her internal medicine residency and hematology/oncology fellowship at UPMC. She is a Clinical Instructor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.

A. Kim Ritchey, M.D.

Dr. Ritchey is currently the Vice Chair for International Clinical Affairs in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and previously Chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and an active physician member at the HCWP. His interest in caring for children with hemophilia started over 25 years ago when he started the Comprehensive Hemophilia Clinic at Yale/New Haven Hospital. Dr. Ritchey and his staff at Children’s Hospital provide an important connection between the hospital and the HCWP when a child or adolescent with hemophilia needs to be hospitalized.

James Cooper, M.D.

Dr. Cooper is one of the Hemophilia Center’s pediatric hematologists and has been at the Center since July of 2009. His interested in hemophilia began after an experience as a medical volunteer during his time at medical school. Dr. Cooper received his undergraduate degree in 1999 from the University of Notre Dame and attended medical school and completed his residency at the University of Connecticut. He attended the American Society of Hematology Clinical Research Training Institute in 2008 and completed his fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology/BMT at the University of Pittsburgh in 2009. Dr. Cooper is currently on the medical advisory board of a camp in Gilead, Ohio for children with serious medical conditions and he also founded CureRock, a concert that benefits adolescent and young adult oncology. He was chosen as one of Pittsburgh Magazine’s “40 under 40” for 2012, which honors Pittsburgh professionals for their work.

Franklin Bontempo, M.D.

Dr. Bontempo is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Medical Director of the Coagulation Laboratory of the Institute for Transfusion Medicine. He is affiliated with UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, UPMC Cancer Centers and the Veterans Administration Hospital in Oakland. He received his M.D. from The Hahnemann University School of Medicine, Philadelphia. His medical residencies were at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Hahnemann University School of Medicine, Philadelphia. Dr. Bontempo was awarded a fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Deborah Solvay (Clinical Nurse Manager)

Kari Stepanik, BSN, RN (Clinical Nurse)

Kari attended The Western Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing in 2012, and then obtained her BSN in 2014 from California University of Pittsburgh. Kari started her nursing career at UPMC McKeesport in 2012 working in the emergency department for nearly five years, while obtaining certifications in different specialties (NIH, TNCC, ACLS, BLS, PALS).

Kari is a Pittsburgh native who has been with Vitalant (formerly ITxM) since 2017, joining the Hemophilia Center in 2018. Kari first started in Vitalant’s therapeutic apheresis department, travelling to most hospitals in the Pittsburgh area treating a variety of patients (stem cell collections, sickle cell patients, transplant rejection, neurologically compromised, and some bleeding disorder patients) before transitioning to HCWP in 2019. Kari is a proud mother of two (1 boy and 1 girl), enjoys music and playing the viola (started playing at age 8), fishing, river walking, and spending time with her family and dogs.

Carley Kalhammer (Clinical Nurse)

Richard Yost (Clinical Nurse)

Tatum Donahue (Clinical Nurse)

Bridget Walbrown (Medical Assistant)

Bruce Haas, MS, LCGC (Genetic Counselor)

Native to Wisconsin, Bruce completed his undergraduate degree at Marquette University. Following years of working as a technologist in genetic laboratories he completed his genetic counseling training at Sarah Lawrence College. Upon graduation he was employed by the Division of Pediatric Hematology at The New York Hospital which is where he began his service to Hemophilia Treatment Center families. After four years at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, he became the Associate Director of the Genetic Counseling Graduate Program at his alma mater. In 2014, given his years of work in hematology, he was recruited to co-coordinate the Thalassemia Screening Program for NCAL Kaiser Permanente. Bruce is married and has an adult step-daughter and step-son. He met his spouse when each joined the same New York City chorus.

Cheryl S. McShea, PT, DPT (Physical Therapist)

Cheri joined HCWP in 2013 as the Center’s Physical Therapist. She received her Bachelor of Science in PT from the University of Pittsburgh and her Doctorate of PT from Chatham University. She has over 20 years of clinical experience in a wide variety of settings including acute care, acute rehab, skilled care, outpatient, and home care. Additionally, she has over 12 years of interdisciplinary rehab management experience. Over the course of her career, Cheri has worked with all age groups, educated individuals and groups on a variety of rehabilitation and wellness topics, participated in and led quality initiatives, assisted in the design and implementation of electronic health records, and supported research projects.

Kathaleen M. Schnur, LCSW (Mental Health Professional)

Kathaleen joined the Hemophilia Center of Western Pennsylvania in 2013. Kathaleen has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh. She serves on several national professional groups and educational planning committees for both professionals and consumers. Kathaleen works closely with the local chapter of NHF to develop and plan targeted education to the community. She has co-organized new parent groups, teen groups, carrier groups, and education weekends, and is also the co-director of Camp Hot-to-Clot. Kathaleen was the recipient of the National Hemophilia Foundation’s Social Work Excellence Fellowship in collaboration with three of her national cohorts. When with her family, Kathaleen loves being outside with her husband and two children, looking after her backyard chickens, and going on family road trips.

Katherine Bush, LCSW (Mental Health Professional)

Katherine earned her Master of Social Work from the University of Maryland. She has prior work experience as a case manager, outpatient therapist, residential treatment therapist, and behavior specialist. Katherine joined the HCWP in 2017 and has been enjoying getting to know the patients ever since. Katherine is one of the co-directors of Camp Hot-to-Clot, helps facilitate the Consumer Advocacy Committee, and also coordinates the teen group together with the Western Pennsylvania Bleeding Disorders Foundation. When not working, she enjoys spending her spare time knitting, cooking, spending time with her husband, and playing with her two sons.

Robert Alexander (Pharmacy Manager)

Michelle Martin (Pharmacist)

Chris Osman (Lead Pharmacy Technician)

Dana Ivanco, CCRC (Sr. Regulatory Coordinator

Dana joined the HCWP research team in early 2019. Her medical background started with Emergency Medicine in 1996, and after her move to Pittsburgh in 2000 she began her career in research at the University of Pittsburgh. She has been a Certified Clinical Research Coordinator for the past nineteen years; and has done patient care, budgeting, regulatory work with Phase I-IV studies. She has been on the local ACRP board for Clinical Researchers since 2007 and remains active today. She also serves as a committee member with our local IRB.

Deborah Vehec (Research Nurse)

Debbie has been with Vitalant (formerly ITxM) for 5 years, joining the HCWP research staff in 2019. She earned her MSN at Waynesburg University. For over 39 years, Debbie worked at UPMC McKeesport as a staff nurse in the CCU, eventually becoming Unit Director of Stepdown, CCU and ICU before accepting a position at ITxM as the Manager of Special Programs. In this position, she worked closely with the National Marrow Donor Program in recruiting and guiding the donors as they donated marrow or stem cells anonymously to patients in need of a transplant for various blood cancers.

Christiana Ekekwe (Research Nurse)

Brandon Lawryk (Research Associate)

Brandon joined the Hemophilia Center of Western Pennsylvania in 2022. He graduated from Chatham University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. He has prior experience in the field of biological anthropology, studying bone morphology, and translational research. In this position, he will be assisting in the coordination of study sites, consenting of patients, and blood processing. When not at work, you can find Brandon exploring stores and restaurants in the many communities of Pittsburgh.

Diann Keebler (Administrative Assistant)

Diann joined HCWP in 2016.  She is a Navy Veteran who attended the Naval School of Dental Assisting and Technology in San Diego, CA. She cross trained as a Navy Corpsman doing blood draws and immunizations. She has worked in every aspect of a Dental Office from front desk to assisting the dentist to ordering supplies to billing insurance and patient collections.

Devera Hoblak (Administrative Assistant)

Devera joined HCWP in 2020. She is a Navy Veteran who served on the USS Cape Cod as a Hospital Corpsman. She has an Associate Degree in Business. Devera has extensive administrative experience and has worked at UPMC as the Administrative Coordinator to the CIO and at Management Science Associates as the assistant to the VP of IT and other managers and support staff in the IT Department.

Patricia Linn (Administrative Assistant)

Rachel Rudnicki (Administrative Assistant)

Jessica Zozom (Business Systems Analyst)

Jeff Wahal (Director Operations)

Jeff joined The Hemophilia Center of Western Pennsylvania in 2012 and serves as the Director, Operations. In this role, he pursues the Center’s strategic direction and manages the day-to-day business operations. He has over twenty years of experience with various roles in the accounting, finance and business administration fields, including twenty-seven years in the medical community. Prior to joining the Center, Jeff worked for ZOLL Medical’s LifeVest unit and was responsible for the Company’s financial reporting and planning. Previously, Jeff held the roles of Finance Manager and Controller at Precision Therapeutics and invivodata, respectively. Jeff has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from The Pennsylvanian State University and a master’s degree in business administration from The University of Pittsburgh.