Meet Our People

As a resident of our internal medicine program, you will interact with a diverse patient population and learn from our numerous faculty, who encompass the spectrum of subspecialities. One of the best ways to learn about a program is hearing from the people who live and work in it every day.

Get to know our...

Gary Rosenthal, MD, FACP

Tinsley R. Harrison Professor and Chair

It is an honor to welcome you to the Department of Internal Medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. The Department, which recently celebrated its 75th anniversary, enjoys a rich heritage. Our founding chair, Tinsley Harrison, MD was an icon in American medicine. His prescient vision for excellence in the core missions of academic medicine – teaching, patient care, and research – is deeply woven into the fabric of all that we do and serves as an inspiration for our medical students, residents and fellows. 

Gary Rosenthal, MDI am particularly proud of our residency program and clerkships, which emphasizes core clinical problem solving skills and prepare learners for lifetime learning and professional growth. The cornerstone of our educational programs is a commitment to teaching excellence among our faculty, who consistently win institutional and national teaching awards. Our programs provide trainees with exposure to the entire spectrum of subspecialties, while becoming highly competent in the skills and judgment required of the general internist. In many ways, our educational programs are the glue that bind faculty and staff across their diverse professional interests and that creates a strong sense of family. 

Our faculty also conduct groundbreaking research to elucidate the mechanisms of disease, to translate these findings to novel treatments, and to develop innovative healthcare delivery models to improve patients’ health and wellbeing. Many of our faculty have led large national trials that have defined our current treatment of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and many types of cancer.  

The Department of Internal Medicine at Wake Forest is firmly committed to preparing trainees to thrive in a changing health care landscape and to shaping that landscape in ways that promote patient-centered high value care. Perhaps most importantly, the Department is committed to fostering an academic environment that embraces diversity, eliminates healthcare disparities, and treats patients with the utmost respect and dignity. 

I encourage your to explore our website and to know our faculty, trainees, and staff and the resources that are aligned to support each of our missions. 

Hal H. Atkinson, MD, MS

Program Director, Internal Medicine Residency

Welcome to the Wake Forest School of Medicine Internal Medicine Residency Program website! Our program is fortunate to be at the heart of a cutting-edge academic medical center known for its focus on high-quality patient care, translational research and educational innovations. We take pride in providing a supportive environment for residents to grow and mature into physicians capable of pursuing any career pathway in internal medicine. Our graduating residents are truly “pluripotent” – capable of serving as outstanding general internists and fully prepared for all types of subspecialty training.

Hal Atkinson, Internal Medicine Residency Program DirectorAt Wake Forest, we have a long tradition of excellent training in the core clinical skills of internal medicine where history, physical examination and clinical reasoning are taught by some of the best role models and educators in medicine. In addition to fostering a solid foundation in these core skills, we recognize that modern training in internal medicine must prepare residents to be lifelong learners and critical reviewers of an ever-expanding scientific knowledge base, to function productively within healthcare teams and new models of care delivery, and to serve as the next generation of leaders to improve quality of care in medicine. These training priorities have led us to embrace a variety of innovative teaching strategies, including our Learning Health Systems seminars, clinical experiences within a patient-centered medical home and interdisciplinary teams, and faculty-mentored quality improvement projects. Adding to this rich curriculum of experiences, each resident is paired with a faculty mentor to advance personal career goals and interests.

I would like to highlight a few of the outstanding features that make our medical center an ideal training environment. Wake Forest not only provides a significant proportion of primary care for individuals living in the Winston-Salem area, but we also serve as the main tertiary care referral center for western North Carolina and surrounding states in our region. Thus, we have a well-balanced mix of patients and clinical problems in general and subspecialty internal medicine. We also enjoy a rich academic environment with multiple opportunities for research and scholarship in all areas of medicine. Our nationally recognized residency research curriculum promotes scholarship for all residents and provides mentorship through the Tinsley Harrison Research Pathway to those who are considering academic research as a part of their careers. In addition, residents may also take advantage of the Clinical Scholars in Informatics or Medical Education pathways to foster development of other complementary skills. These features are integral reasons that our graduates are highly desirable candidates for clinical practice, academic medicine and subspecialty fellowships.

I am excited about the future of internal medicine, and it gives me great satisfaction to be a part of the training of the next generation of internal medicine physicians. If you are seeking an innovative program focused on your success, I invite you to learn more about the Wake Forest School of Medicine Internal Medicine Residency Program. 

Our Associate Program Directors

Nancy Denizard-Thompson, MD

Nancy Denizard-Thompson, MD

Associate Professor of Medicine
Director, Primary Care Residency and Ambulatory Education
Associate Program Director

The field of internal medicine is unique in that it offers so many opportunities and possibilities for career fulfillment. As our country is in the process of re-evaluating health care and re-thinking primary care, it is evident that we are in need of well-trained general internists. Primary Care has long been a deeply rewarding career because of a combination of acute undiagnosed disease, complex multi-system disease, preventive care and long-standing relationships with patients. The Primary Care Track is designed to produce physicians with strong clinical skills, and advanced knowledge of internal medicine. Our graduates are well-equipped to become leaders in community medicine, academic medicine, hospital medicine, and subspecialty medicine. I look forward to assisting you as you enter this next exciting phase of your career. 


Karl Richardson, MDKarl Richardson, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Associate Program Director

After training at the University of Pennsylvania and then Vanderbilt University for fellowship, I was excited to join the Wake Forest University program to pursue a career in academic cardiology. The cutting-edge subspecialty medicine and clear commitment to personalized patient care housed in a collaborative and collegial academic medical center drew me here after training. The opportunity to work with an energetic and driven group of house officers attracted me to the residency leadership team.

At Wake Forest, our first goal is to train thoughtful and dedicated internists who are critically aware of the relevant literature and able to apply that evidence to best take care of their patients. This training is accomplished on general medicine services and bolstered through rich exposure to numerous subspecialty rotations. We take pride in this solid internal medicine training, but we are also excited that many of our residents choose to continue their training through fellowships. We are committed to supporting this academic transition through pointed mentorship and collaborative research opportunities. Rounding out this balanced internal medicine training, we have built curricular opportunities that we value and that foster a diverse set of interests. All residents will gain exposure to and directly participate in quality improvement projects on both the individual and departmental level. Moreover, diverse training pathways and programmatic opportunities can give residents career-oriented exposure to hospital medicine, primary care, informatics, global health and medical education.

We are proud of the diverse and comprehensive training offered by Wake Forest Internal Medicine, and we are excited to attract residents with a strong interest in academic medicine. We look forward to working with motivated house officers to craft the residency training that best suits their unique career goals.

Donna Marie Williams, MD

Donna Marie Williams, MD

Associate Professor of Medicine
Associate Program Director

The most important aspects my life are my family and my career.  After completing my residency training at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in 2007, I spent the next 10 years building my career in medical education while moving throughout the country to meet the needs of my family. Opportunities for career growth in a family-friendly atmosphere within a large university setting brought my family here to Winston-Salem in 2017. I have learned many things during my decade as an Associate Program Director, including what a privilege it is to support residents during the most formative years of their careers.  During these years of residency, you will meet patients who inspire you, attendings who introduce you to the career of your dreams, and colleagues who support each other unconditionally. Here at Wake Forest, we provide unparalleled mentorship and guidance to promote your personal and professional growth as you build your career. 

I am most excited to lead our Medical Education Pathway, which targets residents who are considering careers in medical education.  Additional pathways in research, clinical informatics, and hospitalist and primary care medicine add to the various opportunities for individual growth outside of the excellent clinical education you receive.  Our wellness programs, including those sponsored by our Women in Medicine interest group and our wellness committee ensure that you are supported by your residency family throughout your training.  We look forward to welcoming you to your new home here at Wake Forest.



Meet Our 2019-2020 Assistant Chiefs of Medicine

Internal Medicine Residency Program - 2019-2020 Assistant Chiefs of Medicine

Megan Arnett, MD

Megan Arnett - Internal Medicine Residency 2019-2020 Assistant Chief of MedicineWhen I was applying for residency, I was unsure exactly what career path I would be taking in the future. For that reason, it was particularly important to me to find a place where I could see a wide range of pathology and graduate as a competent internist, ready to practice general medicine or pursue fellowship. I was lucky enough to find that at Wake Forest, and all under one roof. At Wake Forest Baptist, I was impressed by the diverse range of patients (spanning several states) and illnesses (with ample exposure to both general medicine and a variety of subspecialty fields) that we were exposed to very early on in our residency. By the end of intern year, I felt that I was ready to be the leader of the team going forward and equipped to deal with anything thrown my way. I found the faculty to be competent and caring mentors throughout my training, providing great support as I worked on my professional interests and toward my career goals. Most importantly, the comradery among my co-residents was unparalleled, leaving me with friends I will have for life. 

Megan Arnett is from Longview, Washington. She obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Washington in Seattle and medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin. She eventually plans to pursue fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, and she also has an interest in Global Health. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, friends and dogs; visiting the local breweries and wineries; and hiking at various places around Winston.

Alyssa Buckenheimer, MD

Alyssa Buckenheimer - Internal Medicine Residency 2019-2020 Assistant Chief of MedicineWhen I was applying for residency, I sought a program that provided a balance of diverse pathology with bread-and-butter medicine while promoting the personal and professional development of its residents. I knew we wanted to relocate to the southeast part of the country and was so pleased to feel right at home on my interview day at Wake Forest. The interactions between the residents and faculty felt collegial and genuine, and I knew I would thrive in such a friendly environment. My gut feeling on that interview day turned out to be absolutely right, and these past three years at Wake have been everything I needed to become the well-rounded, competent internist that I wanted to be. I am honored to be spending another year with the program as an Assistant Chief of Medicine. Winston-Salem has been the perfect city for my growing family and has made us fall in love with the beautiful state of North Carolina. 

Alyssa Buckenheimer is originally from St. Louis, Missouri and obtained her undergraduate degree from Missouri State University and medical degree from Creighton University School of Medicine. She plans to pursue a fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Medicine following her chief residency. Her husband, David, works as a business analyst for a textile manufacturing company, and they have a one-year-old son. In their free time, they love to spend time with their cat and two dogs, hike and camp, travel to the beach, watch sports (they are a house divided between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers but can agree on some Dash baseball and Penguins hockey!), and visit Winston's many breweries and wineries.

Joshua Harbaugh, DO

Joshua Harbaugh - Internal Medicine Residency 2019-2020 Assistant Chief of MedicineAs a fourth-year medical student in Kansas City, I interviewed broadly to find the right fit in an Internal Medicine residency program. I wanted to train in a large tertiary referral academic health system to see the wide range of pathology and nationally recognized specialty care it had to offer. Yet, I also wanted a place where I would maintain my autonomy and learn to be the most prepared and well-rounded internist I could be by completion of my residency. I knew this would require an environment with active faculty willing to teach while providing mentorship, opportunities for scholarly activity, research and career planning. Even more, I desired a program that met all those standards and still cared about me as an individual and built a culture of camaraderie and wellness. At the end of the my interview season, Wake Forest Internal Medicine Residency stuck out as the perfect fit! Now looking back, I am thankful to have trained here, and if given the opportunity, I would choose Wake Forest IM again because it lived up to those standards and more. 

Joshua Harbaugh is from Raleigh, NC. He obtained his undergraduate degrees in biochemistry and chemistry from North Carolina State University (Go Wolfpack!) and his medical degree from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. He plans to pursue a fellowship in gastroenterology upon completion of his chief residency. In his time off, you can likely find him near the water or on the links as he enjoys bass fishing; inshore saltwater fishing for trout, flounder and redfish from his kayak; and golfing. He loves spending time with his friends and family (including nine nephews and nieces) and also enjoying all the great restaurants, breweries and outdoor activities Winston Salem has to offer. 

Christopher T. Kelly, MD

Christopher T. Kelly - Internal Medicine Residency 2019-2020 Assistant Chief of MedicineI was instantly attracted to the Wake Forest Internal Medicine program. On my interview day, I was struck by the camaraderie among the residents, the departmental collegiality, the diverse patient pathology and the supportive and engaging learning environment the program provides. I enjoyed the autonomy Wake IM residents have from the start of their intern year. This autonomy is perfectly balanced with the support of upper-level residents, attendings and clinical pharmacists. We work as a unified multidisciplinary team that also involves nurses, therapists and social workers to provide the best care possible for our patients. Residents get extensive exposure to specialties through both inpatient rotations and elective experiences. Faculty are committed to resident education and helping Wake residents achieve their career goals. Furthermore, Wake Forest Baptist is a prestigious academic medical institution that offers IM residents ample research opportunities in the field of their interest.

Although I have interests in cardiology and pulmonary/critical care, I am a true internist at heart. I plan to pursue a career in academic General Internal Medicine, and I have particular interests in point-of-care ultrasound, medical education, procedures, and informatics. 

Chris was born and raised in Greensboro, NC. He attended The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for his undergraduate studies, where he majored in biology and minored in chemistry. After college, Chris spent a year performing cardiovascular clinical research at Moses Cone Hospital and coaching a U-13 girl’s travel soccer team. He attended medical school at The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. While in medical school, Chris was involved in research related to hyperinsulinemia, and he was the president of the Surgery Interest Group. During his free time, Chris enjoys playing soccer, golf, hiking, watching football and spending time with his wife and two dogs. Chris’s wife, Sarah, is a pharmacist at the Downtown Health Plaza. Together, they enjoy the many restaurants and breweries around Winston..

Brian Shackleford, MD

Brian Shackleford - Internal Medicine Residency 2019-2020 Assistant Chief of MedicineAs a medical student at Wake Forest School of Medicine, I was instantly attracted to the Internal Medicine Residency program. The department felt like family. The collegiality, nurturing learning environment and diverse pathology were easily identified. Wake had a wonderful mix of “bread and butter” as well as “zebra” pathology that provided a robust learning experience. Upon starting residency, I continued to find these things to be true. Wake Forest Internal Medicine Residency strikes a perfect balance between resident autonomy and attending support. As a tertiary referral center, residents have the privilege of encountering numerous disease states and pathology. This prepares them for careers in any field. Faculty are committed to resident education and in mentoring residents to obtain their chosen career goals. With our vast subspecialty inpatient services and elective experiences, residents have easy exposure to subspecialist knowledge and opportunities that guide and inform career choices. During my residency, I found ample mentoring to support me in these efforts.

Brian Shackleford is from Durham, NC. He obtained his undergraduate degree in biology from North Carolina Central University in 2010. He then took two gap years to obtain a master’s degree in biology from North Carolina Central University then obtained his medical degree from Wake Forest School of Medicine in 2016. He plans to pursue a career in academic General Internal Medicine upon completion of his chief residency. His wife, Tiara, is a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner. They enjoy traveling, attending church services, cooking, watching Netflix, going on runs and playing with their adorable Yorkipoo named Kody.



Meet Our Residents