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.

Three Residents

Learn from our residents about how the training at Wake Forest can be tailored to guide you toward and then help you succeed in the career of your interest.

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. 

Program Overview

Program Director Dr. Hal Atkinson and Department Chair Dr. Gary Rosenthal speak to the strength and diversity of the training environment at Wake Forest.

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.

Career Pathways, Mentorship, and Academic Opportunities

Our residents describe unique academic and mentorship opportunities afforded by our varied training pathways.

Meet Our 2020-2021 Assistant Chiefs of Medicine


African American female in white coat poses outside

Safoa Addo, MD

As a graduate of Wake Forest School of Medicine, I had a front row seat to observe the interactions among members of the healthcare team, the collegial atmosphere, and the top-notch education. On the interview trail for residency, I kept comparing each residency program to Wake’s Internal Medicine program. I knew that staying here would be a great opportunity for me to continue my education as a physician. With the patient mix, I would see a wide range of medical conditions for a well-rounded education. Also, the atmosphere was encouraging and nurturing for me. As I reflect on the last three years, I can say that my decision to stay here for residency met, and in many ways, exceeded my expectations. The faculty is committed to the education of their residents and to creating a healthy environment that the residents thrive in. I am honored to be spending another year here as an Assistant Chief of Medicine and to work with the Faculty and Administration of this program for the benefit of our residents.

Safoa Addo is originally from Ghana, West Africa. She obtained her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Chemical Engineering and Engineering Management from Dartmouth College. She worked for several years as a Process Systems Engineer with General Mills Inc. in Covington, Georgia. She then opted for a second career as a physician and obtained her medical degree at Wake Forest School of Medicine. Following her chief residency year, she plans to pursue a fellowship in Hematology and Oncology. She is married to Lee, a civil engineer who operates his own construction management and consulting company and they have a nine-year-old son, Luke. In their free time, they love to follow Wake Forest men’s and women’s soccer, go sightseeing at North Carolina’s numerous state parks, and travel overseas, especially to visit family back home in Ghana.

Leila Famouri, MD

Caucasian female in white coat poses outsideWhen I applied to residency, Wake Forest stood out to me for a variety of reasons.  I was attracted to the opportunity to train at an academic, tertiary referral center with nationally recognized specialty care, but I also wanted to train somewhere that recognized the importance in producing well-rounded primary care physicians who can operate in community settings as well.  In addition, I was looking for a program where I would have the chance to pursue research projects.  Three years later, it is clear that I made the right decision.  Not only did I receive robust training in internal medicine, but I have developed friendships with residents and faculty that have helped me grow as a physician and as a person.  I have also had numerous opportunities to develop projects related to healthcare advocacy and health disparities with departmental support.  I am thrilled to be spending another year at Wake Forest as an Assistant Chief of Medicine and to continue working with this amazing group of physicians.

Leila Famouri is originally from Morgantown, West Virginia, where she dual majored in biology and philosophy at West Virginia University and founded the University’s first public health student organization.  After college, she obtained a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in epidemiology at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, where she co-authored two publications about HIV partner notification among IV drug users in Kazakhstan.  After graduate school, she returned to West Virginia University School of Medicine, where she earned her medical degree.  She plans to pursue a career in academic general internal medicine and continue research in health policy and global health.

Leila’s husband, Sean, is a post-doctoral research fellow at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.  Together, they enjoy trying new foods, breweries, wineries, listening to live music, and playing with their cat, Judy. 

Allan Petty, DO

Caucasian male in white coat poses outsideWake Forest’s Internal Medicine residency program offers a hearty environment for resident education by providing the perfect blend of resident autonomy and faculty support. Wake Forest is a major regional tertiary referral center, setting the stage for a prosperous learning environment, with comprehensive subspecialty presence and a broad range of patient presentations.

In seeking a residency program, I valued Wake Forest because of the outstanding reputation, robust collegial atmosphere and opportunities for personal and professional growth. I participated in the couple’s match, and my spouse recognized the same culture in her program as well. Our institution prioritizes patient centered care, mentorship, and education. Through my experiences at Wake Forest, I have been privileged to know many unparalleled mentors which have led to professional development, research publications and support for my fellowship interest. 

Allan Petty is originally from Lake Charles, Louisiana and obtained his undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University and medical degree from the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.  He plans to pursue a fellowship in Cardiovascular Diseases after his Chief Residency year.  His wife Danielle is Surgical Pathology Fellow in Pathology Department at Wake Forest with an emphasis in breast and gynecologic pathology.  They enjoy spending time with their daughters, Gayle, Dottie and Margot, and visiting Old Salem and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Nathan Roberts, MD

Caucasian male in white coat poses outsideHaving been a medical student at the Wake Forest School of Medicine I was well-aware of the incredible culture within the Internal Medicine residency program. One of the most important factors that led me to stay here for residency was the people. The departmental and program leadership genuinely cares about the residents and the state of the residency program. The camaraderie that exists amongst the residents across all three years is such that your residency colleagues become like family. When I was evaluating programs it was important to me to find a program where the faculty would be personally invested in my learning and where I would look forward to coming to work alongside resident colleagues who were my friends, and the Wake Forest Internal Medicine residency program fit this description perfectly. Beyond this, the Internal Medicine residency program also offers a diverse training experience that will allow any prospective resident to fulfill their long-term career goals. As evidenced by our perennially strong fellowship match lists and the diversity of inpatient and outpatient general internal medicine positions that our graduates obtain, there truly is something here for everyone.

Nathan Roberts is from Marion, Virginia. He obtained his undergraduate degrees in Biology and Biochemistry, along with a minor in leadership and social change, from Virginia Tech in 2012. After graduating college he took a year off to work as a research assistant in a lab at Virginia Tech before applying to medical school. He plans to pursue a fellowship in hematology and oncology. In his free time he enjoys playing electric guitar, pick-up basketball, ultimate Frisbee, working out at the gym, and winning his fantasy football league every year. He also enjoys spending time with his family and brother, Joey, who is a chemical engineering PhD student at the University of Virginia.

Rachel Wilson, MD

Caucasian female in white coat poses outsideWhen I applied to residency, I focused on programs that had an emphasis on primary care. A mentor told me that most IM programs train you to be a good hospitalist, due to the national required rotations, and what sets programs apart are the outpatient experiences. Wake’s primary care track allowed me to grow my clinic skills while still having a rigorous inpatient training. Through this track, I developed relationships with and was educated by outstanding primary care physicians and outpatient specialists. Furthermore, Wake is in an ideal geographic location. Its large catch area of patients from several states allows for diverse patient cases and pathology. My ultimate decision to rank Wake number one came down to the feeling I had on interview day. I was with friends and could imagine myself thriving. The comradery and culture led to the development of lifelong friends. After completing three years of residency, I was prepared to be an excellent primary care internist.

Rachel Wilson is from Wichita, Kansas. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Colorado College. Her medical degree is from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.  After completing her chief year, she will pursue a career as an Academic General Medicine Internist. She loves Winston Salem’s close proximity to the mountains. She enjoys hiking, exploring and traveling with her boyfriend. During COVID, she has taken up gardening and cooking. 

Meet Our Residents