Meet Our Staff

VSES Medical Director

Simon Kirk, DVM
Medical Director

Simon Kirk

Dr. Simon Kirk is the Medical Director of Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Services. Since joining the hospital in 2002, he has maintained his active clinical practice as an attending emergency clinician.

Dr. Kirk earned his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island. He then completed his internship training in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at VSES.

Originally from Canada, Dr. Kirk enjoys spending his leisure time outdoors kayaking, hiking, cross-country skiing, scuba diving, and adventure traveling.

Internal Medicine

Michael Koch, VMD, Diplomate ACVIM

Michael Koch

Dr. Koch is an Internal Medicine Specialist at VSES. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. He completed his internal medicine residency at the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania where he received the Jules and Lucy Silver Animal Bedside Manner Award. Dr. Koch is a board certified member of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

Samantha Murray, VMD, Diplomate ACVIM

Samantha Murray

Dr. Samantha Murray joined Veterinary Specialists of Rochester's internal medicine team in October of 2014.

Dr. Murray attended the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Medicine, graduating in 2001. She received the Auxiliary to the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association prize, as well as the Small Animal Award.

Before joining Veterinary Specialists of Rochester, Dr. Murray completed her residency in small animal internal medicine at the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania from 2002-2004. She also completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery there from 2001-2002.

Dr. Murray is a member of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and American Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Murray’s professional interests include hepatic disease, gastrointestinal disease and immune-mediated disease.

Dr. Murray and her family are currently looking for the perfect dog. In her spare time, she enjoys running, cycling and hiking; as well as spending time with her husband and children.

Shannon Palermo, VMD, Diplomate ACVIM

Shannon  Palermo

Dr. Shannon Palermo graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Palermo completed her internal medicine residency at the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. While in school, she was the president of the Penn Vet Shelter Medicine Club where she was a recipient of the SVAVMA Community Outreach Excellence Award. Her volunteer work didn't end there, she also worked with Hand2Paw working with at-risk youth and shelter animals to help them see a better future.

Dr. Palermo has been in the veterinary field for eight years, active both professionally and academically with several published articles to her name. Dr. Palermo also works with Mission Rabies, a non-profit organization committed to helping vaccinate dogs in parts of the world where Rabies is pervasive. 


Daniel E. Hoffmann, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVS (Small Animal)

Daniel E. Hoffmann

Originally from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Dr. Daniel E. Hoffmann joined Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Services’ surgery team in March 2013. Prior to that, he worked as a Small Animal Surgeon at the Akron Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center in Ohio.

Dr. Hoffmann attended the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 2004. He has completed a surgical residency at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine as well as internships at the Dallas Veterinary Surgical Center and at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Hoffmann has published multiple articles, including one that was accepted for publication in the Journal of Veterinary and Comparative Orthopedics and Traumatology in October 2015. His professional interests include pain management, tibial tuberosity advancement, total joint arthroplasty, reconstructive and oncologic surgery, wound healing and management, and neurosurgery.

He shares his home with his wife, their three children, a Yorkie Bichon named Andy, and a Persian named Plato. During his free time, Dr. Hoffmann enjoys hiking, camping, kayaking, birding, traveling, fishing and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Lindsay St. Germaine, DVM, Diplomate ACVS (Small Animal)

Lindsay St. Germaine

Dr. Lindsay St. Germaine is a native of Milford, Michigan and joined VSES as a staff surgeon in October 2014.

She earned her doctorate in veterinary medicine in 2009, graduating from Michigan State University with high honors. Following veterinary school she completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. St. Germaine then moved to Rochester where she accomplished a three-year residency in small animal surgery and successfully obtained board certification.

Following residency, Dr. St. Germaine went on to practice in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania before returning to VSES in 2014. Her professional interests include oncologic surgery, trauma patients, and critical care medicine. She has published on multiple topics including surgical site infection and permanent tracheostomy in dogs.

In her free time she enjoys outdoor hobbies including boating, skiing, running, and hiking.

Katelyn MacGillivray, VMD
Surgical Resident

Katelyn MacGillivray

Dr. MacGillivray is originally from the Jersey Shore. She attended the College of New Jersey and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology before graduating from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. MacGillivray has completed a small animal rotating internship at Animal Medical Center in New York City and a surgical internship at Veterinary Specialty Hospital in San Diego.

She has a Newfoundland named Abigail, and two cats named Millie and Milo. Outside of work, Dr. MacGillivray enjoys rock climbing, hiking with her dog and cooking.


Alla Bezhenteseva, DVM
Surgical Resident

Alla Bezhenteseva

Dr. Bezhentseva was originally born in Russia, and moved to the United States in 1994. She grew up in Brooklyn, New York and Brunswick, New Jersey.

She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Rutgers University, New Brunswick with a double major in Psychology and Animal Science, and a double minor in Political Science and Economics. She received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine Degree from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts where she was awarded the ACVS Foundation Student Surgery Award for Excellence in Small Animal Surgery. Her professional interests include minimally invasive procedures, fracture repair, thoracic surgery, management of polytrauma cases, and cranial cruciate ligament disease. She is AIS PennHIP Certified.

Dr. Bezhenteseva has a Siberian Husky named Cobalt and enjoys indoor rock climbing, hiking, running, succulent gardening, and Russian literature in her spare time.

Alyssa Motz, DVM
Surgical Resident

Alyssa Motz

Dr. Alyssa Motz is originally from Macedonia, Ohio. She graduated from The Ohio State University in 2010; majoring in Zoology and Anthropology and minoring in Forensic Science. She continued her education at The Ohio State University, where she earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Motz completed a small animal rotating internship at Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital before completing a small animal surgical internship there.

She enjoys spending time with her friends, family, and pets when she's not working. She also enjoys reading and Ohio State football!

Heather Lowe, DVM
Surgery Intern

Dr. Heather Lowe grew up in Northeast, PA. She attended Delaware Valley College, majoring in small animal science. Dr. Lowe earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Purdue University. She completed a small animal rotating internship at Long Island Veterinary Specialists. Dr. Lowe’s professional interests include soft tissue and orthopedic surgery.

Critical Care

Kathryn Benavides, DVM, Diplomate ACVECC

Kathryn  Benavides

Dr. Kathryn Benavides rejoins the team at VSES. After completing her bachelor's degree in biochemistry at The Ohio State University, she earned her doctorate of veterinary medicine from Michigan State University. Dr. Benavides completed a small animal medicine and surgery rotating internship at VSES before pursuing her Emergency and Critical Care residency at Tufts University. Dr. Benavides' professional interests include emergency medicine include polytrauma, acute abdomen, and cardiac disease.

Dr. Benavides works closely with other specialists and our emergency veterinary team to provide the best compassionate care for our critical patients. In order to be certified, graduating from an accredited veterinary school is followed by a one year internship and a three year residency, during which they practice and study the latest critical care techniques. To earn the Diplomate status, rigorous board examinations must be passed after the residency is completed. To learn more go to

Kat Kicera, DVM, Diplomate ACVECC

Kat Kicera

Dr. Kat Kicera joins our team as the second board-certified criticalist. She recently relocated to the Rochester area from Florida. Dr. Kicera attended the University of Miami, where she received her bachelor’s degree in creative writing and literature. She then completed her post-baccalaureate degree in pre-veterinary courses prior to earning her doctorate of veterinary medicine from University of Florida. Dr. Kicera completed a small animal rotating internship at Coral Springs Animal Hospital. She then completed an Emergency and Critical Care residency at University of Florida.

Dr. Kicera’s professional interests include mechanical ventilation, shock and sepsis.


Seth Koch, VMD, Diplomate ACVO

Seth Koch

Dr. Seth Koch will be providing ophthalmology consults and performing non-cataract related surgeries at VSES. Born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., Dr. Koch received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania in 1965. He received an NIH Fellowship to study ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and earned a master's degree in comparative ophthalmology from the Graduate School of Medicine and the Veterinary School.

Dr. Koch is a pioneer in veterinary ophthalmology; specializing in the medical and surgical treatment of acute and chronic eye problems in companion and exotic animals. He has treated a variety of animals including an African lion, a Komodo dragon, a panda, elephants and birds. Prior to joining the medical staff at VSES, Dr. Koch was a consultant to the Chesapeake Wildlife Foundation and the National Zoo.

Our VSES Emergency Veterinarians

Jamie Araki, DVM

Jamie Araki, DVM

Dr. Jamie Araki grew up in Upstate NY, after studying at the University of Glasgow in Scotland where she earned her Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, she is returning as an Emergency Veterinarian at Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Services. She is Fear Free certified and has particular interest in emergency and critical care, toxicology, pathology, and soft tissue and orthopedic surgery. 

At home Dr. Araki has two cats, Jura and Toby, and two dogs, Gryffendog, a large loveable mutt, and Doc a Husky German Shepard mix. Her hobbies include baking, traveling, reading, crafting, and exploring. She also enjoys spending time with her family, both animal and human members.

Sarah Brawdy-Annechino, DVM

Sarah Brawdy-Annechino

Dr. Sarah Brawdy grew up outside of Buffalo, New York. She attended the State University of New York College at Geneseo, where she majored in biology and minored in chemistry and art studio. After graduating from Geneseo, Dr. Brawdy received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Tennessee in 2009. She completed both a rotating internship and an internal medicine internship at the Veterinary Specialists of Rochester, before joining the emergency service as an attending clinician.

Dr. Brawdy has professional interests in anesthesia and pain management, emergency and critical care, and internal medicine. Outside of work, Dr. Brawdy enjoys running, painting, and reading. She shares her home with her husband, John, a German shepherd named Tessie, a Maltese-poodle mix named Olive, and two cats named Penelope and Mike.

Kimberly Dodge, DVM

Kimberly Dodge

A graduate of Michigan State University, Dr. Kim Dodge received her B.S. Degree in Zoology in 1995 and her DVM Degree in 1999. After graduation she joined a mixed practice in Indiana, and then a 24-hour emergency and routine care practice in Connecticut. Dr. Dodge then moved again, this time to Rochester, where she joined the Animal Hospital of Pittsford for three years prior to moving to Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Services.

Dr. Dodge is a co-founder and former board member of the Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Loss. She works to mentor other deaf individuals who are interested in the veterinary field.

Dr. Dodge enjoys watching and playing sports, reading fiction and the companionship of her three cats and dog.

Staceyann Doobar, DVM

Staceyann Doobar

Dr. Staceyann Doobar is originally from New York City where she graduated from the City College of New York with a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Cornell University and then completed a rotating internship at Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Services. She worked as an associate veterinarian at Suburban Animal Hospital and then returned to emergency medicine. 

Dr. Doobar has four dogs and in her free time she enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with her pups.

Catherine O. Herlihy, DVM

Catherine O. Herlihy

Dr. Catherine Herlihy grew up in Wilmington, Delaware. She attended American University, where she majored in biology and played on the women’s soccer team. Dr. Herlihy received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Atlantic Veterinary College in 2015. She then completed a rotating internship at Dogwood Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center in Richmond before joining VSES.

Dr. Herlihy has professional interests in traditional Chinese veterinarian medicine, shelter medicine, and international veterinary aid and outreach. She is also certified in veterinary acupuncture through the Chi Institute and has a graduate certificate in shelter medicine from the University of Florida.

Outside of work, she enjoys running, hiking, travelling, and yoga. Dr. Herlihy’s husband is a large animal veterinarian. They share their home and small farm with two dogs (Peep and Marty), three cats (Essie, Dory, and Jalapeno), four cows (Penelope, Pentunia, Pickles, and Parsnip) and two goats (Beans and Betty).

Johnny Lamb, DVM

Johnny Lamb

Johnny was born in Denver, Colorado and grew up in Warner Robins, GA. She majored in biology at the University of Pittsburgh and after working at an animal shelter one summer decided that veterinary work would be in her future. She then moved to St. Kitts, West Indies to attend Ross University.

She would love to do zoo/wildlife work and plans to be a practice owner/partner someday.

Johnny has gathered a small menagerie since starting vet school: 3 island cats, 1 Washington pound puppy and 1 Washington pound bunny. Her interests include: eating, playing soccer, hiking, biking, photography, watching college sports and traveling.

Elizabeth Lennon, DVM

Elizabeth  Lennon

Dr. Elizabeth Lennon comes to us from Emerson, NJ. She will be joining our team as an emergency doctor. She received her doctorate of veterinary medicine from Cornell University in 2017. While at Cornell she served as a Student Veterinary Technician, a pet loss support line volunteer, and a student clinician at a low-income clinic. Upon graduation, Dr. Lennon completed a rotating internship at Oradell Animal Hospital.

While in school Dr. Lennon participated in many activities including Dog Sports Club, Small Animal Skills Club, Omega Tau Sigma(international veterinary fraternity), and the student American Veterinary Medical Associates. Dr. Lennon is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association. She feels that honesty and compassion are two key attributes of a great veterinarian, and exercises them as often as she can.

Tom Linnenbrink, DVM

Tom Linnenbrink

Colorado transplant Dr. Tom Linnenbrink attended Colorado State University where he received his BS Degree in Biology in 1994. He remained at Colorado State University where he completed a Master's Degree in Anatomy in 1997. Following this, he was admitted to Colorado State University School of Veterinary Medicine and was awarded his DVM Degree in 2001.

Following veterinary school, Dr. Linnenbrink received an internship position in medicine and surgery at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine. After completing his internship in 2002, Dr. Linnenbrink moved to Rochester where has been working as an emergency staff clinician at Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Services.

Kathryn Pappert, DVM

Kathryn Pappert

Dr. Pappert attended Cornell University, receiving her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2010. Dr. Pappert most recently worked as an associate veterinarian at Honeoye Fall Veterinary Hospital. She previously completed a rotating internship at VSES. Dr. Pappert also worked as a surgery technician at Cornell University Hospital for Animals and a veterinary assistant at Apple Country Veterinary Hospital before completing her veterinary degree. She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the New York State Veterinary Medical Society and the Genesee Valley Veterinary Medical Association.

Joseph Wilder, DVM, Diplomate ABVP

Joseph Wilder

Dr. Joe Wilder has been a staff clinician at the Animal Emergency Service of Rochester since 2002. Dr. Wilder received his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1990.

Dr. Wilder is married to Chris, a veterinarian, and they have 3 children. Their hobbies include watching movies, traveling and cooking.

Kaycee Ratcliffe, DVM

Kaycee Ratcliffe

Dr. Kaycee Ratcliffe grew up in Rochester, NY and completed her undergraduate studies at SUNY Buffalo with a bachelor's degree in Biology. She received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine and completed her clinical rotations at Purdue University.

She  completed a rotating internship here at Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Services and worked as an associate veterinarian at Irondequoit Animal Hospital prior to joining our emergency service. Dr. Ratcliffe's professional interests include surgery, emergency and critical care, and neurology.

During her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, and traveling. She has a Coonhound mix named Phoebe and a calico cat named Cat.

Staff Doctors

Victoria Carter, BVetMed

Victoria Carter

Dr. Carter is originally from Gatineau, Quebec. She attended the University of Guelph, earning her Bachelors of Science in Biological Science in 2013. She then when on to earn her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. While earning her veterinary degree, Dr. Carter earned the Edinburgh Global Undergraduate Scholarship, the University of Edinburgh Outstanding Student Leadership Award in 2018, was a nominee for the Walter Buchanan Milburn Prize 2018/19 (Internal Med, Cardiology, Dermatology), and was the RDVC LRFC Club Member of the Year in 2017. Professionally, Dr. Carter is interested in Internal Medicine and Veterinary Medical Education. Her family dog is a standard poodle named Daphne. If her free time, Dr. Carter enjoys rugby, skiing, marksmanship, and volunteering.

Kristen Doerr, DVM

Kristen Doerr

Dr. Kristen Doerr grew up in the lower Hudson Valley in Suffern, N.Y. She attended SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology. Dr. Doerr earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Midwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine. Her professional interests include emergency, critical care, and internal medicine. She is a Fear Free Certified Professional and has received certifications in Recover CPR: Basic and Advanced Life Support.

Clarisa Somali, DVM

Clarisa Somali

Dr. Clarisa Somali grew up in both Indonesia and outside of Toronto. She graduated from the University of Guelph, where she majored in animal biology and minored in nutritional and nutraceutical sciences. Dr. Somali earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Ontario Veterinary College, where she was on the Dean’s Honours List. Her professional interests include surgery, cardiology and research/publication.

Service Coordinators

Tamara Day
Radiology ACA and Emergency Coordinator

Tamara Day

Tamara Day, from Brockport NY, started at VSES in 2014.  She is the Radiology ACA and Emergency Coordinator.  Tamara has always had a passion for animals and after earning her Bachelors of Science, began working at an animal hospital.  She has been working in the animal-related field for the last 6 years.

At home, she has two cats: Morgana and Arien.  She also has: Tulip the Shihtzu, Toby the Springer Spaniel, and Rory the Yorkie, with whom she enjoys walking along the canal with or going on hikes.

Tiffany Phillips
Emergency Coordinator

Tiffany Phillips

Originally from Pensacola, FL, Tiffany ditched the sun and moved to Fairport, NY. She has been with VSES full time since 2016. This is her first job working in the animal related field. So far, her favorite part is making a difference in the lives of pets and their families. She enjoys the fast paced environment of working in an emergency setting and embraces the daily challenges.

Tiffany has a few pets of her own. She has three cats, Feargus (Male Bombay), Ayra (Female Tabby) and Espeon (Female Russian Blue). She also has a dog named Brandy (Dachshund/Chihuahua mix). In her free time she enjoys traveling, hanging with her fur babies, going to concerts and spending time with her loved ones.

Heather O'Neil
Internal Medicine Coordinator

Heather O'Neil

Heather grew up in Lima, NY. She has been working with animals since 2002. She has been an Internal Medicine Coordinator at VSES since June 2006. Heather enjoys working with animals because "it allows for a sense of accomplishment that we can help in some way to make them better."

In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time with her family, friends and animals. She also enjoys reading, wine tasting and antiquing. Heather's animals include an American Staffordshire terrier named Pickles, a pit bull mix named Daphne, a Staffordshire bull terrier mix named Buster, one cat named Crash, and three bearded dragons.

Martinique Bonter
Emergency Coordinator

Martinique Bonter

Emergency Coordinator Martinique Bonter has always loved animals and has worked in the animal care field for nine years. She joined the VSES staff in 2001 and is the emergency coordinator. Martinique has an Associate in Science degree from Monroe Community College. Martinique believes her employment at VSES has given her the ability to see and apply a higher standard of care for animals. She also loves the one-on-one relationship she has with her allergy clients.

When she is not caring for animals at the hospital you can find Martinique camping, watching movies, gardening or swimming. She loves spending quality time with her friends, family and her pets, comprised of Mork, her twelve-year-old cat, and her tank of fish.

Nikki Trapani
Surgery Coordinator

Nikki Trapani

Nikki is a native of Greece, NY and has been working at VSES for over five years. As a surgery coordinator, Nikki loves being a part of the surgery department and working with such a talented group of people.

In her free time, Nikki enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, biking on the trails around Rochester, enjoying the outdoors, and hanging out with her Pekapoo, Bud.

Management Team

Sheryl Valente
Managing Director

Sheryl Valente

Sheryl Valente has worked in the medical administration field for more than two decades. With years of experience working at Rochester Regional Health, Lattimore Community Surgicenter, and University of Rochester Strong Memorial Hospital, Sheryl is now Managing Director at VSES. Sheryl received her BA in Psychology at SUNY Geneseo and completed her Master of Health Care Administration at SUNY Brockport.

Andrea Battaglia
Hospital Manager

Andrea Battaglia

Andrea Battaglia is the Hospital Manager at VSES and has been working with animals since 1988. Some of her extensive experience includes serving as a Veterinary Technician, a Supervisor, a CE Coordinator and an Operations Director. Andrea has been published multiple times, but her largest published achievement is the publication of her book, Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care: A Manual for the Veterinary Technician. 

Jena Plant
Client Service Liaison

Jena Plant

Jena is from Fabius, NY and has been working in the animal-related field since 2012. Jena joined Monroe Veterinary Associates as a client service representative for Penfield Veterinary Hospital in 2013 and joined the VSES team in the spring of 2016. She also has a bachelor's degree from St. John Fisher. 

When not at work, Jena enjoys exercising and outdoor activities. She also enjoys spending time with her canine companions, Myla and Braylon, and her cat Aengus. 

Christine West
Staffing & Workforce Administrator

Christine West

Born in Warsaw, New York, and raised in Pavilion, Christine joined Monroe Veterinary Associates in 2008 but has been in the animal care field since 2006.

Christine has an Associate of Applied Science degree in Veterinary Technology and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Technology Management. When it comes to her job, she thrives knowing the high standard of care she and her colleagues provide pets. She also loves working with great people every day. 

Christine shares a home with Neville (golden retriever), Wilmer (pit bull), and two cats Milo and Abby. She spends her free time running after her children, gardening, baking, and camping.

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