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Medical Team

Dr. Robert Spitz, is the founder, Medical Director and one of the Principal Investigators of Coastal Connecticut Research, LLC. He is a board-certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist, and maintained a private gynecology practice for over 30 years. He is now primarily dedicated to the research site. Since the founding of CCRstudies, Dr. Spitz has been able to successfully oversee a variety clinical trials. He has served as a Principal Investigator on studies involving the treatment of menopause, hypoactive sexual desire disorder, osteoporosis, contraception, overactive bladder, endometriosis, atrophic vaginitis, urinary incontinence, and several others. In addition, as Medical Director at CCRstudies, he oversees all clinical trials conducted at the site. Dr. Spitz has also participated in clinical trials for the medical device industry, and has been awarded multiple patents in the U.S. and in Japan.

Dr. Spitz graduated with distinction from Dartmouth College and went on to earn his MD from Boston University School of Medicine. He holds a variety of certifications in the field of clinical trials, and has the distinction of being one of the first Clinical Investigators to pass the DIA (Drug Information Administration) Clinical Investigator Certification Exam in Washington, D.C. in October of 2003. Dr. Spitz is a life-long resident of Southeastern Connecticut and a New London native. He has dedicated over 30-years of his career to the health and wellness of the local community, and through the clinical trial process, has been a part of pivotal research to improve the quality of life for countless individuals throughout the country and beyond.

Dr. Edward J. McDermott was board-certified in Internal Medicine in 1985, and board re-certified in 2006. Dr. McDermott maintained a successful private practice in the region for over three decades.  Following his retirement from private practice, he became the Medical Director at Fairview in Groton, Connecticut.  He received his M.D. from the Manila Central University College of Medicine, Philippines. Dr. McDermott was selected by the New London County Medical Association as “Outstanding Physician of the Year”. He has been a Senior Attending Physician at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London since 2000, and is the Medical Director of Fairview Nursing Home in Groton. Dr. McDermott was a former instructor for the Yale School of Nursing. He joined Coastal Connecticut Research in 2008, his research interest’s centers on Internal Medicine in all phases.

 Dr. Laurence Radin is a board-certified Neurologist and has been in practice with Neurological Group PC, since 1992. Dr. Radin, with his highly trained clinical staff, can skillfully treat and evaluate a wide variety of medical conditions of the neuromuscular system, spinal column and brain. Patients are frequently seen for conditions such as migraine headaches, multiple sclerosis, seizures, neuropathies and Parkinson’s disease among many other problems. EMG, EEG, ENG Botox injections ,nerve conduction studies as well as vagus nerves stimulation studies can be conducted under the direction of Dr. Radin.

Timothy M. Barczak, MD is the Principal Investigator on a newly launched clinical trial testing a product for management of stress urinary incontinence. Dr. Barczak is a board-certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist. His specialty is gynecology, and his areas of interest include general gynecology, infertility, minimally invasive surgery, hysteroscopic surgery, and tubal reanastomosis. Dr. Barczak was in Group Private Practice for over two decades in New London, Connecticut, and ventured into a solo private practice in 2005. In addition, since 2005 he has served as a Sub Investigator at Coastal Connecticut Research, LLC. Dr. Barczak has participated in 29 Phase II and Phase III clinical trials at Coastal Connecticut Research, LLC, among them studies for stress urinary incontinence, overactive bladder, hypoactive sexual desire disorder, hot flashes, vaginal atrophy, pregnancy prevention, and more.

He holds a BA from the University of Detroit, and an MD from Tufts University School of Medicine. Dr. Barczak completed his internship and Strong Memorial Hospital, University of Rochester.  He has been affiliated with L+M Hospital in New London as a board-certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist since 1983.

Alan Greenwald, M.D. received his Bachelor of Arts Degree, Cum Laude, from S.U.N.Y. Albany.  He graduated from the Chicago Medical School, and completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York.  He completed his subspecialty training in Gastroenterology at Bridgeport Hospital, a Yale University Affiliated Program.  Dr. Greenwald is board-certified in both Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.  He is Chairman of the Gastroenterology Department and Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London, Connecticut.  He is also a member of the American Medical Association and the American Gastroenterology Association.  Dr. Greenwald specializes in all aspects of diseases related to the liver and digestive tract, including nutrition and cancer screening.

Dr. Edward Tarka, D.P.M, FACFAS,  was born and raised in New England and attended Syracuse University where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree. He received his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree from Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Tarka was trained in surgery at St. Joseph’s Hospital (an affiliate of Northwestern University Medical School) in Chicago. He is board certified by the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgery and has been in practice since 1991. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. In addition to his busy private practice, Dr. Tarka is affiliated with William W. Backus Hospital and River Valley Ambulatory Surgery Center, both located in Norwich, CT.


Andrea Stewart APRN is a member of the “A” team at Neurological Group, P.C. in New London, Connecticut. Andrea’s special interests include Neuro Oncology, Stroke and brain injury, Parkinson’s Disease and movement disorders, dementia, Multiple Sclerosis, headaches, Epilepsy, as well as patient education and counseling. She is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), Sigma Theta Tau, and the Headache Cooperative of New England. Andrea has also received credentials as a Multiple Sclerosis Certified Nurse by the Multiple Sclerosis International Certification Board. Andrea successfully passed the Multiple Sclerosis International Certification Examination which tests knowledge, skills and tasks as applied to the domains of multiple sclerosis nursing: clinical practice, advocacy, research and education. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Yale University.

Alyce Huston Hemstreet CS, APRN is a Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist specializing in women’s health issues, including sexual dysfunction, eating disorders, depression, anxiety disorders and pain management. Ms. Hemstreet has published extensively on various topics within the field of psychiatry, and is co-editor of the book, Variations on a Theme, Diversity and the Psychology of Women. Ms. Hemstreet maintains a private psychiatric practice and works as an advanced practice clinician with the Department of Psychiatry at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London, CT. Ms. Hemstreet has also worked with a major pharmaceutical company in developing and monitoring sexual dysfunction interviews used as screening criteria for clinical trials.

Merrilyn Harden McNatt APRN, is a board-certified Nurse Practitioner. After graduating from the Medical College of Georgia with a BS in nursing, she certified as a childbirth educator and in 1985,  became one of Connecticut’s first three international board certified lactation consultants. As a nursing educator, Ms. McNatt has taught at the baccalaureate and associate degree nursing levels and has served as a nurse consultant to local healthcare agencies. An advanced practice registered nurse, or APRN, Ms. McNatt has a Master’s degree in Nursing from the University of Connecticut with post-graduate work completed at the University of Rhode Island in the area of family practice. A published author, Ms. McNatt has conducted research at both UCONN and URI with a focus in women’s health behaviors. Her research interests center on the menopausal woman including sexual dysfunction, bladder control issues and osteoporosis.

andrea_bartels_thumb  Andrea J. Bartels APRN, MSN has been involved in a variety of clinical trials at CCRstudies. Some of her special interests include migraine headaches, dementia, stroke, Parkinson ’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Epilepsy, Psychiatric Disorders, Pain Management, Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Education, Counseling, and Family Support.   Andrea is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP,) the Connecticut APRN Society, Sigma Theta Tau, the Headache Cooperative of New England and the National Headache Foundation. She has held various positions, including Geriatric and Adult Psychiatric Registered Nurse, and Psychiatric Care Coordinator at Yale New Haven Hospital. Andrea completed the Graduate Nursing Program at Quinnipiac College and a fellowship with Yale Neurology Multiple Sclerosis Program.  Andrea is certified with the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, is a Connecticut State Licensed APRN, and a Registered Nurse. Most recently, Andrea has received credentials as a Multiple Sclerosis Certified Nurse by the Multiple Sclerosis International Certification Board.

Lisa Bragaw PharmD

Lisa Bragaw, PharmD, is lending her clinical expertise in her field to our research studies.  She graduated with honors from Northeastern University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Pharmacy, and holds a Doctorate of Pharmacy from the University of Florida.

Lisa’s clinical experience is extensive. She has worked as a staff pharmacist, clinical pharmacist and consulting pharmacist, as well as a field coordinator in the post-secondary educational setting in Eastern Connecticut.  Lisa also owns and manages the popular Zen and Now Wellness Studio in Niantic, Connecticut, where she serves as a Yoga and fitness instructor.  She has hosted a variety of well attended educational programs in the region and has served as a medical writer.  Lisa resides with her family in the coastal community of Niantic.

Diane Palmer RN, Qualified Dementia Care Specialist, Site Administrator

Diane Palmer RN, serves as Administrator and Certified Clinical Research Coordinator. She earned her Registered Nurse degree from Saint Francis School of Nursing in Hartford, CT and has completed a Clinical Data Management Certificate Program through the University of Connecticut College of Continuing Studies and Workforce, providing her with an education on the drug development process of clinical trials. She has combined her nursing experience in mental health and clinical research training to be a Nurse/Clinical Research Coordinator. Diane’s responsibilities include recruitment and patient education while coordinating research data essential to the successful management of clinical trials research and patient safety. In the fall of 2014, Diane earned the distinction as a Qualified Dementia Care specialist which is the highest level of qualification offered by the Dementia Care Professionals of America, a branch of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.

Kelley Sanok RN serves our site as a Clinical Research Coordinator and Financial Coordinator.  Prior to becoming an RN, Kelley worked as a Study Director and Scientist for Pfizer.  Her role at Pfizer involved performing preclinical laboratory testing, protocol and standard operating procedures development and quality assurance audits.  Her nursing roles have involved serving as a home care nurse case manager,  and primary care nurse, playing an important role in the treatment of patients. She holds two Bachelor of Science Degrees from the University of Connecticut with majors in Nursing and Allied Health.  Kelley is a Ledyard, Connecticut native and resides with her family in Stonington.

MaryLou Gannotti serves as Public Relations and Communications Director of CCRstudies. She is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island, having earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Studies with a minor in Italian.  She has had a 25-year career involving public relations, the media and philanthropy.  MaryLou plays an important role in educating the general public about the importance of clinical trials, with a focus on volunteer recruitment and community outreach. MaryLou maintains regular contact with the local community and media through web and social media updates, blogs, press releases,  professional networking, and attendance at regional events. She is an active member of the region, having volunteered with a variety of non-profit organizations.  In addition to her professional responsibilities, she has served as a member of the Endowment Committee for the Regional Multicultural Magnet School Foundation in New London, and has been an active volunteer at St. John’s Parish in Uncasville.  MaryLou is currently a member of the Southeastern Connecticut Women’s Network, the M Team, and the Southeast Senior Network. MaryLou loves her role and is thrilled to be able to incorporate her PR skills into the position.  She notes “people are at the heart of what we do.”  MaryLou resides in Quaker Hill with her husband, two active sons and their exuberant German Shepherd.

Diana H photoDiana Heavenor serves as our Data and Operations Coordinator. In her role, Diana is responsible for helping channel the flow of information associated with the clinical trial process. Diana has an extensive background in clinical research, having spent many years of her career working in the field, and is familiar with compliance processes, standard operating procedures, document processing, guidelines and regulations. Diana is a Montville, Connecticut native and chose to raise her family in her hometown where she continues to reside. She is a proud mother and grandmother, and enjoys going for scenic rides with her husband Len on his Harley Davidson motorcycle. She is also active with her congregation and is an avid fan of the UCONN Lady Huskies!


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