Meet the Staff

Strategic Affairs Administration

Dr. Ramesh Sachdeva

Ramesh Sachdeva, MD, PhD, MBA, JD, Senior Vice President of Strategic Affairs, Regional Strategy and Quality

Dr. Sachdeva directs the development and implementation of an institution-wide strategic plan. He works closely with clinical and academic leaders across the university to identify strategic priorities to achieve clinical integration by leveraging quality and outcomes science; and support the development of big data strategy aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of Upstate’s education, research and clinical care missions. A major responsibility is the development and implementation of a broad strategy to achieve population health targets in Central New York.  Dr. Sachdeva provides executive leadership for the growth of Upstate Medical University’s key initiatives including regional strategy, project management, and Project ECHO. Additionally, he is leading an institution-wide structured quality decision-making effort. 

Dr. Sachdeva is a practicing physician in the areas of pediatric critical care and sleep medicine; with an interest in neurocritical care. He joined Upstate’s pediatric faculty to continue his clinical activities. Among his notable accomplishments, Dr. Sachdeva has been the principal investigator for the Pediatric Measurement Center of Excellence, Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, consisting of a consortium of seven medical colleges and national organizations over the last six years.  In 2018, he received a grant from the NYS Department of Health along with Dr. Ruth Weinstock, to implement Project ECHO in the area of diabetes in Upstate New York.

In addition to his medical degree, he holds two doctorates – a PhD in epidemiology from the University of Texas, School of Public Health, and a DBA in management sciences (operational research) from the United Kingdom (UK).  His area of applied research has been the application of quantitative and qualitative analytic models to maximize organizational efficiencies in healthcare.  Recently, Dr. Sachdeva earned a Strategic Decision and Risk Management Certificate from Stanford University. 

Before joining Upstate, Dr. Sachdeva was professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin and a physician at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Additionally, Dr. Sachdeva served in numerous capacities for the American Academy of Pediatrics and was appointed as associate executive director in 2012 through 2016.  Email Dr. Sachdeva directly at

Denise FeeleyDenise Feeley, Executive Assistant to Senior Vice President of Strategic Affairs, Regional Strategy and Quality

Denise provides administrative support to Dr. Ramesh Sachdeva.  Additionally, Denise provides support for regional strategy and special projects such Decision Quality and Decision Excellence. She has served in a high-level, executive administrative assistant capacity to leaders at multiple Syracuse healthcare facilities spanning more than 20 years. Prior to joining the Office of Strategic Affairs in September 2016, she provided executive administrative assistance to the Chief Financial Officer for Community General Hospital and most recently in Ambulatory Services at SUNY Upstate Medical University’s Community Campus. Denise is earning her Bachelor of Professional Studies in Creative Leadership Degree at Syracuse University. 

Contact Denise for scheduling associated with Dr. Ramesh Sachdeva and general Office of Strategic Affairs inquiries.  Email Denise Feeley at

Strategic Planning and Implementation

Renae Rokicki

Renae Rokicki, M.Ed., Project and Strategic Planning Administrator

Renae joined the Office of the President/Strategic Affairs in 2012.  Rokicki oversees Upstate’s current Balanced Scorecard strategic planning process.  The OUR Upstate: One University Road map is a multi-year and integrated approach to aligning organizational planning and execution. She additionally provides administrative coordination of institutional activities and is active in the community on behalf of Upstate Medical University. Renae earned her Master’s Degree in Adult Education from Elmira College and two Advanced Graduate Certificates in Human Resources Development and Training of Trainers. She also holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Gender Studies from Utica College of Syracuse University. Email Renae Rokicki directly at

Renee DeVestyRenee DeVesty​, Administrative Assistant

Renee joined the department in June 2017 to provide support to Renae Rokicki and the Strategic Affairs Office. Renee ​has over 15​ years nonprofit management and 25​ ​years overall administrative office support experience. For the last seven years​ ​as a self-employed business owner, she used the Cultural Arts to advocate for and empower ​individuals and families facing ​​​social justice issues ​in Central New York and on a national level.

Contact Renee regarding Strategic Planning and Implementation and general Office of Strategic Affairs inquiries. Email Renee directly at

Strategic Planning Project Managers*: Responsible for implementation of the OUR Upstate One University Road Map Strategic Plan using the Balanced Scorecard methodology. Additionally, provide project management support to optimize alignment of projects with strategic objectives and initiatives and assist with management of the performance measurement process.  All team members responsible for the strategic plan implementation are certified ‘Balance Scorecard Professionals’ through the Balanced Scorecard Institute.

Karen Kohl* Karin Kohl, MBA, MSc, GWCPgM, joined the department in May 2017.  Karin earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Colorado State University, Master and Bachelor of Science degrees in Civil Engineering from Cornell University and Syracuse University, respectively, and an Associate of Science Degree in Veterinary Technology from St. Petersburg College. She holds a Master’s Certificate in Program Management through the George Washington University School of Business. Prior to joining Upstate Medical University, Karin managed project portfolios and programs for an international paper manufacturer and civil and environmental engineering design and construction projects. Email Karin Kohl directly at

Sarah Trapani* Sarah Trapani, MHA, joined the department in July 2017.  Sarah holds a Masters in Health Administration (MHA) degree from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Bachelor of Arts in Economics and International Relations degree from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Sarah brings significant medical center and health system experience. Prior to joining Upstate, Sarah was the Onboarding Manager in Talent Acquisition and Training Coordinator in Learning and Development for Rochester Regional Health. Additionally, Sarah worked as a Planning and Business Development Analyst at Baltimore Washington Medical Center and an Administrative Resident in Strategic Planning and Business Development at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Email Sarah at

Business Development and Data Analytics

Diamando (Dia) PaolangeliDiamando (Dia) Paolangeli, MHA, Market Research and Business Development Manager

Diamando joined the Office of Strategic Affairs in June 2017. Dia holds a Master of Health Administration (MHA) degree from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Policy and Management from Ithaca College. Prior to accepting this position, Dia served as Business Manager for Upstate's Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) department. Dia oversees and provides leadership to the data analytics team within strategic affairs to provide Upstate Medical University with the analytical support to rapidly respond to new growth and partnership opportunities. The team assists with research and development of business plans, data mining, forecasting, and sensitivity analysis to facilitate structured decision-making.

Contact Dia for assistance with Business Plan development, data retrieval/analysis, and market research needs. Email Dia at

Anna GleboffAnna Gleboff, MPH, Data Analyst

Anna joined the Office of Strategic Affairs in November 2017. She earned her Master’s in Public Health from SUNY Albany and is pursuing a second Master's in Data Science from Northwestern University.   Previously Anna worked as a Research Informatics Analyst at Bassett Medical Center where she divided her responsibilities between leading the analytical efforts of the Population Health Improvement Program and large-scale integration of the EPIC electronic health record system for the Research Institute. She holds multiple EPIC certifications and is experienced in data mining and analyses of EPIC health record data. For the Population Health Improvement Program, Anna helped identify areas of health disparity by performing statistical analyses of survey data for a 5-county region. Currently she serves as the elected Vice President of the Albany Chapter of the American Statistical Association. Email Anna at

David RobertsomDavid E. Robertson, Jr., MBA, Decision Scientist

David joined the Office of Strategic Affairs in January 2018. As a Decision Scientist he provides analysis and insight to support management decision-making, as well as effectively communicate data insights to various campus stakeholders.  Prior to coming to Upstate Medical University he was Director of Operations Research at Syracuse University for Prospect Identification/Analytics. In addition to his Director duties he was Adjunct Professor of Data Science in the iSchool at SU. As a PhD graduate student in the Maxwell School, he examined philanthropic behavioral patterns among NYS migrant farmworkers. Email David at

Project Echo

Dierdre KeefeDeidre Keefe, M.S., CHES, Project Manager for Project ECHO

Deirdre joined the Office of Strategic Affairs in August 2017.  Project ECHO, a worldwide health initiative, is new to Upstate Medical University and the CNY community and transforms the way education and knowledge are delivered to people in CNY’s rural and underserved communities.  Prior to her current role, Deidre worked for two other SUNY institutions; SUNY Cortland and SUNY Jefferson.  At SUNY Cortland Deidre was an adjunct professor in the Health and Wellness Department and served as the Higher Education Center Coordinator at SUNY Jefferson.  Up to that time, Deidre split her career efforts between non-profit work in CNY and the marketing and communication field.  Deidre earned her Master’s Degree in Community Health, and two Bachelors of Arts, one in Communications and the other in Psychology. For the last six years Deidre has been nationally recognized as a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES).

Contact Deidre for Project ECHO implementation or other questions concerning Project ECHO and/or its designated specialties or spoke sites.  Email Deidre at

Margaret HartmannMargaret (Margie) Hartmann, PTA, M.S., CHES, Project Coordinator for Project ECHO

Margaret joined the Office of Strategic Affairs in April 2018 for the Endocrinology ECHO. She is responsible for planning and implementing ECHO educational activities and teleECHO clinics. Additionally, she is a liaison between project sites and partners working closely with all parties to assist with facilitating the teleECHO clinics. Margie has earned her Master's in Community Health and a Bachelor of Science in Health Education. In April 2017, Margie was nationally recognized as a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and in May 2018 received immersion training at the University of New Mexico’s ECHO Institute. She looks forward to assisting in the implementation of Project ECHO at Upstate Medical University to address health initiatives in CNY’s rural and underserved communities. Email Margie at


Hans Cassagnol, MDHans Cassagnol , MD, MMM, FACOG, CPE, Chief Quality Officer and Assistant Dean for Clinical Quality

Dr. Cassagnol provides leadership on all quality related issues in collaboration with Hospital, Ambulatory, UUMAS Faculty Practice Plans, College, and Research Administration.  Cassagnol leads the efforts for quality improvement education, training, and coaching for all Upstate Medical University staff and serves as a change agent to enhance the culture of quality, safety, transparency, and value throughout the institution.  In addition to his medical degree, he holds a master degree in medical management from the University of Southern California.  He is a certified physician executive and a Malcolm Baldrige Board Examiner. Dr. Cassagnol is additionally a practicing physician in Upstate’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  Before joining Upstate in 2015, Cassagnol most recently served as associate chief quality officer at the system level, and chair of quality and safety for the Women’s Health Service Line with Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pennsylvania.  Email Dr. Cassagnol at

For scheduling with Dr. Cassagnol, please contact Amy Wagner at

Marketing and University Communications

Leah CaldwellLeah Caldwell, Assistant Vice President for Marketing and University Communications

Leah leads the marketing team and provides direction on marketing strategy, research, and planning. An excellent writer and “jack of all trades,” Caldwell offers a deep understanding of the University and its clinical services. For many years, Caldwell directed the marketing and special projects needs of Upstate’s four colleges, student admissions, and the Office of the President. She is recipient of many awards, including the SUNY chancellor’s award for professional service. During her 20+ years of service, Caldwell has gained the much-deserved trust of high-level people across academic and hospital circles, and across SUNY with her deep allegiance to our success and unwavering ability to deliver on significant projects.  Email Leah at

For scheduling with Leah, please contact Meghan Rey at