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All in the family
We are pleased to profile nine physicians that were named 
to the Best Doctors List and are related to each other by marriage or family

 

Stuart Berger and Julie Biller


Best Doctors compiles its annual list by surveying approximately 45,000 physicians nationally asking the following question: "If you or a loved one needed a doctor in your specialty, and you could not treat them yourself, to whom would you refer them?"

Each doctor surveyed has the opportunity to comment confidentially on other physicians listed in his or her specialty, and to make additional nominations. All physicians in the Best Doctors database are checked for licensing and certification requirements and for any disqualifying disciplinary actions. The result is a voting and nominee pool that is constantly sifted, refined and improved — whose very broadness and depth help reduce biases and cronyism. Finally, Best Doctors, Inc. is independent. Doctors are not asked for and are not allowed to pay any fees for inclusion as a Best Doctor.

No list could ever include every outstanding local physician, and we’re certain that some of you may have favorite doctors who are not mentioned here. Nonetheless, we believe you’ll find what follows to be interesting reading and a valuable resource for you and your family.

These lists are excerpted from The Best Doctors in America 2009-2010 database, which includes over 45,000 doctors in more than 40 medical specialties.

The Best Doctors in America database is compiled and maintained by Best Doctors, Inc. For more information, visit www.bestdoctors.com, or contact Best Doctors by telephone at 800-675-1199 or by e-mail at research@bestdoctors.com. Please note that lists of doctors are not available on the Best Doctors web site.

Best Doctors, Inc., has used its best efforts in assembling material for this list, but does not warrant that the information contained herein is complete or accurate, and does not assume, and hereby disclaims, any liability to any person for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions herein, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause.

Copyright 2010, Best Doctors, Inc. Used under license, all rights reserved. This list, or any parts thereof, must not be reproduced in any form without written permission from Best Doctors, Inc. No commercial use of the information in this list may be made without the permission of Best Doctors, Inc. No fees may be charged, directly or indirectly, for the use of the information in this list without permission.

"Best Doctors", "The Best Doctors in America" and the Best Doctors star-in-cross logo are registered trademarks of Best Doctors, Inc. in the U.S. and other countries, and are used under license.

Stuart Berger and Julie Biller

Stuart Berger, M.D., professor of pediatrics, Medical College of Wisconsin; medical director, Herma Heart Center, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Julie A. Biller, M.D., professor of medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin; director, adult cystic fibrosis program at Froedtert Hospital; pulmonology, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Q: How did you meet?

A: We met when Stu was a third year medical student and Julie was a junior at UW-Madison. Stu was studying in the library during a surgery rotation. Julie, also studying there, noticed that Stu was eating a green pepper for a snack. She was a nutrition major in college and appreciated the importance of a healthy diet. She walked over to Stu’s table and told him how impressed she was with his choice of snack. The rest is history.

Q: Was it love at first sight?

A: Of course.

Q: What are your special interests outside of your occupation?

A: Stu’s interests are watching sports, football and basketball in particular. He’s also very involved in exercise, specifically running and biking. In addition, Stu has a tremendous passion for music, especially jazz. He plays the trumpet and is now once again taking trumpet lessons. Julie’s interests are reading English murder mysteries, watching PBS and BBC America, along with cooking. She also has gotten quite adept at putting in earplugs when Stu practices the trumpet.

Our common interests certainly do include music as well as exercise, specifically walks with Herman, our 6-year-old black lab.

Q: How do you find time for each other with your demanding careers in the medical profession?

A: We spend a fair amount of time at work and doing work-related activities. Working out call schedules and other schedules in general (including vacation schedules) is very complicated.

Balance in life is very important and this is Julie’s biggest challenge. When the children were younger, she worked part time so she could have the time she needed with them. As they got older and more independent, she began to work full time. She probably could have a second career in the military with the strategic planning skills she has developed arranging time with Stu, family vacations and attending school conferences.

Q: How did you decide on your medical specialty?

A: Throughout medical school Stu always enjoyed pediatrics and taking care of children. He gravitated toward that specialty by the time he was a third-year medical student. He had a very difficult time deciding what subspecialty within pediatrics he would do. He was extremely interested in hematology/oncology. When he was a pediatric resident in Chicago, however, it became clear to him that cardiology also had much to offer.

Julie liked the variety of problems encountered in internal medicine. She briefly toyed with entering the field of hepatology, but decided some training in pulmonary and critical care would help her take care of the complexities of those patients. During that training, she decided she really enjoyed caring for those with breathing issues.


Eric Luy and Ria Chiu

Eric Luy, M.D., staff physician, primary care initiative, Lincoln Avenue Clinic

Asriani (Ria) Chiu, associate professor of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Q: How did you meet?

A: We met during our senior year in high school when we tested and interviewed for the Target MD program, a seven-year combined premedicine and medical school program at UW-Milwaukee. What was interesting is that our parents gravitated toward each other right away during the interview process and started to share stories about their children.

Q: Was it love at first sight?

A: No, it was not love at first sight. My wife thought I was kind of geeky. I thought she was a bookworm. However, we became friends and then best friends. Then my feelings for her changed, and I guess I kind of "wore her down."

Q: What are your special interests outside of your occupation?

A: We love to travel, but we do not travel as often anymore because of our kids. We love to read various books like the "Lord of Rings" trilogy, the "Chronicles of Narnia" series and "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series. We also enjoy movies like "Star Trek" and "Star Wars."

Q: How do you find time for each other with your demanding careers in the medical profession?

A: We understand our career demands — from long hours to last-minute emergencies. We try to be flexible and be there for each other. We also have great family support.

Q: How did you decide on your medical specialty?

Ria: I am an allergist-immunologist. I like being able to focus on one specialty, and I love being able to see kids and adults (seeing whole families) and improving their quality of life.

Eric: I was undecided between general surgery and internal medicine. I actually did two years of general surgery, which was a great experience. However, my heart was in internal medicine and I subsequently switched to that specialty.


Sajani and Neelesh Tipnis

Sajani Tipnis, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics, neonatology, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Neelesh Tipnis, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics, gastroenterology, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Q: How did you meet?

A: We met in medical school on the first day of orientation at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Little did we know it, we almost met before medical school. During the interview process, you begin to meet other candidates doing the "circuit." We had some common friends and decided to go have drinks and compare notes as a group. Neel ended up cancelling, thus as fate would have it, we didn’t meet until the first days of medical school.

Q: Was it love at first sight?

The Tipnises say it depends which one you ask.

Sajani: No.

Neel: Yes. We were both pretty dedicated students and spent most of the first two years of school with our noses buried in our books. We mingled occasionally at med school parties as social circles crossed. During third year of medical school, we were assigned to the same medicine rotation at the VA. That’s when I decided that Sajani was gorgeous and asked her to go out on a date — seven times over three or four months — before she agreed. Even then it took some mediation from our friends and a little deceit to actually get her out on that first date.

Q: What are your special interests outside of your occupation?

A: We have two shared interests — travelling and our boys. We like to do family things during our spare time since we spend 10 to 12 hours a day in the hospital. In the summer, we’ll spend free weekends at the lake or biking. We’re not sure if we’ve completely adapted to Wisconsin winters yet. Usually we’ll do indoor activities such as roller-skating.

Q: How do you find time for each other with your demanding careers in the medical profession?

Sajani: Most nights it seems like we’re lucky to just fall asleep next to each other, if we’re even both at home. If our 3- and 8-year-old kids manage to get to bed a little early, we’ll sneak out to the hot tub for a few minutes of relaxation. It can be tough at times.

Neel: We have two resources that really help us get some quality time together — baby sitters and grandparents. We usually manage to get one or two date nights a month with their help.

Q: How did you decide on your medical specialty?

Sajani: I always thought I’d be a general pediatrician. It wasn’t until the third year of residency that I realized I didn’t like clinics and preferred in-patient pediatrics. Neonatology was a natural choice.

Neel: I flip-flopped my career choice almost as much as some politicians change positions on political issues. My final choice came down to pediatric cardiology and gastroenterology.


Eric and Neil Luy

Eric Luy, M.D., staff physician, primary care initiative, Lincoln Avenue Clinic

Neil Luy, M.D., staff physician, primary care initiative, Sargeant Internal Medicine Clinic

Q: Do you have any interesting stories about the two of you growing up? Did you always want to be physicians?

Eric: Neil was the baby of the family, and I was the oldest. I always gave Neil a hard time, but we were also close and shared a lot of common interests.

Neil: One story I remember fondly about Eric which plays to that typical oldest to youngest sibling interaction, was when I was about 7 or 8 years of age. Eric had spent several hours building a snow fortress. One of my cousins and I decided to play in Eric’s fortress and collapsed the walls. Eric got so angry that he decided to throw ice balls at us, forcing us to run into the heavy snow in the yard. He has become far kinder to me since that time.

Growing up being exposed to nothing but the health care field, first with my father and then my brothers, made my decision to become a physician rather easy at an early age.

Q: Is there any friendly competition going on between the two of you?

Eric: We work for the Medical College of Wisconsin and Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital. Lots of staff get us mixed up because we look and act the same way. I like to say that I am the smarter and more handsome physician, but then Neil says the same thing.

Neil: I would not say that there is any friendly competition between the two of us. What I would say, and I may not be able to live this down, is that there has probably been some degree of envy toward my brothers’ accomplishments. I likely used that as motivation for myself to even attempt to accomplish as much as they have.

Q: The medical profession seems to run in your family. How many members of your immediate family are in the medical field and what do they do?

A: Our father Enrique, is a general surgeon; our mom Eugenia, is a registered nurse; our brother Jeff, is a cardiologist; his wife Anh Dai, is an allergist; and so is Eric’s wife, Ria.

Q: What are your special interests (hobbies) outside of your occupation and do you two share any of these interests?

A: We have always been big Green Bay Packer fans. We try to watch the majority of the games together, a tradition that dates back to the 1995 NFC Championship game against the Cowboys. We also share a love for science fiction movies and, back when I had the time to read often, a love for war novels, especially Tom Clancy.

Q: How did you decide on your specialty?

Eric: I was undecided between general surgery and internal medicine. I actually did two years of general surgery which was a great experience. However, my heart was in internal medicine and subsequently switched to that residency program.

Neil: I just found internal medicine to be an intellectually challenging field. I found great satisfaction in having the ability to deal with multiple complex disease states.


Peter and Michele Frommelt

Peter Frommelt, M.D., professor of pediatrics, pediatric cardiologist, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Michele Frommelt, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics, pediatric cardiologist, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Q: How did you meet?

A: We met while training for pediatric cardiology during fellowship at the University of Michigan. We were in the same year of training and became friends (working very hard — misery loves company) before any romance started. We have very different backgrounds with Michele from Long Island and Peter from Iowa.

Q: Was it love at first sight?

A: Peter did not realize that Michele had any romantic interest until New Year’s Eve that first year of training when she had a party at her apartment. A New Year’s kiss at midnight made it clear that we were becoming more than friends, and we started dating after that. (Although Peter insisted that the romance be kept a secret from the cardiology staff, which Michele found funny and tried to flaunt by holding hands in public places in the hospital whenever possible.)

Q: What are your special interests outside of your occupation?

A: Our children make our world go round and they are our most enjoyable special interest. We love spending time with them, both at home and with their activities. We also both love sports and are crazy Marquette and Packers fans, which we have unfortunately transmitted to all four of our children. (Crying after big losses is fairly routine at our house, which was a common event a few months ago with the heartbreaking MU and Packers losses.) We also both love to golf and we play together as often as our schedules allow at home and wherever/whenever we travel. Marquette basketball games in the winter and golf in the spring, summer and fall are great outlets for us and the family.

Q: How do you find time for each other with your demanding careers in the medical profession?

A: We both find our job (we essentially do exactly the same thing) interesting and challenging, so we don’t find it burdensome or aggravating to discuss our work lives together when we get home. We see each other as our most reliable consultant. We try to eat our dinner together and talk about the day. Michele is a fabulous cook (she learned from her Italian mother) and loves to make different dishes that we both enjoy. Golf takes two to four hours to play so that is a great time together without outside distractions, except for the frustrations of the game itself, which can make us uncommunicative at times on the course.

Q: How did you decide on your medical specialty?

A: We both found the most interesting and energetic teachers we encountered in medical school and pediatric residency were pediatric cardiologists, so those role models made that field an easy choice.