Outpatient services: CJW Medical Center, St. Francis Hospital, and Virginia Endoscopy Group
Originally from New Hampshire, Dr. Jeff LaFond enjoyed the many winter sports New England has to offer as well as spending time on the lakes. However, after high school he moved to Washington, D.C., where he completed his bachelor’s degree in psychology with special honors and medical school at The George Washington University. He also completed the master’s program in physiology and biophysics at Georgetown University.
While he never lost his passion for New England sports, he did lose his cold weather edge and decided to continue moving south. After completing medical school, he and his wife moved to Charlottesville for his residency and fellowship at the University of Virginia. During his residency he received the prestigious Mulholland Society Resident and Fellow Teaching Award, recognizing his commitment to teaching medical students and for having a positive influence on their careers. He was also fortunate to receive the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) Emerging Liver Scholars Award and was subsequently chosen to serve as an AASLD Fellow Ambassador. During his gastrointestinal fellowship he was awarded the Stuart and Betsy Houston Award for Excellence in Fellowship. He was also selected by his peers to receive the Carl L. Berg Most Valuable Player Award, recognizing his dedication to “providing service above and beyond the call of duty and being an all-around team player.”
Dr. LaFond enjoys building long-term patient relationships through getting to know his patients in the clinic and by performing procedures when necessary. His specific interests within gastroenterology include inflammatory bowel disease, chronic liver disease, GERD, dysphagia, the evolving role of GI physicians in obesity management, and colon cancer screening.
In his spare time he enjoys cooking, the outdoors and traveling with his family, which includes his young daughter and son.
Certifications: Internal Medicine 2010, Gastroenterology 2014
Dr. Jonathan Gaspar grew up in Virginia’s Northern Neck and graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Cognitive Science. Strong positive influences from his father and grandfather, both physicians, combined with a love for patient care, made his decision to pursue a career in medicine an easy one. After college Dr. Gaspar went on to earn his medical degree at the Medical College of Virginia, where he also met his wife, Shakun Gupta, who is now a pediatrician. He then went to Chicago for seven years and completed an internal medicine residency, where he was also elected chief resident. He then completed his Fellowship in Gastroenterology. During his fellowship, he was selected as the Department of Medicine Fellow of the Year both in 2012 and 2013.
Following his training, Dr. Gaspar was selected for an Advanced Endoscopy Fellowship at the University of Virginia. During this year he developed expertise in ERCP, Endoscopic Ultrasound with fine needle aspiration, luminal stenting, and advanced polypectomy/EMR for large polyps in the colon and throughout the GI tract. After two years in private practice in Northern Virginia, he has returned to Richmond.
Dr. Gaspar’s interests in GI include disorders of the pancreas and biliary systems, endoscopic management of GI cancers, gastrointestinal polyps, Barrett’s esophagus, peptic ulcer disease, GI bleeding, and colorectal cancer screening.
During his free time Dr. Gaspar enjoys spending time with his wife and son, traveling, all sports—especially football and tennis—and is an avid foodie.
Certifications: Board Certified in Gastroenterology, 2012, and Internal Medicine, 2009
Dr. Talreja is originally from Virginia Beach, VA. In 2002, he completed a Bachelor of Arts with distinction in Biology at the University of Virginia. In 2006, he attained his Doctor of Medicine at the Medical College of Virginia/VCU School of Medicine. He then went on to complete his Internship, Internal Medicine Residency, and Gastroenterology Fellowship at the University of Virginia. During his fellowship, he was selected as the 2010 Department of Medicine Fellow of the Year. In 2011, he was the recipient of the UVA McPherson Award for Excellence in Clinical Research and he was the international recipient of the Yang K. Chen Fellowship Program. He was selected as the 2011-2012 Chief Fellow and was the recipient of the Carl L. Berg Most Valuable Player Award in 2012.
Following his training at UVA, he was selected for an Advanced Endoscopy Fellowship at Harvard Medical School, which he completed in June 2013. During this fellowship, he trained under multiple internationally recognized experts in the field at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham & Women’s Hospital, including Christopher Thompson, MD (BWH) and William Brugge, MD (MGH). He gained expertise in ERCP, endoscopic ultrasound, endoluminal stenting, radiofrequency ablation and cryotherapy for Barrett’s esophagus, endoscopic mucosal resection, single balloon enteroscopy, endoscopic suturing, bariatric endoscopy and treatment of post-operative leaks and fistulae.
Dr. Talreja’s areas of interest include colon cancer screening and removal of polyps, disorders of the biliary tract and pancreas, endoscopic management of GI cancers, gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), Barrett’s esophagus, bariatric endoscopy, peptic ulcer disease, management of GI bleeding, difficulty swallowing, inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease), irritable bowel syndrome, changes in bowel habits, GI motility disorders,
Since starting at GSI, Dr. Talreja was selected as the 2014 co-director and subsequently the 2015 director of the American College of Gastroenterology’s regional continuing medical education course held in Williamsburg. In 2017, he was selected as a Fellow of the American College of Gastroenterology. Dr. Talreja is a member of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and the American Gastroenterological Association.In his free time, Dr. Talreja enjoys spending time with his wife and son, reading, basketball, soccer, and visual arts. He and his wife are actively involved in the Richmond based non-profit organization HCB2 – Hitting Cancer Below the Belt, which helps promote awareness for colon cancer screening. Dr. Talreja has participated in multiple colonoscopy day events, where he has voluntarily performed colonoscopies for the underserved population. He and his wife are also actively involved in the annual Wine, Women and Shoes event, which helps promote awareness and raise money for the Forensic Nursing clinic at St Mary’s Hospital.
Outpatient services: Virginia Endoscopy Group – North Side, HenricoForest and Parham, and Henrico ASC
Certifications: Board Certified in Gastroenterology, 2016
Dr. Bradenham Jr. is a native Richmond, and second-generation gastroenterologist. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at Washington and Lee University in 2006. He subsequently attended and graduated from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 2010. Residency training then brought Dr. Bradenham Jr. and his physician wife, Courtney Bradenham, to Saint Louis, Missouri. After completing three years of Internal Medicine residency training at Washington University’s Barnes-Jewish Hospital, he spent the next three years in the Gastroenterology & Hepatology fellowship at Saint Louis University.
After six years in Saint Louis, in 2016 he returned home to Richmond, Virginia and joined GSI. Dr. Bradenham Jr. cares for patients suffering from all gastrointestinal diseases; however, he has specific interests in the evaluation and management of pre-cancerous and malignant disease throughout the GI tract, liver disease, gastrointestinal motility disorders and the future of endoscopic weight loss solutions.
Primary hospital: Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital
Outpatient services: Virginia Endoscopy Group (Northside, Staples Mill Rd), and (Southside, Midlothian Plaza), St. Francis Hospital, St. Francis outpatient Johnston-Willis Hospital, Johnston-Willis outpatient, Chippenham Hospital, Chippenham outpatient
Certifications: Board Certified in Gastroenterology, 2008
Dr. Diego Baltodano has been with GSI since 2013. He received his Doctor of Medicine in 1999 from the Universidad de Costa Rica. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine in 2003 at SUNY Upstate Medical University.
In 2008, he completed his fellowship in gastroenterology at SUNY Upstate Medical University, and since then he has practiced gastroenterology at the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, Va.
Request an Appointment with Dr. J. Diego Baltodano
Outpatient services: Virginia Endoscopy Group (Northside, Staples Mill Road) , St. Mary’s Hospital
Board Certified in Gastroenterology, 2012
A third generation physician, Dr. Thanjan studied as an undergraduate at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He graduated Summa Cum Laude and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 2002. He attained his Doctor of Medicine in 2006 from the George Washington University School of Medicine. From D.C., Dr. Thanjan completed his Internal Medicine residency (2009) at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center in New York. From 2009 to 2012, Dr. Thanjan completed his Gastroenterology fellowship at Albany Medical College in New York.
His memberships have included Phi Beta Kappa, American Gastroenterological Association, American College of Gastroenterology, and American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.
He manages general gastrointestinal diseases and performs upper GI endoscopy and colonoscopy. Dr. Thanjan’s areas of interest include gastroesophageal reflux disease, peptic ulcer disease, constipation, diarrhea, colorectal cancer screening, hemorrhoid banding, and liver diseases including Hepatitis B and C.
With his excellent training, GSI was happy to welcome him into the practice in 2012. He has been a valuable addition to our group. He is accepting new patients.
Dr. Thanjan, his wife Lisa, and his daughter enjoy spending time with family and friends, exploring the outdoors, and trying different cuisines.
Outpatient services: Virginia Endoscopy Group (Northside, Staples Mill Road), and (Southside, Midlothian Plaza), St. Mary’s Hospital, St. Mary’s outpatient
Certifications: Board Certified in Gastroenterology, 2001
Dr. Souheil Abou-Assi has been with GSI since 2006. A native of Abadieh, Lebanon, Souheil received his Bachelor of Science degree from College la Sagesse there. He attended Saint Joseph University in Beirut from 1988 to 1995, attaining his Doctor of Medicine degree. He then travelled to America and did his Internship in Internal Medicine at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Camden, New Jersey. He went on to complete his Residency there in 1998.
From 1998 to 2001, Dr. Abou-Assi trained at the Medical College of Virginia as a Fellow in Gastroenterology and Hepatology. He practiced at MCV and at McGuire Veteran’s Administration Medical Center as an assistant professor of medicine in Gastroenterology and Hepatology until the end of 2005. During his tenure at the VA, Dr. Abou-Assi served on the steering committee of the Advanced Clinic Access and also as the Director of GI/Hepatology outpatient services.
Dr. Abou-Assi became busy very quickly upon joining GSI in 2006; he has developed a loyal following of patients and a steady stream of new patient referrals. He is known for his boundless energy as well as his commitment to getting the most out of each day.
Dr. Abou-Assi’s areas of interest are general gastrointestinal disorders including endoscopy and colonoscopy, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), nutrition, liver diseases, endoscopic treatments of Barrett’s esophagus, endoscopic management of gastrointestinal cancers, endoscopic ultrasound, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP), pancreatic diseases (pancreas cysts, pancreas cancer, pancreatitis, and pseudocysts), bile duct strictures and stones and endoscopic removal of large polyps and early cancers.
Dr. Abou-Assi is an active member of the Medical Executive Committee and the Physician Excellence Committee of Saint Mary’s hospital.
Dr. Abou-Assi is fluent in three languages, English, Arabic and French. His hobbies and interests include biking, playing tennis, reading, traveling and fishing.
Outpatient services: Virginia Endoscopy Group (Southside, Midlothian Plaza), Johnston-Willis Hospital, Johnston-Willis outpatient, Chippenham Hospital, Chippenham outpatient
Certifications: Board Certified in Gastroenterology, 1993; recertified 2004
Dr. Henry Ellett, a Charlottesville, Va., native, received his B.A. from the University of Virginia in 1982 and went on to attain his M.D. at the Medical College of Virginia. He also did his internship, residency and fellowship in Gastroenterology at MCV before beginning private practice in 1993.
Dr. Ellett practiced Gastroenterology for nine years in the Metropolitan area before joining Gastrointestinal Specialists in 2002. He enjoys a very busy practice on the Southside of Richmond. His drive and enthusiasm set the fast pace for his practice.
Primary hospitals: Henrico Doctors (Forest), Henrico Doctors (Parham)
Outpatient services: Virginia Endoscopy Group (Northside, Staples Mill Road) and (Southside, Midlothian Plaza), Henrico Doctors (both Forest and Parham), Henrico Doctors’ ASC.
Certifications: Board Certified in Gastroenterology, 1991; recertified 2012
Dr. Michael Farrell was born in Cleveland Ohio and grew up in McLean, VA. He spent eight years in Charlottesville at the University of Virginia where he earned both his undergraduate and medical degrees (BA with distinction in Economics and Doctor of Medicine). His internship and residency in Internal Medicine were both done at The University of Connecticut, finishing in 1988. Dr. Farrell then returned to Virginia and completed his fellowship in Gastroenterology at The Medical College of Virginia/VCU in 1990.
After fellowship he stayed in Richmond and went in to practice with Dr. Ben Bradenham where together they formed Henrico Gastrointestinal Specialists. In 1994 the two of them joined forces with GSI and have been an integral part of our group ever since.
Dr. Farrell has a special clinical interest in advanced biliary endoscopy and ERCP for the treatment of pancreatic, biliary and liver diseases. He is also interested in inflammatory bowel diseases and general gastroenterology.
He holds an academic appointment at The Medical College of Virginia and has served as the chair of medicine/family practice at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital. He served as staff representative of the medical staff section of national American Medical Association meetings for many years. For 9 years Dr. Farrell supervised the Gastroenterology rotation for Hanover /VCU family practice residency program. He is committed to continuing medical education and has received the AMA physician recognition award for this.
A “lifelong student,” Dr. Farrell has an interest in international health issues. He has traveled with cultural exchange GI programs in Africa and Russia.
When he is not working, he spends time as a “frustrated golfer,” “Dad”, “Grandpa” and “hopeless UVA and Redskin fan”. He is enjoying following his new favorite college basketball team – the VCU Rams.
Primary hospital: Henrico Doctors Hospital – Forest
Outpatient services: Virginia Endoscopy Group (Northside, Staples Mill Road) and (Southside, Midlothian Plaza), Henrico Doctors (both Forest and Parham), Henrico Doctors’ ASC
Certifications: Board Certified in Gastroenterology, 1987
Dr. William Thomas Brand was born in Staunton, Va., and grew up in Roanoke, Va. He received his B.A. from the University of Virginia in 1976 and his M.D. at the Medical College of Virginia in 1980. Dr. Brand excelled academically, achieving membership in Phi Beta Kappa honor society and receiving the Robert C. Ryan Pathology Award in 1977.
He completed his Gastroenterology Fellowship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center from 1984-1986; this was followed by a year as Director of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and a year as the Director of Gastroenterology Service at Eisenhower Army Medical Center. In recognition of his achievements while serving in the military, Dr. Brand was awarded an Army Commendation Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal.
He has served as the Chief of Staff at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital, and he currently serves as the Chairman of the Endoscopy Committee. GSI welcomed him into our practice in 1988, and since then he has been named one of the area’s “Top Docs” so often we have lost count.
Dr. Brand’s interests include music, travel, UVA sports, and Virginia history. His wife, Lisa, has been active with The Richmond Academy of Medicine Alliance and with the Council of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Request an Appointment with Dr. William Thomas Brand Jr.
Welcome to our practice. We look forward to seeing you, and want to thank you for giving us the chance to collaborate with you in your GI care.
To our patients and our referring provider offices:
After careful consideration and with the support from the Commonwealth of Virginia, Gastrointestinal Specialists, Inc., has resumed all elective surgical procedures, including screening colonoscopy, at the Virginia Endoscopy Group and all area hospitals. For office visits, our primary clinics are open for those patients who need to be seen in person however, we are continuing to offer telemedicine for most patients. To make an appointment for a surgical procedure, an office visit or a telemed visit, please contact us at 804.285.8206. Please see information on our homepage that outlines our commitment to safety and the increased precautions we are taking.
Your friends at Gastrointestinal Specialists, Inc