Chief Medical Officer
VMD, Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist – USDA Accredited
Dr. Siebert's Bio
Dr. Marc Siebert is the owner and medical director of Heart of Chelsea Veterinary Group. A native of New Jersey, Dr. Siebert opened Heart Of Chelsea Veterinary Group as a one-doctor practice in 1999; it has since grown to a five-doctor practice supporting Chelsea and its pet community at large. He attended Rutgers University and received a bachelor’s degree in environmental science in 1987. He continued his education at the University of Pennsylvania College of Veterinary Medicine and was awarded his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 1993. Dr. Siebert is also a certified veterinary acupuncturist with the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society; in addition, he is a U.S. Department of Agriculture-accredited veterinarian.
Medical Director – Chelsea
DVM – USDA Accredited
Dr. Lang's Bio
Dr. Katja Lang grew up in the small town of Ardsley, New York, in Westchester County. Her love for all animals started at a young age, and she was always surrounded by all types of creatures big and small. Dr. Lang grew up next to a veterinary surgeon, who inspired her to follow her dreams of becoming a vet. Dr. Lang has always loved New Orleans and decided to enter Tulane University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in cell and molecular biology and sociology. Following her four years in New Orleans, Dr. Lang obtained her veterinary degree from Cornell University. She moved to New Jersey after her time was up in Ithaca and completed her internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Oradell Animal Hospital. She practiced in a small animal hospital in Brooklyn before joining the team at Heart Of Chelsea Veterinary Group. Her interests in veterinary medicine include surgery, cardiology, and internal medicine, but she loves seeing all types of interesting cases. She has two miniature dachshunds named Mardi and Lucy, and two turtles named Margie and Sheldon. In her free time, Dr. Lang enjoys traveling the world, cooking all types of cuisines, and hiking with her two pups!
Medical Director – Lower East Side
DVM – USDA Accredited
Dr. Chu's Bio
Dr. Jennifer Chu grew up in Queens, New York where she somehow convinced her parents to fill the house with a plethora of hamsters, guinea pigs, parakeets, goldfish, rabbits, and a snake. Dr. Chu knew early on she loved animals and would dedicate her life to helping them.
She graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with Honors then headed out to California for veterinary school. She graduated from Western University College of Veterinary Medicine with Honors. Despite enjoying the Cali lifestyle, her love of NYC and her family brought her back to the east coast.
One of her most memorable veterinary experiences entailed volunteering at the American Fondouk: a free veterinary clinic in Fez, Morocco. She spent a month catering to dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, and guinea pigs, and the humans that needed them.
Dr. Chu’s interests are ultrasonography, soft tissue surgery, and dental care. She believes that providing the best care for our furry family members enriches and expands the precious human-animal bond. Her favorite things are her family, the Jersey shore/beaches, traveling, yoga, and sushi.
Medical Director – Hell’s Kitchen
DVM – USDA Accredited
Dr. Torchia's Bio
Dr. Torchia grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with a horse and two beautiful golden retrievers. He studied a double major in Theatre and Veterinary Biomedical Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University. Outside of studying and working as a vet tech, his time was spent on stage or competing in ballroom dance. After completing his undergraduate studies, he enjoyed four sunny years at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, where he earned his DVM while working in the Intensive Care Unit and acting as a teaching assistant in clinical skills. He moved back to the North to complete a rotating internship at the Veterinary Emergency and Referral Group, then proceeded to work overnights in emergency and critical care for three years prior to joining Heart of Chelsea.
Now practicing family medicine, he is thankful for the opportunity to establish long-term relationships with his patients and their families. Dr. Torchia wants most for his clients to understand the health of their animals and be satisfied with their care. Professionally, he has found a passion for soft tissue surgery, wound management and cardiology. Outside of veterinary medicine, he still enjoys dancing and the arts whenever possible. When not spending time with friends or catching a Broadway show, he is found cooking Italian cuisine with his perfectly terrible cat, Mango, and a glass of wine.
DVM – USDA Accredited
Dr. Fracapane's Bio
Dr. Fracapane grew up in the northern New Jersey town of Fair Lawn. She attended Yale University, where she majored in molecular biology and swam competitively for four years as a division one athlete. Following her undergraduate years, she spent some time in Oregon working at the elephant department of a safari park before returning to the east coast. She enrolled as a veterinary student at Cornell University and spent four wonderful years in Ithaca, NY. After graduating with a degree in veterinary medicine, she continued her education by completing a one-year rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Oradell Animal Hospital in New Jersey, where she cultivated an interest in emergency medicine and neurology.
When she is not busy attending to the needs of her clients and patients, Dr. Fracapane continues to swim, run, cycle and hike. She is also an avid traveler and has spent time in five continents, including more recent travels to Peru, Nepal, Southeast Asia and Italy. She is excited to be a member of the talented team at Heart Of Chelsea Veterinary Group.
VMD – USDA Accredited
Dr. Higgins' Bio
Dr. Elizabeth Higgins grew up in northern New Jersey and knew from a very young age that she wanted to become a veterinarian. She received her BS in Biology from Boston College in 2006, and during that time pursued her interest in aquatic animals by volunteering in the research department at the New England Aquarium, Boston, MA. She received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 2011. Dr. Higgins received further training by completing a one-year rotating small animal internship at the Animal Medical Center in Manhattan. Dr. Higgins then spent four years practicing medicine as an emergency clinician at a large referral and emergency hospital in New Jersey.
Dr. Higgins is always eager to serve the pets of Manhattan once again with special interests in neurology, cardiology and soft tissue surgery. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, exploring the city and enjoying its culinary delights, cycling, skiing, pursuing her new found passion for sailing and playing with her long-haired chihuahua mix rescue, Goldie.
DVM, Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist – USDA Accredited
Dr. Nguyen's Bio
Dr. Allan Nguyen is an Associate Veterinarian at Heart Of Chelsea Veterinary Group and has been since June 2005. For his undergraduate studies, he attended California State Polytechnic University, Pomona where he received a bachelor’s degree in animal and veterinary sciences in 1997. In 1998, he began his veterinarian studies at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in the small Caribbean island of St. Kitts & Nevis and earned his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2001. Dr. Nguyen successfully completed an acupuncture program at Chi Institute: Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, Gainesville, Florida, 2007. He is a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Dr. Nguyen enjoys working with both small animals and pocket pets. His professional interests are soft tissue surgery, dentistry and oral surgery, and acupuncture.
Before joining the team at Heart Of Chelsea Veterinary Group, Dr. Nguyen worked in a small animal practice in Long Island, New York. He enjoys the company of two Himalayan/Persian cats named Carolina and Olly. Dr. Nguyen is an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys hiking, tennis, rollerblading, camping, scuba diving, photography, and world travel. Dr. Nguyen is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Animal Hospital Association, and the New York State Veterinary Medical Association.
BVMS – USDA Accredited
Dr. Bassman's Bio
Dr. Bassman received her BA in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998. After graduation, she worked in research on clinical trials for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and with a urologist in New York before going to vet school. She received her veterinary degree from the University of Glasgow, Scotland in 2009. After 5 years overseas, Diane returned to New York and completed a one-year rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Veterinary Emergency Referral Group in Brooklyn. This year fostered a keen interest in Emergency and Critical Care Medicine. She stayed on as an emergency doctor for a year in Brooklyn before moving to Los Angeles where she completed one year of an Emergency and Critical Care residency. After an additional year of working as an emergency clinician, she has returned to her East Coast roots and is thrilled to have joined the team working primarily at Heart Of Chelsea Veterinary Group. Her professional interests include stabilizing emergency cases, wound repair, Internal medicine, and soft tissue surgery. She enjoys following up on her cases and fostering long term relationships with her clients. She is also looking forward to expanding her knowledge of acupuncture and preventative medicine and plans on pursuing further education on these subjects.
In her spare time, Dr. Bassman can be found reading, cooking, traveling, exploring New York with friends, running and, weather permitting, hopes to continue her new found love of paddle boarding which she discovered while out in California!
DVM MS – USDA Accredited
Dr. McNulty's Bio
Born and raised in Owensboro, Kentucky, Dr. Chase McNulty knew from a young age that he would work with animals when he grew up. In kindergarten, his dream was to be a zookeeper, and by third grade, he had narrowed his professional options to either veterinarian or professional wrestler. Thankfully his love for animals won out, and he worked at several veterinary clinics from middle school through college. After studying biology and animal science at Western Kentucky University, Dr. McNulty obtained his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Master of Science degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In veterinary school, he loved his courses on companion animals, and also developed a passion for public and global health and international veterinary medicine. His research projects included studying infectious respiratory diseases in African buffalo in South Africa, food-borne diseases in Ecuadorean dairy cows, and herd health and reproduction in Nicaraguan cattle. However, Dr. McNulty’s love for companion animals and the relationships built with the people who take care of them led him to pursue a career in small animal general practice. After moving to New York and working at a veterinary clinic in Brooklyn, he is thrilled to be practicing with such a high caliber team as Heart Of Chelsea Veterinary Group.
When not working, Dr. McNulty enjoys traveling, spending time with his thirteen nieces and nephews, exploring New York City’s food and culture scene, and the occasional night of karaoke.
Dr. Summers' Bio
DVM – USDA Accredited
Dr. Stowell-Hardcastle's Bio
For most of her professional career, she worked in small animal hospitals in central Pennsylvania. She co-founded the Companion Animal Hospital of Selinsgrove in 1996. The hospital grew to a five doctor practice with both American Animal Hospital Association accreditation and Feline Gold Level Practice Certification. After selling the practice to her business partner in early 2019, she and her husband moved to Upper Manhattan along with their two dogs and one cat. In 2019, Dr. Stowell-Hardcastle founded Relief Veterinary Services and began working in hospitals in and around New York City, including Heart of Chelsea Veterinary Group. She officially joined Heart of Chelsea in October 2019.
Her interests include feline medicine, internal medicine, surgery, and using her Level 2 Fear Free Certification to make sure all her patients have low stress, enjoyable experience when coming in for their visits. In her spare time, Dr. Stowell-Hardcastle enjoys gardening, cooking, visiting NYC museums and restaurants, and traveling two-lane roads with her husband and dogs in their camper van.
Dr. Porfido's Bio
Dr. Porfido was born and raised in Manhattan, New York. Despite having grown up in an urban setting, she cannot remember a time when animals did not play an important role in her upbringing. From cats, dogs, birds, pocket pets, reptiles, and summers at horseback riding camps, her family always supported and embraced her love for animals. Her enthusiasm for science led her to earn a Bachelor of Science in Biology at Binghamton University. After working for many years as a veterinary technician, she decided to further advance her career within the field. She completed her veterinary degree at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, New York. During college breaks she pursued unique experiences, volunteering with the Veterinary Forensics/Anti-Cruelty team at the ASPCA, and traveling with the volunteer group VIDA to provide much-needed veterinary care to underserved communities in Costa Rica and Panama. Dr. Porfido went on to complete a one-year medicine and surgical internship program at the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. She continued to work with the ASPCA’s Forensics/Anti-Cruelty Group and shelter animals before going on to practice general medicine.
After working in Brooklyn for several years, she has returned to Manhattan to join the Heart of Chelsea team. Her interests within veterinary medicine include internal medicine, senior care, dentistry, and forensics/anti-cruelty. She is most passionate about educating her clients to enable them to make informed decisions regarding their beloved pets’ care. When not at work, she enjoys music concerts, Broadway musicals, traveling, but most of all she loves hanging out with her rescued pup Gidget!
Dr. Fontana's Bio
Dr. Fontana grew up in New York City with an inquisitive spirit, leading him to follow a career in veterinary medicine. The exhibits available from museums, aquariums, and zoos helped foster a passion for learning that was later solidified by various animals he had the opportunity to work with. One of his first memories caring for animals was made by nursing a small bird back to health that he found one summer while on a walk. From that moment on, he took every opportunity to immerse himself in programs such as working at the Central Park Zoo and volunteering at the New York Aquarium, where he would gain knowledge of all species. Dr. Fontana completed his bachelor’s degree in Biology at Fordham University before attending veterinary school at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. When he is not in the office, he can be found spending time with his two dogs Lorenzo and Mason, and cooking, traveling and going to see a Broadway show.
Dr. Becker's Bio
DVM – USDA Accredited
Dr. Papaioannou's Bio
When her lab coat is hung on a hook, Dr. P can be found vacationing with family in Greece, making homemade pasta with her Italian grandmother, and spending time with friends and her two dogs, Jack and Gino!
Debra attended Skidmore College where she received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing. Post-college, she was an account executive at an advertising firm. She joined the veterinary industry in 2006 and immediately knew she wanted to pursue a career in animal medicine. She received her Associate in Applied Science from LaGuardia Community College and became a Licensed Veterinary Technician after passing the Veterinary Technician National Examination in 2010. She has been with Heart of Chelsea ever since. Her professional interests include veterinary dentistry, anesthesia/surgical assisting, and keeping inpatient pets happy and comfortable during their stay at Heart of Chelsea. In her spare time, Debra enjoys reading, restorative yoga, and dancing to 80s tunes.
Rachel attended Stony Brook University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science and Biology. She worked as an Emergency Medical Technician for several years before going to medical school. While she was there, she realized that she truly wanted to work with animals and had to make a career change. She enrolled in the Veterinary Science program at Suffolk County Community College and received her New York State license as a Veterinary Technician in December of 2012 and now loves what she does! In her spare time, Rachel enjoys spending time with her two amazing dogs- Oreo, a Boston Terrier, and Sassy, a chihuahua mix.
Certified Veterinary Assistant
Aileen is a Certified Veterinary Assistant from central New Jersey and has had a love for animals starting at a very young age. She loved to bring all sorts of creatures home – ducks, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits and a slew of various small mammals that all needed her help — leaving her parents no choice but to let her keep and take care of them. She is a kind and thoughtful professional who loves all animals but has a soft spot in her heart for French Bulldogs. Her professional interests include animal behavior and welfare. On her off time, she loves anything involving the outdoors and hanging out with her Siamese mix, Opal.
Julio loves animals! His fascination began in childhood when he discovered how unique each of his pet’s personalities could be. He joined Heart of Chelsea in 2017 and now enjoys working with a large variety of patient breeds each day. Julio’s passion for pets extends to animal photography and when he’s not at the hospital you can find him taking wildlife photos or pet sitting around New York City.
Krisjan is a native New Yorker and has spent the last 13 years living in Astoria, Queens. She obtained her associate’s degree at Queensborough Community College and is now pursuing a Bachelors degree in Veterinary Technology at Mercy college. Krisjan plans to use her degree to open an animal sanctuary with a focus on rehabilitation, and she is passionate about continuing to be a voice for the animal population. In her spare time, Krisjan enjoys arts and crafts and loves spending time with her son Noah and rescued Chow Chow mix, Lucky.
Lauren has been a member of Heart of Chelsea since 2007 and is Fear-Free-Certified. With 15 years of working experience as a veterinary assistant, she brings her knowledge and love of all things furry and four-legged. A recent Brooklyn N.Y transplant, she made the move to New Jersey with her black cat Joey Roo. Her special interests include animal welfare and rights advocacy, animal behavior, cooking, tattoos and all things English Bulldog!
Natasha joined Heart of Chelsea Veterinary Group in June of 2013, a month after graduating from SUNY Oswego with a B.S. in Zoology. She is Puerto Rican and Ecuadorian and was raised in the Bronx, NY. A jack of all trades, Natasha loves to sing, dance, cook, play football, attempt DIY (do it yourself) creations and volunteer. Her ultimate goal is to join an organization where her passion for helping others can be best utilized to make a difference in various parts of the world. Natasha’s journey begins here at Heart of Chelsea, and she is loving every minute of her experiences with our patients and their awesome owners. She hopes to meet you and your loving pet soon!
Client Services Representative
Peter grew up on Long Island, NY and graduated from CUNY Hunter College with a bachelor’s degree in geography and anthropology, focusing on geographic information systems used for studies ranging from human population trends to archaeology and wildlife conservation. While attending school, he gained experience in animal care, rescue and veterinary fields.
After graduating he realized the veterinary field was the place for him, as he truly loves engaging with pets and their people and has done so since 2009. Peter lives in Queens with his rabbit Mariah Carrots & chihuahua Frida. His other passions include traveling, photography, baking, learning languages, paddling in his foldable kayak and playing the saxophone.
Client Services Representative
Client Services Representative
Mariah grew up in Pennsylvania and now lives in Brooklyn, NY. She began her career with animals at the age of sixteen, primarily focusing on small mammals and tropical fish. She has since joined the Heart of Chelsea team and enjoys her work as a client and patient advocate. In her spare time, Mariah enjoys fine art and spending time at home with her lovable mutt Sadie.
Client Services Representative
Client Services Representative
Tex Buell grew up in rural Nebraska and has been living and working with animals of all kinds his entire life. He is involved with the conservation of wildlife and natural grasslands back home and also volunteer’s weekly at a local shelter working with older and disabled dogs. After getting his start with Heart of Chelsea Veterinary Group as a client service representative out of the Chelsea office, Tex and his family moved to Portland, where he continues to be administrative support for the team. Tex is also a musician, visual artist and clothing designer.
Ilyse was born and raised in Massachusetts and completed her undergraduate degree in biology in NYC. She has always loved animals and currently has a papillon/chihuahua mix, Hope, and cat, Yoffi. She worked for Heart of Chelsea Veterinary Group for 3 years before moving to Colorado to attend CSU for her master’s degree in biomedical sciences and animal anatomy. Ilyse now works as one of our remote Client Service Representatives.
Originally from Virginia, Erin moved to New York City to pursue her dream of music. She has been written up in the New York Times, The New Yorker and The Village Voice, all applauding her haunting and heart felt musical performances. With a strong passion for animals, she has worked hard to find homes for feral cats throughout Brooklyn and Queens, while working closely with TNR groups to help control the homeless cat population. She shares her home with her husband Dan, her dog Chumley and her three cats Sterling, Fleas, and Groucho. Erin brings a special blend of compassion, humor, and empathy to her client interactions. She truly enjoys what she does, and it makes all the difference.
Growing up in Connecticut in an ever-expanding household full of animals, it’s no surprise that Jess has landed herself in the veterinary field. After studying journalism and sociology at Boston University, she moved down to New York where she has worked with animals since 2012. In her spare time, she loves being outdoors and exploring the national parks, riding her bike, and almost always has her nose in a book. She can’t wait to rescue a pup of her own but until then will continue to love everyone else’s!
Client Services Manager
A fifth-generation Chicagoan, Jody moved to New York City after receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatrical Design from Ithaca College. She enjoyed a successful freelance career as a Union Scenic Artist specializing in television, feature films, still photography and Broadway.
Her passion for animals, as well as her interest in working with people, took her career in a different direction and she brings more than ten years of client service experience in the veterinary profession to the wonderful client base at Heart Of Chelsea Veterinary Group. Her personal interests include painting, cooking, reading, and advanced hot yoga practice.
Tammy began her career at Heart of Chelsea in 2006. She first worked as a client service representative, then worked for a number of years as a veterinary assistant and eventually transitioned to the full-time role of Inventory Manager. Finding and satisfying special order medications and items for our pets and their parents is a challenging but, rewarding endeavor, and finding solutions is what Tammy does best! She has two cats, a tuxedo gal named Momma, and a ginger and white guy named Poppa. She’d love to add a puppy someday. In her spare time, Tammy loves to cook and be active. She’s recently discovered that she likes to “lift things up and put them down” and loves indoor rowing.
Hospital Manager – Lower East Side
It took Zhong a little while to finally decide that she wanted to care for and work with animals for the rest of her life. She knew that being a teacher, dentist, or even a scientist would leave her unsatisfied and unfulfilled. Working as an intern in two wildlife rehabilitation centers confirmed that she could not do anything else and now, as a licensed veterinary technician, she is whole and always excited to go to work and continue to help owners and animals alike. Although she can no longer practice wildlife rehabilitation due to her busy schedule with work, her cats, and her saltwater and freshwater fish tanks, she is still able to consult with other wildlife rehabilitators on cases when they need advice.
Jo was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. She obtained her BA in psychology from Hunter’s College before finding her niche in veterinary medicine. As an animal lover, Jo feels like our pets deserve to receive love and care as unconditionally as they give it. When she’s not at work, Jo enjoys discovering good music, sharing meals with friends and spending time with her cats, Monster, and Marvel.
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