Meet MCO

MCO Director and Board

Dr.  Laura Layer, MCO Director

Laura Layer grew up in a Christian home in Sanford, Florida.  Her father was the county superintendent of schools and her mother was an algebra teacher.  She became a believer in college after experiencing true Christian community there through the ministries of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.  She has degrees from Duke University, Vanderbilt University Medical School, and Westminster Theological Seminary (Masters of Missiology).  Laura completed her residency in pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  She served as a staff pediatrician at Esperanza Health Center for 25 years and still sees patients there approximately one day a week.

Dr. Layer has been a regular attender and then member of Tenth Presbyterian Church beginning in 1989.  Since joining Tenth she has served at various times in the ministries of Tenth International Fellowship, CityLight (formerly the name of the single adult group), Global Outreach, the Medical Campus Outreach Board of Directors (2005 till recently), and the East Oak Lane Bible study.  Laura has also served on two pastoral search committees and is currently Tenth’s representative on the Fraternal Relations Team of the Philadelphia Presbytery.

Because Laura was led to Christ under the auspices of two campus ministries, she sees their vital role in Kingdom work.  She was an active participant in her medical school Bible study and local church at Vanderbilt and found those fellowships vital to her Christian formation.  “Medical Campus Outreach is a decades old ministry of Tenth Presbyterian Church and by God’s grace has the fruit to show for it.  In partnership with Tenth and other like-minded churches we have been able to count over 50 “alumni” who have gone to serve overseas or in medically needy areas of the United States.  Some have called us the best missionary recruiting agency in the city of Philadelphia!  MCO is a logical and strategic part of city outreach for Tenth, the Philadelphia Presbytery, and other churches with which we partner.  Campus ministry, particularly healthcare ministry, is uniquely important here as Philadelphia has the most healthcare campuses of any major U.S. city.  MCO shepherds, disciples, and mentors its students through Bible studies, special speakers and trainings, one-on-one practitioner-student relationships, and opportunities for community living arrangements.  In partnership with Esperanza Health Center, we help to equip future healthcare providers to pray and share Jesus’ love with people through the Summer Medical Institute and our quarterly neighborhood outreaches.  And MCO does all of this with 2 ½ paid staff and a large group of wonderful, godly, and dedicated volunteers.  God is good and has sustained us; we seek His will as we move forward into our growing future ministry.”

Dr. Karen Fritz, Chairwoman

Karen is a Neonatologist on faculty at Drexel University College of Medicine.  She loves to be with students and to mentor and disciple them.  She helps with all aspects of MCO – and helps to direct the ministry.  Karen loves to be with people, to cook, eat chocolate, walk, travel, garden, and hug her cat Clyde and her husband Lewis. She has learned much through suffering through many health issues and has seen the power of doing one-on-one discipleship with people.

John Esterhai

John Esterhai is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Graced to be married to Carol for 49 years, they are the parents of two adult children and grandparents of three girls and three boys. Carol and he are blessed by worship at Oreland Evangelical Presbyterian Church and opportunities to serve in Saint Lucia, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. John was a USAF Flight Surgeon from 1973-1979 before his thirty-six years of active surgical practice, research, and teaching at the University of Pennsylvania. He stopped working at Penn in 2016. Now on re-assignment, he delights in spending more time with his wife and family and volunteer, part-time, office based Orthopaedic patient care with Esperanza Health Center.  He also is a lifetime member of the Christian Medical and Dental Association.

Dr. Nasrat Ghattas

Dr. Ghattas is a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation. He has been a longtime supporter of Medical Campus Outreach. For many years he has served as an elder at Tenth Presbyterian Church, where he and his family are members.

Dr. Paul Grant

Paul Grant is retired and resides in Phoenixville, PA with his wife Janet.  They have 2 sons, Timothy (Bethany) and Kevin. Paul grew up in a Christian family in Minnesota, the third of 4 boys, and made a confession of faith at an early age.  He and Janet have been members of Tenth Presbyterian Church since 1975. Paul has served as a deacon and an elder at Tenth. Paul enjoys reading (especially history, biography, and science fiction), woodworking, home projects, and swimming.

Paul did his undergraduate work at Colorado College (chemistry) and graduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (PhD, biochemistry).  He came to Philadelphia in 1975 for a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. He spent approximately 20 years in laboratory research at Wisconsin, U Penn, and Temple University before transitioning into a 25-year career as a medical writer for Wyeth and Pfizer.  During his laboratory career, his research was in the areas of ribosomal structure and function, and cyclic nucleotide metabolism and function in human platelets. As a medical writer, he has worked on projects in analgesia, hematology, neuroscience, women’s health, and oncology.

Dr. Dan Hussar

Daniel A. Hussar is the recently retired Remington Professor of Pharmacy at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. He is a member of a number of professional organizations including the American Pharmacists Association, American Society of Health-system Pharmacists, Drug Information Association, and the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association. He has served as a member of the Board of Trustees and as Honorary President of the American Pharmacists Association, and is a Past President of the Drug Information Association and the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association. He has served on the Board of Directors of World Vision and the Board of Directors of Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International.

Dr. Hussar taught the Nonprescription Therapeutics course, coordinated the Pharmacy Law and Ethics course, and was a participant in the Pharmacotherapeutics courses at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy. His primary interests are in the areas of new drugs, drug interactions, and issues facing the profession of pharmacy, and he has written and spoken extensively on these subjects. For many years he has published articles in several professional journals on the new medications that have been marketed in the United States, and he is the author of the book, New Drugs (2008-2012) and Comparison Ratings. He serves as the Author/Editor of The Pharmacist Activist newsletter.  Dan and his family attend Church of the Savior in Wayne, PA.

Jeff Linton

Jeff Linton is a native of Wilmington. Sometime after hearing the gospel at a youth camp, Jeff committed his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. Jeff graduated from The College of Wooster (Mathematics), his first job in banking software at WSFS, in Wilmington. During this time, offering to help accompany worship songs on guitar, Jeff became active in a Friday night fellowship group for college and career aged young people in West Chester, where the Lord happened to arrange for Jeff to meet Alison, his future wife! They were married in 1982 and have been blessed with eight wonderful kids.

Currently a Senior Software Engineer with M&T Bank in Buffalo, Jeff is active in several small groups and bible studies. In his spare time, Jeff loves reading, especially the biographies of great Christians. Listening to messages online from godly teachers also provides great encouragement. The Lintons began attending Tenth in early 2005.

Dr. Katy Balk Meilleur

Dr. Meilleur completed a BS at the University of Maryland in biology and then worked in a genetics lab at the University of Pennsylvania.  She then pursued the BSN/MSN program at University of Pennsylvania as a second degree nursing student.  After completing her BSN, she worked as a neonatal intensive care nurse at the Hospital of the University of Penn (HUP) while finishing her MSN requirement.  She completed the MSN program as an acute/chronic pediatric nurse practitioner and worked in the newborn nursery of HUP while attending Johns Hopkins University for her PhD program.  Her interests in international health and genetics led her to do her dissertation with a neurologist at the National Institutes of Health who had a partnership in Bamako, Mali, West Africa. There she identified a novel genetic locus for a hereditary spastic paraplegia.  She also developed a scale to test knowledge and attitudes of Malians before and after receiving genetic testing for the first time.  After a postdoc in the National Human Genome Research Institute, she became a staff scientist in the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and continued do gene discovery studies and scale development in the pediatric neuromuscular section.  She is now an Assistant Clinical Investigator in the intramural program of National Institute of Nursing Research where she develops and studies clinical outcomes in pediatric neuromuscular disease and where she will also be performing clinical trials to develop treatments for these conditions.  While living in PA, Katy had been on the MCO volunteer staff team focused primarily at Penn and was the first SMI Director.  She is well known to MCO and has been coming to SMI for about a week each of the last 3 years as faculty.  She currently lives in MD with her husband Phillip and their two children. 

Dr. Linda Schmucker

Linda is married to Andrew and has 3 children, Nathaniel, Hannah and Elizabeth. They reside in Wayne with their cairn terrier named Haggis. She works part time as a radiologist with South Jersey Radiology Associates as a body imager. She’s been a member of Tenth Presbyterian Church since 1989 and is active in the children’s Bible school program and leading a women’s Bible study. She is a foodie, gardener, reader, and a tennis player. She enjoys piano and Words With Friends. She was raised in a Christian family and is thankful to God that from infancy she heard the gospel and was taught the scriptures. She knows that she is a sinner saved only by God’s grace through the death and resurrection of Jesus, a free gift which cannot be earned. Because of this, she longs to please God and serve Him and follow his ways. Thanks be to God for his incredible grace!

MCO Volunteer Staff

Dan and Charlene Chen

Charlene grew up in Bergen County, NJ, and became a Christian in college, at Penn State University, after months of God tugging at her heart and opening it to His grace.  She is a family physician, and works with her husband, Daniel Chen at Esperanza Health Center.  She did her medical school training at Jefferson Medical College, and residency at Crozer.  She attends Renewal Presbyterian Church in West Philadelphia, and in her free time, enjoys learning lessons from God through gardening and spending time with loved ones.  Through her time in healthcare fellowship in Philadelphia, she has learned more about God as the Ultimate Healer of our lives, and how He moves in our day to day interactions with others.

Dan grew up in Southern California in a Christian home and met Jesus in 3rd grade. He did his undergraduate work at Pomona College and since 2004, has been in Philadelphia where he did medical school at Jefferson Medical College, residency at Temple University Hospital and now has been serving as a Primary Care Physician in Internal Medicine at Esperanza Health Center since 2012. God has faithfully provided Christian community at every stage of his educational life and through various influences, including the Summer Medical Institute, God has introduced him to the depth and breadth to which He loves his those he has created. He loves intimately, wholly, and absolutely. Compelled by this wonderful truth, Dan tries to imitate Jesus to the best of his feeble abilities. Dan and his wife Charlene are active members at Renewal Presbyterian Church in West Philadelphia. He enjoys food and photography.  Dan and Charlene have two children and help to disciple healthcare students in Philadelphia and run the Renewal Healthcare breakfasts.

Randall Drain

Randall completed his medical degree at Temple University School of Medicine and specialized in pediatrics and public health and general and preventative medicine. He works in Philadelphia in solo practices in North Philadelphia and West Philadelphia and attends Tenth Presbyterian Church.  He helps to disciple male healthcare students, including those at MCO’s men’s house, “The Shabazz”.

Karen Fritz

Karen is a Neonatologist on faculty at Drexel University College of Medicine.  She loves to be with students and to mentor and disciple them.  She helps with all aspects of MCO – and helps to direct the ministry. She disciples healthcare women from all over Philadelphia and at the MCO Women’s house, “The Ohana”. She is also the faculty advisor and MCO staff team member at Drexel University College of Medicine.   Karen loves to be with people, to cook, eat chocolate, walk, travel, garden, and hug her cat Clyde and her husband Lewis. She has learned much through suffering through many health issues and has seen the power of doing one-on-one discipleship with people.

Pam Garcia

Pam grew up in the Philippines and moved to the United States as a little girl.  She initially trained as a nurse and worked at The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania before deciding to go to medical school.  Pam graduated from Drexel University College of Medicine and then did a Family Practice Residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.  After working at Esperanza Health Center in North Philadelphia as a Family Practice Physician for three years, she began work in the Family Medicine Services department at Penn Medicine.  She loves to work with OB patients, refugees and HIV positive patients.  She helps to run a support group for residents in Philadelphia.

Jibu Idicula

Jibu is an inpatient pharmacist at Lankenau Hospital. He graduated from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia as a pharmacist and is involved discipling pharmacy students and physical therapy students at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. Jibu is married to the former Jean Linton, attends City Church, lives in Broomall, PA.

Caryn Messinger

Caryn Messinger has worked as a nurse in both hospital and home care settings and has also enjoyed being involved with campus ministry over the past few years. After participating in SMI several times, she wanted to get more involved with MCO and is excited about the opportunity to blend her love for mentoring and healthcare through connecting with students and encouraging them in their walk with Christ.  Caryn helps to disciple healthcare women, especially at the MCO Women’s house, “The Ohana”.

Phil Scribano

Phil grew up in northern New Jersey, completed his undergraduate degree at Rutgers University and became a Christian through a Navigators bible study, where he learned the truth of the Scriptures at the end of his freshman year. He went on to study medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), School of Osteopathic Medicine. He is the program director for Safe Place: Center for Child Protection and Health, program director of the Child Abuse Pediatrics Fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and a professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. He attends Tenth Presbyterian Church, enjoys music (classical, rock, and jazz) and has four children with his wife, Jocelyn.

Rich Shoemaker

Rich grew up in Cheltenham, PA, and completed his medical degree at Temple University School of Medicine. He is an emergency medicine physician at Bryn Mawr Hospital and lives in Cheltenham with his wife and family. After his passion for serving Christ with all that he has, he also has competed for several seasons on the television show “American Ninja Warrior.” In a recent article, he stated that not only did he want the challenge of the competition, but he wanted to inspire others. “More and more I run into young men who want to delay the responsibilities of a family and career, and will openly admit that it is because they are not done ‘playing,’” he said. “Well I’m not done ‘playing’ either, and I have four children and a very rewarding full-time job as an ER doctor. I want young men to see that growing up into adulthood is nothing to fear. In fact, it makes all of life, including the really fun stuff, far more rewarding.”  Rich helps to disciple male medical students at Temple and also runs the MCO guys house, “The Shabazz” and disciples the healthcare students that live there.

MCO Administrative Staff

Woody Chipman, MCO Administrator

Woody grew up in Memphis, TN, and earned both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. Woody is MCO’s part-time administrator and helps with planning and scheduling events as well as maintaining our website, Facebook page and communications. He and his wife live in the Tacony neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia with their five kids. When not working or spending time with the family, he enjoys refereeing local youth and adult amateur soccer or watching the beautiful game on TV.

Holly Favino, Director of SMI

Holly is originally from San Diego, California, graduated from Wheaton College (IL) and received a master’s degree from New York University in print journalism. She serves as the Summer Medical Institute program director for Medical Campus Outreach and Esperanza Health Center and has a passion for helping people develop their relationship with Christ and sharing the good news of the gospel. She is a member of Tenth Presbyterian Church and lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her husband and five children. She likes to read and work on her vintage Volvo.

Joe German, Finance Director

Joe is originally from Washington state and obtained a BA from Western Washington University. He has lived in the Philadelphia area for more than 25 years and is a retired insurance executive who subsequently worked at several Christian ministries, including Esperanza Health Center as Finance Director. He has done the accounting and finance functions at Medical Campus Outreach since 2010. Joe has been a member of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Center City since 1987. He likes to SCUBA dive, make wine and bicycle, and splits his time between Philadelphia and Seattle.