THE BEST OF THE BEST
Our faculty consists of world-class doctors, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists, and techs who not only love their jobs, but are highly-skilled, have trained at some of the best universities, medical schools, and teaching hospitals in the world, and are gifted communicators and educators. Their desire is to pass on the passion to help and heal to the next generation of doctors. Many Sharp Memorial Hospital doctors, nurses, and HCPs work at Emerge, as two Sharp Memorial doctors are Co-Founders of Emerge. Our faculty members are listed here in alphabetical order by first name.
Dr. Amelia Simpson, MD
Dr. Andrea Austin, MD
Dr. Andrew Accardi, MD
Dr. Accardi as an Emergency Medicine physician at Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas, CA. He established Young Leaders in Healthcare with Scripps Encinitas to provide a forum for high school students to learn about the Health Care System and its breadth of career opportunities.
Dr. Andrew Eads, MD & Emerge Co-Founder
Dr. Eads grew up in El Toro, California. He received his BS in Chemistry from UC Berkeley where he was an instructor for the Berkeley MCAT review course. He received his Masters in Public Health from UCLA. He attended the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine where he served on the Admissions Committee from 2007-2011. He completed his residency at University of Southern California + Los Angeles County Hospital, graduating as Chief Resident. He is well known for his work on the award-winning documentary “Code Black” (http://codeblackmovie.com). He and his wife Melissa have two kids and reside in Carlsbad, California.
Dr. Andrew Williamson, MD
Dr. Williamson is an emergency medicine physician at Sharp Memorial Hospital. He grew up in Sudbury Massachusetts and received his Bachelor of Science degree at Trinity College (In Hartford, CT). He went on to receive his Medical Degree from Tufts University School of Medicine (Boston, MA). Dr. Williamson came to San Diego to complete his Emergency Medicine residency at Kaiser Permanente. An “All-American Award” for lacrosse, he played at the collegiate level at Trinity College. Surfing, hiking, and traveling are his current hobbies. Ask him about his medical mission trips in Peru, South Africa, Nicaragua, Mexico, and more!
Angela Ballew, HCP
Angela Ballew is an Emergency Medicine/Trauma technician at Sharp Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Asia Takeuchi, MD
Dr. Takeuchi was born in Hong Kong and moved all over the world before settling in Southern California. She received a B.S. in Animal Physiology and Neuroscience and a B.A. in Psychology from UCSD. While there, she also worked as a research assistant for both the Autism Lab of La Jolla (now the UCSD Autism Center of Excellence) and the UCSD Dept. of Emergency Medicine. She then received her medical degree from USC Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles. Returning to San Diego, Dr. Takeuchi completed a transitional residency at Scripps Mercy Hospital and an Emergency Medicine Residency and Ultrasound Fellowship at UCSD. For a short time, she also worked at Kaiser Zion and Rady Children’s Hospital. She currently maintains an Associate Professorship with the UCSD Dept. of Emergency Medicine, operates as a co-director for the UCSD School of Medicine Ultrasound Curriculum, and works the majority of her clinical shifts at Sharp Memorial Hospital. When not in the hospital, she spends time with her husband and rambunctious young daughter renovating their historic San Diego home.
Dr. Ben Brunetto, PsyD
photo and bio coming soon
Casey Lang, HCP
Casey Lang is an Emergency/Trauma Technician at Sharp Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Christanne Coffey, MD
Dr. Christanne Hoffman Coffey grew up in South Carolina and graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston in 2009. She went on to complete a transitional internship at Scripps Mercy Hospital before completing her Emergency Medicine Residency at UCSD in 2013, during which time she served as Chief Resident. After residency, she became the inaugural fellow in Wilderness Medicine at UC San Diego. Dr. Coffey is currently an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at UC San Diego. She also serves as the Wilderness Medicine Fellowship Director and co-director of the EMED 275 wilderness medicine elective and EMED 427 “Medicine in the Wild” wilderness medicine clerkship. Her interests include wilderness medicine education, travel medicine, hazardous marine life, survival at sea, diving medicine and extreme sports.
Dr. Christian McClung, MD
Dr. McClung is an Emergency Medicine physician at Palomar Medical Center. He attended St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada, West Indies. He completed his internship at UCLA Harbor View Medical center and residency at LAC+USC Medical Center.
Codi Daoust, HCP
Dr. Dale Mitchell, MD
Dr. Mitchell, MD was born in Maine and attended Boston College, graduating with a degree in Chemistry. He attended Georgetown University School of Medicine and went on to complete his residency in Obstetrics/Gynecology at the Naval Hospital in San Diego. He joined the Scripps Clinic Medical Group following active duty. He is currently the chair of their OB/GYN department and the Vice President of their Board of Directors. In his spare time he enjoys mountain biking, motorcycling, skiing, playing the guitar, and home brewing.
Danielle Salameh, HCP
Dr. David Hoffman, DO
Deanna Inai-Gordon, HCP
Deanna Inai-Gordon is an Emergency/Trauma Technician at Sharp Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Donald Blaskiewicz, MD
Dr. Blaskiewicz is a Neurosurgeon and Spine Surgeon in San Diego, CA.
Elena Giardino, RN
Elena Giardino is an Emergency Medicine nurse at Sharp Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Erin King, MD
Dr. Erin King earned her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering from Cornell University, and went on to earn her medical degree from Weill Cornell Medical College. After deciding to never endure another northeastern winter, she moved to San Diego in 2010 and completed an Emergency Medicine residency at UCSD, serving as chief resident. She joined Sharp Rees-Stealy’s Urgent Care in 2015 and currently serves as the Associate Medical Director for the Downtown Urgent Care. Outside of work, she enjoys playing in the outdoors and spending time with friends and family.
Dr. Garrett Sterling, MD
Dr. Garrett Sterling was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He lived in New Orleans after high school, then received his undergraduate degree in Physics from UCLA. He went to USC for medical school and completed his residency training at Los Angeles County Hospital in Emergency Medicine. When he is not in the hospital, he spends his time with his wife and daughter, as well as practicing amateur astronomy.
Dr. Gilbert Boswell, MD
Dr. Gilbert Boswell is a radiologist in San Diego, California. He received his medical degree from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine who specializes in diagnostic radiology. He has been in practice for more than 20 years and is on staff at the Naval Medical Center, San Diego.
Hayden Riley, RN
Hayden Riley is an Emergency Room Nurse at Sharp Memorial Hospital. During her 4th year at San Diego State University she worked as an ER technician and fell in love with the fast paced and challenging environment. She graduated with her BSN last May and was hired into the New Graduate Nurse Residency Program last August. She is originally from Phoenix, Arizona which has contributed to her love for hiking and being outdoors. She is also a Badminton State Champion and plays softball for the Sharp ER Co-ed team. She loves to travel, spend time with her family, and to teach the AMAZING LACERATION STATION.
Jane Rabun, RN
Jane Rabun is a staff nurse in the Emergency Room at Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, California. She provides direct patient care and mentors students and colleagues in critical situations. Jane has worked in Surgical, Cardiovascular, Trauma/Neuro ICU and ER for over 30 years and holds a Master’s degree in Burn/Emergency/Trauma Nursing. Jane has developed various curriculums in anatomy, physiology, and nursing and has taught students from high school to graduate levels. When not teaching or working in ER, Jane is training for or running in half marathons, supporting her two girls and husband, or traveling to new and exciting places.
Dr. Jasmine Lai, MD
Dr. Jasmine Lai grew up in San Diego, California, where she is a former graduate of Torrey Pines High School (Go Falcons!). She received her degrees In Physiological Science and Neuroscience from UCLA and attended UCSF School of Medicine where she served on the Admissions Committee. She completed her residency in OB/GYN at UCSD, and her fellowship in high risk obstetrics at the University of Washington. She is currently a Perinatologist working for Scripps Health. In her spare time, she and her family love eating and going to the zoo and beach.
Dr. Jeff Bonadio, MD
Dr. Jeff Bonadio has studied and practiced pathology for more than 35 years. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Marquette University. He graduated from the Medical College of Wisconsin. He completed his Internship in Pathology at the University of Washington and his first two Fellowships at the Seattle Children’s Hospital (Pediatric Pathology) and the University of Washington (Molecular Genetics). He then completed his residency in Anatomic Pathology at the University of Washington.
After completing his training, Dr. Bonadio was a member of the University of Michigan medical school faculty for eleven years. His laboratory was funded by the NIH and private sources. While there, he and his colleagues published almost 50 peer-reviewed original research papers. He also invented a form of gene therapy, which was patented and remains in commercial use today. This invention led to the formation of a biotechnology company, where he served as the Vice-President of Pharmaceutical Development from 1998-2000.
He then returned to academia as a tenured member of the University of Washington Medical School faculty. Despite this opportunity, he realized he wished to finish his career as a practicing physician, which led him to a residency in Anatomic Pathology at the University of California, Irvine followed by a fellowship in Pediatric Pathology at Los Angeles Childrens’ Hospital.
Since 2008, he has served as a Staff Physician in the Department of Genetics at Kaiser-Permanente, Oakland, the Medical Director of Perinatal Pathology at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital, the Director of Perinatal Pathology at Magee-Women’s Hospital of The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. During his clinical practice, he examined more than 18,000 placenta specimens and performed almost 700 perinatal autopsies. He retired from pathology practice in July 2018.
Jennifer Hites, RN
Jennifer Hites is an Emergency Medicine nurse at Sharp Memorial Hospital.
Dr. John Austin, MD
Dr. John Austin is a native of Michigan and completed his undergraduate degrees at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan where he majored in Honors Chemistry and Cellular & Molecular Biology. He received his medical doctorate also from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Dr. Austin completed his surgery internship and his residency in orthopaedic surgery at the University of Michigan Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. His post graduate training included a fellowship at the Cincinnati Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center, where he received additional training in arthroscopy and sports medicine. He practices at Northwest Orthopaedic Surgery in San Diego. In his free time, Dr. Austin enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and two children. He likes running, mountain biking, skiing, hiking, and travel. He is passionate about learning, teaching, and technology.
Karis Cookson, HCP
Kathi Ayers is an Emergency Medicine Nurse at Sharp Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Keith Yablonicky, MD
Dr. Yablonicky is an Emergency Medicine physician at Sharp Memorial Hospital.
Kirsten Sakata, RN
Kirsten Sakata is an Emergency Medicine Nurse at Sharp Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Kristy Schwartz, MD
Dr. Schwartz grew up on the shores of Lake Ontario in upstate NY. She earned her undergraduate degree at Cornell University, masters degree in Public Health at Columbia University, and her medical degree at Pennsylvania State College of Medicine. She completed an emergency medicine residency at Maricopa Medical Center prior to pediatric emergency medicine fellowship at UCSD/Rady Children’s Hospital. She is an Assistant Clinical Professor at UCSD Departments of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics. She is the emergency medicine site director for the Rady Children’s Hospital ED and Assistant Program Director of the UCSD EM residency. Her research interests include pediatric quality improvement and medical education. In her spare time, she enjoys water sports, hiking, off-the-map travel, and spending time with her husband, who is also an emergency medicine physician, and their 120 lb dog, Gus..
Kristy Willis, HCP
Kristy Willis is an Emergency/Trauma Technician at Sharp Memorial Hospital.
Lauren Ritter, RN
Lauren is from North Andover MA, a little town about 20 miles north of Boston. She graduated from UMass Amherst with a degree in sociology and a minor in criminal justice. Shortly after graduation in 2007, Lauren went back to college to start her nursing career and received a BSN from Regis College in Wellesley MA. While in nursing school, she worked as a tech on a med/surg/tele floor and was fortunate to be hired as a new grad Registered Nurse in 2010. Lauren’s career as a floor nurse only lasted 14 months before she made a run for an open ER position and has been there since, working in some of the country’s best ERs on both coasts. Last year she passed her certification exam and is now a Certified Emergency Nurse. Lauren is grateful for her husband Scott, her friends, and her family back in Boston. She is patiently waiting for Scott to give her a puppy. Lauren enjoys being outside, especially at the beach, and running. This year she completed her second Boston Marathon running side-by-side with her Dad.
Dr. Lisa Lowe, MD
Dr. Lowe completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst majoring in Kinesiology and with a minor in French language. She went on to do a Masters degree in Public Health with a focus on International and Environmental Health at the UCLA and then completed her medical degree at the UC Davis. Dr. Lowe did residency here at the UC San Diego acting as Chief Resident in her final year, and is now working towards a fellowship with our Ultrasound Division. Her academic interests include International Health and border health issues and she hopes to utilize her ultrasound skills to bring educational and diagnostic opportunities to underserved communities in the future. Dr. Lowe also works at Sharp Memorial Hospital part time and has worked part time in the community since graduation and feels this has helped round out her medical knowledge and skills. She is married to Dr. Luke Hiller, Bone Radiologist at UCSD and the VA systems and has two children Kai, age 9 and Lana age 7. In her free time, she enjoys travel, surfing, yoga and running and she is fluent in French and Spanish.
Dr. Lolie Fromm, MD
Dr. Fromm is a retired Emergency Medicine physician, having worked for 28 years at Sharp Memorial Hospital. She is presently affiliated with Kadima Neuropsychiatry Institute, where she utilizes ketamine to treat patients with PTSD and TRD (treatment resistant depression). Dr. Fromm grew up in NYC, earned her B.S. in Psychology from Simmons College, and a Masters degree in Cognitive Psychology from Brandeis University. She received her M.D. from NYU in 1976 and completed residency training at Bellevue Hospital-NYU in Internal Medicine.
A semi-retired professional, Dr. Fromm appreciates the freedom to live her life and be with the people she loves. She enjoys tennis, swing dancing, cooking, historical fiction, and spending time with her sons. She looks forward to sharing her enthusiasm for medicine and the wisdom gleaned from her 40 years of clinical practice at emERge.
Lovely Bolano, RN
Manya Buske, RN
Manya Buske is an Emergency Medicine nurse at Sharp Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Maria De Risi, PharmD
Dr. De Risi grew up in Carmichael, CA. She received her BS in Biological Sciences from UC Davis and her Doctor of Pharmacy from UCSF. She completed her pharmacy residency and pharmacy practice fellowship in HIV & Infectious Diseases at UCSD. In high school, she knew she would either be a professional soccer player or pharmacists when she grew up because she likes precision.
Dr. Matthew Thomas, MD
Dr. Thomas is an Emergency Medicine physician at Sharp Memorial Hospital. Originally from San Diego, he attended USD for his undergraduate studies. He received his Medical Degree from the school with the longest name on this website: The College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in the City of New York. He completed his internship and residency at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego. In addition to deployments to Iraq, Djibouti, and Kuwait, he has also lived in Paris, France and Okinawa, Japan. Interestingly, his identical twin brother, currently working in Boston, is also an ER doc. He is pictured here in his favorite hat.
Dr. Russ Reinbolt, MD
Dr. Reinbolt is an ultra endurance athlete who is also an Emergency Physician at Sharp Memorial Hospital. Dr. Reinbolt received his Bachelor of Science from Michigan State University and his Master of Science in Exercise Physiology from Ohio State University. He attended Medical School at the University of Toledo Medical Center in Ohio and completed his residency at Wayne State University/Detroit Receiving Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, graduating as Chief Resident. In addition to his work at Sharp, he also practices privately as an Event Physician for the San Diego Padres and Finish Line Physician for the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Marathons. He has run races across Death Valley in 126 degree heat and 100 mile races across the tundra of Alaska. He has been featured on “Untold Stories of ER”. Read more about his adventures here.
Dr. Saul Levine, MD
Sean Shugrou is is an Emergency/Core Trauma Tech at Sharp Memorial Hospital, born and raised in Temecula, CA he is a graduate of Murrieta Valley High School. He received his B.S. in Biology from University of California Santa Cruz. In his spare time, he loves long runs, camping, golfing, and playing master’s league water polo in Carlsbad, CA.
Stefanie Wacker, RN
Stefanie Wacker is a staff nurse in the Emergency Department at Sharp Memorial Hospital. After initially receiving her BS in Chemistry from UCSD, she worked for 6 years in quality control in the pharmaceutical industry. Realizing she was more interested in the patient side of the pharmaceutical experience, she left her job, became an EMT and then worked as an HCP (ER tech) at Sharp Memorial Emergency Room. Thanks to the inspiration of the many excellent nurses and physicians she works with, she went back to school and received her BS in Nursing from CSU San Marcos. She was hired into the New Graduate Nurse Residency Program at SMH ED in 2016 and is now involved with precepting and mentoring new graduate nurses and nursing students, along with participating in medical volunteer work such as the medical mission trip she went on to the Philippines last year. When not in the ER, Stef enjoys traveling, scoping out new breakfast spots, and spending time with her wife and daughter.
Dr. Tommy Korn, MD
Dr. Korn is an ophthalmologist specializing in cataract surgery and cornea transplants. He has been a physician with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group for 18 years. He has been honored as one of the “Best Doctors of San Diego” by the San Diego County Medical Society and US News and World Report. He is an active member of the international medical volunteer community having served on several humanitarian missions in Asia and Central America. He is also an internationally recognized speaker on eye disease, eye surgery, wellness, and digital health apps. Over the years, Dr. Korn has mentored many medical students and residents as they pursue a career in medicine.
Dr. Korn has been working with a team from Sharp Healthcare & Apple to create the Sharp Health Companion App – one of the first healthcare apps based on Apple’s CareKit platform. This app is designed to help patients prepare and recover from surgeries & medical procedures such as eye surgery. Recently, he was named as Chief Experience Officer for Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group.
Dr. Walter Dembitsky, MD
Dr. Dembitsky is a world-renowned Cardiothoracic surgeon, currently serving as the Medical director of the Cardiac Surgery & Mechanical Circulatory Support Program at Sharp Memorial Hospital. He revolutionized the world of ECMO and teaches internationally on various surgical techniques. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Missouri, where he also completed his surgical internship. Dr. Dembitsky completed a general surgery residency and was chief resident in general surgery at Washington University in St. Louis. He then went on to complete a residency in cardiothoracic surgery and was chief resident in cardiothoracic surgery at Washington University. Dr. Dembitsky completed research fellowships at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Mass.; Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Mo.; and Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.
Wendy Shinar, Emerge Co-Founder
Wendy Shinar attended Westmont College (Santa Barbara, CA) and Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO), where she received her Bachelor’s degree and teaching credential. After several years of teaching in public schools in Southern California, she began her own business teaching and tutoring privately. In order to work with her husband, Zack, they needed to combine their skill sets, thus, Emerge Conference LLC was born. In her spare time, she enjoys taking notes on things she thinks are funny, playing outside with her children, collecting spices from around the world, and home improvement projects.
Dr. Zack Shinar, MD
Dr. Shinar grew up in New York, Indiana, Illinois, California, Texas, and Arizona. He received his BS in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 2000. While at Penn, he was an instructor for their MCAT Review Course. He graduated from the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine in 2004. After a year internship at UCLA Harbor View Medical Center, he returned to University of Southern California + Los Angeles County Hospital to complete his residency in Emergency Medicine, graduating as a Chief Resident in 2008. Upon graduation, he accepted a job at Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, California. His work and research using Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) has catapulted him onto the international speaking circuit. You can check out his latest research at www.edecmo.org and listen to his podcasts here. He and his wife Wendy have two kids and reside in San Diego, CA. Click here to listen to Dr. Shinar speak about emERge on explorethespaceshow.com!
Did you know…
An emergency physician is a doctor who is an expert in handling conditions of an urgent and extremely dangerous nature. These specialists work in the emergency room (ER) departments of hospitals where they oversee cases involving cardiac distress, trauma, fractures, lacerations and other acute conditions. Emergency physicians are specially trained to make urgent life-saving decisions to treat patients during an emergency medical crisis. These doctors diagnose and stabilize patients before they are either well enough to be discharged, or transferred to the appropriate department for long-term care.
A cardiothoracic surgeon is a medical doctor who specializes in surgical procedures of the heart, lungs, esophagus, and other organs in the chest. This includes surgeons who can be called cardiac surgeons, cardiovascular surgeons, general thoracic surgeons, and congenital heart surgeons. Cardiothoracic surgeons will graduate from medical school and go on to complete either a 5-year general surgery residency followed by a 2- or 3-year cardiothoracic surgery residency program, or enter into a 6-year integrated cardiothoracic surgery residency.
An Interventional Radiologist uses a range of techniques which rely on the use radiological image guidance (X-ray fluoroscopy, ultrasound, computed tomography [CT] or magnetic resonance imaging [MRI]) to precisely target therapy. The essential skills of an interventional radiologist are in diagnostic image interpretation and the manipulation of needles and the use of fine catheter tubes and wires to navigate around the body under imaging control. Interventional radiologists are doctors who are trained in radiology and interventional therapy. No other specialty possesses this unique combination of skills!
A Trauma Surgeon is a surgical specialty that utilizes both operative and non-operative management to treat traumatic injuries, typically in an acute setting. Trauma surgeons generally complete residency training in General Surgery and often fellowship training in trauma or surgical critical care. The trauma surgeon is responsible for initially resuscitating and stabilizing and later evaluating and managing the patient. The attending trauma surgeon also leads the trauma team, which typically includes nurses and support staff as well as resident physicians in teaching hospitals.
An OB/GYN physician is a doctor who deals with pregnancy, childbirth, the postpartum period (obstetrics) and the health of the female reproductive systems and breasts. Postgraduate training programs for both aspects are usually combined, preparing the practicing obstetrician-gynecologist to be adept at the care of female reproductive organs’ health and at the management of pregnancy, although many doctors go on to develop subspecialty interests in one field or the other.
A Perinatologist is a physician that works in conjunction with a patient’s obstetrician when pregnancy complications develop and is able to provide care for both the mom and unborn baby. A perinatologist has completed four years of medical school training, four years of obstetrics and gynecology residency program and two – three years of maternal–fetal medicine fellowship program.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a test that uses powerful magnets, radio waves, and a computer to make detailed pictures inside your body. MRI scanners use strong magnetic fields, electric field gradients, and radio waves to generate images of the organs in the body. MRI does not involve X-rays and the use of ionizing radiation, which distinguishes it from CT or CAT scans.
Computed tomography scan (CT Scan) makes use of computer-processed combinations of many X-ray measurements taken from different angles to produce cross-sectional (tomographic) images (virtual “slices”) of specific areas of a scanned object, allowing the user to see inside the object without cutting.
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) is a professional doctoral degree for physicians and surgeons offered by medical schools in the United States. One notable difference between D.O. and M.D. training is that D.O. training adds 300 – 500 hours studying techniques for hands-on manipulation of the human musculoskeletal system.
Critical care is a specialty of surgery and a primary component of general surgery related to the care of patients with acute, life-threatening or potentially life-threatening surgical conditions. Surgical critical care not only incorporates knowledge and skills of nonoperative techniques for supportive care for critically ill patients but also a broad understanding of the relationship between critical surgical illness and surgical procedures. Although much of this knowledge and skills is common to critical care specialists from a variety of medical disciplines, the diplomate in surgical critical care has specialized expertise relating both to the physiologic responses to tissue injury from trauma, burns, operation, infections, acute inflammation, or ischemia and to the ways these responses interact with other disease processes.
A fellowship is is the period of medical training that a physician may undertake after completing residency. During this time (usually more than one year), the physician is known as a Fellow.
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