Derek Pupello, MBA

Derek Pupello has been working for the foundation since 2002. As a research manager, he managed several clinical research projects including an FDA investigational device exemption multi-center study of the first reverse shoulder arthroplasty system in the United States. The Reverse Shoulder Prosthesis®, invented by Mark Frankle, MD, was FDA approved in 2005. Derek became Director of Clinical Research in 2006 and became CEO of FORE in 2007. In his time at FORE, he has co-authored 27 publications including 7 articles published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

When Derek started in 2002, the Foundation was primarily engaged in clinical research. After becoming CEO, he worked to expand FORE’s capabilities to include Biomechanical Research, Surgical Training, and Continuing Medical Education (CME).

He worked to build a biomechanical research lab on the premises so that biomechanical research would no longer have to be outsourced. A biomechanics lab sharing the same building with FOI has enabled FORE to increase its ability to conduct this type of research while allowing physicians in a non-academic setting to participate in this type of research. The close proximity of scientists and physicians is an ideal scenario for the clinicians to engage in research that can answer fundamental questions about problems that they see in the clinic.

In 2005, Derek attended a surgical training course in Chicago and realized the growing need for surgeons to practice and hone their surgical skills in a laboratory setting. In 2007, Derek converted storage space in the basement of FOI into a small surgical training space that could host from 6 to 8 stations. Two years later, the growing need for surgical training was the impetus for renovating and expanding the space to include an auditorium and a much larger space for surgical training. The Surgical Training Center was completed in early 2010 and features space for up to 20 stations and a state of the art audiovisual system and lecture theater.

In 2007, FORE was accredited by the ACCME to provide CME credits to educational events. Since that time, the overall attendance at FORE’s educational events has more than doubled. The CME department remains a rapidly growing department of FORE as the need for healthcare professional education grows.

In addition to the day to day business operations of FORE, he is personally involved in several of the ongoing research projects. Also, he currently serves as Affiliate Associate faculty in the Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program, Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Department, University of South Florida School of Medicine.

Derek received a B.S. in Biomedical Science at the University of South Florida in 2002, and an M.B.A. from the Executive MBA program at the University of South Florida in 2007. Outside of FORE, he enjoys spending time with his wife Kalisha, son Rocco and daughter Carmen. He is involved in his church, enjoys traveling, music, film and outdoor activities like scuba diving, fishing and playing flag football.

For a list of publications, powered by PubMed, click here.
Curriculum Vitae


Janine Hartfield
Director of Continuing Medical Education

Janine joined FORE’s CME Department in 2013 as Manager of Continuing Medical Education to manage live, regularly scheduled series and internet activities sponsored by FORE. Janine earned her BA degree in Communications/Theatre Arts from Western Connecticut State University in 1990 and has been coordinating small and large scale events for 20 years, and specifically designing educational events for physicians and other healthcare professionals since 2006. Janine enjoys spending time with her husband, Craig, and step-children Celeste and Tony. In her “spare time” Janine can be found enjoying her first love, musical theatre.

Michelle Paradise-Fetzer
Assistant Director of Continuing Medical Education

Michelle began working with FORE in February of 2009 as a CME Coordinator where she handled small events, administrative tasks and course registration. She was soon promoted to CME Program manager is now the Assistant Director for CME managing several live courses and symposiums. Prior to FORE, Michelle worked in non-profit for the Salvation Army as a Marketing & Community Development Coordinator where her responsibilities were on fundraising and marketing projects in Hillsborough County. Michelle attended Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA and completed a bachelor’s in Corporate Communications & Interpersonal Public Relations. Michelle enjoys spending time with her family, attending theater productions, sports and traveling.

Bridget Ostrowski
Program Manager

Katie Rence
Program Manager

Katie began working with FORE in the Fall of 2017. She was previously employed by DJO Surgical as their Medical Education Program Manager for 4 years. Katie graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Western Michigan University, where her academic achievements were recognized by the Golden Key International Honour Society. She was also an NCAA Collegiate Scholarship Athlete for Women’s Diving at Wayne State University in 2006-2007 and continued on to coach Division I High School Diving programs for 4 years. Katie was born and raised in Kalamazoo, MI but currently resides in Austin, TX with her pet cat named PrinPrin.

Carolyn Wallen
Program Manager

Carolyn recently joined FORE as a Program Manager in the Continuing Medical Education Department. Prior to joining FORE, Carolyn worked in the Orthopaedic Industry for many years starting in the Finance Department with her last several years in Meeting and Convention Services. Carolyn resides in Indiana and enjoys spending time with her husband, Don, 6 children and 10 grandchildren. She also enjoys doing volunteer work with Military families and charities.

Alex Ricketts
Grants & Exhibits Coordinator

Alex joined the FORE CME team in December 2016. Previously, she worked as a Program Coordinator for ICJR CME courses. Alex graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. She currently resides in San Diego and enjoys practicing yoga, traveling, and eating avocados (like a good Californian should).

Jonny Rosado
Program Assistant

Jonny began working with FORE as an intern in Spring 2015, and joined the CME team later that year. He graduated from the University of South Florida in 2015 with a Bachelors Degree in Marketing. Jonny was born in Long Island, NY and moved to Kissimmee, FL with his family in 2006. He currently lives in Tampa, FL with his dog, Robin. Jonny loves paddleboarding, travelling, and spending time in the Florida sun.

Rhonda Britton
Program Assistant

Rhonda Britton joined the FORE-CME team in August 2017. She has over 20 years of experience in non-profit and association experience. One of her proudest accomplishment was starting the first post high school scholarship program for dependents of highway workers killed or permanently injured while building our nation’s roads.
Rhonda earned her Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and Event Management certification at George Washington University. Rhonda recently moved to Tampa, FL from the Washington, DC Metro area. Rhonda enjoys discovering new things about the Bay area, especially the warmth and sunshine, with her husband Lester.


Peter Simon, PhD

Peter Simon began working at FORE in August of 2012 as a Post Doctoral Researcher. He works with Dr. Santoni on shoulder biomechanics projects and spine related research projects. Peter worked for five years at the Orthopaedic department of Rush University as a Research Assistant prior joining FORE. Under the supervision of Dr. Gunnar Andersson , Dr. Howard An and Dr. Nozomu Inoue he worked on studying spinal biomechanics and image-based modeling. His research was focused on understanding of normal and degenerative kinematics of the facet joint. Peter has several publications in peer-reviewed journals and numerous conference abstracts.

Peter received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and his M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the Technical University of Kosice, Slovakia in 2007. He received his Ph.D. in Biomechanics from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2012. Peter enjoys travelling, reading and spending time with his friends.

Miguel Diaz

Sergio Gutierrez, PhD

Sergio Gutierrez began working at FORE in May of 2001 as a part time Research Assistant while finishing his Bachelors degree at the University of South Florida (USF). During those early years, he performed biomechanical research in the Biomechanics lab at USF under the mentorship of Dr. William E. Lee III (Director of the Biomedical Engineering program) and Dr. Mark Frankle (Orthopaedic surgeon at Florida Orthopaedic Institute). Through his research in biomechanics, Sergio was instrumental in furthering the understanding of the biomechanics of reverse shoulder arthroplasty and even in helping to alter surgical technique to improve patient outcomes. He has numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals, podium and poster presentations in national and international conferences, as well as a co-authorship in a book chapter. He is currently an Affiliate Associate Professor at the USF Medical School where he is helping to train future orthopaedic surgeons through an affiliation with the Orthopaedic Residency program.

Sergio received his B.S. in both Chemical Engineering and Biology from the University of South Florida in 2002. He went on to receive his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of South Florida in 2009. His hobbies include running, biking, kayaking, flying, playing tennis and developing software for the iPhone.

For a list of publications, Powered by PubMed, click here


Debbi Warren, RN, CCRC
Interim Director of Clinical Research

Debbi began working as a Clinical Research Coordinator at FORE in August of 2003. She received her Certified Clinical Research Coordinator (CCRC) designation from the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) in March of 2007. She is a Registered Nurse since 1980 and has 20 years of surgical experience working as a Perioperative Nurse and Educator before transitioning to Clinical Research. Debbi has overseen over 20 Clinical IDE’s and several Investigator Initiated Studies over the years and contributed to many publications and presentations. Teaching is one of the many opportunities she enjoys. Over the years, she has been given the chance to mentor several research coordinators, and finds that empowering and nurturing personal growth in others is very rewarding.
Between the two of them, Debbi and her husband, David, share the joy of 4 children and 7 grandchildren. Spending time with family is her greatest treasure, whether it is traveling to visit siblings or cousins, or taking grandkids to Busch Gardens.

Kaitlyn Christmas, BS
Research and Fellowship Coordinator, Shoulder & Elbow

Kaitlyn Christmas started as an intern in the Phillip Spiegel Orthopaedic Research Laboratory in 2013 and transitioned into Shoulder and Elbow Clinical Research in 2015, taking over the division in 2016. Kaitlyn maintains a Shoulder Arthroplasty database of over 5000 surgeries and a large repository of corresponding intraoperative videos. In her time at FORE, Kaitlyn has co-authored 9 publications and continues to take a very hands-on role in all ongoing Shoulder and Elbow research projects, including various multi-center research pursuits within the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES). She remains an active part of the FOI/FORE Shoulder and Elbow Fellowship curriculum and enjoys contributing to the advanced training of future leaders in Shoulder and Elbow surgery.

Kaitlyn received a B.S. in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience from the University of Michigan in 2013. She plans to pursue her Masters and is working toward her Certified Clinical Research Coordinator (CCRC) designation from the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP).

Outside of work, Kaitlyn enjoys spending time with her fiancé Christian and their two dogs. She looks forward to her wedding in 2019. Kaitlyn loves reading, cooking, playing softball, singing loudly and off key, and winning trivia nights with friends and family.

Kathy Kops
Research Coordinator, Adult Reconstruction - Total Joint

Kathy Kops has been working at FORE since 1999. She works as a CRC with the Adult Reconstruction team on total joint research studies. She is also responsible for database management and assisting with the Joint Fellowship program. Kathy graduated with an Associates degree in Applied Science from Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio in 1979. She is an avid animal lover and enjoys spending time with her family and singing in a competing women’s acapella chorus.

Sherri Leverett
Research and Fellowship Coordinator, Adult Reconstruction

Sherri began working as a Clinical Research Coordinator at FORE in April of 2013. Sherri brings with her over 20 years of medical experience. She works primarily with the Adult Reconstruction team which includes Dr. Kenneth Gustke, Dr. Thomas Bernasek, Dr. Steven Lyons, Dr. Michael Miranda, Dr. Brian Palumbo and Dr. Christopher Grayson. As well, Sherri manages multiple research studies with the hand division which consist of Dr. Jason Nydick, Dr. Alfred Hess, Dr. Jeffrey Stone and Dr. Michael Garcia. Sherri is responsible for database management and coordinates the Adult Reconstruction Fellowship program. Sherri enjoys quality time with her family.

Katie O'Brien, BS, CCRC
Certified Clinical Research Coordinator, Spine

Katie O’Brien was born and raised in Tampa, FL. She attended high school at H.B. Plant and studied Exercise Science and Psychology at the Florida State University. After graduation in 2014, Katie quickly searched for experience in the medical field. She assisted as a research intern in Biomechanics and Adult Reconstruction until working full time as Clinical Research Coordinator for Spine Studies. She plans to continue her education and has a passion for working in pediatrics. She received her Certified Clinical Research Coordinator (CCRC) designation from the Association of Clinical Research Professionals in April of 2017. She is also certified by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and trained in protecting human subject research participants.

Outside of her academic and professional goals, Katie takes any chance she gets to travel. Meeting new people, learning new things, and submersing herself in new cultures, brings a sense of understanding of the world and people around her and adds value to her personal life. Katie has been a member of Toastmasters International since January of 2016, and currently serves as President of Tampa Toastmasters Club 1810. She enjoys spending time outside, and exploring and appreciating the growth of Tampa.

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt.