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Meet The NCMSA Leadership Team 

Barbara Savage, President

Barbara Savage, of Apex, NC received her BS in Medical Technology from SUNY Buffalo. Following graduation, she received her certification, MT(ASCP) and worked at the Cleveland Clinic in Microbiology, Analytical Research.  I have served on the Alliance Boards of three states, New York, Iowa and North Carolina. I was president of the Iowa Medical Society Alliance (IMSA) in 2001. I then served on the AMA Alliance for seven years. Positions included Health Promotions Chair, Bylaws Chair, Director for 3 years, and two years on the Board Development Committee.

When the AMA Foundation offered a Train the Trainer (TOT) program in Health Literacy I was accepted into the first training session. Following the TOT program I, along with other IMSA members, we took their Health Literacy program to many Medical Societies and Alliances across the country and I worked as a consultant to Iowa Health System where I co-authored, Building Health Literate Organizations: A Guidebook to Achieving Organizational Change.  For the past two years I have chaired the AMAA’s National Initiative on Opioid Misuse Awareness and developed the webinar, America’s Opioid Epidemic: Know the Facts, in partnership with the National PTA. I currently sit on the WCMSA board as Parliamentarian and Bylaws chair and am a past president of the WCMSA.

I am an avid golfer, a member of the Devils Ridge Golf Club Board of Governors and chair the Devils Ridge Pretty in Pink Golf Tournament, raising over $220,000 in the last five years for under and uninsured breast cancer patient’s needs.  As you can see my passion is in healthy communities and health promotions.

My husband, Dick, is a retired Pathologist and we have two daughters and two grandchildren, Cora and Sam.  If I can find some spare time I not only love golf, but also love to travel.


Gina Becherer, President Elect

Originally from Boston, Massachusetts,  I earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Pharmacy from Northeastern University. Following graduation, I completed a post-graduate Pharmacy Residency at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois.  After working in Illinois and Iowa, I moved to North Carolina  in search of warmer winters. While working at North Carolina Memorial Hospital (now UNC Healthcare) I completed a Master’s degree in Public Health Policy and Administration from the UNC- Chapel Hill. After 15 years as a practicing pharmacist and the completion of her graduate school training, my career turned  toward pursuits in healthcare administration. I have been involved with the Alliance for a short time but look forward to the work of advocating for North Carolina communities. 

Susan Edens Hammer, Secretary

I was raised on a farm in Fayetteville, NC. Raleigh was my first move and is my current home. I attended Hardbarger Business School and then worked in the Rex Hospital Radiology Department as a medical secretary for nine years. The last four of those years I attended NC State University for a B.A. in Business Management. Over the years, I worked for personal family business entities, served on nonprofit boards and as a church officer, and volunteered in the community. At the current time, I  deliver Meals on Wheels, volunteer with my county medical alliance, serve on the boards of NCMSA and my church women's group, and am a Stephen Minister.  

I love to read, garden and travel.

I have been a member of the Wake County, North Carolina and American Medical Association Alliance since 1983 and have served on my county and state alliance boards for several terms over the years. While serving on the State Alliance board, I always enjoy meeting and visiting with members across the state and learning of the activities in their local alliances. Also, I attended several AMAA Annual Meetings in Chicago where I benefited from meeting alliance leaders from across the United States - learning about the programs they support in their states.

Barbara Lupton, Treasurer

Originally from Charlotte, Barbara Lupton lives in Greensboro with her husband, Fred. She worked as the Practice Administrator in her husband’s dermatology practice for 17 years. They have 2 grown daughters, one who lives in North Carolina, the other in New York City.  She has served as a volunteer through her church, Junior League and was an active volunteer in her children’s schools. Barbara has served in her local alliance, Greater Greensboro Medical Society Alliance for many years in a variety of leadership roles, including serving as Local Alliance president.  She is in her second year on the NCMSA Board serving as Membership VP.  She enjoys travel, tennis, hiking, reading, bridge and Mah Jongg. 




  Uma Avva, Immediate Past President

Although born in India, I consider myself a Tar Heel given that I have spent most of my life in NC. I attended UNC-CH where I earned two degrees: a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Public Health.  After graduating, I worked in various capacities in diverse health care settings such as the ICU Burn Center at UNC, Long Term Care, and a HMO.   Currently, I live in Greensboro as an empty-nester with my husband, Ravi Avva. Our daughter, Kalyani, is doing her residency in Internal Medicine and our son, Keshav just graduated with a degree in engineering. 

Now, my time is spent traveling as much as possible and working as a community volunteer.  I have held various leadership positions throughout the years on different non-profit boards focusing primarily on education, health, and philanthropy. In 2013-14, I served as President of the Greater Greensboro Society of Medicine Alliance.  Over the last four years, it has been an honor to work with the NCMSA Board. During that time, it has been inspirational to learn about our local alliances and their activities to improve the health of our citizens.


Kirby Sheridan, VP of Resource Development

Kirby Sheridan lives with her husband, David, and their four children in Concord, NC.  She is a past president of the Cabarrus County Medical Society Alliance and is currently serving her second three-year term on the North Carolina Medical Society Alliance State Board.  When not busy running after children, Kirby focuses on volunteer work in her community.


Meeti Nigam, VP of Membership Development

I am Elected Membership Council member of AMA Alliance and Membership Committee board member for 2019-20, we recently moved to North Carolina, My husband is a physician with Atrium Health Pineville Charlotte.  We have 3 sons. Our oldest son is Plastic surgery resident (Georgetown), Middle son Aradhya Nigam is General surgery resident (Georgetown) and Youngest is undergraduate at UVA. Our Daughter in law is JD -MPH Harvard law school and practicing Law in DC medicines. We have a granddaughter Shreya, 2 yrs old.

I am determined to continue along this path to foster stronger bonds between our community, its physicians and their families.  My work is well recognized in local Community as member of the Cancer Task Force of southern Virginia, Secretary of Haven Board for domestic violence victims shelter, and work with local Sheriff, Mayor, Common wealth attorney and city treasurer as our Board members.

Being DPAMA Committee chair I worked with local hospital to get help for Physicians supporting events including upcoming Doctors day, and encourage other Physicians spouses likes me to join our Alliance.

Deborah Harrell Meehan

Deborah Harrell Meehan is a proud mom and grandmother (aka Nana) and a seasoned commercial real estate professional.  Her company, NC Medical & Commercial Realty, works with doctors, dentists, hospitals and other medical professionals to find locations for their new or expanding practices throughout the Triangle.  Deborah also founded the Wild, Wacky, Wonderful Women of the World which has over 1,000 members in North Carolina and beyond, creating a network of amazing women that has thrived for over 16 years.

She served as a past president of the North Carolina Medical Society Alliance during 2014-2015 and was past co-president of the Wake County Medical Society Alliance in 2013-2014.  Deb is passionate about serving those in need and supporting worthy causes.  She currently serves on several charitable boards/committees, to include The North Carolina Physicians Health Program, Wake County Meals on Wheels and the Triangle Red Cross, as well as the community advisory board for First Citizens Bank.

Deb proclaims that her mission in life is to bring joy to the world by making a conscious effort to lift the spirits of others, by choosing to have a positive attitude every day and by doing her best to BE THERE when she connects with others.  To find out more about Deborah, you're welcome to connect with her on FB and LinkedIn 



Chrystal Harris

Dr. Chrystal B. Harris is a physician, coach, medical educator, and mother. This North Carolina native has strong roots in the Tarheel state. She grew up in Raleigh, then headed to Winston-Salem graduating from Wake Forest University with a Bachelor’s in Biology. Attending the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, she obtained her Doctorate in Medicine and later trained in family medicine and taught in the classroom.

Through her own experiences as a physician and from working with patients, students, and other medical professionals, she recognized the struggle to be, do, and have more that was not fully addressed through conventional practices. With this in mind, she built a coaching and consulting company, Crystal Violet Solutions, that aids to combat this struggle. She obtained her certification in Life Coaching with a concentration in Life Optimization and studied Elite Performance and Achievement. Her personal mission is to help decrease the rates of burnout and depression within the community of medical professionals. In her spare time, she enjoys writing poetry, reading historical fiction, and spending quality time with her son Alistair who inspires her mantra: “Always a physician but not only a physician.”


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