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Ajay Chopra, MD

Medical Director for the Bariatric Surgery Department

Dr. Chopra founded the bariatric program at Jacobi in 2004. He brings to the program over three decades of surgical experience in India as well as the United States. Dr. Chopra completed his residency in General Surgery at New York Methodist Hospital (Weill Cornell University). He then completed a fellowship in Minimally Invasive Bariatric Surgery at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, where he was also a clinical instructor. He subsequently joined Jacobi as the Chief of Minimally Invasive Surgery and Medical Director for Bariatric Surgery. Dr. Chopra is also Assistant Professor of Surgery at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. He has conducted training courses and workshops on laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. He has published and presented clinical research related to Bariatric Surgery.

Danielle T. Friedman, M.D.

Medical Director for the Bariatric Surgery Department

Dr. Friedman joined the Jacobi Bariatric Surgery team in 2018. She attended Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, then completed General Surgery residency at Montefiore Medical Center (Albert Einstein College of Medicine). During her training she was honored with three teaching awards and the position of Administrative Chief Resident. She then completed a fellowship in advanced gastrointestinal, minimally invasive and bariatric surgery at Yale University, where she was also a clinical instructor. Her recent surgical research includes four published papers and five presentations at national and regional meetings. She is a member of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) and is certified in general surgery by the American Board of Surgery. She speaks English and Spanish.

Beth Liebmann, P.A.

Clinical Coordinator

After receiving her Physician Assistant degree from Touro College, NY., and completing a post-PA residency program at Montefiore Medical Center, Beth joined Jacobi’s general surgery outpatient clinics. In 2012, she became the full-time PA for our bariatric service. Ms. Liebmann performs the initial medical evaluation of potential bariatric patients, books surgeries, and conducts post-op discharge and follow-up.

Pranvera Dervishi, P.A.

Pranvera is a certified physician assistant and has been in the bariatric department for 5 years. She was born in Albania and speaks several languages: English, Albanian and Turkish.

Frances Alcantara, Ph.D.


Dr. Alcantara is a New York State Licensed Clinical Psychologist. She is a graduate of LIU Brooklyn’s doctoral program in clinical psychology and specializes in severe anxiety and depression in adults, health psychology, and interpersonal distress. On the Bariatric Surgery team, she assesses decisional competency and psychiatric clearance prior to surgery. Patients are required to attend a pre-operative support group that is led by Dr. Alcantara and the certified dietician on the service, and are also encouraged to attend a post-operative support group after surgery. As needed, Dr. Alcantara also offers supportive individual sessions and behavioral intervention before surgery, and ongoing individual psychotherapy after surgery, upon request.