Dr. Marc Siebert is the owner and medical director of Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital and Lower East Side Animal Hospital. A native of New Jersey, Dr. Siebert opened Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital as a one-doctor practice in 1999; it has since grown to a five-doctor practice supporting Chelsea and its pet community at large. He attended Rutgers University and received a bachelor’s degree in environmental science in 1987. He continued his education at the University of Pennsylvania College of Veterinary Medicine and was awarded his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 1993. Dr. Siebert is also a certified veterinary acupuncturist with the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society; in addition, he is a U.S. Department of Agriculture-accredited veterinarian.
Dr. Siebert’s duties at the two hospitals keep him busy, but when he’s not at work, he enjoys biking, tennis, kayaking, working out, and caring for his Boston terrier pal, Barry, and his cats Alice and Pumpkin.
Dr. Allan Nguyen is an Associate Veterinarian at Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital, and has been since June 2005. For his undergraduate studies, he attended California State Polytechnic University, Pomona where he received a bachelor’s degree in animal and veterinary sciences in 1997. In 1998, he began his veterinarian studies at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in the small Caribbean island of St. Kitts & Nevis and earned his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2001. Dr. Nguyen successfully completed an acupuncture program at Chi Institute: Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, Gainesville, Florida, 2007. He is a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Dr. Nguyen enjoys working with both small animals and pocket pets. His professional interests are soft tissue surgery, dentistry and oral surgery, and acupuncture.
Before joining the team at Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital, Dr. Nguyen worked in a small animal practice in Long Island, New York. He enjoys the company of two Himalayan/Persian cats named Carolina and Olly. Dr. Nguyen is an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys hiking, tennis, rollerblading, camping, scuba diving, photography, and world travel. Dr. Nguyen is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Animal Hospital Association, and the New York State Veterinary Medical Association.
Dr. Katja Lang grew up in the small town of Ardsley, New York, in Westchester County. Her love for all animals started at a young age, and she was always surrounded by all types of creatures big and small. Dr. Lang grew up next to a veterinary surgeon, who inspired her to follow her dreams of becoming a vet. Dr. Lang has always loved New Orleans and decided to enter Tulane University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in cell and molecular biology and sociology. Following her four years in New Orleans, Dr. Lang obtained her veterinary degree from Cornell University. She moved to New Jersey after her time was up in Ithaca and completed her internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Oradell Animal Hospital. She practiced in a small animal hospital in Brooklyn before joining the team at Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital. Her interests in veterinary medicine include surgery, cardiology, and internal medicine, but she loves seeing all types of interesting cases. She has two miniature dachshunds named Mardi and Lucy, and two turtles named Margie and Sheldon. In her free time, Dr. Lang enjoys traveling the world, cooking all types of cuisines, and hiking with her two pups!
Dr. Bassman received her BA in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998. After graduation she worked in research on clinical trials for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and with a urologist in New York before going to vet school. She received her veterinary degree from the University of Glasgow, Scotland in 2009. After 5 years overseas, Diane returned to New York and completed a one year rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Veterinary Emergency Referral Group in Brooklyn. This year fostered a keen interest in Emergency and Critical Care Medicine. She stayed on as an emergency doctor for a year in Brooklyn before moving to Los Angeles where she completed one year of an Emergency and Critical Care residency. After an additional year of working as an emergency clinician, she has returned to her East Coast roots and is thrilled to have joined the team working primarily at Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital. Her professional interests include stabilizing emergency cases, wound repair, Internal medicine, and soft tissue surgery. She enjoys following up on her cases and fostering long term relationships with her clients. She is also looking forward to expanding her knowledge of acupuncture and preventative medicine and plans on pursuing further education on these subjects.
In her spare time, Dr. Bassman can be found reading, cooking, traveling, exploring New York with friends, running and, weather permitting, hopes to continue her new found love of paddle boarding which she discovered while out in California!
Dr. Catriona Love grew up in a small town just outside of Hartford, CT called South Windsor. Her love for animals began at a very early age when her parents gave her her first guinea pig, named Tinkerbell. She studied animal science at the University of Connecticut before moving to Gainesville, Florida and beginning veterinary school at the University of Florida. During vet school Dr. Love learned a great appreciation for international medicine and spent quite a bit of time traveling to central America working with local spay and neuter campaigns. Her true passion however, was zoo medicine and exotics and she did a summer externship at the Oregon Zoo. She graduated in May of 2011 and then spent the following summer working as a technician in UF’s ICU before moving to Cairns, Australia for four years.
While in Australia, Dr. Love practiced small animal medicine while experiencing all the beauty and excitement of living in the wet tropics of Far North Queensland. Probably the most notable veterinary difference over there was having to deal with paralysis ticks, for which she is very grateful to never be dealing with again. She developed a special love and affinity for surgery and complicated medical cases during her four years over there and then ultimately decided it was time to return home. She moved to Astoria in the fall of 2015 and is very excited to begin experiencing a New York City lifestyle. In her free time she enjoys hiking, traveling, cooking (and eating) delicious food, and spending time with her fur babies, a chihuahua named Nola and two long haired ginger cats named OB and Phil.
Dr. Fracapane grew up in the northern New Jersey town of Fair Lawn. She attended Yale University, where she majored in molecular biology and swam competitively for four years as a division one athlete. Following her undergraduate years, she spent some time in Oregon working at the elephant department of a safari park before returning to the east coast. She enrolled as a veterinary student at Cornell University and spent four wonderful years in Ithaca, NY. After graduating with a degree in veterinary medicine, she continued her education by completing a one-year rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Oradell Animal Hospital in New Jersey, where she cultivated an interest in emergency medicine and neurology.
When she is not busy attending to the needs of her clients and patients, Dr. Fracapane continues to swim, run, cycle and hike. She is also an avid traveler and has spent time in five continents, including more recent travels to Peru, Nepal, Southeast Asia and Italy. She is excited to be a member of the talented team at Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital.
Elizabeth Higgins, VMD – USDA Accredited
Dr. Elizabeth Higgins grew up in northern New Jersey and knew from a very young age that she wanted to become a veterinarian. She received her BS in Biology from Boston College in 2006, and during that time pursued her interest in aquatic animals by volunteering in the research department at the New England Aquarium, Boston, MA. She received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 2011. Dr. Higgins received further training by completing a one-year rotating small animal internship at the Animal Medical Center in Manhattan. Dr. Higgins then spent four years practicing medicine as an emergency clinician at a large referral and emergency hospital in New Jersey.
Dr. Higgins is always eager to serve the pets of Manhattan once again with special interests in neurology, cardiology and soft tissue surgery. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, exploring the city and enjoying its culinary delights, cycling, skiing, pursuing her new found passion for sailing and playing with her long-haired chihuahua mix rescue, Goldie.
Dr. Kian Madden is originally from the suburbs of Philadelphia. Growing up in a family of veterinarians with his parents’ veterinary clinic actually a part of his childhood home, Dr. Madden knew from a very young age that he was destined to follow in their footsteps. Dr. Madden attended the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in Biology as an undergraduate. He then went on to complete his veterinary degree at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Following graduation, Dr. Madden moved to the Los Angeles region, where he practiced in veterinary clinics in Santa Monica and Malibu for 6 years. In that time, Dr. Madden developed an interest in surgery and internal medicine and loves solving all types of cases.
Dr. Madden relocated back to the east coast and is excited to be a member of the Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital team. In his spare time, Dr. Madden enjoys surfing, running, hiking with his rescue dog Shera, listening to all kinds of music, and traveling to new places. You can find him exploring throughout New York City and he looks forward to get to know you and your pets!
Debra attended Skidmore College where she received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing. Post-college, she was an account executive at an advertising firm. She joined the veterinary industry in 2006 and immediately knew she wanted to pursue a career in animal medicine. She received her Associate in Applied Science from LaGuardia Community College and became a Licensed Veterinary Technician after passing the Veterinary Technician National Examination in 2010. She has been with Heart of Chelsea ever since. Her professional interests include veterinary dentistry, anesthesia/surgical assisting, and keeping inpatient pets happy and comfortable during their stay at Heart of Chelsea. In her spare time, Debra enjoys reading, restorative yoga, and dancing to 80s tunes.
A fifth generation Chicagoan, Jody moved to New York City after receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatrical Design from Ithaca College. She enjoyed a successful freelance career as a Union Scenic Artist specializing in television, feature films, still photography and Broadway.
Her passion for animals as well as her interest in working with people took her career in a different direction and she brings more than ten years of client service experience in the veterinary profession to the wonderful client base at Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital. Her personal interests include painting, cooking, reading and an advanced hot yoga practice.
My name is Tammy and I started working at Heart of Chelsea in 2006. I began as a Receptionist, worked for a number of years as a veterinary assistant and have transitioned to the full-time role of Inventory Manager. Finding and satisfying special order medications and items for our pets and their parents is a challenging but, rewarding endeavor, and finding solutions is what I do best! I have two cats, a tuxedo gal named Momma, and ginger and white guy named Poppa. I would love to add a puppy someday. I love to cook, and be active. I discovered recently that I like to “lift things up and put them down” and indoor rowing.
Team Members – Licensed Veterinary Technicians
I have a wonderful wife, son, daughter and two furry children (cats). As a vegan, I care deeply for all animals. I am an avid runner, having completed two marathons and numerous half-marathons. My greatest achievement in life is being a good father and husband.
Gaston started at Heart of Chelsea in the fall of 2007. Starting as a veterinary assistant and immersing himself in medicine, he quickly became interested in further education in veterinary science. He attended LaGuardia Community College and graduated with his Associate in Applied Science in Veterinary Technology. His professional interests include dentistry, surgery and helping all of our doctors provide the best possible care for all of our patients. Gaston has two domestic shorthair cats named Tony and Mimi. When not at Heart of Chelsea, Gaston is a soccer aficionado who also enjoys surfing and snowboarding.
Rachel is the Vet Tech with a smile. But don’t let her easy going nature fool you, for she is a dedicated professional who will treat your pets as if they were her own. She is the proud owner of two very loved pets, Oreo and Sassy and would have a household of pets if her apartment building allowed it. Animals are her passion and Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital is her home away from home.
It took me a little while to finally decide that I wanted to care for and work with animals for the rest of my life. I knew that being a teacher, dentist, or even a scientist would leave me unsatisfied and unfulfilled. Working as an intern in two wildlife rehabilitation centers confirmed that I could not do anything else. Now as a licensed veterinary technician, I am whole and always excited to go to work and continue to help owners and animals alike. Although I can no longer practice wildlife rehabilitation due to my busy schedule with work, my cats, and my saltwater and freshwater fish tanks, I am at least able to consult with other wildlife rehabilitators on cases when they need advice.
Rachel has worked at veterinary hospitals in and around New York for the last several years. She grew up with several rescued dogs, cats, a parakeet, goldfish and pet rats! She recently completed a degree in Veterinary Technology to acquire her licensure in New York State. Before moving to New York City, she completed a BFA in photography and does pet photography in her spare time. When not helping out her furry patients at the office, she enjoys spending time outdoors exploring and hiking upstate with her Boston Terrier, Elly.
A native of southeast Tennessee, Rodrick is celebrating his 30th year in NYC. After graduating from Columbia with a degree in English Literature he worked for 16 years as a university development officer and in local political campaigns. He became a full-time daddy in 2006 to his kids Ruthie (11) and Alex (8). During his five years working as a stay-at-home parent he began volunteering at a local shelter and turned his sights toward a new career that would feed his soul and allow him to help animals and owners in need of quality vet care. He attended LaGuardia Community College and became a Licensed Vet Tech in 2014. He joined the Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital team in June 2016. Besides the kids, he shares his roost with husband Adam, Benny, a gentle, gregarious mutt and Mocha, a dainty and in-charge Ocicat. He will never regret choosing a career that makes him arrive at work with a smile among colleagues who share the same commitments.
Aileen is a Certified Veterinary Assistant from central New Jersey and has had a love for animals starting at a very young age. She loved to bring all sorts of creatures home – ducks, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits and a slew of various small mammals that all needed her help — leaving her parents no choice but to let her keep and take care of them. She is a kind and thoughtful professional who loves all animals, but has a soft spot in her heart for French Bulldogs. Her professional interests include animal behavior and welfare. On her off time, she loves anything involving the outdoors and hanging out with her Siamese mix, Opal.
Lauren grew up in Brooklyn, NY surrounded by her parents, two sisters and a variety of animals. At a young age, she started showing interest in her mother’s yellow front amazon parrot, Poncho. Thanks to her mom and dad for allowing lauren to bring home hamsters, lizards, fish, hermit crabs, birds and a slew of other animals to add to the menagerie. This sparked her into entering the veterinary field. Lauren worked at a small animal hospital in Brooklyn for four years where she became foster mom to a stray pigeon, seagull, countless kittens and a litter of baby possums. She then went on to work at Heart of Chelsea in 2007. Her professional interests include animal behavior, client education and animal welfare. On her off time she enjoys going to the movies, shopping, getting tattoos, traveling and being with her “bushy tushy” Yorkie Sinatra, and her newest addition Joey, a chatty black cat.
Jennifer moved here from Central Florida 2 years ago and has finally adjusted to the busy, bustling pace of NYC life. She attended the University of Central Florida and majored in Biology with the ambition and desire to work in the animal field. Jennifer has been working as a Veterinary Technician in Florida since 2003 and at Heart of Chelsea since 2012. She is fluent in American Sign Language, as working with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community has also been a passion of hers since childhood. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband and 3 rescue dogs: Lucky the Pitbull, Joey and Molly, the terrier mixes. In her spare time she enjoys crocheting, dining her way through NYC restaurants, and spending time with her family. She also loves Harry Potter….
Avian was born and raised in Brooklyn. Having a strong passion for animals since a young age he began working in the field of veterinary medicine at age 16. He received his Bachelors in Philosophy and Anthropology at Gettysburg College, PA, where after his studies he had a short stint working on a dairy goat farm. Upon returning to Brooklyn he continued working in the field with experiences working in Emergency/Specialty Surgery and Neurology. His passions include critical care medicine, singing jazz and blues, playing piano, cooking and hanging out with his Pitbull/Labrador pup Mowgli.
Joining us from Miami, Florida, Tristan comes to us with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science & Biology with a Minor in Chemistry and has a wealth of experience working with marine life. His love of all things living has pushed him into his pursuit of higher education to one day become a veterinarian. Outside of the office, Tristan can be found doing just about anything with Toby, his American Staffordshire Terrier, hanging with his 2 cats Ernie and Rupert, or scuba diving the reefs in Southern Florida while visiting family.
Nicole – Veterinary Assistant
Nicole joined Heart of Chelsea in 2006 having taken care of animals in a Brooklyn practice for 4 years prior. She has an uncanny ability to keep cats and dogs calm and comfortable while providing much needed care. Her certification in human cosmetology translates directly to her interest and ability in grooming even the most skeptical patient to perfection. Passion is the only way to describe her interest in helping your four-legged family members. She’ll always have your pet’s best interest in mind like it was her own cat Sandy of 19 years, or adopted and spoiled long-haired Chihuahua named Chi Chi. Nicole’s free time is spent baking, cooking, gardening and practicing advanced yoga techniques.
Marissa graduated from the University of Delaware with her Bachelors degree in Animal and Food Science and a minor in Wildlife Conservation. While in college, she worked with all types of animals from sheep to tigers. This past winter, Marissa took her love for animals across the world to New Zealand to study livestock production. While she’s not traveling to new places, she’s home with her adorable bunny Thumper. Marissa’s dedication and passion drives her to make sure each patient is treated with the best care possible.
Celine is an NYC-born-and-raised pre-veterinary student who currently resides in Queens, NY. She was first drawn to Heart of Chelsea by the warm, genuine nature the staff demonstrated when interacting with both clients and one another. She hopes to one day join the team of veterinarians dedicated to treating military service animals. When she isn’t at home being a mother to her three rescue cats, Animae, Dolly & Xxavier, as well as her two Lhasa Apsos, Juno & LJ, Celine spends her free time training for and competing in aerial athletic pole competitions. Veterinary medicine has been a longtime passion of hers, and for Celine, animals, laughter, and dance are the greatest things on earth.
Lauren - Veterinary Assistant
Lauren was born in White Plains, NY and spent her undergraduate years at the University of Miami where she studied music, pre-veterinary medicine, and business law. Her passion for animals began with horses as she spent much of her youth working at a stable. Though it started with 1,200 pound animals, her love extends all the way to the 2 pound yorkies – and includes everything in between! Lauren’s greatest satisfaction comes from connecting with owners and pets to create a thorough, educational and overall positive experience for both. When she’s not busy enjoying her time here, you can find her practicing bass, enjoying improvised comedy, and getting out into nature as much as possible.
Rasheeda has joined Heart of Chelsea after working in NYC for many years, and is thrilled to find colleagues that share her commitment and dedication to all animals. Currently studying Veterinary Technology at Mercy College, she has special interest in Emergency and Critical Care. Though working with furry friends is what she does best, in her spare time Rasheeda dabbles in art, namely illustration and portrait drawing. She also enjoys the outdoors, biking and vinyasa yoga.
Samantha grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and always had a passion for working with animals. She completed an internship at the Bronx zoo and worked with the education program at the Prospect Park Zoo which sparked her choice of careers. After interning at a hospital in Brooklyn, she moved to Texas to attend school and ended up working at a clinic in Dallas. After 4 years in the field and working at animal hospitals throughout DFW, Samantha moved back to her hometown to continue her career as a Veterinary Technician and plans to attend school to finish up her degree in Veterinary Technology to obtain her license. When she isn’t working, Samantha loves to explore the city, spend time with family and her two dogs; Lilah, a german shepherd, Lola, a mixed breed, and her two cats; Casey and Sherbert.
Edgar was born in the Bronx and raised in Washington Heights. He recently earned his Master’s Degree in Animal Behavior and Conservation from CUNY Hunter College, where he completed his thesis on the effect of ultraviolet B on the behavior of turtles (hopefully published soon). He has worked at veterinary hospitals in New York as well as some of our local zoos as a zoo keeper. When not helping better the lives of our 4 and sometimes 3 legged friends, he enjoys spending time outdoors taking pictures of animals, hiking, and snowboarding.
Erica – Client Services Representative
Erica was born and raised in Queens NY, and she knew very early on that a life surrounded by animals was the only way to go. From volunteering at the NY Aquarium to working at various doggy daycare facilities, she found the most gratifying experiences are in the veterinary field. She currently lives with her fiance and their first kitten, a feisty Maine Coon mix (appropriately named) Loki.
Originally from Virginia, Erin moved to New York City to pursue her dream of music. She has been written up in the New York Times, The New Yorker and The Village Voice, all applauding her haunting and heart felt musical performances. With a strong passion for animals, she has worked hard to find homes for feral cats throughout Brooklyn and Queens, while working closely with TNR groups to help control the homeless cat population. She shares her home with her husband Dan, her dog Chumley and her three cats Sterling, Fleas and Groucho. Erin brings a special blend of compassion, humor and empathy to her client interactions. She truly enjoys what she does, and it makes all the difference.
Ranjeet, born in India and raised in Queens her whole life, never imagined she would work at an animal hospital. Ranjeet graduated from the University at Buffalo with a Chemistry degree in 2015. While in college, she owned a beautiful Siberian Husky named Leah, adorable sibling kittens named Simba and Midnight, along with a Hedgehog and two Sugar Gliders. As you can see, she has a great love for animals. Unfortunately, she had to give up her pets after graduating and moving back to Queens, NY. This is her first hands-on experience working at an animal hospital and enjoys every moment of it. Her leisure activities include playing sports, traveling, and trying new things. In the future, she hopes to have and enjoy the company of a number of pets. She wishes to obtain her Masters degree no matter where it takes her but she will always have an undying love for animals.
Marcia – Client Services Representative
My name is Natasha Santiago. I joined the HOCAH team in June of 2013, a month after graduating from SUNY Oswego with a B.S. in Zoology. I am Puerto Rican and Ecuadorian, raised in the Bronx, NY. A jack of all trades, I love to sing, dance, cook, play football, attempting DIY (do it yourself) creations and volunteering. My ultimate goal is to join an organization where my passion for helping others can be best utilized to make a difference in various parts of the world. My journey begins here at Heart of Chelsea, and I am loving every minute of my experience with our patients and their awesome owners. Hope to meet you and your loving pet soon!
I was born in Manhattan and raised in Queens. As a self proclaimed crazy cat lady, I own five cats; Ozzy, Chloe, Scoot, Flipper, and Elliot. I have always had a passion for animals and animal rescue. My interest in veterinary medicine has grown tremendously since working at Heart of Chelsea. When not working hard to put my cats through college, I enjoy writing and watching TV.
Natalie is a Baltimore native and current Brooklyn resident! A Theatre & Speech graduate from Wagner College, Natalie has been seen Off-Broadway, regional theatre, as well as Indie and Feature films. Along with acting, her passion for animals has lead her to Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital! With experience from her family’s pug rescue in Baltimore, she is excited to help out animals here in the Big Apple!
Ralph is a vital member of the maintenance staff at both Heart of Chelsea and Lower East Side Animal Hospitals. He has two children, a beautiful granddaughter and a twin brother. While his busy schedule prevents him from owning his own pets, he enjoys the opportunity to work with animals, allowing him to play with all the cats and dogs we treat on a daily basis!
The longest standing member of our team, Solange has been with Heart of Chelsea since its inception in 1999. She is a compassionate mother and grandmother, and is always giving to family and friends. Solange has a passion for animals and constantly talks to them while in our care to help keep them calm and comfortable. When she’s not at Heart of Chelsea, she can be found spending time with her husband Claude, or visiting loved ones in Haiti.