Board of Directors

Independent Physicians of the Carolinas

Independent Physicians of the Carolinas d/b/a Charlotte Independent Docs

Founded in September 2008 as a forum for independent physician groups to share ideas and discuss issues that are faced by non-hospital owned medical practices. IPC matured to a point where we feel that the most effective measures to preserve our independence is through legislative action.

The Charlotte healthcare market, as well as the majority of both North and South Carolina, is dominated by two major hospital systems. As a result, independent physicians, or those providers not controlled by a hospital based healthcare system, are few and far between. Oftentimes, the independent physician is a solo practitioner who does not have the resources available to be a profitable and viable alternative to the hospital based healthcare systems.

A market that forces the patient into a hospital owned network may not always be the best alternative for the patient. The hospital networks typically charge higher fees for services, do not allow the practitioner to distribute drug samples, and can cost the patient more money through deductibles for ancillary testing. Until recently, there was no resource for a patient to go to find physicians not a part of the hospital systems.

Independent Physicians of the Carolinas, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation (501(c)(6)) based in Charlotte, NC. Our mission is to unite medical physicians who are not a part of a hospital based network. We want to provide a network for those independent physicians for them to use as support. We also want to create a website and database which can be accessed by patients to find the independent physicians because they prefer not to be a part of a hospital owned network.


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Justin Favaro
Justin FavaroMD

A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Dr. Favaro received his MD and PhD from The Medical University of South Carolina following an eight-year dual degree program. He was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society during his time in medical school. He completed his internal medicine training at the University of Texas, Southwestern in Dallas, TX, and his fellowship training in Medical Oncology and Hematology at Duke University Medical Center. Dr Favaro is board certified in both Medical Oncology and Hematology.

Dr. Favaro believes that physician-owned practices are best suited to offer patient-oriented, efficient care. Physician autonomy improves the value of the care delivered and leads to greater patient satisfaction.

Colleen Dey
Colleen DeyTreasurer/Founder

Ms. Dey is the Manager of Ballantyne Diagnostic & Sleep Center and its parent organization, MDC Medical Management, LLC. She graduated from Virginia Tech and is a former CPA with more than 20 years in healthcare management. She has worked as a healthcare financial consultant for various firms including Deloitte & Touche and Premier, Inc. She has also served as a chief financial officer for various healthcare entities and a consultant specializing in healthcare billing, finance and operations.

 “Having worked with an independent physician for the past six years has really shown me there is a difference in the quality of care. The independent physician spends more time really getting to know his or her patients and is passionate about them. Getting to work with these physicians through the Independent Docs is an honor for me. “ –Colleen Dey,Founder
Sherie Bradshaw
Sherie BradshawSecretary/Programs Facilitator

Ms. Bradshaw is an Independent Physician Liaison with her contract marketing business PEEP Marketing.  PEEP is an acronym for Promote, Enhance, and Engage Practices.  She is currently Physician Liaison with Oncology Specialists of the Charlotte  She has worked in healthcare marketing and public relations in the Charlotte area since 1989, with the first half of her career working for hospital-based programs. The structure of the independent practices has allowed her more flexibility in developing creative marketing strategies and prompt approval for projects to reach the medical community. Nearly a native Charlottean, she obtained her Bachelors Degree from North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

Charlotte Ramirez
Charlotte RamirezAdministrator

Ms. Ramirez is the Operations Manager/Technical Director at Ballantyne Diagnostic and Sleep Center and its parent organizations MDC Medical Management, LLC. Charlotte is a Registered Polysomnography Technologist (RPSGT) with over 20 years experience in Sleep Medicine, NeuroDiagnostics and management. Contact

Dino Kanelos
Dino KanelosMD, Chairman

Dr. Kanelos has treated patients over the past 20 years in private practice at Carolina Family Healthcare in the south Charlotte area. He earned his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati and performed his residency at Carolinas Medical Center. He is Board certified in Family Medicine. More information at

Larry Berman
Larry BermanMD, Vice-Chairman

Dr. Berman has been in private practice for over 20 years.  He earned his medical degree from Tel Aviv University-Sackler School of Medicine, Israel; a Master of Science in Public Health Care Administration from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; and his residency at State University of New York-Stony Brook.  Dr. Berman practices medicine in adolescent and adult internal medicine at Larry F. Berman, MD, MSPH, PC.  More information at

“As a solo independent physician I can offer my patients a full complement of services in my office thus avoiding the inconvenience and expense of unnecessary visits to hospitals or other free-standing facilities.”

Steven R. Bauer
Steven R. BauerDO, PC

Dr. Bauer returned to Charlotte after 20 years of combined schooling, training and practicing medicine in New York to establish Bauer Family Medicine, PLLC in the Ballantyne area in December 2006. In August 2011, he expanded his private practice with another local physician to form Ballantyne Medical Associates, PLLC. He earned his medical degree from New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine and is Fellowship trained in Anti-Aging & Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Bauer completed his internship and residency at Good Samaritan Medical Center in NY where he also served as Chief Resident. He is Board certified in Family Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine and is licensed in medicine and surgery in NC, NJ, and NY. More information at

“As a member of the Independent Docs organization, I am able to have all the support of a big organization, but on a more personal level.”– Steven R. Bauer, DO, PC
Deborah Nixon
Deborah NixonMD

Dr. Nixon is a dermatologist at Dermatology Specialists of Charlotte in Charlotte, NC. She received her undergraduate degree from Duke University and her medical degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She completed an internal medicine internship at Vanderbilt University and residency at Georgetown University.  She performed her residency at University of South Florida in Tampa.   She is Board Certified in Dermatology.  Dr. Nixon is a native Charlottean and returned home to practice dermatology in the Charlotte area for the last 17 years. She specializes in medical and cosmetic dermatology.  More information at

Ratko Vujicic
Ratko VujicicMD

Dr. Vujicic specializes in interventional pain management and has been in private practice at The V Pain clinic since 2003. He is Board Certified in both Anesthesiology and Pain Management. Dr. Vujicic earned his medical degree from the Medical School University of Zagreb in Croatia. He performed his internship at University Hospital Rebro in Zagreb, Croatia, did a guest residency in the Transplant Department at University Hospital in Graz, Austria, served as an ER staff physician in a US MASH in Zagreb, Croatia. After leaving Croatia, Dr. Vujicic was an intern, anesthesiology resident and chief resident at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine. He obtained his Pain Management Fellowship from Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire. More information at

“As a member of the Independent Docs I have had an opportunity to have input in how to organize my practice in relation with other practices in an easier and more effective way, for patients and my colleagues.” –Ratko Vujicic, MD
James Liu
James LiuMD

Dr. Liu had formerly practiced with a large group before opening his own practice, South Charlotte Cardiology where he specializes in clinical and diagnostic cardiology, echocardiography, and nuclear medicine .  He earned his medical degree from Louisiana State University Medical Center, Shreveport and he completed his residency at University of Rochester-Strong Memorial Hospital.  More information at

Marc Darst
Marc Darst MD

Dr. Darst moved to the beautiful south from mid-west where he received his medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine and completed a residency in Family Medicine.  After practicing general medicine, he transitioned into dermatology and trained at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine.  Additionally, he is trained in the subspecialty of dermatopathology from the University of Texas Southwestern at Dallas.  Dr. Darst opened his solo practice in south Charlotte in 2008, Darst Dermatology. More information at

Matthew R. Joyner
Matthew R. JoynerLegal Counsel

Mr. Joyner helps entrepreneurs start, run, buy and sell businesses. Matt’s clients benefit from his years of “hands on” practical experience running a business as General Counsel and Vice President of Administration of an international manufacturing company, as well as his prior experience in the courtroom as a commercial litigator. A Chapel Hill, North Carolina native, Mr. Joyner focuses his practice on LLC formations and operating agreements, corporate asset purchases and sales, and negotiating and drafting business contracts.