Wellness Team

Meet our team

Our Palmetto Health-USC Orthopedic Center Wellness team includes registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs), exercise physiologists, physical therapists and experts in biomechanics and functional anatomy.

Core team

Paul Lomas, Wellness Director

Wellness director Paul Lomas, EP, received his bachelor's degree in exercise physiology from the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health and an associate’s degree as a physical therapy assistant from Midlands Technical College, both in Columbia. He has more than 30 years of experience in wellness programs including cardiac rehabilitation, physical therapy, corporate wellness, health assessments, exercise prescriptions and risk interventions including obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Lomas works closely with physicians to improve the quality of health care for patients by providing lifestyle programs that address the cause of chronic conditions, not just treat the symptoms.

Lisa Money, Wellness Dietitian

Lisa Money, RDN, received her training in dietetics at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, where she lettered four years in collegiate tennis and participated in the U.S. Olympic tennis trials in Flushing Meadows, New York. She is a graduate of the U.S. Army dietetic internship and served five and a half years as an active-duty U.S. Army dietitian, where she helped train soldiers and West Point cadets on sports nutrition strategies. She is a registered dietitian, board certified in sports dietetics, and holds memberships in SCAND, SCAN, CPSDA and IAEDP. Also a lifelong athlete, Money is active in local team and individual United States Tennis Association (USTA) events as well as yoga and hiking.

Carla Nowicki, Wellness Dietitian

Carla Nowicki, RD, obtained her bachelor’s degree in nutrition at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, and her master’s degree in sports nutrition at Florida State University in Tallahassee. Nowicki has worked as a dietitian in private training facilities, clinical settings and collegiate athletic settings. She is a board certified sports dietitian and holds an additional strength and conditioning certification. She is also a weightlifting athlete and a member of USA Weightlifting. Her goal for every client is to help them create a long-lasting healthy relationship with food to be used as fuel for improved energy, quality of life and medical results.

Chyna Riley, Exercise Physiologist

Chyna Riley, EP, earned her bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology from Winston-Salem State University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she was a member of the women’s softball program and won two Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association championships. She completed her internship training at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, also in Winston-Salem, and has experience in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, exercise prescription and personal and group training. Riley has worked with clients to prepare for and recover from joint replacements, overcome obesity, manage hypertension and control diabetes.

Joanna Stayer, Exercise Physiologist

Joanna Stayer, EP, earned her bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. She has experience in outpatient cardiac rehabilitation, personal and group training, biometric screening and exercise prescription. Stayer has worked with clients to prepare for and recover from joint replacements, and to overcome hypertension, diabetes, obesity and hyperlipidemia.

Muhammad Wilson, Exercise Phsysiologist

Muhammad Wilson, EP, received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina. He is a certified corrective exercise specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and has experience with the Prisma Health MedFit12 program, exercise prescription, weight, hypertension and diabetes management.

Contributing members

Jeffrey S. Hopkins, MD, Wellness Medical Director

Jeffrey S. Hopkins, MD, received his medical degree from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine in Lexington, where he also completed his internship and residency. He completed a joint replacement fellowship at the Joint Replacement Institute in Los Angeles, and is board certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons. He is a candidate member with the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and a member of the South Carolina Medical Association. His specialties and clinical interests include total joint replacement surgery and arthroscopic knee surgery.

Debbie Brown, Senior Physical Therapist

Debbie Brown, PT, received her master’s degree in physical therapy from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and has over 25 years' experience in acute and inpatient rehabilitation, long term care, home health and outpatient care. For the past 18 years, Debbie has focused primarily on the outpatient adult orthopedic population. She has been a certified clinical instructor by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) for over 20 years, is a certified geriatric specialist, is certified in orthopedic manual physical therapy and is a member of APTA and Orthopedic Section of the APTA.

Jay Patel, PhD, Director of Research

Jay Patel, PhD, currently serves as the director of research with Palmetto Health-USC Orthopedic Center. He received his bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences, a master’s degree in exercise science and a PhD in kinesiology with specializations in anatomy and sport biomechanics from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. While at Auburn, he worked closely with the athletics department’s strength and conditioning staff, as well as several varsity athletic teams, as a sport biomechanics consultant. An expert on scientific assessment to improve athletic performance and reduce injuries, Dr. Patel is a guest lecturer and publisher who has worked with professional and Olympic-level athletes. He also has served as a personal trainer for almost a decade, an MMA and Tae Kwon Do Instructor, an instructor of biomechanics and an instructor of anatomy and strength and conditioning. Patel holds certifications including Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association; Corrective Exercise Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine; and Functional Movement Screening certified through Functional Movement Systems.

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