The CRF Center for Education educates medical professionals and the public to improve patient outcomes.


  • Over 200 CME meetings conducted and more than 100,000 physicians and healthcare professionals trained worldwide
  • Continuously ACCME accredited since 1997
  • Over 50 meetings conducted annually

As part of our commitment to mentoring the next generation of researchers, CRF teaches and develops interventional cardiology fellows from all over the world. We provide comprehensive research training at CRF and expert clinical training at Columbia University Medical Center, where CRF is affiliated. Fellows return to their home countries to put what they have learned here into practice. Additionally, US Fellows, participating in accredited fellowship programs, are provided free registration to all CRF-sponsored programs


Tricia Rawh is Executive Director of the CRF Center of Education. She was previously Director, Industry Relations, leading the sales and business development operations for the division, including exhibits, sponsorships, satellite programs, and educational grant acquisitions. Tricia joined CRF in June 2008 as a Project Manager in the Creative and Marketing Services department before transitioning over to a program project management role in the Educational Services & Strategic Relations department. Prior to joining CRF, she was an Account Manager at Thomas Publishing Company LLC.

Ligia Alas-Guerra, Director, Meetings is responsible for leading the meeting planning function, strategy, and execution of all aspects of event/meeting management, including budget preparation and site selection for the CRF Center for Education. She manages a staff of meeting planners and works with vendors and internal resources to execute the logistical operations for CRF’s educational meetings throughout the year. Ligia has extensive experience working across internal and external functional groups, full-cycle project management, budget ownership, and is a dedicated client liaison for internal and external stakeholders. Prior to joining CRF, she was Director of Meetings and Events at Valeant Pharmaceuticals. She also spent more than 10 years at Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceutical, leading the planning and execution of over 200 major domestic and international meetings with up to 11,000 attendees.

Liza Alegado, Director, Program Development is responsible for the development of CRF programs within the Center for Education and oversees the program team. The Program Team manages the project deliverables related to program content and collaborates with physician course directors to ensure CRF’s standard of high-quality medical educational events. Liza joined CRF in 2013 as Program Coordinator for CED. Prior to CRF, she was an Associate Research Scholar at New York University, managing a national initiative to improve outcomes of depression and worked as a Research Coordinator at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.

Stephanie Gutch, Senior Director, TCTMD/Digital oversees content and operations for, and the CRF Studio. Stephanie joined CRF in 2008 as Content Coordinator for TCTMD. Prior to joining CRF, she was the web editor for Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, a seven-hospital system based in Memphis, TN.

Tara Lucas, Director, Industry Relations, oversees the business development operations for the Center of Education, which include exhibits, sponsorships, satellite programs, and grant acquisitions. Tara joined CRF in 2008 as a Meeting Planner and transitioned to a project management role within the industry relations department in 2015. Tara received a Bachelor of Science from New York University.

Debra Lund, Marketing Director, is responsible for the strategy and execution of all CRF branding and marketing, including copywriting, creative services, websites and web application development. She brings over 25 years of marketing, strategy and analytics experience with large brands such as The Madison Square Garden Company, Cirque du Soleil, Sotheby’s and Cablevision. Debra is a graduate of the City University of New York where she earned her master’s degree in Applied Sociology. She lives in Plainview with her husband and two daughters.

Thaifa S. Smith, MHA, Director, CME and Scientific Programs, is responsible for managing the program development and compliance for all Continuing Medical Education and Call for Science functions and joined CRF in 2022. Prior to joining CRF, she was the Director of Global Medical Education at Operation Smile and Director of CME and Physician Professional Development at Christiana Care Health System. Thaifa was able to achieve ACCME accreditation for one of the largest academic based medical centers in Delaware.

Thaifa has over 15 years of medical education, physician professional development, accreditation, and credentialing experience. She managed a portfolio of educational activities offered to 11,000 learners nationally and organized a fragmented system of CME activities into a comprehensive institutional program of value-driven, peer-reviewed, and professional education trainings. Thaifa has a Masters Degree in Health Care Administration from the University of Maryland.

Shelley Wood is Managing Editor of TCTMD and the Editorial Director at CRF. She did her undergraduate degree at McGill University and the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and her graduate degree in journalism at the University of British Columbia, specializing in medical reporting. Before joining CRF in 2015, Shelley was Managing Editor at and Senior Director, Global News for Medscape. Her work has won the National Institute for Health Care Management's excellence in print journalism prize, the Online News Award for best specialty site journalism, two prizes from the Canadian Online Publishing Awards and Gold from the Association of Healthcare Publication Editors Awards. She is also the host of TCTMD’s Heart Sounds podcast, which won the 2016 merit prize in the Digital Health Awards, Audio/Mobile category.