Joe Martins, DVM and Certified Fear Free Professional was born and raised in New Jersey and is a Rutgers alumni who also graduated from the University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine in 1998. While at Rutgers studying animal science pre-veterinary medicine, Dr. Martins was hired and entrusted by the State University to work the farm for 4 years. This job meant that every summer and every winter he was responsible for feeding, cleaning and caring for over 100 sheep, 50 goats, 50 pigs, and 20 horses. For someone who loved to drive tractors, bail hay, and experience nature, this was a dream job.
After veterinary school and completion of an emergency externship in Phoenix Arizona he began his career as a general practitioner for 5 years up at the Basking Ridge Animal Hospital. After that he also worked at the Hunterdon Hills and Long Valley Animal Hospitals in pursuit of fulfilling his life-long dream of working at a practice with a clear vision of helping people and their pets.
In 2002, Dr. Martins began working at Belle Mead Animal Hospital. After 3 arduous years, he purchased the hospital and was able to fulfill his dreams of ownership. Since then he has proudly worked to make Belle Mead Animal Hospital a warm, positive family environment with the best caring and healing that people could trust.
Dr. Martins’ professional passions, to name a few, include veterinary dentistry, animal behavior, pain management, and preventative medicine. His other greatest joy is spending time with his beautiful family, including his wife Lara, son Henry, his five cats, (Tai, Turbo, Nelson, Tino, and Lion), his two dogs, (Heidi and Peanut), and recent goldfish, Dorothy.
“I would like to note a special dedication to my parents, Joe Manuel Conchinha Martins and Fernanda Sousa Martins, who were my first business partners. I could not have even gotten started with the purchase of Belle Mead Animal Hospital without their support and $300K in 2003. Thank you Mom and Dad. I will never forget that!”
Kim Somjen, DVM CCRP cVMA graduated from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine in May, 2006 and joined the team at Belle Mead Animal Hospital in July, 2006. Dr. Somjen’s interests include physical rehabilitation, acupuncture, pain management, and small mammal exotics (including rabbits, rats, guinea pigs, and chinchillas). Dr. Somjen achieved her Certification as a Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner and has completed the Certified Companion Animal Pain Management Program through the University of Tennessee’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Somjen is also certified in Veterinary Medical Acupuncture through CuraCore Integrative Medicine and Education Center, and has undergone additional training in myofascial trigger point therapy and attended the Canine Trigger Point Therapy Class through MyoPain Seminars. She is a member of the International Veterinary Association of Pain Management and is pursuing certification as a Veterinary Pain Practitioner. Dr. Somjen is very interested in ensuring that all our of pets live as pain-free as they can and strives to be able to help all her clients and patients create the best life possible.
Dr. Somjen currently lives with five dogs – Dobermans Cherrybomb and Groove, Border Collies Chill and Blast, and American Staffordshire Terrier mix Gadget as well as three cats – BH, Kiwi and Cobra. In her spare time, Dr. Somjen enjoys training and showing her dogs in obedience, rally obedience, herding and nose work. Chill is currently trialing for his Obedience Trial Championship and has placed twice in national competitions. Dr. Somjen also enjoys reading, and if she is not training her dogs she can be found either hiking with her boyfriend and the dogs or relaxing at the beach.
Debra White, DVM obtained her Bachelor of Science degree at Penn State University in 1990. She Graduated with her veterinary degree from Michigan State University in 1994. She has been practicing in New Jersey for the past 18 years and provides our clients with excellent up-to date preventative care and client education.
Erin Rockhill, DVM received her Bachelor of Animal Science degree from Rutgers University Cook College in 2007 and her Veterinary Degree from Tuskegee University in 2012. She completed an externship at NorthStar VETS. Her veterinary passion began by doing shelter work in high school, and she understands how overpopulation can affect pets living in shelters. In 2015 she had the opportunity to volunteer her time and sharpen her surgical skills with the Caribbean Spay Neuter organization working in high volume clinics for animals around the Caribbean, both stray and owned. She believes in how important it is to better the lives of those animals on the islands by sterilization and therefore decreasing overpopulation in the streets and in the shelters. Her interests include but are not limited to veterinary dentistry, surgery, and creating pet weight loss plans which is very important to increasing the longevity of pets. She also treats goats and pot-bellied pigs for general health and vaccine appointments.
In her down time, Dr. Rockhill enjoys hiking with her boyfriend and Dobermans MJ and Marzipan, working on various projects in her house with her dad, relaxing on the beach or in the mountains, traveling, and keeping in shape. She has completed four “Tough Mudders” and plans to do more in the future. She also enjoys snuggling with her cat, Mango, at home. Dr. Rockhill is a valued and energetic asset to the Belle Mead Animal Hospital team.
Mike Breuning, DVM was born and raised in Lambertville, New Jersey. His love for animals began at a young age having grown up with dozens of four-legged siblings. He graduated from Rutgers University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Sciences. While at Rutgers, Dr. Breuning worked part-time at Belle Mead Animal Hospital and became a full-time technician after graduation. During his time with Belle Mead before veterinary school, Dr. Breuning fell in love with the profession by working closely with the patients, their loving families, and the caring and devoted staff. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2019 and was honored to accept a position back home with the Belle Mead Animal Hospital. In his 4th year at veterinary school, Dr. Breuning was awarded the Volk Optical Small Animal Ophthalmology Award. Besides ophthalmology, Dr. Breuning’s veterinary interests include internal medicine, surgery, and preventative medicine.
Dr. Breuning is an avid golfer and can be found on the golf course during his free time. He also loves spending time with friends on the Delaware River or at home with his two cats, Chipper and Larry.
MJ Hamilton, DVM, DACVIM (Onc) joined the Belle Mead Animal Hospital team 2018 as our in-house oncologist. He received a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at Colorado State University. After two years in general practice in Las Vegas with a focus on oncology, behavior and theriogenology, he went on to complete a residency in medical oncology at Michigan State University Center for Comparative Oncology. Dr. Hamilton participated in research trials and lectures around the state. In his spare time he enjoys hobby farming.
Johanna Frank DVM DVSc Diplomate ACVIM (Internal Medicine) has had the pleasure of working with the wonderful doctors and staff at Belle Mead Animal Hospital for over 12 years. Dr. Frank is originally from Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She graduated with high honors from the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph in 1994. She completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery from North Carolina State University in 1995 and then returned to the Ontario Veterinary College for a residency in small animal internal medicine, which she completed along with a doctorate degree of Veterinary Science (DVSc) in 1998. Dr. Frank achieved board certification by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM-small animal) in 1998.
Dr. Frank worked at a specialty referral practice, in Littleton, Colorado as an internist until 2002. She then provided telemedicine consultations for Sound Technologies, which allotted her a sound basis for communication with general practitioners with regard to case interpretation and direction for diagnostics and treatment. Concurrently, she ran her own small consulting business in Fort Collins, Colorado, providing in-clinic internal medicine consultations and endoscopy. From 2006-2015, Dr. Frank worked with New Jersey Mobile Associates as a medicine consultant and mobile sonographer. With a significant caseload and large variety of cases and clinics, Dr. Frank has become extremely proficient as well as efficient at sonographic examinations and consultation with general practitioners. She started her own business, VetSound IM LLC in 2014, providing sonographic and medical consultations in New Jersey and Bucks County, PA. Dr. Frank co-authored The Curbside Guide to the Diagnosis and Treatment of Common Sonographically-Detected Disease: Canine and Feline which was published in 2015.
Dr. Frank, along with her husband, is busy raising three teenagers who keep them on their toes with all their sports and activities. Their two Cavaliers, Miley and Moose; two cats, Bell and Rudy; and two horses, Tori and Fhiligree, complete their family. In her “spare time,” Dr. Frank really enjoys riding and competing in dressage, as well as photography and reading for her book club.
Dr. Ben Staiger is a highly versatile surgeon with more than 15 years of experience working in academia and at a variety of high-volume veterinary hospitals. He routinely performs a wide range of specialty surgeries. Besides his extensive orthopedic training, strong interest in traumatology, and love for soft tissue surgery, Dr. Staiger has a particular passion for minimally invasive surgery (MIS) and interventional radiology. Inspired by the exceptional level of veterinary care and quality of specialty training in the United States, Dr. Staiger pursued surgical specialization at Michigan State University after graduating from the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich, Germany in 2004.After an Internship in General Medicine and Surgery, he completed a Residency in Small Animal Surgery, a Surgery Specialty Fellowship, and a Fellowship in Interventional Radiology (IR).
“There has been a paradigm shift in the way we approach many aspects of surgery in modern veterinary medicine. Minimally invasive options are rapidly expanding our treatment repertoire and I feel privileged to be part of a group of specialists that have the ability to enhance each individual patient’s capacity to heal and recover by decreasing the invasiveness of our interventions.” After moving to New Jersey in 2011, he pioneered the IR Service at NorthStar VETS and established the surgery service at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Hillsborough. In 2014 he founded Princeton Veterinary Specialists, a company that brings specialty surgery and care to the office of your family practitioners.
“I’m excited about the opportunity of bringing advanced surgery and minimally invasive interventions directly to select veterinary practices in New Jersey. Procedures that have traditionally been reserved for specialty centers and academia are now available at your veterinarian’s office.”As a Fear Free Certified Professional, Dr. Staiger emphasizes the importance of a personal approach to the surgical consultant service he provides to general practic es in New Jersey. Dr. Staiger enjoys a number of downtime activities including traveling, hiking, sailing, skiing, motorcycling, and gardening. He loves good food, great company, and above all, quality time with his friends and family, which includes a furry (one dog, three cats).
Dr. Rita Baorto-Blanco received her bachelors of Animal Science at Rutgers University and her veterinary medical degree from University of Pennsylvania in 2021. Her studies are a reflection of a life-long passion for animals and their well-being. She has competed as an equestrian starting in middle school and continues to ride competitively. In addition to her equestrian endeavors, she volunteered at her local animal shelter and worked with local veterinary practices in high school and college. Her professional interests include animal behavior and internal medicine. In her free time, Rita rides competitively in dressage shows in New Jersey. She and her husband enjoy hiking, cooking and are the proud owners of two rescued barn cats.
The Belle Mead Animal Hospital Team, Your Other Family Doctors