Our Staff

Onslow Surgical Clinic (OSC) has served the Onslow community for over sixty years. Our surgeons and staff are active members of the community and raise their families here. They strive to improve the quality and access to medical and especially surgical care to all citizens regardless of social and economic status. Our surgeons hold leadership roles at Onslow Memorial Hospital and serve key roles in strategic planning, program development, and physician recruitment. We work with patients and their families, in conjunction with our broader team and local resources to minimize life disruptions and return patients to quality and meaningful activity as soon as possible. If specialty services are required beyond what is available locally, we can also arrange a referral to a regional medical facility. Our surgeons have very established and effective professional relations with area providers, ensuring a strong continuity of personalized care and timely follow-up.

Gary Belzberg, MD

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Dr. Gary Belzberg has been serving the Onslow County community for over 5 years. Dr. Belzberg graduated from the University of Wisconsin and completed his residency at Kern Medical Center/UC San Diego. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the American Medical Association, and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

Before relocating to North Carolina, Dr. Belzberg was a partner at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center/South Bay and a clinical instructor of surgery at the Harbor/UCLA Medical Center, both in Torrance, California. He was the Kaiser Permanente Physician of the Year in 2005, a two-time recipient of the Robert J. Nejdl Award for Clinical Instruction and five-time “Clinical Instructor of the Year.” Dr. Belzberg is a board-certified general surgeon with nearly 30 years of experience, who specializes in gastrointestinal surgery.

Travis Safley, MD

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Nicki Downes, DO

Dr. Nicki Downes joined Onslow Surgical Clinic in April 2024. She is a local to Eastern North Carolina and has served this community for most of her career. Dr. Downes completed medical school in Tennessee at Lincoln Memorial University DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2015, followed by a General Surgery Residency in Pennsylvania at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In Pittsburgh, her interest in Breast Cancer was cultivated. She then completed a Surgical Breast Oncology fellowship at Cleveland Clinic Akron General in 2021.

Dr. Downes is a Surgical Breast Oncologist and a General Surgeon. Her special practice interests are Oncoplastic and hidden scar breast surgery. She is known for providing the most current and comprehensive approaches to both breast cancer and general surgical problems. Dr. Downes offers nipple-areola and skin-sparing mastectomies with immediate implant or tissue expander reconstruction. Her scope of practice includes evaluation, management, and treatment of benign and malignant breast diseases; breast and lymph node biopsies; high-risk patient evaluation and management; gallbladder disease, hernias, benign and malignant skin lesions, and colon surgery. She is a member of the American College of Surgeons, the American Society of Breast Surgeons, and the National Consortium of Breast Centers.

When not practicing medicine, Dr. Downes enjoys cooking, spending time with children, target shooting, and bow hunting.

Ashley Bacheller, PA-C


Ashley Bacheller, PA-C, joined Onslow Surgical Clinic in 2016. She graduated from Ohio University and attended Eastern Virginia Medical School where she participated in their post-graduate program to become a surgical assistant. She graduated as a Certified Surgical Assistant in 2011 and worked in Virginia Beach, VA for several years before returning to Eastern Virginia Medical School’s Physician Assistant Program. She graduated with her masters in 2016 as a Certified Physician Assistant and joined Onslow Surgical Clinic several months later.

In her free time, Ashley participates in many of the free clinics Onslow Memorial Hospital offers to the community and enjoys spending time with her husband, Stephen, and their two dogs.

Nikki Swailes, PA-C

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Nikki Swailes, PA-C, joined Onslow Surgical Clinic in August 2022. Originally, from New York, Nikki graduated from Touro College of Health Sciences in Bay Shore. She started working as a PA in the Emergency Department at a Level 2 Trauma Center and then worked in Orthopedic Surgery for 3 years before settling in North Carolina.

Nikki is a member of the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) and the North Carolina Medical Board.

In her free time, Nikki enjoys spending time with her family, going to the beach, and traveling. She enjoys staying active by going to the gym, running, yoga, figure skating, and taking her dog for long walks.

Nikki provides excellent care for her patients. She understands that surgery can be scary, so she takes her time explaining the procedures to her patients, so they know what to expect and help them feel as comfortable as possible.