Internal Medicine Residency Program Faculty

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As an Internal Medicine resident, you will interact with University of Minnesota faculty who love to teach. Whether precepting in continuity clinic, attending on the general medicine wards, or staffing consults, the faculty here are dedicated to teaching and learning and truly enjoy the academic environment of a University training program.

Our faculty members strive to achieve a balance of autonomy and supervision; they are here to act as a “consultant”, helping you explore diagnostic and therapeutic options, rather than simply dictating a plan for patient care. Most have developed lectures, workshops and “10 Minute Talks” for teaching on the fly. All of our faculty are extremely approachable and welcome your questions or concerns. Many of them have received special recognition in the form of teaching awards, leadership positions and the like. Below is just a small sampling of educators from all three sites. 

 

University of Minnesota Medical School

Michael Aylward, MD, FACP
Assistant Professor of Medicine and Director, Medicine-Pediatrics Residency Program

Division of General Internal Medicine

Dr. Michael Aylward attended undergrad at Boston College, medical school at NYU, and completed his Med-Peds residency here at the U of MN with a Chief year at the VA. His focus is on health informatics and practical applications for physicians and patients, and he serves as Chair of Physician Informatics committee at UMMC. Dr. Aylward is a preceptor for Med-Peds resident’s clinic and attends on the wards. He received the Educational Excellence award in the fall of 2007. His enjoys writing and being a dad to four beautiful daughters.

Full bio

Karyn Baum, MD
Professor of Medicine and Associate Chair for Clinical Quality Improvement

Division of General Internal Medicine

Dr. Karyn Baum attends on the inpatient general medicine service at UMMC and has a special interest in education, which includes developing a teaching course for faculty and curriculum for the second year of medical school. She received her bachelor’s degree from MIT, MD from the University of Michigan and completed residency here at the University of Minnesota,where she also served as Chief Resident at the VA. She went on to complete a Masters in Medical Education through the University of Southern California. She was voted Teacher of the Year in 2004-2005. She enjoys spending time at her cabin in Wisconsin and is the proud owner of two Jack Russell Terriers.

Full bio

Bradley Benson, MD
Professor

Division of General Internal Medicine

Dr. Brad Benson is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. He graduate from Vanderbilt University Medical School and completed training in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics here at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Benson is the Director of the Division of General Internal Medicine, a position he has served in since 2009. In addition, in 2011, he took on a leadership role in the Hospital Medicine Program and serves as the Executive Medical Director for the Adult Hospital Medicine Services Line at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. Dr. Benson's interests include Primary Care for adults and children; adolescents and adults with childhood-onset disease; and Milestone based competency assessment across the continuum of medical education.

Full bio

Briar Duffy, MD, MS
Assistant Professor of Medicine; Associate Director of the Internal Medicine Clerkship; Director of the Clinician Educator Pathway

Division of General Internal Medicine

Dr. Briar Duffy earned her medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin, and went on to complete residency training at the University of Wisconsin and later a fellowship in Medical Education and Women's Health at the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned a Master's in Medical Education. She is currently involved in the residency program as a core faculty member as well as a continuity clinic preceptor, and attends frequently on the general medicine ward teaching service. She is also clerkship director for the Internal Medicine (Med I) clerkship for the University of Minnesota medical students. Dr. Duffy is particularly interested in helping our residents become better teachers. Her outside interests include choral music, cooking, travel and crafts.

Full bio

James Nixon, MD
Professor of Medicine; Vice Chair for Education for the Department of Medicine

Division of General Internal Medicine

Dr. James Nixon attended the University of Oklahoma for both undergrad and medical school and then completed his training in our Med-Peds residency program. He co-directs the Essentials of Clinical Medicine course for the medical school and teaches Advanced Physical Diagnosis. He attends on the wards for both Peds and Medicine. He has been recognized both nationally and locally for his teaching having received the Louis N. Pangaro Educational Program Development Award and the Academic Health Center's Academy for Excellence in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning award.

Full bio

Andrew Olson, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and is an Academic Hospitalist at the University of Minnesota Medical Center and University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital

Division of General Internal Medicine

Dr. Andrew Olson is the Course Director for the Advanced Physical Diagnosis elective course for medical students and is an instructor in the Ultrasound for Medicine Course. He attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, majoring in Chemistry and Biology and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine. He completed an Internship in Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and a residency in Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota where he was selected by his peers as the Best Teacher in both the Medicine and Pediatrics Residency Programs. Dr. Olson was a Chief Resident at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. His interests include medical decision making and cognitive errors in medicine, physical examination instruction and research, point-of-care ultrasonography, and systematic reviews of diagnostic testing. He also enjoys Minnesota Twins baseball, hiking, and exploring Minnesota’s North Shore.

Full bio

Erik J. Peterson, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine, Associate Director of the Physician Scientist Training Program and Director of the Peterson Lab

Division of Rheumatic and Autoimmune Diseases

Dr. Erik Peterson joined the division of Rheumatic and Autoimmune Diseases in July, 2002. He is also a member of the interdisciplinary Center for Immunology and its Autoimmunity Program. He is a superbly trained immunologist with a scientific interest in those molecules that regulate the development and function of the immune system and prevent or promote the development of autoimmunity. He is also developing a general rheumatology practice and participates in resident and fellow teaching.

Full bio

Daniel Schnobrich, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine; Lead Instructor for the Ultrasound Course taught to residents and faculty.

Division of General Internal Medicine

Dr. Daniel Schnobrich joined the faculty at UMMC in August of 2011. He completed his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at Iowa State University in Ames, IA, and graduated from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He went on to complete residency training in Med/Peds at the University of Minnesota. He is currently a Core Faculty member who practices as a hospitalist. His special interests include bedside ultrasound assessment and he will be teaching the ultrasound course to our residents and faculty periodically throughout the year. He is a recipient of the Department of Medicine Educational Excellence Award in 2012. His hobbies include fitness, particularly triathlons and cross country skiing, as well as travel and music.

Full bio

Clifford Steer, MD
Professor of Medicine, Director of the Physician Scientist Training Program and Director of the Steer Lab

Divison of Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition

Dr. Clifford Steer received his B.A. in Physiology/Chemistry and M.D. at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He completed an Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis. Dr. Steer accepted a Hepatology Fellowship at the NIH in the Section on Diseases of the Liver and remained on staff at the NIH as an Expert in his field for an additional 10 years. In 1989, Dr. Steer joined the University of Minnesota as a Professor in the Department of Medicine, Genetics and Cell Development.

During his time at the University, Dr. Steer has been active in mentorship of PhD students and post-doctoral fellows in his lab, is a member of multiple committees and has continued to be academically productive in his current area of research.

The Steer Lab focuses on (1) gene therapy using non-viral vectors; and (2) the role of microRNAs in liver regeneration and the pathogenesis of cancer

Full bio

Heather Thompson
Assistant Professor of Medicine in General Internal Medicine

Division of General Internal Medicine

Dr. Heather Thompson-Buum practices both outpatient and inpatient medicine, teaching and supervising residents in both of these roles. Prior to joining the faculty, she served as a Chief Resident at the University site, and was the Associate Program Director through July 2013--early on developing a resident-as-teacher curriculum, and later implementing ward redesign including the current night float system. She received the Department of Medicine Educational Excellence Award in 2004, and the Clinical Excellence Award in 2013. Her more recent projects involve participation in the Primary Care Faculty Development Initiative, a national grant program which supports the redesign of the Immersion Block curriculum as well as innovation within the resident continuity clinics to provide team based care in a patient centered medical home model. Within the medical school, she teaches Essentials of Clinical Medicine and serves as the course director for Human Disease 4. She enjoys spending her free time with her husband and two children, as well as choral music, cooking, running, and playing golf.

Full bio

Regions Hospital

Richard Hilger, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine

Division of General Internal Medicine

Dr. Hilger graduated from Creighton University School of Medicine in 1996 and completed Med/Peds residency training at the University of Minnesota in 2000. He attends frequently on the teaching services and is actively involved in medical education of students and residents rotating at Regions. In addition Dr. Hilger has been instrumental in developing the Hospital Medicine Pathway, including the creation of the Hospitalist Elective at Regions, and participates in the Health Partners Physician Leaders program. He won the Health Partners Excellence in Education Awards in 2008.

Full bio

Benji Mathews, MD, FACP
Assistant Professor of Medicine

Division of General Internal Medicine

Dr. Benji Mathews is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School; Section Head of Hospital Medicine at Regions; Core Faculty Internal Medicine Residency Program; Co-Director of Ultrasound Education at Regions Hospital; Course Director for Essentials in Clinical Medicine at Regions; Chair of Coaching and Assessment Committee. Dr. Mathews graduated from the Institute of Technology at the University of Minnesota, did his residency at the University of Minnesota and Chief Residency at Regions Hospital. As an academic hospitalist, Dr. Mathews has research interests including point-of-care ultrasonography, quality improvement and patient safety education, curriculum development, heuristics/cognitive biases, and other innovative projects. He has a passion for global health, rooted in his commitment to reducing health care disparities both locally and globally. He has completed the global health course at the University of Minnesota. When not working, he enjoys spending his spare time with family, traveling, serving in community activities, and participating in a variety of sports.

Full bio

Miguel Ruiz, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine

Division of General Internal Medicine

Dr. Miguel Ruiz is an Assistant Professor of Medicine, a Hospitalist and a member of the Palliative Care Team at Regions Hospital in St Paul (board certified by ABIM and ABHPM). He is director of the HIV Primary Care Program at the West Side Community Health Services (WSCHS, “La Clinica”) in St. Paul (specialist by AAHIVM). Dr. Ruiz is a graduate of the University of Madrid, Spain and pursued post-graduate training at Manchester University (UK) and an Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Minnesota. He was chief resident at Regions Hospital. He is a Univ of MN assistant professor in the Dept of Medicine and continues to be very involved in the education of medical student and Internal Medicine residents at Regions Hospital. His main clinical interest is in International Medicine and health issues in Latinos. He served as the physician champion for the Medtronic Fellowship program in cultural competence at Regions in 2003-04 and currently is the lead physician for the Robert Wood Johnson grant “Speaking Together” directed to improve the care for LEP (Limited English Proficiency Patients) at Regions Hospital.

Full bio

Paul Sufka, MD

Dr. Paul Sufka is a board certified rheumatologist with HealthPartners who works at the Specialty Center and Regions Hospital in St.Paul, MN, along with RiverWay Clinic in Anoka, MN.

He is also an assistant residency director for the University of Minnesota Internal Medicine Residency Program. He received his M.D from the University of Iowa Medical School in 2005, and completed internal medicine residency at the University of Minnesota in 2008. Following this, he spent one year at Regions Hospital as a Chief Resident in internal medicine with the University of Minnesota. He completed his fellowship training in rheumatology in June of 2011 with the University of Minnesota Department of Rheumatology. Dr. Sufka has been interested in the use of technology in medicine. At the American College of Rheumatology meeting in 2009 titled: An Evaluation of Knee Arthrocentesis Videos on YouTube for Content, Technical, and Instructional Quality. He is one of the co-founders of The Rheumatology Podcast.

Full bio

Colin Turner, MD

Dr. Colin Turner is an Internal Medicine and Pediatric Hospitalist at Regions Hospital. He graduated from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 2004, and completed his Medicine/Pediatric residency at the University of Minnesota in 2008. He then served as an Internal Medicine Chief Resident at the VA Medical Center from 2008-2009. Dr. Turner attends regularly on the wards at Regions Hospital and St Paul Children's Hospital, as well as on the Regions Palliative Care service. He started as Core Faculty with the residency program in 2012. His professional interests include medical education, evidence-based medicine, and palliative care. When not working, he happily spends time in Saint Paul with his wife and daughter.

Full bio

Patricia Walker, MD, DTM&H, CTropMed®
Professor of Medicine

Department of Medicine

Dr. Patricia Walker is an Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease and International Medicine and the Associate Medical Director of the Global Health Pathway. She maintains an active practice in clinical care of refugee, immigrants and in women's health. She speaks Thai and Cambodian, and enjoys teaching, learning from people all over the world, international travel and her family.

Full bio

Thomas Yacovella, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine

Division of General Internal Medicine

Dr. Thomas Yacovella is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine and a Hospitalist at Regions. He completed his Internal Medicine Residency training here at the University of Minnesota and served as Chief Resident at Regions. He has been voted Teacher of the Year several times and was recently awarded the Society of Hospital Medicine Excellence in Teaching Award.

Full bio

Minneapolis VA Health Care System Faculty

Amy Candy, MD
Assistant Professor

Department of Medicine

Dr. Amy Candy Heinlein completed medical school and residency at the University of Minnesota. She served as Chief Resident at the VAMC in 2007-2008 prior to staying on as faculty. She has clinics in primary care, women’s clinic and pre-operative medicine. She is active in medical resident education through attending on inpatient wards and in the continuity clinic. She also involved in medical student education by giving lectures for the medical students on their internal medicine rotations and being involved with the second year medical school course Physician and Patient III. Dr. Candy enjoys spending time with her husband and 2 sons, Henry and Charlie.

Full bio

Reut Danieli, MD
General Internal Medicine physician, VA Medical Center

Dr. Reut Danieli completed medical school at Rush University in Chicago, IL, and an internal medicine residency at the University of Iowa where she was voted Teaching Resident of the year in 2010. She started as faculty at the Minneapolis VA in 2010 and has clinics in primary care. She is involved with the residency program as core faculty, continuity clinic preceptor at the VA, and attending on the general medicine teaching service. She is interested in integrating quality improvement principles into continuity clinic. She enjoys spending time with her husband and children and baking or hiding away with a good book.

Full bio

Noah Goldfarb, MD
Affiliate Assistant Professor of Medicine and Co-Director, Medicine-Dermatology Residency Program

Department of Dermatology

Full bio

Rahul Kavathekar, MD
Assistant Professor

Dr. Rahul Kavathekar attended the University of Iowa for his undergraduate studies in Biomedical Engineering and Religion. He attended medical school at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s, Canada. He completed his training in internal medicine and chief residency at Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Massachusetts. He attends on the inpatient medicine wards, precepts resident continuity clinic, and helps organize the outpatient Essentials of Clinical Medicine course at the VA site. Dr. Kavathekar has an interest in public health issues, preventive health, and process improvement in healthcare settings. He enjoys spending his time outside of work biking, cooking, and enjoying time with his two children.

Full bio

Nersi Nikakhtar, MD
Assistant Professor

Dr. Nersi Nikahtar completed medical school at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and his Internal Medicine residency at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he completed an additional chief resident year. He joined the faculty at the Minneapolis VA in 2005, where he works as a primary care physician and as an inpatient attending on the medicine teaching services. Dr. Nikakhtar serves in several educational roles. He is the Assistant Chief for Resident Education and the Director of the Internal Medicine Resident Continuity Clinics at the Minneapolis VA. His academic interests include quality improvement in the outpatient management of chronic diseases, as well as resident assessment in the outpatient setting. Outside of medicine he enjoys long distance running, drawing, writing, and photography. He is an avid enthusiast of all forms of technology and their application to medical education.

Full bio

Erin Raci, MD
Assistant Professor

Dr. Erin Raci Wetherbee graduated from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and completed internal medicine residency at the University of Minnesota. She served as Medicine Chief Resident at the Minneapolis VA, and went on to a fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Minnesota. She joined the faculty at the Minneapolis VAHCS in 2011, where she attends on Pulmonary Consult and Medical ICU teaching services and is medical director of the MICU. She is a core faculty member for the internal medicine residency. Dr. Wetherbee enjoys involvement with all levels of medical education, and her activities have included acting as 2010 co-editor for the American Thoracic Society Reading List, development of an annual bedside ultrasound course for critical care fellows, and serving as facilitator for medical school courses Foundations of Critical Thinking I & II, and Pulmonary Pathophysiology - Human Disease.

Full bio

Craig Roth, MD
Professor

Dr. Craig Roth has a special interest in developing communication skills to facilitate the doctor-patient relationship. He implemented an outstanding workshop for incoming interns (CASE - Communication Assessment and Skills Exercise) to help them address issues such as discussing code status and breaking bad news. He also facilitates a lecture series for VA Faculty on improving their teaching skills and was the recipient of Teacher of the Year award in 2010-2011. Dr. Roth attends on the wards and precepts Continuity Clinic.

Full bio

George Sarosi, MD
Professor

Dr. George A. Sarosi earned his undergraduate degree from the University of North Dakota in 1962 and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1964. After graduating from Harvard Medical School, he completed residency training at the University of Minnesota Hospitals. During his career, Dr. Sarosi has held academic appointments at the University of Minnesota, University of Texas (Houston), University of Arizona, Stanford University, and Indiana University. He was involved in the early description and characterization of histoplasmosis outbreaks as an officer in the Ecological Investigations Program, National Communicable Disease Center, Mycosis Section, Public Health Service in 1968. Dr. Sarosi has been awarded a Distinguished Teacher Award and Mastership of the American College of Physicians and the Murry Kornfeld Medal from the American College of Chest Physicians. He bas been named a Distinguished Alumnus of both the University of North Dakota and the University of Minnesota Internal Medicine Residency Program and was the recipient of Teacher of the Year award in 2009-2010.

Full bio

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