We are thrilled to announce that three Department of Medicine faculty members have been recognized by Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s third annual Health Care Heroes awards.

The award honors both clinical and administrative healthcare professionals in the Twin Cities for their innovation, care, dedication and compassion in their work to improve the human condition. Honorees were chosen across ten categories, highlighting the breadth of the healthcare field. 

Our 2023 honorees include:

  • Health Care Executive - Health-system-based: Elizabeth Seaquist, MD
  • Health Equity Champion: Cuong Pham, MD
  • Physician - Health-system-based: Alexander Boucher, MD



Dr. Seaquist is a clinical investigator dedicated to the understanding and care of diabetes. In the clinic, she listens closely to her patients to identify problems and designs research to find answers. Her research focuses on the effect of diabetes on the brain, specifically working to understand why repeated episodes of low blood sugar in diabetic patients cause their brains to stop sending important warning signals, which can lead to loss of consciousness and increase the risk of death. Dr. Seaquist’s work has resulted in both life-improving and life-saving treatments, and her impact on the diabetes community has been profound.

In 2022, Dr. Seaquist made history by becoming the first female head of the Department of Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School, where she is responsible for recruitment, overseeing over 650 faculty members and fostering professional development for the department’s faculty. As a physician-leader, Dr. Seaquist exemplifies the Medical School’s mission to use research and education to improve patient care. She has strengthened clinical operations, directed quality and safety initiatives and engaged clinicians to advance the Medical School’s largest department.



Dr. Pham is an assistant professor of medicine and associate vice chair of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Department of Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He has devoted his career to improving healthcare for marginalized populations. His own experiences as an immigrant in the U.S. allow him to build relationships with patients that are built on trust and provide an invaluable perspective in his clinical work at the Community-University Health Care Center, a versatile clinic in Minneapolis providing a wealth of resources to its diverse patient population. Dr. Pham’s work dives deep into the roots of health inequity, from patients to physicians to medical students. He advocates for integrating health equity into daily clinical practice by training future physicians through a DEI mentorship program for medical students and co-founding Minnesota Doctors for Health Equity, a nonprofit that educates and activates current health professionals to work towards ensuring equal healthcare access for all. 

Dr. Pham also created Project ECHO on Race Equity in Opioid Use, an innovative model that gives community leaders in the African American, East African and Indigenous communities the opportunity to collaborate and lead discussions on the local opioid crisis. The trust Dr. Pham has cultivated allows people to come together to share their experiences and be empowered, creating a community-wide dialogue aimed at addressing disparities in opioid care.



Dr. Boucher is a pediatric hematologist/oncologist at M Health Fairview and assistant professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Medicine at the Medical School. He is a leader in improving outcomes and community awareness of sickle cell disease (SCD), a painful hereditary disease that is most common among people of African descent. SCD treatment has a history of discrimination and inequity, with young patients in particular at a higher risk for complications and gaps in care.

His research has expanded clinical trials to increase treatment options and reduced hospital admission and readmission rates for patients with SCD. Dr. Boucher is also dedicated to researching existing inequities and biases in clinical care for all diseases by working directly with young adults and adolescents. He brings his clinical and research experience to medical students as the director of the University of Minnesota’s SCD program. Dr. Boucher develops curriculum around his specialties of hematology and social determinants of health to ensure that all future physicians have the necessary knowledge to break down health inequities and improve all patients with the highest quality care.