UMN Medical Center Residents

First Year: Class of 2025
Sofia Haile, MD

Sofia Haile, MD

Medical school: University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Medical interests: Immigrant and refugee health, global health, and women's health.

Personal interests: Gardening, travel, camping, music, and poetry.

Why UMN Medical Center: I wanted to train in someplace where I would receive excellent training while working with diverse patient populations and exercising my passion for social justice, population health, and patient advocacy.

Christine Harb, DO

Christine Harb, DO

Medical school: A.T. Still University Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine

Medical interests: Full-scope family medicine, abortions, transgender healthcare, and behavioral medicine.

Personal interests: Community organizing and engagement, social justice, public health, human rights advocacy, Star Wars, poetry, philosophy, music, astrophysics, world politics, astrology, theology, and history.

Why UMN Medical Center: I chose Smiley's because of its commitment to health equity. I appreciated that it was one of the few programs that trained us to terminate pregnancies and practice trans-competent healthcare in a highly charged political climate that is actively stripping our patients of their fundamental human rights. I also loved the faculty, and Smiley's dedication to fostering the mental health of their residents. I feel very grateful to be here!

Alexander Johnson, DO

Alexander Johnson, DO

Medical school: Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine

Medical interests: Comprehensive reproductive healthcare LGBTQIA+ medicine, transgender hormone therapy, sexual medicine, HIV/AIDS, and healthcare advocacy/justice.

Personal interests: My favorite hobby (when I have time!) is Dungeons & Dragons, but I also love video games, all things Marvel, cooking, craft beers, and spending time with my partner and our two cats!

Why UMN Medical Center: I chose Smiley's for a number of reasons. I was first drawn to it because of its status as a RHEDI program but then quickly discovered the program's emphasis on LGBTQIA+ medicine, gender-affirming care, comprehensive reproductive health, advocacy and justice, and caring for a diverse patient population. Once I interviewed and saw that the residents, faculty, and staff all felt like one big family - I knew this program was the one for me!

Julia Krumholz, MD

Julia Krumholz, MD

Medical school: Boston University

Medical interests: I'm interested in reproductive health, obstetrics, healthcare for unhoused persons, and addiction medicine.

Personal interests: I love running, hiking, biking, and drinking coffee!

Why UMN Medical Center: I chose Smiley's because I want to go to a place with excellent family medicine training that also focuses on social justice, reproductive health, and LGBTQ+ care. I also wanted to go to a place that felt like their residency was a family.

Jessica Sukharan, MD

Jessica Sukharan, MD

Medical school: University of Minnesota Medical School

Medical interests: My professional interests include family planning and reproductive justice, immigrant and refugee health, and healthcare advocacy.

Personal interests: I love running, dancing to soca music, exploring new restaurants with friends, and spending time with my family!

Why UMN Medical Center: In short, the mission and core values of Smiley’s closely align with the physician that I aspire to be. I was captivated by the program’s dedication to diversity, strong training in gender-affirming care, and unique qualification as a RHEDI program. Above all, the warmth and support I experienced during my interactions ensured me that I would thrive both personally and professionally in this residency.

Lily Ward, MD

Lily Ward, MD

Medical school: University of Minnesota Medical School

Medical interests: Gender-affirming care, chronic disease management, mental health, and substance use disorder treatment.

Personal interests: Gardening, hiking, backpacking, wilderness camping, playing the piano, and singing.

Why UMN Medical Center: I chose Smiley's (University of Minnesota Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Program) because of the welcoming faculty and strong focus on social justice and advocacy. I look forward to nurturing patient relationships based on trust and respect.

Second Year: Class of 2024
Christy Atkinson, MD

Christy Atkinson, MD

Medical school: University of Minnesota Medical School

Medical interests: Comprehensive women’s health, LGBTQIA+ care including gender-affirming medicine, Health at Every Size®, addiction medicine, adolescent health, and palliative care.

Personal interests: Decolonizing yoga, hiking, travel, fiddling, rollerblading, and swimming in Minnesota’s many lakes and rivers.

Why the Twin Cities: The rich history of immigration making it an ever-evolving place, the copious verdant parks and hiking paths, and the FOOD!

Why UMN Medical Center: The wonderful people of Smiley’s clinic, the beautiful, diverse Minneapolis community, the program’s activism, inclusivity, opportunities for robust training in trans care, and comprehensive women’s health.

Career goals: I hope to provide inclusive primary care to rural Minnesota that is focused on comprehensive women’s health, gender-affirming care, LGBTQIA+ health, care of underserved minority populations, and is informed by principles of health equity and the Health at Every Size® movement.

Emily Feng, MD

Emily Feng, MD

Medical school: University of Kansas School of Medicine

Medical interests: Reproductive health, gender-affirming care, prenatal care, contraception, advocacy, continuity, and relationships.

Personal interests: In my free time, I like to bake (both savory and sweet), coo over pictures of dogs, and make papercrafts. I also love to travel and love to eat.

Why UMN Medical Center: When I was applying, I was drawn by the breadth of training opportunities UMMC offers. During my interview, I not only felt the warmth exuded by the people here (despite the cold) but also was so impressed by the dedication to resident education and wellness and by the consistent message of centering our patients both in the exam room and in the community.

Career goals: My career goals and professional interests include: providing patient-centered care in an outpatient setting that is inclusive of full-spectrum reproductive health, vasectomies, and gender-affirming care, working with academic medical centers on medical education curriculums, and spending time in the palliative realm.

Rita Ferri-Huerta, MD

Rita Ferri-Huerta, MD

Medical school: University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

Medical interests: Family planning and reproductive justice, behavioral health, perinatal care, gender care, lactation medicine, and preventative health.

Personal interests: Walking/hiking, gardening, cross-country skiing, rock climbing, video games, Dungeons & Dragons, and yoga.

Why UMN Medical Center: I first started looking into UMMC because it is a RHEDI program. It ended up being my top choice because of the incredibly thoughtful people I met during the interview process, the strong gender care integration in the clinic, and the family planning and perinatal training opportunities.

Jessica Jordan, DO

Jessica Jordan, DO

Medical school: Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, Carolinas Campus

Medical interests: Gender-affirming care, LGBTQIA+ care, hospice, HIV/AIDS, and family planning.

Personal interests: Reading, singing, yoga, kickboxing, hiking, overcommitting, and Dungeons & Dragons.

Why the Twin Cities: I've been away from city life for too long!

Why UMN Medical Center: I did a rotation in Minneapolis in my third year of medical school and spent some time at Smiley's and the Gender Services Clinic. After having spent time with several attendings, residents, and former residents, I had found my people. After a very short time, I knew that this was a place that would value my passions and uniqueness and would allow patients to be themselves.

Career goals: I want to do so much! I hope to be a small-town full-spectrum family doctor in the Midwest who is a safe and welcoming provider to all sorts of patients. I also want to stay engaged in advocacy and social justice work throughout my career.

Gagandeep Singh, DO

Gagandeep Singh, DO

Medical school: Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine

Medical interests: Gender-affirming medicine, addictions care (not just medicine), primary care psychology and psychiatry, osteopathic practice, osteopathic manual medicine, adolescent medicine, preventative medicine, and HIV care.

Personal interests: Music/beat production, visual/graphic design, horror and sci-fi movies (particularly B-movies), reading psychology and osteopathic texts, cooking (cast iron pizza!), and defending cheesy 80s and 90s fashion.

Why the Twin Cities: The diversity of the community - from its people and its cultures.

Why UMN Medical Center: I wanted to be part of a program that explored truly humanistic areas of medicine. Addiction, gender-affirming care, mental health, and preventative medicine require a desire to understand the patient, not just their chief complaint. The program at UMN Medical Center was pointed out early to me due to my interests. After spending time with the program at the virtual AAFP conference and during my interview, I recognized UMMC as one of the few that weaves and envelopes these areas of medicine together in continuity, allowing its residents to engage in storytelling from the first day of their residency to their last.

Career goals: I would like to work in a community-focused health practice (not a clinic) and engage in outreach, education, and health, as well as partner closely with local community organizations (such as youth centers) and other professionals (such as psychologists and social workers) to envelop a focus of mind-body-spirit care around the patient and their community.

Deepti Shanbhag, MD

Deepti Vedere, MD

Medical school: Wayne State University School of Medicine

Medical interests: Women’s health, obstetrics, addiction medicine, and preventive medicine.

Personal interests: I love getting outdoors as much as possible, whether it’s hiking, biking, or camping trips with my husband and dog. I also enjoy my nights in, playing board games with friends and family, baking, and embroidering.

Why the Twin Cities: I love that I get to enjoy the food/culture scene of a big city while still having easy access to so many green spaces and parks.

Why UMN Medical Center: I was initially drawn to the UMMC program because of its RHEDI status. As I explored the program further, I found that it aligned closely with my goals as a future family physician, with strong training across the spectrum of reproductive health, addiction medicine, and gender-affirming care. Ultimately, the faculty and residents I met during my interview day and social gatherings solidified my interest in the program. Everyone I met was incredibly warm, welcoming, and fun! I immediately felt at home and knew I would be well supported throughout my training.

Career goals: While my long-term goals are still a work in progress, I am currently interested in pursuing a career in academic family medicine that will allow me to combine my love for teaching with my passion for medicine. I am also interested in providing comprehensive maternal/reproductive care for women and medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction as part of my future practice.

Third Year: Class of 2023

 

Sarah Copelas

Sarah Copelas, DO

Medical school: University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine

Medical interests: Women's health and family planning, adolescent health, gender-affirming medicine, sexual medicine, primary care psychiatry, and immigrant health.

Personal interests: Outside of medicine, I love all things outdoors – hiking, nordic skiing, and kayaking, to name a few – and I am continually working to brew the perfect batch of kombucha. I also cannot pass up a delicious bowl of ramen or a competitive game of Yahtzee against my partner.

Why UMN Medical Center: I pursued family medicine as a way to combine my curiosities about social justice, science, and cultural humility. Despite my UMMC interview day taking place during a winter blizzard, I loved everything about Smiley’s Clinic; talking over lunch about primary care in local correctional facilities made my heart tingle and I knew these were my people. I was also looking for a program with a strong family planning and LGBTQIA+ curriculum and found that at UMMC.

Christian Matthews

Christian Matthews, MD

Medical school: Boston University School of Medicine

Medical interests: My clinical interests include broad-spectrum primary care, with a focus on sports medicine, lifestyle medicine / healthy living, preventative medicine, point-of-care ultrasound, procedures, and mental health.

Personal interests: Watching, playing, and coaching all sports, but especially hockey and soccer. Boating, water skiing, and fishing. Hiking and camping. Downhill and cross-country skiing.

Why the Twin Cities: I love the people, and I love the connection to the outdoors in a big city. Having grown up in a similar environment, I feel I can relate the people in the Twin Cities. This includes taking advantage of the warm summers, boating, biking, and lounging around the lakes while embracing the cold winters with hockey, cross-country skiing, and making sure you have an extra 15 minutes in the morning to de-ice your car. The combination must have something to do with why the people are so friendly, resilient, and optimistic.

Why UMN Medical Center: I was impressed by the educational resources and opportunities for innovation that Smiley's and the University of Minnesota have to offer. Their commitment to providing comprehensive care to patients with things like in-clinic labs, ultrasound, and procedures, to go along with a world-class hospital system, assured me that I would be ready for anything that I might encounter after residency. They are also leaders in my personal interest in sports medicine, with an excellent fellowship program and opportunities during residency to work with athletes through the University of Minnesota, USA Soccer Cup, and the Twin Cities Marathon. All this together with a wonderfully friendly staff, and what more could I want?

Career goals: After residency, I hope to continue with my training through a sports medicine fellowship. My ultimate goal is to provide robust primary care service with expertise in sports medicine to all members of the community, including collegiate athletes.

Elizabeth Rose McAlister

Elizabeth Rose McAlister, MD

Medical school: University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Medical interests: Harm reduction, sexual health, financial resource mindful healthcare, healthcare access as social justice, trauma-informed and intersectionality-minded care, LGBTQIA+ care and allyship, and autonomy-based advocacy.

Personal interests: Travel, absorbing books and podcasts on non-medical topics, dance, fire breathing and fire dancing, circus arts, and pole dancing.

Why the Twin Cities: The enthusiasm with which Twin Cities residents exercise and defend their civil liberties.

Why UMN Medical Center: Local community connections - and I hope to collaborate to develop the medical practice model I intend to build. The precedent of supporting patient autonomy-based training in the mixed political climate as demonstrated by RHEDI status.

Career goals: I intend to develop a model for a Red Umbrella clinic (in the same way as there is a general understanding of what "LGBT+ friendly" does or does not entail), and then build an intersectionality minded practice utilizing that model. To get as many official medical associations as possible to officially support the decriminalization of sex work as a public health and safety measure.

 

 

Abi Moeller

Abi Moeller, DO

Medical school: A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona

Medical interests: Addiction medicine, behavioral health, women's health and reproductive rights, caring for the underserved, healthcare for those unhoused or unsheltered, HIV care and prevention, and LGBTQIA health.

Personal interests: I enjoy many different outdoor activities including hiking, running, and playing soccer. I'm an avid cook and baker. I love hanging out with my rescue pets, dog Sayef and cat Finn.

Why the Twin Cities: Many different outdoor activities year round.

Why UMN Medical Center: I met several of UMMC residents at the AAFP National Conference during my fourth year of medical school. In addition to having several training opportunities I was interested in, I felt an instant connection that "these were my people." I attended a fall event sponsored by the program and it only confirmed my initial feelings. The program had the strengths of being part of a large academic institution with robust family medicine / community health department while still having a strong commitment to the community they serve. Every member of the staff, faculty, and residents that I met were welcoming, supportive and seemed like a fun group.

Career goals: TBD

Kristina Parthum

Kristina Parthum, MD

Medical school: Medical College of Wisconsin

Medical interests: Women-centered comprehensive reproductive health, gender-affirming care, public health, and health advocacy.

Personal interests: Between residency and a new baby, my time for hobbies has dwindled a bit. When I do find the time, I like to spend it outside. I love hiking, going to parks or beaches, and I recently bought a new (to me) bike that I'm excited to break in! I used to practice yoga fairly regularly, but it's been a minute so I'm hoping to get back to that. I also really love food. We cook a lot at our house, but I love trying new restaurants, going to the farmers market, walking to get a coffee and pastry on a day off . . . really, anything to do with food and I'm pretty happy. I like board games a lot, love musicals, and when time allows I love to travel to new places. More than anything, I'm happiest when I can spend time with my friends and family (human and animals alike!).

Why the Twin Cities: I love how active people are in the Twin Cities. It doesn't matter the weather, you will always see at least a few people out and about, which gives a great energy to the area. We're also lucky to have a large number of lakes and rivers nearby, which I love. There is a great art scene here as well, and a huge variety of what that can look like based on your interests.

Why UMN Medical Center: The UMMC first came on my radar because of its status as a RHEDI program. I knew I wanted to be trained in the full spectrum of women's health, and there are only a handful of programs nationwide that have this designation as a program that prioritizes all reproductive options for women. I then met a few of the current third-year residents at the AAFP National Conference in Kansas City and felt like I could really see myself working with them. They seemed like a great group of people who really enjoyed one another, and that was important to me. Once I had this initial impression I looked into the program further and found a lot of it aligned with my ideals—strong women's health, gender-affirming care, and working with underserved populations, to name a few. Plus, it had the added benefit of being located in Minneapolis, a city where I had previously lived, and love.

Career goals: I'm still working on my career goals, but I know I want to be able to offer excellent reproductive healthcare to women and their families. I'm also interested in public health, and I hope to get more experience working in the political sphere to address health issues at a broader level. Other areas of medicine where I could see my career taking me include providing quality gender-affirming care, addiction medicine services, and behavioral health services. I also love working with families and their kids on normal development, so I think that will always be part of my practice. What can I say — there's a reason I was drawn to family medicine!

Margo Tomka

Margo Tomka, DO

Medical school: Des Moines University

Medical interests: Women-centered comprehensive reproductive health, LGBTQI health, children and adolescent health and education.

Personal interests: Biking, swimming, hiking, and cooking.

Why the Twin Cities: Looking forward to having an answer to this one in the near future!

Why UMN Medical Center: The clinic's inclusivity and mission to serve its community. The RHEDI program. The welcoming residents, faculty, and staff during interview day.

Career goals: Provide comprehensive healthcare to underserved communities with respect and dignity.

Graduates

About our alumni:

  • Of all residents who graduate from our program, most enter practice immediately after residency. About one in every 10 graduates will continue their training in a fellowship.
  • Our board pass rate has been 100 percent for the past six years (national average is 94.3 percent).
  • 67 percent of our graduates work in an outpatient setting, 33 percent work in an inpatient setting, and a small percentage incorporate OB in their practice.

Below are our graduates of the last five years, including (where available) their current city of practice.

 

2021

Stefania Baccino, MD

Stefania Baccino, MD

Furthering her training in women's health and obstetrics
Kathryn (Katie) Barta, MD

Kathryn (Katie) Barta, MD
Allina Family Medicine in Apple Valley, MN

Morgan Buda, MD

Morgan Buda, MD
Providing primary care to her new community in Michigan

Charlie Goebel, MD

Charlie Goebel, MD
Health Partners in Inver Grove Heights, MN

Vivian Liu, MD

Vivian Liu, MD
Practicing medicine in British Columbia, Canada 

Kristin Schwacha, DO

Kristin Schwacha, DO
Practicing full-spectrum family medicine in the Twin Cities

 

2020

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Julie Amaon, MD
Innovating care delivery with a startup organization

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Alysse Cruz, MD
Outpatient Practice at Allina Health in Fridley, MN

 

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Kelsey Finn, DO
Outpatient Practice in Waikiki Health Center in Waikiki, Hawaii 

 

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Daniel Johnson, DO
Outpatient Practice at HealthPartners in Stillwater, MN, and UMMC Residency Community Preceptor

 

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Joseph MacDonald, MD
Practicing family medicine at Stillwater Medical Group in Stillwater, MN

 

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Justin Penny, DO
UMN Medical Center Residency faculty in Minneapolis, MN

 

2019

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Temur Chowdhury, MBBS

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Marshall Clyde, MD

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Daniel Johnson, DO

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David Peter, MD, MPH

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Nicole Sheehan, DO

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Sharondeep "Sharon" Toor, MD

 

2018

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Jennifer Brown, MD

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Kriti Choudhary, MBBS, MPH

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Andrea "Anna" Larson, DO

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Nzube "Zube" Okonkwo, MD

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Elizabeth Price, MD

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Alexandra Tsvilina, MD, PhD

 

2017

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Kemi Ajibade, MD
Denville, NJ

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Naima Ali, MD
Faribault, MN

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Richard Brown, DO
Minneapolis, MN

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Arlene Rillo, MD, RN
Las Vegas, NV

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Maui Sayed, MD
Mankato, MN

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Ayman Srajeldin, MD, ND
Hamilton, Ontario - Canada

2016

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Maleeha Faisal, MBBS
Fridley, MN

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Amanda Hinrichs, DO
Minneapolis, MN

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Sean Schulz, DO
Sandy, OR

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Sonny Singh, MD
Las Vegas, NV

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Laurie Townsend, MD
Chaska, MN

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Sufian Zayed, MD
Canada

2015

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Naveen Kumar Anantha, MBBS
Amory, MS

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Karen Borchert, MD
Minneapolis, MN

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Deqa Mohamed, MBBS
Minneapolis, MN

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Noor Qureshi, MBBS
Sacramento, CA

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Jaskiran Sandhu, MBBS
Milwaukee, WI

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Adalberto Torres, MD
Houston, TX