On Tuesday, June 4, 2019, we celebrated a group of 67 extraordinary residents and fellows at the University of Minnesota Family Medicine and Community Health’s annual commencement. Held at McNamara Alumni Center on a rainy summer evening, the ceremony was an opportunity to both honor the graduating class and reflect on the growth of the department over the last 50 years.

“Our graduates are more than physicians,” said Department Head Jim Pacala, MD, MS, in his opening remarks. “They’re researchers, scholars, advocates, experts in public policy, educators, and leaders. Many of you have already taken on these roles during your residency, and you will continue to grow in these roles and shape the future of our specialty long after you walk out these doors tonight.”

This year’s graduating class included:

  • 55 family medicine residents from our eight programs
  • 3 pharmacy residents
  • 2 primary care behavioral health fellows
  • 3 hospice and palliative medicine fellows
  • 2 human sexuality fellows
  • 2 sports medicine fellows
  • 15 faculty and fellows who completed Teaching, Evaluation, and Curriculum for Healthcare Professionals, also known as TEACH
  • 8 faculty who completed the Collaboration and Scholarship Intensive for Family Medicine (CSI-FM) program

Several graduates and faculty were honored for excellence in teaching, research, and service.


STFM Resident Teacher Awards

Ten residents received the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) Resident Teacher Award for demonstrated interest, ability, and commitment to family medicine. The STFM Award are presented to residents from each of the eight residency programs who best demonstrated interest in and commitment to family medicine education.

This year's awardees include Duluth resident Jesse Susa, MD (not pictured); Mankato resident Zachary Maass, DO; Methodist residents Christopher Leonard, MD, and Isaac Zoller, MD; North Memorial residents Lonzale Ramsey, Jr., MD, and Jessica Wilson, MD; St. Cloud resident Sujitha Yadlapati, MBBS; St. John’s resident DJ Fahey-Ahrndt, MD; St. Joseph’s resident Brandon Ng, MD; and University of Minnesota Medical Center resident Dan Johnson, DO.

Leonard P. Burke, MD, Memorial Award

This year, the nominees were so outstanding that two residents were awarded the prize: Becky Davis, MD, from Duluth and Ryan Brower, MD, from Mankato. During their residencies, both awardees developed and implemented innovative programs that have community-wide impact.

Dr. Davies received this award for being the driving force behind the Bob Tavani Medical Respite House, Duluth’s first-ever medical respite program for people who are being discharged from the hospital into homelessness. Dr. Brower cultivated a deeper sense of understanding of food as medicine to his patients, fellow physicians, and community members, through directing the Mayo community clinic garden and developing partnerships to improve local food access.

Excellence in Scholarship Award

The Excellence in Scholarship Award was presented to Mankato’s graduating resident Zachary Maass, DO, for his impressive commitment to clinical scholarship. Dr. Maass has amassed an impressive number of publications, scientific posters, scholarly presentations, and research studies in the last three years. He has also led numerous didactic seminars on scholarly writing, often volunteering to share evidence-based treatment strategies on short notice.

Faculty Awards

This year’s Affiliate Faculty Teacher of the Year went to David Bachman, MD, from Fairview Andover Clinic. One student described Dr. Bachman, a committed preceptor for over 25 years, as “The man! You could not ask for a better preceptor as a medical student.”

UMN Medical Center faculty Pita Adam, MD, MSPH, accepted the Faculty Teacher of the Year Award. As one current resident says, “When I met Dr. Adam while interviewing for my internship, I knew after our short time together that she was someone to watch, and to model myself after. Now, as an intern, I always look forward to meeting with Dr. Adam, as I always leave our discussions with a fresh outlook and motivation.”

Congratulations to all graduates and award recipients!

For a taste of what the evening was like, read our live tweets from the ceremony using the hashtag #umnfamilymedgrad on Twitter and view photos on Facebook.