We believe in supporting and celebrating our Medical School alumni community. To fulfill this initiative, the Medical School Alumni Board was brought back into action in 2021, with seventeen members selected through an application and interview process.

The inaugural year presented opportunities for board members to organize a mentoring program, alumni events, and philanthropic programming where the success was collectively shared. Current board members brought individual expertise, passion, and support for their alma mater, highlighting its beauty throughout the year. As the fiscal year closed, applications were reviewed, and alumni were selected to fill open seats.

Presently there remain open seats for Duluth Campus alumni. We encourage applicants and members from both campuses to apply as it is important to have the voices of everyone at the table when deciding on future programming. With three committees to participate in, there are opportunities for everyone. These include Alumni Events and Engagement, Student Engagement and the Philanthropy Committees.

Are you interested in learning more about the current Duluth Campus board membership opportunities? Below are four founding leaders with insight into the board and why alumni might want to invest their time.

If you have questions about applying for Duluth Campus open seats, please contact Christiana Maier, EdD, director of Duluth Campus alumni relations.

 Dr. Kathryn Halverson

Family Medicine



As an alumna of the University of Minnesota Medical School, participating on the Alumni Board allows me to repay some of the investment this institution has made in my life and career. I am grateful for those formative years, beginning at the Duluth campus, which provided me with the education, training, and support to practice Family Medicine for 28 years. What a great ride! My career has been interesting, diverse and meaningful. This includes a full Family Medical practice with obstetrics, a local multidisciplinary team response to Child Maltreatment as part of a national consortium, a Bush Medical Fellowship in Adolescent Health Care, Urgent Care practice and ongoing work in Global Health Promotion. My husband and I have adventured together outside for 38 years. We have a daughter, a Med-Peds physician, and a son who is in media production.

Why did you join the MSAR Board?

To increase physicians' support in training, practice, and retirement.

What have you enjoyed during the inaugural year of the board?

Interactions with exceptional colleagues and the potential to support those in training, practice, and retirement- to use years of practice and experience for others in this most challenging and satisfying career.

What advice would you like to share with alumni thinking about joining?

It is an easy way to invest in others who are engaged and finding their way in the practice of medicine.

Anything else?

I am grateful for the support of mentors and colleagues who came alongside me in the process of medical training and practice. It is a complex world to navigate at times- overwhelming amounts of information to learn and apply, toxic systems and environments, critical colleagues, difficult patients and other complex and competing for non-medical factors that complicate the objective of taking care of patients. We can help each other and those following in our footsteps.

 Dr. Marc Berg

Pediatric Critical Care




I'm a born and raised Minnesotan, having grown up in Battle Lake (Ottertail County). My parents and three siblings have degrees, and some advanced degrees, from the "U," so I knew at an early age where I would be attending college. After graduating from the College of Biological Sciences with a BS in Biology in 1989, I started at the Medical School, Duluth Campus. I joined the main campus class to graduate in 1993. I have since spent 28 years "living abroad," currently in California for four years after 20 years in Arizona and stints in Utah and Michigan. However, I'm back to Minnesota at least once a year to spend time with family. In addition to my full-time academic pediatric critical care career, I spend additional professional time working in technology, both in adaptive learning and digital health. My wife is a Pediatrician and I have three kids, ages 24, 22, and 8. What time I have left over is spent riding my bike around the California coastal mountain range, reading, cooking and enjoying life. I'm honored and delighted to serve on the alumni board.

Why did you join the MSAR Board?

I have been a long-time supporter of the Medical School and Duluth. I believe I started as a resident with smaller amounts and have enjoyed supporting larger projects, etc. In both Arizona and California, I have accepted the offer to meet with the U of M alumni staff when they are in the area. I've always found that to be a great way to keep abreast of the latest developments, and I have enjoyed the engagement and interactions with other alumni. I believe through those connections, the staff at the Alumni office informed me of the development of the Board of Directors and encouraged my application. It was a no-brainer for me as I enjoy Board service and organizational strategy/planning. I thought the board would be an excellent way to both connect and serve more deeply and give back in another way to the U.

What have you enjoyed during the inaugural year of the board?

Getting to know my fellow Board members (even if only on Zoom) and having had the opportunity to chair the philanthropy committee. All members have the same love of and commitment to the Medical School. Our discussions are interesting, and the energy to plan for the future and enact new programs via the Board has been great.

What advice would you like to share with alumni thinking about joining?

Don't OVER think it! It's not a significant drain on your time, and what you can give (a few hours a month?) helps move the mission. The University and the staff value your input and even a modest amount of time commitment yields enormous benefits for all.

Dr. Melvina Bissonette




I am Lakota and Dine. I completed my undergrad studies at the University of New Mexico, majoring in psychology. I completed medical school and my residency in psychiatry through the University of Minnesota. I worked at a tribal clinic, primarily providing telepsychiatric care, for four years, before transitioning to the VA hospital in Minneapolis one year ago. My husband also works at the VA as a nurse in MH. We have three children, 5 and 2.5 years, and a one-month-old.

Why did you join the MSAR Board?

To see how I could contribute.

What have you enjoyed during the inaugural year of the board?

Meeting the other board members and seeing how much they are dedicated to helping to improve medicine in any way they can.

What advice would you like to share with alumni thinking about joining?

Give it a try! If one area grabs your interest, you will have an opportunity to work in that area.

Anything else?

I enjoyed my time on the board.

 Dr. Lisa Roazen

Emergency Medicine



Dr. Lisa Roazen, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, is an Emergency Physician currently practicing at St. Luke's in Duluth. Lisa received her medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School, having completed her preclinical years in Duluth. She completed her residency in Emergency Medicine at New York Medical College, Metropolitan Program, in Harlem. Before returning to her hometown in 2017, Dr. Roazen practiced Emergency Medicine and urgent care in NYC for several years. She's been on the board of directors for the Great Lakes chapter of AAEM and is currently serving on the BoD for MNACEP.

With her husband, three children, and too many bikes, Lisa enjoys cooking, singing with Arrowhead Chorale, traveling and mentorship. She'd be happy to chat with you in French and makes a mean quiche.

Why did you join the MSAR Board?

I wanted a better representation of Duluth's interests in the med school at large and to give current students what I felt was missing during my education: a real sense of caring and belonging to the larger institution.

What have you enjoyed during the inaugural year of the board?

Getting to know folks! And deep diving to create some good movement for current students.

What advice would you like to share with alumni thinking about joining?

Minimal time, fun zooms and good results. A great way to give back.

Anything else?

As a student in Duluth, I felt keenly disconnected from the larger university, even from UMD itself, as the focus is so heavily undergraduate. I want current students to feel a part of the larger mission and system, not the weird little cousin up north doing that wacky rural stuff. I want local students to get as much specialty and alumni support as the larger southern class, and by joining the alumni board, I hope to take at least a small step towards that goal.