On July 1, 2021, a new cohort of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) residents began their journey with the department. “We are incredibly excited to welcome our new residents,” said Residency Program Director Brionn Tonkin, MD. “They bring different perspectives from which we can all benefit and represent a diverse background in many aspects, including their medical experience.”

The new residents include:

André M. Asperti, MD

André Asperti, MD

Dr. Asperti is originally from São Paulo, Brazil, and completed medical school and a residency in orthopedic surgery at the University of São Paulo. He is interested in spinal cord injury, sports medicine, and helping patients manage their pain.

PM&R was a natural fit for Dr. Asperti. “Throughout my medical career, my decisions have always been driven by a passion for learning and a willingness to become an exceptional physician,” he said. “This motivated me throughout my previous orthopedic surgery residency. Being trained in PM&R and being able to learn new topics from a different perspective is the natural next step I want to pursue to better help the patients with the most debilitating conditions.”

The U of M was attractive to Dr. Asperti for several reasons. “The wide variety of clinical settings in the University of Minnesota´s six rotation sites is fantastic and completely aligned with my wish to be a well-rounded physiatrist,” he said. “During the interview, the enthusiasm of the house staff impressed me, mainly because it communicated a genuine satisfaction in working at the University of Minnesota.”

While at the U, Dr. Asperti hopes to serve as a bridge between orthopedics and PM&R. He also wants to contribute to the development of PM&R in his own country, which has an increasingly unmet demand for rehabilitation services.

If he has any opportunities to do research while at the U, Dr. Asperti would like to focus on sports injury prevention and neuromuscular programs that address injuries in children and adults. “I´m also interested in regenerative medicine that involves cell therapy to treat pathologies such as osteoarthritis,” he said.

In his spare time, Dr. Asperti loves sports and being active. “The Twin Cities offers numerous opportunities for that,” he said. “I live a five-minute walk from Lake of the Isles, a great place to jog and go kayaking.”

Tonera Chiume, MD

Tonera Chiume, MD

A native of Linlongwe, Malawi, Dr. Chiume attended medical school at Saint Petersburg State Pediatric Medical University in Russia. She was drawn to medicine because she wants to, “effect change in the field of medicine, especially in underserved communities.”

Dr. Chiume’s professional interests lie in traumatic brain injury, cancer rehabilitation, ultrasound, and PM&R education and research. “I also aspire to be a global health advocate and help improve rehabilitation infrastructure in the future,” she said. From a research standpoint, she is interested in traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, orthotics, and amputation.

While determining where she wanted to do her residency, Dr. Chiume felt that she would fit best at the University of Minnesota. “The structure of the program is great, the team leading the training is top notch, and to top it off, the residents ahead of me gave me a sense of great camaraderie,” she said. 

While at the U, Dr. Chiume hopes to complete a fellowship after her residency. “I also want to be an advocate for people with disabilities and emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field of medicine,” she said.

When she has some spare time, Dr. Chiume enjoys learning about gardening with friends and likes to power walk and jog. “I also enjoy watching Jeopardy and reading suspense novels,” she said. “The Twin Cities have all these park and lake areas where one can sit and enjoy a good book. I love the warmth of the people and their welcoming spirit.”

Andrew Dang, DO

Andrew Dang, DO

Dr. Dang is from Prior Lake, MN, and completed his undergraduate degree at the U of M’s College of Biological Sciences. He earned his MD from Kansas City University in Missouri. He is interested in pediatric rehabilitation (“Kids are adorable,” he said enthusiastically), inpatient neurorehabilitation, and medical education.

His inspiration for following his educational path came from the, “Incredible mentors along the way who showed me how amazing the field of PM&R is and how wonderful the people in PM&R are.”

It wasn’t just being from Minnesota that attracted Dr. Dang to the U. “Everything great about this program comes down to the amazing family that its residents, attendings, and staff all help create,” he said. “My medical school rotation here was virtual due to the pandemic, but I could still feel the energy and positivity every single day from every person I interacted with. The people at this program genuinely care about you and truly make you want to pay it forward every day.”

While he is at the U, Dr. Dang wants to become a mentor to as many people as possible. “And own a corgi,” he added. He is also interested in conducting cadaveric anatomical research and nationwide inpatient rehabilitation patient outcomes.

During his spare time, Dr. Dang likes cooking new recipes and kayaking on Lake Bde Maka Ska, roasting the perfect s’more on a bonfire, picking apples, and watching and applying for the TV show, Survivor.

“The Twin Cities is a wonderful place filled with rich cultures, beautiful weather and kind, supportive people,” he said. “Words cannot describe how happy I am to be back at the University of Minnesota and in the Twin Cities!”

Caroline Gormley, DO

Caroline Gormley, DO

Dr. Gormley is from Minneapolis, MN, and earned her undergraduate degree at The College of Wooster in Ohio. She attended medical school at West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg. Her professional interests are in pediatric rehabilitation, medical ethics, and international medicine.

Her inspiration for becoming a physician centers on the patient. “I want to empower people in their health and feel that through pursuing PMR at the U of M, I can succeed at becoming the best future physiatrist I can be,” said Dr. Gormley.

Being back in her home state is exciting. “I am so thrilled to have matched at the U of M,” Dr. Gormley said. “I am excited to come back and treat the patient populations I love in my home state!” 

During her time at the U, she hopes to “learn as much as possible through hands-on learning and feel confident going forward in future training and practice.” If the opportunity arises to do research, she wants to focus on treatment efficacy and unique pathologies in pediatrics.

When she has time off, Dr. Gormley likes to hike, ski, play soccer, run, and spend quality time with friends and family. “The Twin Cities have beautiful trails to explore in the summer and very accessible ski hills in the winter,” she said. “I appreciate how Minnesotans are always willing to go explore the outdoors in all weather extremes.”