Miho Suga, MD
I am originally from Japan and moved to the United States when I was 9 years old. I grew up in small cities in Ohio and Georgia. For undergrad, I attended the University of West Georgia for 2 years and transferred to THE Ohio State University for a degree in medical technology. I attended Ross University for medical school where I enjoyed living in the third world country of Dominica.
I chose family medicine because of my interest and passion for preventative health. UICOMP family medicine residency program have been excellent in preparing me to be a well-rounded family physician. The attendings and residents are more than just colleagues here; they become your family.
Outside of work, I enjoy watching college football, HGTV, and cooking shows.
Diana Rodriguez, MD
After visiting Unity Point Health – Methodist for the second time I knew it would be the right place for me. I am thankful for the harmony of the program between attending and resident physicians despite interacting in a high-pressure environment. The program also offers a strong support network for both residents and their significant others. In addition to emphasizing teamwork, Unity Point Health – Methodist provides its resident physicians with a solid and diverse training program. I am confident that my experiences with the program will contribute to my formation as a caring and well-rounded physician.
When I am not at the hospital or in clinic, I cherish my time with my husband and my three cats. We love road trips, visiting family, nature hikes, and reading together. I also love doing art projects such as painting and wood-drawing.
Archana Ramesh, MD
When not at the hospital, I enjoy spending time with my husband and our chubby 20-pound cat. My hobbies include traveling, crocheting, gardening, cooking and shopping.
Alexa Miller, DO
I grew up in Bloomington, IL. After getting my BA in archaeology from Washington University in St. Louis, I moved down to rural Tennessee for medical school at DCOM. I always loved the idea of treating a wide variety of patients and having the opportunity to form long-term therapeutic relationships with patients, so family medicine seemed like an obvious choice for me. I did a sub-internship in Peoria in the family medicine program, and it seemed to be a perfect fit; not only would I be able to move back close to home, but I’d get to work with amazing and brilliant residents and faculty. I knew that if I trained here, I would be both supported and challenged to grow both personally and professionally, and my time here thus far has confirmed this.
Outside of work, I love spending time with my husband, Scott, and our two dogs, Oliver and Lana. On my weekends off, I also love going back home to Bloomington to visit with family. My hobbies include baking, cross stitching, and home improvement projects.
Holly Kapraun, DO
When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time with my husband, traveling, working out, cooking, and spending time at church and with friends.
McKenzie Wylie, DO
I grew up in Springfield, Missouri. I knew I wanted to be a physician since I was a little girl. I was a Health Science major at Truman State University and then attended A.T. Still for medical school. The opportunities for preventative medicine, human connection, continuity of care, and variety of pathology made Family Medicine an excellent choice for me. UICOMP had many opportunities available to tailor the program to fit my training goals. I am emphasizing preventative medicine, sports medicine, and outpatient gyn. My husband is an Emergency Medicine resident, and the program was accommodating throughout the couples match process. Training at an academic institution with the perks of a community medicine program was appealing to me.
In my free time I love to spend time with my husband and our 2 dogs, do yoga, run, home improvement projects, try new recipes, and travel.
Nathan Bates, DO
I chose Family Medicine because it gives the opportunity to establish trusting relationships with patients and treat their chronic and acute conditions from a thorough and holistic approach. I chose the UICOMP Family Medicine Residency because of the support and attitudes of the faculty and residents. It is refreshing to work with an encouraging, understanding, and enthusiastic team that truly cares about your education and overall well-being.
My hobbies include eating wonderful food, mixing cocktails, growing jalapenos, making terrible hot sauce, snowboarding, hiking, biking, running, and general good-spirited monkey business.
Neha Gupta, DO
I was born in India but spent most of my life in Illinois. My family is the most important thing to me, so I chose to stay local for most of my education. I got my Bachelor’s degree from Benedictine University in Lisle, IL. I then went on to get a Master’s Degree in Biomedical Science from Midwestern University in Downers Grove, IL. From there, I went to Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine for Medical School. Finally, I ended up at UICOMP for my family medicine residency! Aside from academics, my other hobbies include animal foster and rescue, baking, cooking, and woodworking. I’m happy to say that Peoria has allowed me to keep up with all of my hobbies.
There were many reasons why I chose UICOMP as my choice for residency. Early on, I could sense the camaraderie among co-residents. It felt more like a family than it did a competitive training environment. Everyone was willing to help each other succeed. Additionally, I really found the attendings to be encouraging and very supportive in all the residents’ endeavors. Whether it be research projects or extracurricular activities, the attendings will always be in your corner cheering you on. Finally, I really appreciate that this program has osteopathic recognition. I want to continue to build on my OMT skills for future practice, and this program is one that will allow me to do so. All in all, I am very excited to grow into a skilled family physician with this program.
Derek Flack, DO
I grew up out west in Utah and earned a bachelor’s degree in clinical laboratory sciences at Brigham Young University. I went to medical school in sunny South Florida and Nova Southeastern University.
I am so fortunate to be a part of our outstanding family medicine residency in Peoria. The people in this program are absolutely amazing! There is no better collection of people in the entire world.
Our residency allows you to explore all avenues of family medicine and to tailor your education to your interests.
Central Illinois also has a lot of outdoor opportunities in the summer and, for a fisherman with a family of five, it is great to be outside and on the water!
Joseph Karas, DO
I chose the UICOMP-Family Medicine program because of its dedication to evidence-based practice, challenging curriculum, and supportive culture. This has truly been a great place to mature as physician and cultivate my interests in medicine. As a direct result of my exposures here, I have developed an interest in sports medicine, which complements my desire to continue with manipulative medicine. The UICOMP-FM program has afforded me the opportunity to pursue this late interest and helped me to thrive in its pursuit.
Outside of medicine, my new wife and I (yes, apparently you can find time to get married during residency) spend our time exploring Peoria. We love trying different local restaurants, walking numerous hiking trails, and visiting area festivals, farmer’s markets, and concerts.
Jeree Frost, DO
During my time off I enjoy spending time with my husband and 4 beautiful children. We enjoy cooking together, as well as trying new foods. We also take pleasure in outdoor activities, whether it is kayaking, nature hikes, or just sightseeing, we love it all.
Oni Omomengbe, MD
I was born and raised in Nigeria but now call Canada home. I was a non-traditional medical student, changing gears from a career in oil and gas spanning over 12 years to pursue my lifelong dream of being a doctor.
I chose this program chiefly because of the strong relationships between the faculty and residents, which was even almost palpable during the interview process. The faculty are extremely supportive, and that in itself is priceless. The other main factor was the breadth of the training provided here that prepares fully seasoned family physicians to practice in whatever niche they choose, anywhere from OB and women’s health procedures to sports medicine and dermatology.
When I am not at work, I enjoy sleeping, watching ethnic movies and spending time with my four children.
Andrew Noyce, DO
Family Medicine is an ideal fit for me because I enjoy so many different areas of medicine. I love that as a Family Physician I see all ages and deal with a wide range of maladies, in the ED, the clinic and the hospital.
I have had a great experience as a Family Medicine Resident with UICOMP. I have been able to get the support and mentoring I need to improve as a physician and leader, while still having autonomy to use my skills and training to best serve my patients. The support staff are excellent and have helped to make the transition from student to physician easier. I feel like the UICOMP Family Medicine program is preparing me to be a flexible and well-rounded physician.
I have three children and most of my time off is spent doing whatever I can with them. My wife and I love watching movies and eating out. I also enjoy sports, four-wheeling, and being in the mountains.
Balreet Kahlon, MD
I grew up in Rochester Hills, Michigan and went to the University of Michigan for my undergraduate degree. I had the pleasure of attending medical school in Aruba at Aureus University School of Medicine and finished my clinicals in Chicago. Immediately after completing my family medicine core rotation, I knew this was the path for me.
Growing up in the Midwest, I knew I wanted to stay close by. UICOMP was a good fit for me because of all it has to offer. I knew I’d be able to build a vast skillset through the training this program offers. I hope to eventually incorporate all my learned procedural skills into my own outpatient practice.
Outside of work, I love spending time with my family friends. I tend to use all of my vacation days traveling. I got climb Machu Picchu at the end of my intern year! I also enjoy running, hiking, and watching Friends.
Megan Seidl, DO
I grew up in Brown Deer, WI, near Milwaukee, and went to college in Madison at the University of Wisconsin as part of the UW track and field team.
For two years after college, I continued to train in the high jump and work at the Dane County Rape Crisis Center and as a therapist for children on the autism spectrum.
Following that, I went to medical school at Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, where I decided to go into family medicine, following in the career path of my father and grandfather.
I chose UICOMP Family Medicine because it is a high quality broad spectrum program with strong inpatient, outpatient, OB and procedural training that prepares residents to practice whatever type of family medicine they choose.
Brittany Ramirez, MD
I grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan and completed a degree in Medical Laboratory Science at Andrews University. I’ve lived overseas in Micronesia and Haiti as a missionary. It was while I was in Haiti that I truly decided to pursue a career as a physician. I completed medical school at Loma Linda University in California.
Every patient has a story. The stories I heard in Haiti as well as in San Bernardino as a medical student helped me to realize a passion for forming healthy, lasting patient-physician relationships that could both help prevent disease and provide support through difficult diagnoses. I chose Family Medicine because I love being able to meet the needs of individuals, their families, and their communities. I believe that doctors can make an impact beyond the exam room.
I chose UICOMP Family Medicine because it felt like home. I could tell during my interview that the faculty and residents really do treat each other like family. I was very impressed by the options to learn a variety of skills, especially the program that allows MDs to learn some basic osteopathic medicine skills. The faculty have been, by far, the most approachable I have ever had the pleasure to work with.
When I’m not in the hospital, I love spending time with my husband, son, and two dogs. We love camping and hiking as a family. I also enjoy knitting, reading, and cooking.
Michael Heder, DO
The choice of where to complete residency became simple when I focused on one factor, “Where would I be the happiest?” No other place impressed me more than the faculty and residents here in Peoria. The faculty are warm, encouraging and enthusiastic. The program fosters camaraderie that gives its residents and faculty a sense of family. And the hospital and resources available to this program are tremendous.
Since starting here as a first year intern, my love for the program has only grown. I have only been treated with respect and patience from the physicians and residents. The work is definitely not easy and the program is designed to push you, but I have experienced almost daily encouraging reinforcement from the program. I could not be happier with my choice to complete residency in Peoria!
Family Medicine allows the physician to become an integral part of their patients’ lives as we take part in their hardest trials, and sometimes, their sweetest victories.
When I am not practicing medicine I love spending my time with my wife, Sarah, and my two sons, Henry and Charlie. I enjoy camping, baking bread, disc golf and making movies.
Christina Anderson, MD
I choose Family Medicine because I love to learn about a lot of different things. I couldn’t see myself studying one specialty that focused on one population, one subject, or a specialty that didn’t have as great of a chance to help out in the community and form strong relationships with patients.
University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria Family Medicine Residency has been a perfect fit for me because it feels like home. Everyone I met when I interviewed was so caring, and I could tell really wanted to get to know me, and not just my scores or what was on paper. This residency does a phenomenal job of choosing residents that are compatible, hard-working, and all-around great people to spend the next 3 years with. I absolutely feel that when I am finished with residency and move on to practice on my own, I will be fully prepared to handle whatever comes my way. And I have made some life-long friends to travel this journey with.
When I am not working, some of my favorite activities include fishing, hunting, camping, spending time with friends and family, and trying my hand at crafting and sewing. A usual night for me includes relaxing and catching up on TV shows with my cat in my lap.
Usman Ather, MD
I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, majored in English Literature at Northwestern University and attended medical school at Ross University.
Family medicine was an easy choice since I enjoy administering care to patients of all ages, backgrounds, levels of acuity, and particularly enjoy outpatient follow-ups. I value the learning opportunities, continuity of care, and inter-specialty coordination found in inpatient settings and look forward to long term relationships with my patients. I care about my patients, and I know that a career in Family Medicine puts me squarely in my element.
The incredibly warm and welcoming people of the program that I met on interview day are what sold me on UICOMP. The residents and attending physicians I met were both accomplished and approachable, demonstrated both immense intellectual curiosity and humility, had varied interests within medicine, and led fascinating lives outside of medicine as well.
Peoria is also a great location for a resident because the cost of living is quite low, allowing one to live comfortably on a budget and Chicago is close enough to visit on weekends (without having to put up with an exhausting, traffic-replete commute to and from work every day).
When I’m not at the hospital or clinic, I enjoy spending time with family, traveling, watching standup comedy, trying new restaurants, writing, and reading American, British, and Russian literary classics.
Sarah Beladi, MD
I chose UICOM-Peoria for so many reasons! I appreciated the people to made me feel at home (even though I’m from the New England area), as well the residents and faculty who are so passionate about being role models and mentors. I also love how this program offers so much, and will prepare its residents for whatever path we want to pursue. I hope to end up in an outpatient setting with a focus on women’s health.
In my spare time, my husband and I like to hike/take walks with our puppy, rock climb, and have people over for game nights.
Caitlin Sienkiewicz, DO
I grew up in northwest Indiana and earned my undergraduate degree in physical education from Indiana University. While teaching PE for Chicago Public Schools, I decided to pursue my childhood dream of becoming a doctor. After 5 years of night school in the City Colleges of Chicago, I was accepted to Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Erie, PA, and am now very proud to be a DO.
I decided to pursue a career in family medicine because I liked the variety that family medicine offers. I selected UICOMP’s family medicine residency because of the people. My interview with the program director made me excited to come to this program, as we have a group of dedicated attending physicians who are approachable and excited to teach. My fellow residents were also a great selling point. It is hard to fake the friendships that I saw when meeting them.
I plan to practice Occupational Medicine in northwest Indiana upon completion of my residency. My training here at UICOMP has prepared me for this well – it’s basically sports medicine for workers! Our program has many opportunities for procedures, and I am confident that my training here has prepared me thoroughly for my future practice.
Outside of medicine, I enjoy spending time with my husband, Jeff, and our sons Flynn and Declan. While in undergrad, I competed in Olympic-style weightlifting and competed in the 2004 Olympic Trials and the 2004 Junior World Championships. I am a huge Chicago Bears fan but love to attend all types of sporting events. As a family, we enjoy being active – hiking, swimming and playing outside.
Tauqeer Qazi, MD
Brenda Pecotte de Gonzalez, DO
I believe that in every way Family Medicine chose me and am excited that it lead me to the Family Medicine residency at UICOMP. I desire to practice full-spectrum family medicine: OB, pediatrics, adult, end-of-life, inpatient, outpatient, everything! The training that UICOMP offers for family medicine residents allows for us to become the best clinicians in all these areas and more.
Outside of residency, I enjoy spending time with my husband, David (he really is the best!). We enjoy exploring new places, conversation around the campfire and cooking (he cooks, I eat). I do enjoy a good cup of coffee (a necessity for when on service) or glass of wine. Salud!
Mary Imig, DO
I love family medicine because it allows me the opportunity to care for and influence my patients over the course of a lifetime. Within family medicine, I have special interests in osteopathic medicine, preventative medicine and sports medicine.
My husband and I just celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary! We enjoy any opportunity to be outdoors and love spending time with family and friends.
Hanit Upendra Shah, MD
The University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria Family Medicine residency provides me with a wide scope of practice in global health, sports medicine, rural medicine, and obstetrics. The compassionate, charismatic, knowledgeable preceptors, staff and fellow residents foster both evidence-based practice and a fertile ground to excel and grow. Personally, the allure of family medicine is in the special bond that forms with patients and their families who become a part of yours. No other field offers rich interpersonal relationships with patients and broad scope of practice. My interests are in global health and sports medicine. Global health satisfies my desire to help our humanity as a whole, and sports medicine satisfies my great love for athletics. I look forward to being our local Richwood High School’s team physician. Go Knights!
When I am not working at the hospital, clinic, or sporting events, I enjoy traveling, exploring new places, trying new cuisines, spending time with family and friends, and am a diehard Cubs fan; Fly the W! I recently got engaged and cannot wait to plan my Bollywood wedding.
Paulo Michelini, MD
I am interested in full-spectrum primary care including obstetrics and surgical and procedural skills. As a medical student at the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria, my passion for full-spectrum primary care was reinforced after participating in the college’s Rural Student Physician Program.
I live in Peoria with my wife, newborn son, and dog. Together, we enjoy hiking, camping, canoeing, and traveling. I enjoy playing the guitar, building/repairing bicycles, gardening/landscaping, and DIY remodeling projects.
Serafino Sauro, MD
I chose UICOMP’s Family Medicine Residency because of its commitment to academic excellence and the friendly faculty and staff in the department. During my interview I was impressed by the unique interview format and pre-interview dinner hosted by faculty.
I am from Toronto, Canada and completed my bachelors at the University of Toronto prior to completing medicine at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.
During my free time, I like to hang out with friends, watch and talk sports, eat fine cuisine, and travel the globe – current count: 33 countries!
Thomas Bollaert, MD
I am the youngest of 5 boys born and raised in Moline, Illinois. I completed undergraduate at Florida State University where I majored in Athletic Training and Sports Medicine. I followed the footsteps of my brother and sister-in-law and completed medical school at St. Matthew’s University in the Cayman Islands. The two of them matched to UICOMP Family Medicine Residency and are proud alumni of the program. Witnessing their training and experience at UICOMP, I was inspired to follow once again in their footsteps to Peoria.
I am an advocate of person health and fitness along with strength and conditioning. I have a passion for sports medicine along with encompassing prevention and management of sports injuries. Family medicine provides a unique opportunity for me to be trained in all patient populations. In addition, it allows for an opportunity to treat and prevent not only sports injuries, but all health concerns encompassed in general practice. I plan to specialize in sports medicine in the future, with ambitions to work with a collegiate program.
I’m always looking to add more stamps to my passport. Additional hobbies include home brewing, carpentry, woodworking and landscaping. Outdoor recreations such as snowboarding, ATVs, boating, camping, hiking, and fishing are of great interest. I enjoy playing acoustic guitar, and there’s a near 100% chance I’ll be watching college football on a given Saturday in the Fall.