I was born in Quito, Ecuador, spent some years of my childhood in Tanzania, Africa, and moved to Michigan when I was 11. I attended medical school at Michigan State University. My decision to become a physician was influenced by my experiences witnessing health and economic inequalities while growing up. I hope that my training as a family medicine physician will allow me to help those in need from a holistic approach to health care.
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
I grew up in San Diego and earned my bachelor’s in Bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley. (Go Bears!) I moved to Illinois to attend Chicago Medical School, where I discovered my love of seasons and Family Medicine. I chose UICOMP for residency because of the full spectrum curriculum. The faculty at this program especially stood out to me due to their varied focuses within Family Medicine and their passion for teaching. I specifically am interested in the OB/Women’s Health track.
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
I am from the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago. Since anatomy class and a hospital internship in high school I knew I wanted to become a physician. I received my BA in health sciences from St. Louis University. While there I met several osteopathic physicians which led me to medical school at A.T. Still University in Kirksville, Missouri. My interest in preventative medicine, OMT, and the ability to treat and advocate for the whole family, made Family Medicine a natural fit. During my clinical years of medical school, I was able to work closely with the UICOMP family medicine residency and felt fortunate to work with approachable faculty and residents. I also enjoy the program for its unique didactics and clinical opportunities from being essentially unopposed, yet with the benefits of being part of UICOMP, a larger academic center.
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 was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. I attended Arizona State University where I achieved a bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering. I attended medical school at Midwestern University – Arizona College of Osteopathic.
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.
Jeree Frost, DO
I grew up on a farm in Oklahoma. I completed both undergraduate and medical school in Oklahoma as well. I’ve always had an interest in obstetric and women’s health, even before medical school. This family medicine program not only focuses on traditional family medicine but also has emphasis on women’s health, which is what aided my decision in choosing this program.
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.
Andrew Noyce, DO
I was raised in Sandy, Utah, and completed my undergraduate degree in Bioinformatics at Brigham Young University. I attended the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine at Lincoln Memorial University.
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.
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
After completing my undergraduate from Brigham Young University in Utah, I moved to Missouri to pursue a medical degree at Kansas City University.
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 grew up in West Central Illinois. Went to undergrad at Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL and medical school at University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford. I was in the RMED (Rural Medical Education) program there because I am a rural person at heart. I wanted to become a physician because I find the human body fascinating, like a puzzle, and when it “goes wrong” I like to try to figure out how to put it back together. Of course, I love to help people and form close relationships with my patients as well.
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 went to medical school at Ross University in Dominica, West Indies. In medical school I realized how important it is for me to be a part of my community and loved how family medicine physicians have the perfect opportunity to advocate for the health for their community.
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.
Tauqeer Qazi, MD
I was born in Pakistan and I grew up in Jersey City, New Jersey. I chose family medicine because I wanted to keep a wide scope of practice. I enjoy adult medicine, and I also like interacting with children. I am currently looking forward to next year when I will be a sports medicine fellow. Once upon a time, I was athletic.
Brenda Pecotte de Gonzalez, DO
I grew up in southern Wisconsin and consider myself a true Wisconsin-ite! I attended North Park University in Chicago, IL for my undergraduate education in biology and Spanish. I then ventured to the Southwest US for graduate school where I received my masters in Public Health and masters of arts in Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. I then attended A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine of Arizona and was excited to be able to remain in Southern Arizona for medical school, where I nicknamed it “the land of eternal summer”.
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 grew up in a small town in central Illinois (Tremont). I completed my undergraduate studies in biology at Olivet Nazarene University, and then attended medical school at Rocky Vista University in Denver, Colorado. When I interviewed in Peoria, I immediately felt like a part of the close-knit residency family. The faculty were authentically compassionate to both their patients and their residents, and genuinely displayed a passion for teaching. The residents were so close-knit that even their spouses would spend time together while they were working. Learning that the program had all of the strengths of a full spectrum residency, while also having the academic resources of a “big city” program, was the final selling point.
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
I grew up on the North Side of Chicago and earned my undergraduate degree from Benedictine University. After graduating, I worked at Rush University Medical Center as an HIV research technician for 3 years and volunteered on mission trips to El-Shatila Palestinian Refugee Camp in Beirut, Lebanon and Casa De Salud in Iquitos, Peru. I attended St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine on Grand Cayman Island.
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.
Serafino Sauro, MD
Family medicine provides me with a broad scope of practice. It offers endless professional opportunities and experiences. Having career options that include pediatrics, urgent care, sports medicine and/or geriatrics is very appealing to me. I enjoy sports and geriatric medicine but will keep an open mind about other career possibilities during my residency training.
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!
Tafor Bonu, MD
I was born in Cameroon and grew up in Indiana. I went to Indiana University in Bloomington for college and received my medical degree from St. George’s University in Grenada.
I am passionate about improving the quality of life in underserved communities. Family Medicine gives me the comprehensive training needed to manage patients of all ages, implement preventative medicine, and empower the community through outreach and advocacy.
I chose UICOMP Family Medicine because it was a chance to train under faculty members awarded for their roles in teaching residents and serving low-income communities in Peoria. I also was impressed by the program’s dedication to the residents by facilitating the building of a new resident lounge to improve resident comfort. Additionally, resident wellness was supported by weekly group activities, free access to the local YMCA, and quarterly retreats. Being a resident here has made me even more grateful and appreciative of the program.
In my free time, I love hanging out with friends, meeting new people, and exploring Peoria’s food scene. I also enjoy working out and playing basketball with fellow residents in our weekly open gym.
Juanita Foncham, MD
I grew up in a college town called Lubbock, Texas. I then spend 4 wonderful years in college at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN where I was also on the dance team. After college I worked in the neurology department at UT Southwestern in Dallas, TX. I attended medical school at St. James School of Medicine in Anguilla, BWI. While attending medical school I also completed my MPH as well as MBA. My clinical interests include women’s health, obstetrics, and aesthetic medicine.
When I am not at work, I enjoy going on girls’ trips with my girlfriends friends and spending time with my family and boyfriend. My favorite decompressing activity is baking and decorating cakes. I also enjoy working out and watching reality TV.
Anjani Hagan, MD
I was born and raised in Southern California and went to the University of California, Irvine where I received my Bachelors of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering. I then went on to pursue a Masters of Science degree in Medical Physiology at Case Western Reserve University. After graduate school, I went to medical school at Ross University School of Medicine.
I knew fairly early in my schooling that I wanted to be a family physician because I value continuity of care across multiple generations. In choosing a residency program, I wanted to train at program that would provide strong inpatient, outpatient, obstetrical, and procedural training in a supportive environment and that’s exactly what you get at UICOMP. Needless to say, I am thrilled to be here.
Some of my favorite ways of spending my time off often involve any outdoor activity, watching sports, wandering through local farmers markets, laughing at a good joke, and spending meaningful time with those I care about.
Lizabeth Kaeb, MD
I was born and raised just a few miles away from Peoria in the Pumpkin Capital of the World (Morton, IL). For school, I stayed close to home with Illinois Wesleyan University for college and UICOM – Rockford for medical school. I chose to do my family residency in Peoria because I had heard about how fantastic their OB training is, and it has not disappointed.
While my biggest interest is in women’s health, I am passionate about all aspects of family medicine from neonates to elderly patients and everything in between. I want to get to know my patients and take care of their families for generations, and I can trust that UICOMP is preparing me for that kind of clinical practice.
Outside of the clinic, I am happily married (to a future physician, birds of a feather). We enjoy Latin dancing and raising our forever-a-puppy lab/husky mix together. I’m also quite proud of my collection of succulents, cacti, and air plants.
Mackenzie Mattern, MD
Growing up in the small town of Freeburg, Illinois, I knew from a pretty young age I wanted to become a doctor. I studied biology and psychology at Mizzou before being fortunate enough to earn a spot at SIU School of Medicine. During clerkships, it became apparent to me that family medicine was the only field that would allow me to treat a variety of problems from patients of all ages, genders, and backgrounds.
Each family medicine program is so unique, but UICOMP stood out to me for its breadth of training and resident relationships with faculty. I’ve been really impressed with the support the program receives from the hospital we well. Overall, I’d highly recommend this program if you want a well-rounded education working with people who care about you both as a person and a physician.
Maritza Estrada-O'Brien, MD
I grew up in Mendota, Illinois just over an hour away from Peoria. I earned my undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana.
After graduation, I went back to Mendota and taught in a local school district for a few years prior to medical school. My medical journey started with a post baccalaureate program at the University of Illinois Chicago and I continued on to medical school at the University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford.
Family medicine was always specialty of choice. I have always been interested in rural health, public health, minority and women’s health.
The family medicine standpoint gives me the best avenue to make a difference in the quality of life and overall health status of a population which has always been my ultimate career goal. The UICOMP Family Medicine Residency Program provides me with a wide scope of practice to a very diverse rural and urban population. As a bilingual and bicultural individual, I hope to make a difference in a diverse community through rigorous patient advocacy and long-term care and continuity. The University of Illinois has been a strong pillar in all of my education and UICOMP was the perfect next step.
Outside of residency, I enjoy spending time with my husband and dog. We travel as often as able and in my free time I enjoy drawing, knitting, sewing and any type of crafting.
Daniel Schuh, MD
I am from Illinois, born and raised in the heart of the Midwest. I grew up in Mahomet, a town just outside Champaign-Urbana, where I would eventually go to complete my Bachelor’s in Bioengineering at the University of Illinois. I then expanded my horizons marginally by moving down to Carbondale IL for my first year of medical school with Southern Illinois University, and eventually back to Springfield to complete years 2-4.
I knew I wanted to be a doctor from a young age, and I knew that I wanted to be the kind of doctor that developed that long-lasting personal relationship with his/her patients. Something about potentially caring for patients who spanned generations, being the doctor who takes care of a newborn and their great-great grandparents in the span of an afternoon. I always knew that those relationships were what I love most about medicine, and it drove me into Family Medicine.
I chose to come to UICOMP Family Medicine because I knew I would be able to develop into the kind of doctor I wanted to be while I’m here. I see those kind of relationships develop nearly every day. Not just between my co-residents and their patients, but also between the residents and faculty themselves. I know that I’m learning with truly great physicians who emulate what I want to become, and it is incredibly fulfilling.
When I have free time, I like to play video games, build models, and read something that doesn’t come out of a textbook or a journal. I also like to spend what time I have with my fiancée, and our adorable cat Henry.
Catie Anderson, MD
I was born and raised in the cheesiest state, Wisconsin (Go Packers!). I attended University of Wisconsin – Madison (Go Badgers!) for undergrad with a BS in Biology and a certificate in Gender and Women’s Studies. Then, I attended the Medical College of Wisconsin one of their tracks which focused on rural medicine and primary care. Part of this program had us spend a half day of clinic for the entire first year with a primary care doctor. I had an amazing experience with this rural family med doc and now I’m happy to be here in Peoria finishing the last leg of this journey into family medicine!
I am interested in Point-of-care ultrasound, Women’s health, Geriatrics, and just about everything else. Outside of medicine, I love to watch movies, trashy reality TV, and Netflix of course. I enjoy trivia, game nights, and have played a ridiculous variety of nerdy board games.
Allison Brooks, MD
I grew up a Military brat, moving all over the country and even living overseas. My family is from Pittsburgh, which has always been home. Go Steelers! I earned my B.S in Chemistry from Shepherd University in West Virginia and completed medical school at St. George’s University in Grenada, West Indies. I fell in love with family medicine due to the versatility of the specialty and the value placed on continuity of care.
I am passionate about full spectrum family medicine and have a special interest in women’s health, OB, and preventative medicine. For these reasons I was drawn to the program at UICOMP and was blown away by the faculty and the dynamic between the residents. I knew Peoria would be the perfect fit and allow me to finish my training as a well-rounded physician!
Outside of medicine I enjoy hiking with my dog, spending time with friends and family, cooking, and enjoy any kind of physical fitness. I actually used to be a cycling instructor.
Andras Eder, MD
I was born in Budapest, Hungary, and grew up in Columbus, Ohio. I attended the Ohio State University where I majored Latin and Ancient Greek. Inspired by some adventures working offshore in the oil fields of Louisiana, I enlisted in the US Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. The Navy was a fantastic all-around opportunity that helped me grow up as a person where I also found my calling in medicine. It made sense to me to pursue residency in Family Medicine having lived, worked, and taken care of my Sailors, and Marines all those years.
Why UICOM at Peoria? As my first interview, the program really set the bar high for all to follow and I found myself comparing all others to Peoria. When we were invited back for a second time and we all went bowling, I just knew. I have not been disappointed. My wife and I live in Peoria with our three dogs. We are all foodies and enjoy gardening, cooking fresh food and eating dinner together. We also like snacks. I like to tinker with the truck and listen to all sorts of music. We look forward to staying in and contributing to this community.
Paul Goldsmith, MD
I grew up in Peculiar, MO, a small town just south of Kansas City. I was able to attend William Jewell College due to a cross country and track scholarship where I graduated with a degree in psychology and pre-med. I took a gap year to work and make enough money for application costs before getting accepted to Kansas City University.
The only thing better than graduating medical school to start my residency at UICOMP was the woman I met at KCU and took with me. We met during our first year of school and got married after our third. She is now completing her residency in pediatrics at OSF across the street so she’s never too far away.
Nothing is more important to me than family, which is why I chose to complete my training in Peoria. The close knit and supportive community was a crucial component of our collective decision on where to train. In our time away from the hospital we’ve enjoyed fishing, hiking nature trails, and trying all the Thai food downtown. It’s clear we are exactly where we need to be!”
Sophie Huang, MD
I am from Elk Grove Village, Illinois, which is a suburb of Chicago. I completed my undergraduate education at Washington University in St. Louis and my medical school education at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago.
I chose family medicine because family medicine physicians are the friendliest, most enthusiastic doctors out there! I also identify with the emphasis on preventative medicine and the importance of building long-term relationships with patients. I’m looking forward to being able to work with patients of all ages and backgrounds.
I’m so grateful to have matched at the UICOMP Family Medicine Residency—everyone is so supportive and willing to help each other out, whether it’s in the hospital, at the clinic, or in other aspects of life. I think that the combination of unopposed training at Unity Point Methodist and connections to the larger University of Illinois College of Medicine system makes for an ideal residency environment.
Outside of medicine, I enjoy working out, exploring nature, watching Youtube videos, road tripping, and spending time with my friends, significant other, and family.
Carrie Downing-Larick, DO
Dr. Carrie Downing-Larick is originally from Alaska. She received her undergraduate at the University of Hawaii graduating with Honors. She later obtained a master’s degree in public health from the George Washington University focusing on Maternal and Child Health. She received her medical education from Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in South Carolina. And is now a Family Physician receiving additional training in Peoria.
Throughout her life, Dr. Downing-Larick has been passionate about advocating for underrepresented groups, reproductive rights, ending domestic violence, and international health. She is a member of PASS, the Pacific Alliance to Stop Sex Slavery; help establish the Medical Students for Choice group at her Medical school; researched domestic violence issues; established a program in her medical school to help recognize domestic violence and child abuse; and was accepted into the Future Leaders for the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians.
Tolulope Oke, MD
I was born and raised in New York City. I completed my Bachelors degree in the Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. I completed medical school at Caribbean Medical University on the island of Curaçao. Before moving to Peoria I lived in Chicago to complete my clinical rotations. I LOVE to travel! If I had more time I would visit a new place monthly.
I chose family medicine because I love the variety and the continuity of care as well as the opportunities to get involved with community outreach in order to promote preventive health. I have a passion for Women’s Health and will likely practice outpatient full spectrum family medicine.
I chose UICOMP Family Medicine because I will be getting a healthy experience in all aspects of family medicine especially OB/GYN/Women’s health. Women of color suffer the most in these areas so I would like to help be a solution. The faculty here have been more than supportive with my future endeavors.
When I am not at work I am facetiming my 2 nieces and 2 nephews, watching horror/sci-fi/fantasy/thriller movies or hanging out with my co-residents.
Elena Patel, DO
I grew up in northern Virginia and attended Virginia Tech undergrad. It was there during my senior year that I learned the difference between MD and DOs, and I was sold on osteopathic medicine. I took a gap year to apply to medical school (and travel the world!) and was accepted to VCOM in Spartanburg, SC.
Family medicine is one of the most important specialties in the medical field, not only because of its emphasis on preventative health, but also because of the wide variety of problems that can be identified and treated. While I am passionate about the field of women’s health, I also greatly enjoy providing care to patients of all ages and gender, which is why family medicine is the perfect fit for me.
I truly felt that I found the right program when I interviewed here because from the moment I got to Peoria, I felt welcomed like I was part of the family. The relationships between the residents and faculty and with each other were ones that I had not witnessed at other programs. I felt like the program allowed residents to feel comfortable to learn and grow in a supportive way, with emphasis on team work, rather than in a competitive and hostile environment. I also appreciated that the program was osteopathic recognized, as I would like to continue honing and perfecting my OMM skills beyond residency. Lastly, the program was very accommodating of couples matching, and my boyfriend was able to match in Peoria as a Radiology resident!
In my spare time I enjoy hiking, going to breweries and wineries, hanging out with my boyfriend and our dog, reading Harry Potter a million times, and traveling as much as possible!
Andrew West, MD
I am a born and raised Texan. Grew up helping my dad in the cotton fields and my mom in her classroom until I went to undergrad at Texas Tech. I received my degree in Communication Studies and then went on to medical school at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.
Two of my favorite clinical rotations in medical school were with family physicians in rural West Texas where full-spectrum practice could be seen at its finest. I admired their community involvement and intend to mirror my future practice with similar professionalism balanced with familial camaraderie.
I chose UICOMP first as a visiting fourth year medical student because of their unique Maternal, Newborn, Pediatrics Service. The continuity of care afforded family physicians is captured so well through this service. The people here in Peoria are who won me over most. My interactions with both faculty and residents was refreshing and something I wanted to experience during my training.
I met the love of my life, Amanda, during medical school clinical rotations in Midland, TX and survived planning and eventually celebrating our wedding during a pandemic. Outside the hospital and clinic, I enjoy photography, graphic design, and any chance to travel!
Erin Wheeler-Hinkley, MD
I’ve been an Illinois resident my entire life, but “home” for me is Litchfield, IL, which is where I plan to return after my training is done. My Family Physician is who really inspired me to find a career in Family Medicine. The way he cared so deeply for his patients, advocated for them, and made them feel at home in his office helped me realize medicine, and specifically Family Medicine, is where I belonged.
I graduated from UICOM – Rockford in 2020, but like many others, I took a slight detour on my way. I joined the military and worked as an aircraft mechanic for about 3 years before I rustled up the nerve to apply to medical school. I worked outside in the dust and dirt serving as a general practitioner for a giant hunk of metal. I changed aircraft tires and oil, filled them up with gas and hydraulic fluid, and launched and recovered them, and let me say there’s very few things that make me as nervous as directing an airplane to its parking place without letting it run into anything else. But in the end, I knew I wanted to care for people, and I found a home at UICOM – Rockford as a part of the Rural Medical Education Program.
I was drawn to UICOMP because training is truly full-spectrum here. We take care of those in the hospital; we deliver the babies; we have our own panel of clinic patients; and, we do everything in between. And, graduates are out in the “real world” practicing all those aspects of Family Medicine they were trained in here, which is exactly what I plan to do in Litchfield. UICOMP felt like home, like a big family I just fit naturally into, which is one of the biggest reasons why I chose this program.
I currently live in Peoria with my husband, Dom, and our three dogs – Apollo, Daisy, and Maggie, all of whom keep me grounded and supported when I need it most. In the little free time I have, I really enjoy playing outside with the dogs or just hanging with my husband watching TV. I do crochet here and there, and I’m really trying to get back to running more often. Life is busy and hectic and stressful, but there’s nowhere I’d rather be than right here.
Brisa Gulari-Jones, MD
Undergraduate: University of Hartford
Medical School: St George’s University
Liana Beauchamp, MD
I grew up in the village of Kingston, Illinois, where my local high school was across the street from barns and cornfields. I earned my undergraduate degree a couple hours away at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. After graduation, I stayed in the Quad City area to pursue medical scribe and management job opportunities, which afforded me diverse clinical experiences. I then had the privilege of attending medical school at University of Illinois College of Medicine in Rockford, Illinois, which is very close to my hometown. Now, I am in my number one choice residency program at UICOMP!
I am interested in many aspects of medicine including inpatient, outpatient, sports medicine, OB, hospice, and procedures. I have a strong desire to serve my community in the broadest way possible, for all age groups and all medical issues. I also really value building meaningful relationships with my patients and their loved ones. As a result, Family Medicine has always been the obvious choice for me. I am looking forward to accomplishing my career goals and becoming the physician I want to be with UICOMP.
When I’m not working, I love spending time with my significant other and our dog, Cooper. We like to travel for vacation time, especially in our toy hauler RV. Some of my hobbies include jogging, reading fiction books, watching (mostly children’s) movies, watercolor painting, bullet journaling, and trying to keep all of my houseplants alive.
Calee Bresnahan, MD
Undergraduate: Illinois Wesleyan University
Medical School: University of Illinois at Rockford
I grew up in central Illinois less than an hour from Peoria in a small, rural community. I have always loved the area I’m from and tried to stay close home for both undergrad and medical school training. Being so attached to the area, I was so lucky to get into a residency program close to home with many unique, small communities in the area while also having many of the benefits of bigger institutions and city life.
I knew I wanted to be a physician at a really young age after growing up watching the television show ER with my mom. My transition to pursuing family medicine didn’t occur until medical school when I realized how much I enjoyed building longitudinal relationship with patients. I have a special interest in women’s health and OB but enjoy the diversity and breadth of family medicine in all its aspects. I hope to go on to practice in a rural community like the one I’m from.
During medical school I got married to my husband who also works in the medical field as an EMT. We have a rescue dog, Xander, who takes up a lot of our free time with his shenanigans. When I do have a free moment and free energy, I love to read primarily fiction. I spend equal amounts of time vegging on the couch watching movies and streaming Netflix with my husband and dog- we love everything from nature documentaries to action packed thrillers to rom coms so are always down for a movie night.
Bradley Cobb, MD
Medical School: University of Louisville
I grew up in Murray, Kentucky and went to Murray State University for undergrad. After graduation, I worked as an engineer for John Deere in Dubuque, IA for three years. During that time I realized engineering wasn’t the career path I wanted to pursue, so I decided to leave my job and move back to Kentucky for medical school.
When looking for residency programs, I wanted somewhere that had full spectrum training and that was close to family. UICOM-Peoria checked all the boxes. The faculty genuinely care about teaching residents. The residents I met before and during interview season were incredibly welcoming and got along very well with each other. Even though interviews were virtual, I could tell from their personalities that I would fit in well with the program.
When I’m not working, I’m spending time with my wife and two year old son. We love exploring new parks and trails. I spend the rest of my free time watching St. Louis Cardinals baseball and trying to find the best Mexican and barbeque restaurants in town.
Elizabeth Copeland, DO
I grew up in a small town in Tennessee. I completed my undergraduate education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and then I attended medical school at Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine.
I grew up going to work with my father and seeing the amazing things he did as a physician. I admired the relationships he had developed with his patients and with the community as a whole. Family medicine always felt like the right specialty for me. I loved the idea of getting to know and take care of the entire family.
During and after my interview with UICOMP Family Medicine Residency Program, I was amazed at how much of a connection I felt to the program. I loved my conversations with the faculty and residents. The support from faculty and the culture was exactly what I was looking for in a program. Being from such a small town, I also liked the size of Peoria and the fact that there is not that much traffic! It also helped that I would be moving significantly closer to my boyfriend who is currently an Internal Medicine resident.
I love horses and being outdoors. I love to bake, exercise, and do arts and crafts. When there is a rare weekend that my boyfriend and I are both off from work we enjoy exploring Peoria, watching movies, and eating the results of the new recipes I decide to try.
Cody Deck, DO
I grew up in Oakwood, a very small town about two hours west of Peoria. I stayed close to home for my undergraduate degree at Illinois Wesleyan University where I majored in Biology. I attended medical school at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicne in Erie, PA. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a doctor and it was during my third and fourth year clerkships where I found that family medicne was the right fit for me. I love being able to treat a variety of problems from any patient population.
I chose UICOMP because of how well rounded our training is. I have a specific interest in sports medicine, but I know I will be confident in all areas of family medicne because of the strength of our inpatient, outpatient and OB training. This program also is very supportive and the relationships between residents and faculty is outstanding.
Rida Gareeb, MD
I was born and raised in Pakistan, and went to medical school back home at Ziauddin Medical College.
Concept of Family Medicine is quite foreign in third world countries. I didn’t realize my love, passion and appreciation for family medicine till I started working at one of the biggest non-profit hospital primary care programs in Pakistan. Whether it is supporting and relieving a terminally ill patient at the end of life, providing urgent care to a high acuity patient in the emergency room, or performing routine screening physicals and preventive care in the clinic, I admire that Family Medicine is a specialty of breadth, provides continuity of care, requires knowledge of all medical and surgical subspecialties, and values and nurtures the needs of the community.
I moved to Peoria last year when my husband matched at UICOMP in Internal Medicine, and started working at Jump Simulation as a Simulation Research Coordinator. I had heard nothing but fantastic things about the program (university and community based), its faculty and their open door policy, hands on learning, full spectrum curriculum, and their goal of ‘whole patient care’. This program has impressed me every day and I’m proud of call it home. I am confident that my training at UICOMP Family Medicine Residency will make me a more compassionate and empathetic physician with a vast skillset.
I spend time with my husband and our friends when I am not working. We love dining out, travelling, working out and watching shows and movies on a lazy night.
Katherine Matulle, DO
I grew up in Los Angeles, California and completed my undergraduate degree at University of California, Berkeley. After working as a scribe for two years after college, I attended medical school at Des Moines University. Transitioning to the Midwest life was certainly different as a lifetime Californian, but I quickly grew to love the “flyover states” and feel that this area of the country is where I truly belong. In medical school, I was lucky enough to meet my soon to be husband who is now pursuing Radiology residency here at UICOMP as well. We are so grateful to be going through the experience of residency at the same time and location!
I chose family medicine because of the versatility and ability to serve as an advocate for my patients. I am especially interested in preventive medicine and am excited to treat patients from all walks of life. I am very grateful to have matched at UICOMP, where it is exceedingly clear that the faculty and residents are supportive and enthusiastic about the work they do, and every aspect of family medicine is emphasized equally.
Outside of medicine, I spend most of my free time working out in the gym or outside or relaxing with my fiancé at home. I love browsing/ordering things on Amazon, cooking and finding new recipes as well as trying new restaurants and breweries!
Hailey Sellek, MD
I was raised in a rural community in central Illinois, completed my undergraduate degree in southern Illinois, and attended medical school in northern Illinois.
Once finished with residency I plan to practice medicine in a rural, underserved community doing a little bit of everything- obstetrics, in-office procedures, teaching students, chronic disease management, and inpatient medicine. This is just one of many reasons I’ve fallen in love with Family Medicine! I’m so happy to have found a program that encourages my curiosity and exploration of so many aspects of medicine.
Family and friends are very important to me, so I spend any free time with them. I also adore traveling to new places, hiking, and just trying new things in general.
Piotr Weglarz, DO
I grew up in Chicago and have been an Illinois resident for the vast majority of my life. I earned my B.S. in Bioinformatics at Loyola Chicago and completed medical school at KYCOM in Pikeville, KY. I met my wonderful wife in medical school, and together we decided to couples match into family medicine.
I was immediately impressed by the program’s attitude towards couples in the match, as well the actual number of couples that the program has now and has had in the past. My wife and I were also very impressed with the amount of sub-specialty opportunities available to pursue while at the program, which was a huge draw for both of us.
When I’m not at work, I like to play video games, watch over-the-top action movies, and listen to 90s-2000s hip hop.
Tierra Weglarz, DO
Medical School: University of Pikeville – Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine
I grew up in a small town in Eastern Kentucky called Pikeville. I completed my bachelor of science degree in Biomedical sciences at Morehead State University in Morehead, KY before returning home to pursue my doctorate at the University of Pikeville. I chose family medicine because of the versatility of the profession. I love that it gives you the avenue to practice outpatient medicine, inpatient medicine, and obstetrics. I chose UICOMP because I felt this program could give me quality training in all three of those fields. In my free time, I love spending time with my husband (who is also a resident in this program), exploring his hometown of Chicago, painting with acrylic and watercolor, and hand crafting espresso beverages at home.
Ifeoluwa Adekanye, MD
I was born and raised in Nigeria; moved to the US, where Maryland is now home. I completed my bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. I began my medical school journey at St James School of Medicine in Anguilla and received my medical degree from Caribbean Medical University. While in medical school, I completed my master’s in health administration (MHA).
I am interested in family medicine because of its versatility and the continuity of care, which puts family doctors at the center of patients’ care. My clinical interests are preventative medicine, OB/GYN, and Women’s health. I chose UICOMP family medicine residency program because it caters to my interests, which I believe would provide me with quality training, and help me become a well-rounded family doctor. Also, this program is so welcoming, and dedicated to residents’ wellness; everyone here has been very supportive. I’m so thrilled to be a part of this program, and to call this place home.
Outside of medicine, I enjoy family time with my husband, Joshua and our girls – Joyce & Joanna. I love taking long hour road trips (if I’m not the one driving). On a lazy night, I binge watch crime-based TV shows; my favorite right now is NCIS.
Matthew Becker, DO
I grew up in Evansville, Indiana, attended University of Southern Indiana for undergrad, and received my medical degree from Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Indianapolis. I chose Family Medicine for its breadth of age and scope of practice. I particularly enjoy caring for families, especially expecting mothers and their new babies. An additional interest of mine is Creighton Model FertilityCare (NaPro), which helps families struggling with infertility.
I chose UICOMP Family Medicine Residency because the training here hits the sweet spot of full-scope family medicine, especially regarding Obstetrics training. The faculty and staff care both about training you to be an excellent physician and about you as an individual.
In my free time, I enjoy cooking, eating out and at home, playing Irish tunes on my mandolin, reading, exploring local nature and establishments, spending time with my wife and new son, and attending the Traditional Latin Mass.
Prince Ehimamiegho, MD
I was born and raised in Nigeria. Attended my early education in various states across the country (Lagos, Benin, Abia and Abuja) owing from the fact that my family moved around quite often. I received my medical degree from International American University and further did my clinical rotation across different states in the US.
My interest to pursue a career in medicine started at a later age as I experienced first-hand the disparity in healthcare in rural & urban communities. I chose family medicine because it gives me the opportunity to develop meaningful relationship with families, instilling hope and providing comfort while offering individualized care plans that foster treatment compliance.
My decision to pursue family medicine became more apparent and greatly influenced during my clinical rotation after experiencing its broad scope. I firmly understood the practicality involved, as the central focus goes beyond just treatment of medical diagnosis but on the whole care of a patient. Dr William Osler’s quote embodies family medicine and I completely agree. He said, “The good physician treats the diseases; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.”
I am thrilled to be a part of the UICOMP Family Medicine program because it offers inclusive diversity and equity that fosters a desirable environment for acquisition of knowledge of evidence-based medicine and a solid foundation in patient care based on compassion and empathy. UICOMP is invested in the wellness of residents, faculties and families with scheduled wellness activities that promotes overall well-being. In UICOMP, we practice what we teach.
I never knew that I’ll find a place away from my family that would still feel like home. Prior to moving down to Peoria, I lived with my family in California and in my less busy days, you will catch me engaging in any of these activities; cycling, travelling (if you didn’t already know), playing tennis, board games, just chilling or watching a movie and of recent picked up a new hobby, playing pickle ball (courtesy of Peoria, lol!). I mostly love engaging in activities that bring family and friends together, as I am happiest when I am spending quality time with friends and family.
Casianne Manning, MD
My journey has taken me across several regions and continents. Born and raised in Jamaica, I emigrated to the United States as a teen, completed my undergraduate studies at Western Connecticut State University, and received my medical degree from Saint James School of Medicine, St. Vincent. I enjoy travel and fully embrace diversity and cultures. I had the privilege of witnessing medical disparities in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa on a student delegation. Spoke on and was educated about the healthcare challenges faced in parts of the Caribbean and South America. In addition, had the opportunity to visit and build strong networks with junior physicians who studied and trained in Eastern Europe. Witnessing the disproportions in health and wellness among various groups and the challenges encountered in providing equitable healthcare prompted my pursuit of a Master of Science in Health Education and Promotion.
I am enthusiastic about continued training with UICOM-Peoria’s Family Medicine Residency. The focus placed on the practice of evidence based preventative medicine, health equity, and providing quality care within diverse and underserved communities are visions that have and continue to resonate with me.
Spending time with my family and friends, exploring new territories, enjoying good food, and the occasional beach trip are pastimes that I strongly value.
Eunice Paik, DO
I was born in Chicago and grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. I went to Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. I received my Master’s in Public Health at the University of Illinois in Chicago and received my medical degree from Kansas City University. I am passionate about Public Health and Preventive medicine. Family Medicine provides a diverse scope of practice and versatility in treating patients through medical management and procedures. Not only that, but we have the privilege to be by our patients’ side to protect, promote, and advocate for their health.
I chose UICOMP Family Medicine because of the faculty, staff, and residents that create an intentional atmosphere of support and provide the best learning opportunities to challenge and nourish residents to grow and flourish. Furthermore, the close relationships the academic institution and affiliated hospital has with the community provides opportunities to serve and advocate for the underserved in our surrounding neighborhoods.
In my free time, I enjoy working out, painting, traveling, trying new restaurants in Peoria, and hanging out with my co-residents.
Nicholas Palcheff, DO
I was born and raised in Jerseyville, IL, a small town just north of Alton, IL, in the St. Louis area. I headed east to Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana to get my Bachelors in Biological Engineering and then went west to go to Medical School at A.T. Still University in Kirksville, Missouri.
Family Medicine made sense to me because it offers what I want to learn to be the best physician I can be. Being able to treat anyone, from a toddler to a senior, for a variety of potential different medical problems is something I want to offer my patients and one of the reasons I chose UICOM-P for residency. It provides a great learning environment for the many different patient populations and presentations that will allow me to develop into the doctor I dream of becoming.
In my free time I am an avid gamer, whether that be boardgames or videogames. I closely follow the St. Louis Cardinals and Blues, I love to play intramural sports, and am into the fantasy genre, whether that be books, shows, or movies.
Andrea Rice, DO
I have deep roots in Illinois. I was born in Carbondale and I lived in outside of Champaign in a tiny town of Rantoul and on the now defunct Chanute Air Force Base as my father was in the Air Force. The Air Force sent us to Alaska when I was 8 years old, and I lived there until I was about 20, when I graduated from the University of Illinois with my associates in Medical Lab Technology. I moved away from the long cold dark winters and the gorgeous mountains and breathtaking landscape to live with my grandmother in Decatur because I didn’t know where else to go! But life happened and I ended up raising my five kids back in the Champaign area. Much of that time was spent in Champaign, but we had a hobby farm in the county for about 6 years, 5 acres with a menagerie of animals. It was an adventure.
I went back to school later in life and received my bachelor’s degree at UIUC in Champaign-Urbana in 2017 and went to medical school at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in Downers Grove in the Chicago suburbs. I thought I would specialize in pathology because of my background in the medical lab and because I love cells and microscopes; but once I started my 3rd year rotations, I realized I loved the continuity of care too much to miss out on the patient contact. Everyone in family medicine is usually super nice, and kindness is important to me, so it was a perfect fit.
I’m thrilled to be in Peoria for residency because our program at UICOMP is very nurturing and supportive while also being rigorous and offering a wide range of opportunities in training. I’m passionate about OB and love the opportunity to pursue that training here. I am also passionate about preventative medicine, abortion care, reproductive justice and care for underserved populations, all of which is deeply supported here. I’m looking forward to practicing full spectrum medicine in a rural setting after residency.
Laila Shuaib, MD
I was born and raised in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago. I earned my Bachelor’s degree at Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois. My passion for patient care began early in my education and was furthered when I worked as a scribe for ScribeAmerica as well as a research assistant for Ann and Robert H. Lurie’s hospital Orthopedics department.
That passion led me to a place far from home and I earned my Medical Degree from Xavier University School of Medicine. It presented me with the opportunity to work as a research postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation assisting and conducting FDA-approved clinical trials. The continuity with each subject via screening and follow-up during clinical trials reinforced my appreciation for Family Medicine.
I chose family medicine because of its fundamental focus on full-spectrum care. It allows a relationship to foster between a patient and physician enabling preventative care to be a priority. I chose UICOMP because of the dedication to excellence displayed by the program. The high level of care, training, and desire to have a positive impact was evident in all conversations and interactions with faculty and staff. This program cares about the community and stands by the promise to maintain an excellent standard of healthcare.
During my free time, I like to spend time with my husband, family, especially my adorable nephew, and friends. I enjoy gardening, trying different cuisines, traveling, challenging hikes, and exercising with the occasional Netflix binge sprinkled in.
Bridget Tesher, DO
As the oldest of five, I had a hilarious childhood in the quaint town of Tinley Park, Illinois. My senior year of high school, I passed the EMT exam and drove an ambulance for our local hospitals. Working with triage teams helped solidify my love of medicine. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I managed the human anatomy labs and mentored incoming biology students. ILL-INI! Then, I went on to get my masters and medical degree from Kansas City University.
My first day of my sub-internship at UICOMP Family Medicine, I called home screaming that I found my future home. Easily, UICOMP stood out miles above the rest. We were overjoyed when I was matched to UICOMP and I am beyond thankful and excited to be a family medicine resident at the best program (simply a fact, not an opinion) in the United States.
I am happiest while giggling over dinner with my big family (Mom, Colleen, Olivia, Kevin, and Sarah) and our four fur babies (Polly, Tennessee, Tank, and Tucker). A perfect day includes listening to a great Spotify playlist, an iced coffee with crab rangoons, and hanging out with my friends. A really perfect day is connecting with my patients and collaborating with them on an action plan with reachable goals to keep them healthy.
I hope to one day achieve my dream career of incorporating some of my passions: women’s health, obstetrics, pediatrics, and mental health. My bucket list also includes running the Chicago Marathon with my family, visiting my grandparents’ farms in Ireland, and learning how to bake a great apple pie, served a la mode of course. Cheers!
Blake Thomas, DO
I was born and raised in Tulsa, OK, and completed both my high school and undergraduate education within 10 miles from my birth home. My undergraduate education was completed at Oral Roberts University, where I studied Medical Molecular Biology with a minor in Psychology. Upon graduation, I left the bird’s nest of Oklahoma and spread my wings to Lynchburg, VA, where I completed my medical school training at Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine.
My first exposure to Family Medicine came at a young age, as my mother is a FM physician. FM appealed to me because of the full-spectrum scope of practice and the freedom to tailor your practice to your interests. I also loved the continuity of care developed with patients. Ultimately, my interests in obstetrics, sports medicine, and missionary medicine were best fulfilled through the FM specialty.
I chose UICOMP because of their evident devotion to living out their mission statement: “Providing full spectrum care for the whole-person.” The faculty faithfully challenge the residents to grow in their practice while providing a safe environment for learning and specific feedback. Not only does this program well equip its residents to practice medicine in their desired capacities, but it also takes great care of its residents on a personal level.
Outside of medicine, you can find me supporting my favorite sports teams (the Pittsburgh Steelers, OKC Thunder, and Oral Roberts Golden Eagles), playing my favorite sports (basketball, disc golf, and pickleball), or playing board games on a rainy day with my wife.