Team member stories

Wade, MD



I'm Dr. Brennom. I'm the ER doctor.

I love working for Allina.

You've been feeling dizzy?


I love working at Abbott on a night shift. We see everybody. I'll do your physical exam, and then we'll see what we can find.


I think the most important thing to let people know is that I'm here to help you. My name is Wade Brennom. I'm an emergency room physician here at Allina Health.

So it was OK last night, not too crazy back there?

I've been doing night shifts for quite a few years. It started-- I had a child in middle school, and I struggled to make appointments and games, so it just worked better for me that I could work at night, and then I could make the concert or the game.

Everything we check looks good. And we'll get you going home.

All right. Thank you so much.

Thank you.

Maybe I'm a little bit different because I like working at night. You tend to work together. You approach things in a more team-oriented way. The relationships are stronger.

He's awesome. Super.

I love Minnesotans. I understand them because I grew up in Minnesota. Abbott is not very far from where George Floyd was murdered. I drive by that every day. I hope that the people in this community and the people in the state realize that we're trying to improve things. We're a team that accepts everybody at any time.

Muy, Pharmacy Technician Supervisor

[MUSIC PLAYING] Good to have you here today on a morning. The role of the pharmacy technician is to provide the medications that patients need to get better. We do such important work to get those medicines in the right spot at the right time. My name is Muy Lair. I'm the pharmacy technician supervisor here at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

I am a first generation refugee. My parents came to America from Cambodia. My grandparents were our main caretakers since our parents were working all the time. And my grandpa got sick. And we didn't really understand how to navigate the health system. So I think early on, I knew I wanted to contribute to health care in some way. How that was going to happen, I was not sure.

So my high school counselor set me up with a couple of programs. And I really found my place in pharmacy technician. And that brings me here to today. I think it looks really good. You've done great. Allina has something special, a pharmacy technician program that is recognized by the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy. We are able to take technicians, bring them in with zero background, put them through our program, get them certified.

Yeah, perfect. So we're going to start up right now.

Yep, go ahead and start. If you have the passion, and you want to be in health care, and you want to take care of individuals, you now have a place where you can go and you have someone who can help you navigate that. I would like to help jump start that career for you. Mentoring, that's my passion.

Bill, Volunteer

I never sit down.

Hey, Bill.

How are you doing today?

Good, how are you?


I'm always walking.

Got a lab for you to bring down.

OK, thank you.

Thank you very much.

Yep. Sometimes you got more than one thing to do at once. Round the corner, out the door, upstairs. I don't think there's ever a day goes by I don't have at least 10,000 steps. Sometimes 15 up to 20,000. I'm Bill Friedland, I'm a volunteer at the Cambridge Medical Center. I was a television repairman for my whole life. When I retired my wife worked here, so I started volunteering. You need a wheelchair? I take samples down to the lab to get tested. I push people around in the wheelchair. And which clinic are you going to again?

I'm going to G.

G, OK. So you got to go upstairs then.

Bill, he's been with us for 16 years, and he's very dedicated to his job. He is pretty much a superstar in the hallways here at the hospital and in the clinic areas.

We'll see how fast we can get you there, right?

Probably my favorite part of volunteering is just meeting the people. I was very shy when I grew up, and now I talk. I'm just trying to make the people comfortable as they're getting wheeled down the hall.

Have a good one now.

All right, thank you, Bill, it was a pleasure to meet you.


Every day is different. Actually you're helping everybody, so, yeah. It's a fun job. Everybody should try it.

Christine, MD

I grew up on the White Earth Reservation. I'm a descendant of the Ojibwe tribe. With a family that loved the outdoors, we fished, there was a lot of hunting, a very charmed upbringing. I was very lucky. But I never met a Native American physician so the idea of being a physician was not really on my radar.

Listen to your heart.

Not until the University of Minnesota contacted me before my senior year of high school, and had said, you know what? I think you should think about being a doctor. I mean, that was-- that was huge. I'm Christine Athman, I'm a family physician.

And we'll let you know as soon as we get that result back.

I went to undergrad at the university of Minnesota, Morris, and then I finished up at University of Minnesota, medical school in 2007. And the mentors that they connected us with were Native physicians who had already walked that path. I would not be the physician that I am today without those programs and without those people.

So in 2013 I became assistant director at the Native American Center for Health Professions, and I was no longer the mentee. I had turned into the mentor. And it was a joy to be working with students.

You're kind of going in and out.

And it's been wonderful to watch them be successful in their careers. Now that I am a doctor and I'm busy practicing medicine, mentorship is still extremely important to me. Engaging and motivating and cheering on and being a source of support for our students. It's a joy to be working with students and have the privilege to pay it forward.

Minda, Customer Experience Center Leader

[ANIMATED MUSIC PLAYING] Thank you for calling Allina Health.

This is the Allina Health customer Experience Center, an amazing enterprise that supports the entire organization. We are creating a moment that matters.

How can I help you?

24/7, 365. I am Minda Garcia, the Vice President of this amazing department. This is the football field. We love to call it the football field because it is a team environment. We take 8.3 million calls a year.

I can check that location for you.

And so, our team members there not just the answering service, there not just the scheduler, or the message taker. They are part of the care team. And so, even though we are not there putting our hands on our patients, we can convey with our voices, support for these patients.

I can help you schedule that.

I think Allina has always been at the forefront of making sure that our diverse communities really feel welcome. I've been with Allina Health for 22 years, proudly been with Allina Health for 22 years. I love it. We get to speak up, our voices get to be heard and we get to set the culture of our organization.

Allina makes me feel like I can do that. Everyone can do that. We decorate, I put up pictures of my spouse, put up pictures of my nephews. I love seeing that people bring their whole selves. You be you. When we leverage the energies of this team, it's amazing what can be accomplished. It makes me smile.


Jennifer, Infection Preventionist

[MUSIC PLAYING] When I was in middle school, my mom had surgery and ended up developing a surgical site infection. I was able to see the effects that can have on a person. It drives me.

I'm Jennifer Pierce Querna, and I am an infection preventionist at Buffalo Hospital. We have a great team system-wide, and that's what I love about the job. Sometimes you're collaborating with managers. Sometimes you're talking with frontline staff. Sometimes it's presenting in meetings.

And hygiene is the main focus because that's the overarching theme. I say all the time, foam in, foam out. That means, every time you cross the threshold to a patient room, you are hitting the hand hygiene dispenser so that your hands are as clean as possible before you enter a patient environment.

This is the Hand Hygiene trophy for Buffalo Hospital. We usually fill it with candy before we set it out. One of our managers, it was actually her idea. We try to make something that can be annoying into something kind of fun and motivating.

Infection prevention is every single person in the hospital working together to prevent as many infections as possible. And I think, it's really important to remember that human factor behind the numbers. So even if you prevent one, you know it makes a difference for that one person.

Tsia, Lead Security Officer

I came to Allina Health to work in a security role. Initially, used Allina as a stepping stone. Ultimately, I decided to stay. It was a good fit for me. The rewards are there.

I'm Tsia Chang. I'm a lead security officer at Allina Health at Mercy Hospital Coon Rapids. I deal with the day in, day out operations, patrolling the parking lots, and doing interior patrols, walking through the hallways. It is a fast-paced environment, so communication is key.

Thank you.

Yeah, we're looking good with that.

It is challenging, but it is rewarding. I am a people person, and I like to offer help where it's needed. We are here for the safety and security in the hospital, but we are also here to provide comfort and assistance to patients. People come here to the hospital on their worst day, so we have to stay positive and polite at the end of the tunnel, say, hey, we are here to support you.

We want them to feel welcome here and feel safe when they see us walking through the hallways or greeting them in the entrance ways. You come here, you are safe. It's a great team and a great organization to be with. That's why I'm still sticking around.

Badrinath, MD

[MUSIC PLAYING] Hi Mr. Goldstein, how are you doing?

How are you?


Medicine is a unique privilege.

We'll just give you a quick exam here. I want to see how this thing--

To help people--

Does any of that hurt?


And to me, that's the most rewarding thing. I don't know what I would do if I was not a doctor.


I'm Badrinath Konety. I am the president of the Allina Health Cancer Institute, and I'm also the chief academic officer for Allina Health. Caring for people who are sick is a team sport. We do it together.

Lots of great trials, and some of the new ones that you're doing--

So regarding the Cancer Institute, my job is more like a team coach. We know that we have to focus and provide the best care in the best possible way, in the quickest possible way, to our cancer patients. And my job is to figure out how to do that.

Our nursing director, who signed on--

In my role as the chief academic officer, my job was two-fold. One is to focus on research, and the other aspect is to focus on building the educational pipeline-- the doctors and nurses, APPs, pharmacists, et cetera-- to meet our needs.

And being at the cutting edge requires you to be engaged in a clinical practice, so I do clinical work here. I have clinic patients every week, and then I operate one day a week. It allows you to understand what it is like to work here and also make sure that I'm making a constant contribution. That's why I went into this.

And the other thing I also do-- I do a lot of teaching and community work outside, especially internationally. And working in a limited-resource environment really teaches you to be very resourceful. And the most rewarding thing is you get to teach people because that's what builds the health of the local community.

There are many other colleagues of mine here who similarly have careers, which are driven by purpose. And they give of their time and their knowledge and their experience. I think that's the Allina way.

And the reason that I chose to come to Allina and stay at Allina is because I see it as a place where that sort of attitude is valued. That ethos is sort of baked in to the work ethic at Allina. It's about, what is your contribution that you're going to leave behind? It's a purely altruistic contribution to the community.


Faith, Advanced Practice RN

Good morning, Rochelle.

Good morning.

My purpose is to be a diabetes patient advocate.

So I'm here to help you out today.

All right.

I want the patient with diabetes to be seen. I want health care providers to know that living with diabetes is not easy. My name is Faith Pollock. And I am a Diabetes Clinical Nurse Specialist at Allina Health. I became a diabetes educator when my daughter developed type 1 diabetes. I thought I knew a lot about diabetes care as a nurse until I took a six-year-old daughter home to live with it daily. This made me realize I really needed to work with patients with diabetes to make a difference in their lives.

As an advanced practice registered nurse, I work in direct patient care.

So how about if I see the ones over in the heart hospital?

I also serve as a consultant to nurses, providers. And finally, I work at the system level to collaborate in developing diabetes care practices. We are a very close-knit group. And we work together, build off each other's strengths for the best outcome of our patients.

I'm going to push this to get the air out.

My favorite part of this job is making a difference in people's lives.

Then you dial up your dose.

And knowing that they can manage their diabetes.

Push it in, and push this all the way down.

The goal is to care for patients in the hospital the best we can--

And then you're done.

--and to give the tools to the patients and families--

Do you have any questions?

--to go home and live their best life with diabetes.

I got it.

Got it.

Amy, MD

[MUSIC PLAYING] Where you work matters a little bit, but who you work with matters a lot. And I work here because I know that every single member of my team is going to take great care of you with me, or if I'm not available, instead of me. I'm Dr. Amy Elliot. I'm a family physician. And I'm the director of medical affairs at Faribault Medical Center.

So I'm one of those people who just, from the time I was a little kid, I always knew I was going to be a doctor. And I have spent most of my career doing immigrant medicine and caring for people who are immigrants and refugees. We really strive to care for every patient, regardless of which door they walk through and give them the same excellent care no matter how they enter the Allina Health care system.

We also have an obligation to bring up the next generation.

We're going to show you how to put in an IV.

There's a saying in the equity world-- you have to see it to be it.

OK, who would like to go first.

Just to kind of take a glance at it.

So we borrowed the idea for a scrub club from our colleagues at New Ulm.


This is such a fun thing for teenagers who are interested in health care careers--

See how soft that is?

--to make sure that they can really see themselves doing that work.

Push just a little smidge longer.

I want these kids to figure out where their best path lies.

Another high five.

I'm hoping that in 10 years, these students are going to come back and work at Faribault Medical Center. And we're going to see the fruits of our labors because that's going to make us all better


Michael, Pharmacist


Good morning. I feel that Allina is focused not only on the well being of patients-- hopefully you start feeling better in the first couple days-- but they're also focused on the well being of their employees. Thank you so much.

I am Michael Allen. And I'm a pharmacist with Allina Health. I started working as a pharmacy cashier when I was 16 years old. I really felt a sense of fulfillment with helping people. And I started working at Allina in 2012. And after working as a technician for about four or five years, I made the decision to go to pharmacy school.

I was able to get a portion of my school paid for through the Allina Health Tuition Reimbursement program to help me support myself so I could focus on school when I needed to. And I had such a wonderful time learning and growing not only professionally, but personally. Now I'm a pharmacist here working at Allina.

Hey, Michael. How are you today?

The people are my favorite thing about this job.

I had a patient call me--

The way that we communicate and the way that we support each other is just wonderful and how we come together to help our patients.


When people come into our pharmacy, it's usually not their best day. Good morning. How can I help you today?

Good morning.

So what I like to do is greet them with happiness-- this one is just as needed-- And find a way to solve their problem. And it'll help with that mouth pain. That's the most important thing. There you go. You have a wonderful day. And that's what gives me purpose.

Daniel, Adaptive Sports Specialist

[MUSIC PLAYING] I had a traumatic injury, which resulted in the amputation of both of my legs below the knee. And I just started drawing again. I found it was just a really great way to process what I was feeling.

You know, you wake up in the hospital, and you start wondering, like, can I skateboard again? How do I go snowboarding? But I had a drive to embrace the new life that I was given and all of the possibilities that it had. My name is Daniel Edmondson, and I'm an adaptive sports specialist with Courage Kenny.

So my injury was in February of 2014, and the following winter was the first time that I got on a snowboard with Courage Kenny. And then it was time to get back on the skateboard.

Then I found out about Merry Hill, a steady-grade, top speed 55-60. Halfway down the hill I was crying in my helmet tears of joy that here I am doing this crazy thing. I love being part of adaptive sports, and it just seemed like a natural fit that I ended up at Courage Kenny. Two more coming at you.

I love seeing that light bulb moment, where people get really excited about the possibilities for a new sport that they've discovered.


Our power soccer players, they were champions in their conference this year. So MNUFC had proposed this idea that we work on a shirt to represent power soccer. I drew the spin kick. So I wanted to capture that motion, and our graphic designer really knocked it out of the park with something that just looks cool and I'm going to be proud to wear.

And I love that we're highlighting that anyone can be an athlete. Anyone can be a champion, which is what Alina is promoting in our community.


Annette, Clinical Practice Educator

[MUSIC PLAYING] My name is Annette Peterson. And I have a really unique role within a Allina. I actually don't think this role exists in a lot of other clinic settings. And it's exciting. I am a clinical practice educator. I get to support new staff when they start at the clinic, make sure they're getting everything they need. And then I am also supporting the staff that work in the clinic all the time. Allina is large. But we work in these smaller communities. And I was really blessed to be working here at time in my life where we had something pretty significant happen.

My daughter, Malia, who was eight years old at the time was diagnosed with cancer. So that was a really tough period of time. We went through 14 months of everything that goes with cancer. I missed a lot of work. But my work family really stepped up and were a great support system for me, not only during that time, but my daughter did pass away. Coming back, they cared for me as I cared for patients. And they were able to listen and support me and push me when I needed a little push.

I think that's a really unique and maybe a special thing about working in health care is you're working with people who are compassionate. And they know how to care for patients. But they also care so well for each other.


Kaitlin, Registered Nurse

[MUSIC PLAYING] I was a nurse for five years before I had my brain tumor. And I feel like it just has helped me be a better nurse. My patients that I work with, I know what they're going through because I experienced it myself.

I'm Kaitlin Mantel. I am an RN. I was doing home care. And I started feeling symptoms like daily headaches and blurry vision. And then I had an MRI. And then that's when they found a brain tumor, a central neurocytoma. And it was a big one.

So I had a total of three surgeries. And then after the surgeries, I did outpatient therapy at the Courage Kenny in Cambridge. Speech therapy was hard. I remember I was doing my speech therapy homework. And I was trying to write. And I knew what I wanted to write, I couldn't make my hand write it. That was hard. But it just took a while.

So I was trying to decide what I wanted to do after this because I knew I had to go back to work. And then I started meeting with John the chaplain. And we talked about my future. He's like, what if you came and worked here? I'm like, I never even thought of that. And then I got the job. So the rest is history.

You're oxygen's good.

I'm an RN here at the transitional rehab program in Golden Valley.

Walk with the walker.

Yeah, you're doing great. My patients that I work with, I understand what they're going through. I know when they have speech difficulties, I can see the wheels turning and see them trying to mouth the words. And they just can't say it. I know what it's like. I try to give them time because I don't want them to feel rushed. I'm just happy to come here and know that I'm helping people like me. I think that's really nice.

Amy, Registered Nurse

[MUSIC PLAYING] I'm bringing new little people into the world. It still leaves me in awe. I still tear up, especially when a daddy cries. Like, oh. My name is Amy Russell. I'm a RN in the Labor Delivery Department of the Mother Baby Center at Abbott Northwestern. So I've worked at Allina and at Abbott Northwestern for 33 years. I feel like I'm constantly teaching, especially first-time moms, hands-on, close to them, reducing fear, just bringing trust and reassurance that this is going to be an awesome day. So it takes a little bit to get to know the patient and what brings them comfort. But as you get to know them, you can tell what's important to them to make it safe and a beautiful experience as possible.

I had an amazing woman for a mother who spoke into my life and told me what she saw in me, and that she saw that I was a caregiver. I felt really proud when I got my degree and started my first nursing job. It was like, wow. The beautiful thing about nursing in general is that there's so many different things that you can do. I went from working with older folks to working with really young healthy people. It's been a great career change for me, and I've enjoyed it. It's my sweet spot to help people through a physiological process, and see what the creator has done, and how perfectly it all fits together. It's just always a little miracle every day.

Dave, Retiree and Volunteer

[MUSIC PLAYING] As human beings, it's our job to take care of other human beings. I've always really felt that and believed it. So health care is a natural function of that.

How are you today?


That's good.

Hi, I'm Dave Schneiderhan. I just retired. I worked at Phillips Eye Institute in Allina Health system for 27 years. Phillips Eye Institute was truly a place that was designed and operated as a true benefit to the community. And one of the functions of that was to set up this foundation, the Early Youth Eyecare Initiative. And when it started, I wanted to see what it was like. So I just asked to volunteer.

They've got this program to help children and give them the ability to learn. I'll look at the glasses.

That's a doozy right off the bat.

There's missing nose pads. There's that kind of stuff. If the glasses are broken beyond repair, we'll get them a new pair of glasses. Otherwise, I'll repair the glasses or adjust the glasses of the kids who need that.

Why don't you slip them on once. Does that feel a little bit better?


You're all set, buddy.

My purpose in volunteering was to be able to give back and to help other people. And the thing about it is, it's pretty hard to walk out of one of those schools and leave it and not feel good about yourself because they're all happy. You can just see from the expression on their face that they can see better. It's just a rewarding experience.

E.C., Registered Nurse

[MUSIC PLAYING] I'm EC Clark. I am a registered nurse here at Mercy Hospital for west. That's the neuro trauma med/surg floor. I love what I do. I love my job. As I enter the patient's room, I want to know what the patient knows about this day in the hospital. I want to know what they're expecting. We talk about the plan of care, so we are working toward the same goal.

Knowing that every day, I can make a difference in somebody's life, that fuels me. And that makes me want to get up and do it again. I've been a nurse at Mercy for 25 years. You can see that there are more different people from different walks of life.

My story is I am a Liberian. I came from Liberia in 1987. I had an idea to do a world map to show that we come from different places. It represents the staff, but also, it can bring about educational conversations. It brings about courageous conversations. It brings about connections. Knowing that you have something in common with somebody, it makes people work a little bit better together.


Billi Jo, Pharmacy Compliance Analyst

[MUSIC PLAYING] My dad actually was diagnosed with cancer very young. When he was getting treatment, the people that cared for him were just—they were light. It inspired me to want to do that in some manner. I wanted to help patients. I wanted to help families. I went into pharmacy and started as a technician, and here I am, 30 years later.

Having a purpose to take care of others, I think that’s what drives me every day. I am a pharmacy compliance analyst. My job is to support those who are directly caring for our patients. I work for Allina Health Pharmacies. I base out of Mercy Hospital Unity Campus, but I also visit all 15 of our retail pharmacies. Allina does a great job at putting people where they shine. You work so closely with everyone together on a team. There’s a lot of roles that you can play, and you make a difference in patients’ lives and help them heal. If I can do it as an analyst, anyone can do that.

Tamara, Mission Integration Manager and Community Engagement Lead

[MUSIC PLAYING] We’re there to help the people who have the most need. I have two roles at Allina. I am the manager for mission at Saint Francis Regional Medical Center that’s in Shakopee, and then I’m also the South Metro Community benefit and engagement lead. And there was a lot of overlap there with employee volunteerism and community health improvement and actual community benefit. So we really do that work. And it is a calling more than it was ever work or employment.

It was all about having purpose and having passion for what you do every day. Really, it is about honoring the inherent dignity of every human. I love that Allina especially is using the word “belonging,” right? And I love that we have defined for ourselves what diversity, equity, and inclusion mean for us. I try to do within my work for Allina is just that sense of letting people know that you care. I really am lucky I have a really, really great job.

Joshua, Environmental Services Manager

[MUSIC PLAYING] This work is for other people. This work is for our community, for our patients, for our employees. I’m an environmental services manager at Allina Health at Saint Francis Regional Medical Center located in Shakopee, Minnesota. What drew me to a job in health care, I was back in college. I applied for a job in dietary. It was an opportunity for me to serve the community.

Purpose is passion to me, the passion of what you’re good at, providing whole person care, not only to the patients that come through the Allina doors, but to the staff throughout the Allina Health facility. I’m able to support and enhance patients’ and employees’ lives. I’m able to show that through the work I do at Allina Health, and I’m proud to be a part of that.

Gina, Diagnostic Imaging Administrator

[MUSIC PLAYING] I’ve been with Allina 25 years. My role at Allina is radiology systems administrator, and that means that I support the PAC system, the electronic medical records for the radiology department, and everything in between. I really enjoy it because it’s constantly ever changing. I like the patient care part of it and also having to improvise and use my brain.

So I’m always curious about things that I don’t understand or know. I’d like to learn as much as I can about all situations. I’d like to make a difference, even if it’s small, if it’s just one person. There’s so many people who do such great things every day. There’s a lot of people that do a lot of great things within Allina.