Class of 2022

Carter

Jené Carter, MD

Jené Carter, MD, was born in Washington DC and grew up overseas, moving every three or four years to different countries due to her parents’ work for the state department. She lived in…

Hawaii as a toddler, and then her family moved to Zambia, Thailand, Panama, Malaysia, and Korea. While she thoroughly enjoyed traveling, making new friends, and experiencing different foods and cultures, it was difficult at times to always be the new kid and to have to move away from friends who she closely bonded with every few years. Still, today she knows at least one person on every continent, except Antarctica, and she appreciates those connections.

She finished high school in Panama City, Panama, after which her family moved her into her dorm room at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, and then moved across the globe to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She thought during high school that she wanted to be a doctor because of her love of people and the sciences and planned on declaring biology as her major. At the last minute, though, she wanted to make an attempt at making a career out of her love of singing, so she declared music as her major. While she enjoyed the singing and piano lessons, choir class, and music theory, she missed the sciences and decided that biology was, in fact, for her. During her junior year, however, she began to rethink her decision again as she began to feel burned out from the inundation of biochemistry, physics, and microbiology. She opted not to take the MCAT and instead applied for a graduate program in mental health counseling. She was accepted and continued at her alma mater for this degree.

During college, she was involved with her campus ministry and led a women’s bible study for a year. She enjoyed the close knit group and had the opportunity to mentor several of her underclassmen as a result. She also worked as a resident assistant during college, and as a graduate assistant during graduate school, realizing more and more that she enjoyed opportunities for one on one interactions with others and developing relationships over time. She met her husband at the very beginning of college, dated all throughout their four years there, and got married shortly after graduating.

After her master’s degree, she worked in the mental health field for about a year before starting to hear the call once again towards medicine and she decided to try applying to medical school after all. During this time, her husband was attending law school, and they were faced with finding the time to balance home, work, and school life. She was accepted at the school she was hoping for and attended the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. There, she had many opportunities to become involved with activities in the community, including volunteering at a free clinic as a Spanish interpreter, working at her school’s student run health clinic, joining in on marches for food insecurity, participating in community health screenings, and more.

She had to set her love for community service aside temporarily when, at the end of her first year of medical school, she and her husband had their first child. Learning how to be a mother, a doctor, and the wife of a law student all at the same time was quite a feat. She and her husband had a great deal of family support and their daughter was surrounded by a community of love even before her arrival.

Attending an “orphan” medical school (one with no family medicine department) limited Jené’s opportunities to learn more about family medicine as a specialty. The more she learned about it, however, the more she fell in love with the specialty’s focus on holistic primary care, social justice, and community service, which deeply aligned with her own goals and values. She had the chance to attend the American Academy of Family Physician’s national conference in Kansas City twice during medical school, which is how she came into contact with the United Family Medicine program. Their passion for serving their community, providing excellent training and excellent medical care, and for valuing their residents and treating them like people first, caught Jené’s attention from their initial meeting. There is a true sense of family and the support that is available is all inclusive. The faculty view the residents as colleagues, not subordinates, resulting in better communication, better relationships, and ultimately, better patient care. Working in an FQHC where some of my patients speak only Spanish is my dream job. The opportunity for an education in full spectrum family medicine, with strong inpatient, strong outpatient, strong pediatrics, and strong OB/GYN is very important to me, and this is the case at United. Ultimately, United felt like home when I went to visit for a short rotation, and everyone that I came in contact with welcomed me with open arms. She is ecstatic to be joining this family and for all of the opportunities that she will have in the coming years to learn, grow, take excellent care of patients, and become the physician she strives to be.

She looks forward to continuing some of her hobbies of singing (karaoke anyone?), painting (especially with her daughter), and enjoying the beautiful nature that the twin cities have to offer. At the same time, she and her family are loading up on heavy coats, long johns, and scarves! Let the adventure begin!

Jonathan Colin Rizo, MD

Jonathan Colin Rizo, MD

Jonathan Colin Rizo, MD, was born in Mexico City before his family migrated to the Twin Cities. His family blamed his Uncle Jose, who was the first to move to Minnesota, for not picking somewhere warmer. Despite the long cold winters in...

the Twin Cities, Jonathan came around to enjoy the multicultural neighborhoods, the “Up North” life, watersports, and faux ski resorts that Minnesota has to offer. 

Jonathan spent most of his childhood wondering what it meant to be an illegal alien, sleeping in the back of brand-new vans while his parents cleaned the dealer offices, wrestling his younger brother over candy, or scrapping his knees in spring sink-hole-like pot-holes. He graduated Roseville MN where he was an outside linebacker for the Roseville Raiders. He soon came to find that the line he backed the best was at Panda Garden Buffet on Lexington. 

Jonathan knew he wanted a career in healthcare after his mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. He started his college career at Century College in White Bear Lake as he bounced back and forth between radiology, nursing, or medicine. He eventually set his mind to medicine and completed his Bachelor’s at the University of Minnesota. Between college and medical school he volunteered for Care Partner’s at the Masonic Children’s hospital where he played video games with patients, snuggled infants to sleep, and chased around siblings in the playroom. He found out he was accepted to the University of Minnesota Medical school while on a family road trip to Key West where he promptly celebrated his success at Margaritaville. 

His undocumented childhood, early experience as a parent, and volunteering experiences at local free Phillips Neighborhood Clinic in Minneapolis sparked his interest in underserved and immigrant medicine, behavioral and mental health, and acute care. After completing his residency at Allina United Family Residency he hopes to continue serving the Twin Cities community where he can stay close to family and enjoy authentic street tacos in West Saint Paul, Pho on University Ave., and local breweries.

Hemmerich

Natalie Hemmerich, MD

Natalie Hemmerich, MD, grew up in rural western Wisconsin, the youngest of four siblings. As the daughter of a large animal veterinarian, the very first exposures to medicine that she recalls were watching her dad perform…

cesarean sections and other surgeries on cows, her eyes wide in astonishment, but ready to help with instruments in hand. She also had a nagging fear of developing tularemia from her pet rabbits, though this was thanks to her mother. Through these experiences, a curiosity for medicine developed, as well as an enthusiasm for rolling hills and dairy farms. 

She attended the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biomedical sciences and spent time in healthcare in various settings through volunteering, shadowing, and working as a nursing assistant. She believes it was her capacity for empathy that she developed while caring for animals during her childhood and its smooth and passionate transition to humans that was a driving force in her pursuit of medical school, and ultimately the specialty of family medicine. Her inclination for primary care was strengthened throughout her clinical rotations, as she found value in addressing both preventive medicine and acute concerns, and great satisfaction in encountering variety in patient demographics and conditions. She loves that family medicine allows you to care for several generations of the same family and develop deep and meaningful relationships with patients and their families. 

She attended medical school at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Being a mother during medical school added a unique challenge to the journey, as bath and bedtime routines pushed studying later into the evenings, but she feels like being a parent herself certainly has come in handy when empathizing with parents, engaging children in their health, and better understanding the social circumstances that impact her patient’s health. Her interests in working with urban underserved populations developed while working at federally qualified health centers, including United Family Medicine Clinic. She was drawn to the positive impacts and motivating goals of community-focused medical centers and found much satisfaction in connecting patients with necessary resources and addressing patients’ social determinants of health.  

Natalie is passionate about connecting the clinical skills and knowledge gained in medical school to her own experiences and strengths in order to meaningfully care for and support her patients. She is especially eager to be in a residency program that is so patient and community-focused. She had an amazing experience as a fourth year medical student rotating at the United Family Medicine Clinic. She was drawn to how kindhearted, supportive, and happy the faculty and residents were, and how invested everyone was in the Community of West 7th. She felt like she was a part of a family during her rotation and could not wait to return for her interview. She anticipates getting very strong training in underserved medicine, women’s health, and behavioral health at United, and to be supported in her journey becoming a family physician, and as an individual and a mother.

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, including her two daughters, whether they are exploring the outdoors, having a dance party in the living room, reading books, or anything in between. She especially loves outdoor activities including hiking, exploring state and national parks, cross-country skiing, running, biking, canoeing, and camping. She also enjoys playing board games, reading, baking, completing mediocre crochet projects, and admits they listen to quite a lot of Disney music at home! Fun fact: The hike she is most proud of was to the highest point in Colorado, Mount Elbert, her first fourteener!

 

Kvasnicka Friedrichsen

Emily Kvasnicka Friedrichsen, MD

Emily Kvasnicka Friedrichsen, MD,  has been a Minnesotan her whole life, so she loves swapping stories about the…

snowy drive into work and wearing short sleeves in 50-degree weather. She grew up in Mahtomedi, MN—a suburb of St. Paul—and spent her childhood playing make-believe games with her friends, enjoying family movie nights and playing 4-person kickball in the backyard.  She loved going to ballet class and practicing the piano (most of the time), both hobbies that she continues to enjoy today.
After high school, she went to St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN where she studied chemistry and Spanish.  While she loved campus and her studies, she had caught the travel bug from a young age, so she spent as much time as she could studying abroad. She spent a month in Ecuador and a semester in Sevilla, Spain learning Spanish. From hiking through the jungle at night to trying to learn flamenco dance, there was never a dull moment! During her senior year, Emily spent a month in Ilula, Tanzania, a small town in rural Tanzania, volunteering at an orphanage and doing an independent study of a medical mission group at a nearby hospital. While she’s always loved to travel, studying ways to engage in global health ethically during this month convinced her that she wanted to pursue global medicine in the future.

Coming from a family of doctors, Emily was initially certain that she did not want to pursue a career in medicine. She wanted to find her own path, not to mention that the constant medical talk around the dinner table got old pretty quickly for a middle schooler!  However, over time, she found that she loved hearing the stories about how medicine made a difference in people’s lives.  As she was drawn to the sciences in college, she found that medicine represented an opportunity to apply science in an immediate way to improve people’s health. She saw doctors who were using their practice to pursue social justice and she suddenly realized that this actually was exactly what she wanted to do with the rest of her life.

She went directly to the University of Minnesota Medical School from St. Olaf College. Medical school was a whirlwind of studying, volunteering in the free student run clinic and at a local boys and girls club, and making time for family and friends.  She squeezed in time for a wedding during her third year, marrying her college sweetheart and enjoying a throwback kickball game in her wedding dress during the reception.  During her third year, she participated in the UCAM program—a 3-month urban family medicine rotation at an FQHC—where she learned how much she loved primary care, especially in immigrant and refugee communities. Throughout medical school, she found she was happiest when she was building relationships with people and using a broad base of knowledge to care for patients, so family medicine was a clear choice of specialty for her.

"United Family Medicine was the perfect program that combined full-spectrum family medicine with a strong focus on community health, global medicine and relationships. After my interview day at UFM, I felt like I had found my home. Everyone I met was so welcoming and deeply passionate about family medicine.  I could tell that this program would help me develop the skills I need to serve patients in urban underserved settings by providing full-spectrum care."  

In her free time, Emily enjoys reading any book she can get her hands on, being outdoors in all seasons, trying new recipes, and of course traveling. Her goal is to make it to all seven continents—two more to go! She loves throwing over-the-top theme parties and spending as much time as possible with family and friends.

Richardson

Conor Richardson, MD, MPH

Conor Richardson, MD, MPH, was born (at United!) and raised in the south suburbs, but attended a small high school in the big city – of Saint Paul. From a very young age, he knew he loved the outdoors and could hardly find himself sitting still,...

from which, realistically, not much has changed. Being half-Minnesotan and half-Mexican (on his mother’s side), he figured that MN had the perfect balance of snow and sunshine (not really) and decided to embrace hockey and skiing at a young age. He dabbled in other sports, but soon found that he was unfortunately best suited for the classroom. He was fortunate enough to have several family members in the medical field, many of whom helped expose and guide him into the field of medicine beginning in his latter years of high school. He completed a senior year internship at United Hospital, from which point he knew he had found something that he loved and needed to pursue. 

After graduating high school, Conor headed out east to central Maine to attend Colby College (Go Mules! – yes, that was our mascot), where he played club hockey and majored in biology. During his time in college, he developed a love for anthropology/sociology and public health, partly attributed to a health mission trip to rural Guatemala, leading him to apply for a Masters in Public Health following graduation. This new adventure took him to the neighboring state of New Hampshire and to his first (relatively) large Division 1 school, where he established both a new college sports allegiance and further developed his interest in public policy, quality improvement, and health advocacy. 

Upon returning home to MN after his graduate training, Conor finally decided to apply to medical school, as well as to start his first official job as a Clinical Research Coordinator. He took the year to learn the ins-and-outs of clinical research and, after receiving acceptance to medical school, he decided to take his dad’s advice and take the remainder of the year to backpack through Europe and indulge his last remaining days in the non-medical world. After returning to the United States, Conor headed back east, but this time to the, in his mind, tropical locale of southeastern Virginia – and enrolled at Eastern Virginia Medical School. His new digs included old cobblestone streets and a 15 minute commute to the beach, accompanied by yearly hurricanes, a totally foreign vocabulary, and lots of fried chicken and hush puppies. During his time in medical school, Conor continued to explore and travel – including 2 more backpacking trips – as well as develop his skills in Medical Spanish, culminating in a certification at the end of his fourth year. He and his high-school sweetheart, now-wife (Megan – a fellow Saint Paulian) bought an adorable goldendoodle named Rudy (after the Notre Dame football hero) and began to start their tiny family. In his free time, Conor enjoys the outdoors (hiking, biking, skiing), watching MN sports, losing in Fantasy Football, playing hockey, traveling, and spending time with his wife and pup! 

During the fall of his final year in medical school, Conor had the opportunity to rotate at United Family Medicine, where he absolutely fell in love with the residents, faculty, staff, and patients. He believes in their mission of community healthcare and advocacy, as well as its model of what he believes to be true team-based primary care. He feels very fortunate to be a part of such a wonderful team and is excited to work with and serve the people among whom he grew up – back home in Minnesnowta.

Lindsay Ryan, MD

Lindsay Ryan, MD


Lindsay Ryan, MD grew up right here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, north of the Twin Cities in Lino Lakes, MN. She behaved like all good Minnesotan children and started playing hockey early, once earning the ironic, and…
 
less than intimidating “Sweetheart on the Ice” award. She always loved adventures, and traveled internationally for the first time in high school to Guatemala on a mission trip. Her excitement for experiencing new places and new people led her outside of the Midwest to Haverford College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

At Haverford, she played soccer for the Black Squirrels, and her teammates became her family. She traveled with her soccer team to Brazil during her junior year, and studied abroad at the University of the West Indies where she used approximately eight gallons of sunscreen and also managed to still procure an impressive sunburn several times. 

While in college, she also developed a passion for education after volunteering as a teacher’s assistant throughout public schools in North Philadelphia. She pursued this following graduation, moving to Boston and teaching special education at Match Charter Public High School. Lindsay loved teaching, and she still gets texts from her students with life updates accompanied by lots of emojis. She saw the way the healthcare system was failing her students, their families, and their communities in Boston, and decided to pursue a career as a physician to be a part of a change for the better in health care.  

Cooper Medical School of Rowan University fit Lindsay perfectly. Its mission to mold physicians who will seek to build a more beautiful world for all people and use medicine as a tool for social justice captured her heart. Looking back, she can’t imagine learning to be a doctor at any other school, and feels immense gratitude for the Camden community.

Lindsay struggled to choose her specialty, but ultimately only full-spectrum family medicine would equip her to walk with a patient every step of his or her life. She witnessed that family medicine physicians tended to the whole spectrum of human experience, and approached patients in the context of his or her community. United Family Medicine Residency was unapologetic in their mission and vision to serve all people and create healthy communities filled with great healthcare and great joy. She had searched the whole country for such a place, and only needed to look as far as her childhood backyard to find it. At the end of the day, it came down to a strong feeling. I loved many aspects of the program, including the exposure to high-risk teen obstetrical care and CenteringPregnancy groups, a focus on underserved medicine, involvement in the West Seventh community, and training within an FQHC setting. However, it was the sense that I would leave this program proud of the physician I had become equipped with a confident, competent and comprehensive skill set that nudged me to choose United.

After eleven years living on the East Coast, Lindsay is excited to move back to start her residency at United. She can’t wait to get to know the West Seventh community, spend time with her family who lives nearby, write letters to all of her friends/new pen pals back East, and remember what it feels like to live in Minnesota in January.
Lily Thompson, MD

Lily Thompson, MD

Lily Thompson, MD was born in Winnipeg, Canada, but don't get too excited because…

she does not consider herself a “real” Canadian. She moved to Wisconsin within a couple of months of her birth and has only been back for vacations. She was raised in Appleton, WI, a city 30 minutes south of Green Bay, that is known for its paper mills, having a river that flows north and being the home of Harry Houdini. Her childhood was filled with soccer, more soccer (her younger sister played as well), ballet, camping trips and summers with all her cousins at the family cottage.

After graduating high school, she attended college at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where she was a neuroscience major. She fell in love with the city with its rich history, beautiful architecture, and friendly resilient residents. It was there that she first discovered her love of public health having the opportunity to work with many amazing nonprofits and sociology researchers. When she wasn’t busy with classes or studying, you could find her on the soccer field, swing dancing at Mob Town Ballroom or backpacking on the Appalachian Trail.

So extensive was Lily’s love of Baltimore and her love of adventuring to new places that her family was pleasantly surprised when she returned to her home state of Wisconsin to attend the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison. While medical school was busy, she still found time to bike across Iowa in the RAGBRAI and go backpacking along the Lost Coast Trail in California. During medical school, Lily had the great opportunity to participate in the Training in Urban Medicine and Public Health (TRIUMPH) program, allowing her to move to Milwaukee and work on public health initiatives while finishing her clinical training.  She partnered with a Latino community organization to help them understand current Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) use, knowledge, attitudes, and barriers in the Latinx Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) community in Milwaukee. And because of Lily’s interest in population health, advocacy, and health disparities, she decided to spend an additional year getting her Master of Public Health dual degree!

Family Medicine and United were a natural fit for Lily! She loved United Family Medicine Residency Program’s commitment to the underserved and felt she would get quality training in how to be a community-responsive physician. She is interested in working in an FQHC in her future career. Therefore, it is important to her that she understand and is ready for the realities of this type of challenging, but rewarding work. She loved the community feel of the residency program. The residents and faculty are a close-knit, supportive, and compassionate group. It also didn’t hurt that one of her close mentors graduated from the program. She is excited to once again be exploring a new city and to have access to all beautiful outdoors Minnesota has to offer!