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Class of 2024

Cat Bledsoe

Catherine "Cat" Bledsoe, MD

Catherine “Cat” Bledsoe, M.D., grew up in the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities. She was curious and creative from the start and spent lots of time…

learning about how things worked. Her earliest interests involved experimenting with the family VCR (much to her parents’ chagrin), emulating Rube Goldberg, and choreographing performances for the neighborhood kids. She continued to pursue her broad interests at Centennial High School, where she (unwittingly) challenged herself to dabble in extracurriculars ranging from speech team to basketball and knowledge bowl to drumline.

After high school, Cat attended the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. By then, she had narrowed her interests to the very narrow pursuit of understanding how people work and decided to study Neuroscience, Leadership, and Public Health. These pathways allowed her to explore communities at the micro- and macroscopic levels. She was fortunate to study abroad twice: learning about cross-cultural leadership in Cape Town, South Africa, and the effects of globalization on happiness in Bali, Indonesia.

A post-graduation detour brought Cat to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Here she found her love for road trips and all things green chile while she worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of the Public Health Associate Program. She spent three years chasing plague in prairie dogs, planning public health disaster responses, and crunching infectious disease statistics. (Little did she know how relevant these skills would be in 2020…) While she loved being able to tell stories with numbers, she also realized she needed more training in order to connect with individuals about their health. During her time with CDC, she worked alongside several doctors living in both the medical and public health worlds and decided to give it a go.

After being accepted to the University of Minnesota Medical School, Cat returned to the tundra in 2017. While she reacquainted herself with biochemistry, physiology, and winter, she also delved into the realms of medical education and community medicine. Her time cataloguing and collaborating with medical school leaders to improve first-year curriculum and serving as a patient advocate and student clinician at the Phillips Neighborhood Clinic sparked her interest in primary care and health equity. Cat’s third year brought her new opportunities to explore these interests in Winona, Minnesota, where she completed her clinical rotations as part of the Rural Physician Associate Program. Her time in Winona cemented her passion for broad-spectrum family medicine and community health.

After a year in hibernation and quarantine, Cat is looking forward to connecting with patients and colleagues as a real-life family medicine doctor at United! Her experience in medical school and working in public health underscored the necessity and value in connecting with and learning from communities and she’s excited to be part of a program with a congruent mission. Outside of the clinic, you’ll find her tasting her way through local restaurants and breweries, reading, running, planning a trip to her next destination, or continuing to experiment with flavors and fabrics at home.

Brooke Gensler

Brooke Gensler, MD

Brooke Gensler, MD, spent the first 18 years of her life just minutes from...

from the ocean in San Diego, CA. She has fond memories of riding her bike year-round, spending summer days on the family ski boat, and board game marathons with her parents and older sister. The daughter of two Wisconsin natives, Brooke credits her parents for cultivating in her the “everything in moderation” life motto and respect for the three essentials in any meal: meat, starch, and veggie! 

When it came time for college, Brooke followed in her sister’s footsteps and looked out of state, landing at her dream school, the University of Notre Dame. While experiencing all four seasons for the first time, Brooke kept to her intended pre-med courses and discovered a love for Theology along the way. Guided by the ideal of “faith seeking understanding”, her Theology major provided an outlet for rich discussions on topics such as vocation, mortality, and social responsibility. Brooke hasn’t lost her zeal for these big questions, and she perpetually has a theology book (or three) in progress on her nightstand. 

Among the most influential experiences on Brooke’s path to family medicine is the summer she spent in Camden, New Jersey. Here, she saw the negative impact of food deserts, lack of safe outdoor spaces, and unpredictable income on the health of families. Brooke came to recognize her privileged upbringing and subsequent responsibility to stand with her neighbors at the intersection of their community and its access to health services. 

Those closest to Brooke would readily comment that she does not let the grass grow under her feet for long. Her desire to be immersed in the Spanish language led her to Spain for a semester and Guatemala for a summer. She also pinches herself that she was able to walk the 500-mile Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain during medical school. By sharing meals with host families, new friends, and fellow pilgrims on each of those adventures, Brooke came to a deeper appreciation for the common human experience (and the value of humor and curiosity in bridging any gap along the way). 

Still in awe at how she logistically managed to submit medical school applications from Guatemala, Brooke readily accepted her invitation to attend Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska. Brooke credits her classmates’ hearts for service and well-rounded interests for the balance she was able to achieve in medical school. God also surprised her with an opportunity to continue working with the Guatemalan Maya community in Omaha, of all places! While she kept an open mind, her path towards Family Medicine, and all of the opportunities contained within, was clear. 

Brooke could not be more grateful to be in the incoming class of residents at United Family Medicine Residency, where she feels she has found “her people” – faculty and residents who share her passion for innovative preventative efforts and whole-person, relationship-based health care at an institution with deep community roots. An added bonus for Brooke will be once again living close to a body (or many bodies) of water! You’ll likely find her exploring Saint Paul’s running and biking paths and finding her new favorite coffee shops and farmers markets, all while gladly picking up the charming Minnesota vernacular.

Nathan Hinrichs

Nathan Hinrichs, MD

Nathan Hinrichs, MD, was born and raised in Anoka, MN. Growing up as the middle of five boys, it was difficult to find…

much peace and quiet in the house. He had a natural talent for pestering his brothers, and many car rides were spent following his dad’s orders to sit on his hands and look out the window. He spent many weekends at their cabin in northern Minnesota, where he learned to fish, hunt, and appreciate the outdoors.

He attended a small Christian K-12 school in Andover, MN, where he played sports and was frequently injured, and so became familiar with and interested in sports medicine. Upon graduating high school, he attended Bethel University in pursuit of an athletic training degree, with the goal of eventually going into physical therapy. During his time at Bethel, he made many lifelong friends, grew in his faith, learned about poverty and racial disparities, and ultimately decided to pursue a career in medicine after enjoying his science classes and his job as a medical scribe. It was also while at Bethel that he went on a three-week study abroad trip in Belize and met his wife, Brittney. Several weeks before graduating from Bethel, he proposed to her at his family cabin in northern Minnesota, and they were married five months later on a beautiful fall day in the presence of their friends and family. 

Nathan interviewed at Loma Linda University School of Medicine in Southern California on a beautiful warm January day, and was immediately drawn to the sunny weather, snowy mountains, green hills, friendly people, and the school’s mission to continue the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ. He was excited at the prospect of spending the next four years there, but Brittney was less excited to leave their familiar home state of Minnesota along with the community of friends and family they had there. Ultimately, Nathan was accepted to Loma Linda University and he and Brittney agreed that a four-year adventure in California would be exciting and worthwhile.

Soon after moving to California, they met some wonderful people that would eventually become dear friends. They shared many adventures with their community of friends, exploring the many nearby national parks, mountains, and beaches. Their time in Loma Linda was not without its challenges, however. The birth of their first son, Micah, was a particularly difficult time that showed them how challenging it was to have children away from family. They had their second son, Owen, the day after they learned they had matched to the United Family Medicine Residency Program, which made for an eventful and emotional week.

Throughout their time in Loma Linda, Nathan and Brittney grew deeper in their conviction to come alongside the poor and marginalized and love them as Jesus loved them. They hope to one day live and work in an underserved community and, as author Gregory Boyle puts it, to stand with those at the margins “not to make a difference, but so that the folks on the margins will make us different… so that the voices on the margins get heard and the circle of compassion widens.” 

Madsen Jared

Jared Madsen, MD

Jared Madsen, MD, grew up in Millville, a small town in Northern Utah. As a kid he loved…

camping in the mountains with his parents and three siblings and visiting his grandparents in an even smaller town in Central Utah. Much of his childhood and adolescence was spent in the swimming pool, where he learned how to work hard and made lifelong friends on the swim team. He also found a passion for cooking and baking from an early age, taking inspiration from his personal hero, the Barefoot Contessa.

Jared stayed near his hometown for college, attending Utah State University where he majored in biochemistry. During college he moved to Oregon for two years for a service mission, where he learned Spanish. Coming from a family of engineers, he took several engineering courses in college and participated in Engineers without Borders, leading a team of students to Peru to design and implement portable alpaca shelters for ranchers there. Although he enjoyed engineering, as he pursued his interest in the biological sciences in college and as he found a love for patient care through his work as a CNA at a nursing home and in the behavioral health unit, he decided that medicine would be the perfect career for him.

Jared attended medical school at the University of Utah. His favorite part of medical school was his time volunteering at the Maliheh Clinic, a local free clinic where he discovered his passion for providing primary care to those who need it most. His love for family medicine was solidified during a rural rotation in Central Utah, where he found that he could do everything that he loved about medicine as a full spectrum family doc.

Ready for new adventures outside of Utah, Jared is thrilled to be moving to the Twin Cities. The United Family Medicine Residency felt like a perfect fit for Jared. The program’s strong roots in the community and commitment to meeting patients where they are at were just what he was looking for. He is looking forward to developing his interests in providing healthcare for refugees and immigrants, behavioral and mental health, healthcare for LGBTQ individuals, and full-spectrum and rural family medicine.

Brittany McCosh

Brittany McCosh, DO

Brittany McCosh, DO, was born and raised in the beautiful river town of Prescott, Wisconsin. Growing up, most of her time was spent…

outdoors. From countless days down by the river, to the many hours spent working on 4-H projects and with her horses. As she grew older, her time became more and more centered around showing horses. Every weekend her and her mom would find themselves loading up and hauling off to the next barrel race or off for the next camping trip with their horses.

Starting at a very young age, it was evident to her parents that she was destined to work in some type of medical or scientific field. She loved the natural sciences and did her first anatomy dissection at 9 years old on a mouse that had been caught in a trap (as her mom stood back in disgust). Until high school, she herself thought that she would become a veterinarian. Although her very first job was slinging pizzas at her family’s restaurant in middle school, in high school Brittany became a Certified Nursing Assistant. It was during her time as a CNA that she realized working in the medical field with people, rather than animals, was her true passion.  

After graduating Prescott High School, she attended the University of Wisconsin–River Falls. While majoring in biomedical sciences and minoring in chemistry, she earned an early acceptance into medical school her sophomore year. Although she loved her time in college and actually met her future-husband there, she knew medicine was the right path for her and decided there was no time to waste. While juggling two-three jobs and farm work, Brittany graduated in three years and became the first in her family to graduate from college.

This is when her first big adventure away from home began. She packed up and moved across the country to Bradenton, FL to attend medical school at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. During her first two years of medical school she was involved in training beagles and rats and researching their ability to detect cancer. She also went on a medical mission trip to Jamaica and provided healthcare services to their underserved population. For her third year of medical school, she and her then-fiancé packed up and moved across country again to the rural town of Olean, NY. Between her time in rural New York and her time in Minnesota/Wisconsin, she developed a great love and respect for rural medicine.

Brittany absolutely fell in love with the United Family Medicine Residency Program during her interview. She felt that the faculty interviewing her genuinely cared about her interests and wanted to help her succeed. She loved that it was an unopposed program in a large city, which would allow her to see a high volume and large variety of patients. However, despite being in a big city, she could see that UFMR’s commitment and connection within the community is unparalleled. She is confident that United will offer her the best training to achieve her goal of becoming a full-spectrum rural family physician.

In her free time, Brittany loves spending time in the great outdoors, including horseback riding, archery, fishing, golfing, hiking, kayaking, camping, and traveling to national parks. Her and her husband actually spent their honeymoon in the Rocky Mountains bowhunting elk. She also enjoys traveling in general to new places and trying local cuisine. She loves spending time with family and friends; especially doing things such as grilling out, playing yard games, and playing cards or board games.

Brandi Portero

Brandi Portero, MD

Brandi Portero, MD, was named after the hit song by…

Looking Glass and grew up in central Minnesota. She graduated from Sartell High School where she was a 3-sport athlete participating in soccer, basketball, and track - Go Sabres! She couldn’t bear to leave Stearns County and attended the College of Saint Benedict to study biology and run hurdles on the track team.

Inspired with the deep impression left by her own family medicine doctor, Brandi started college with the intent to pursue medicine. A pivotal email helped her find the perfect campus job and she worked as a nursing assistant for 4 years at the Saint John’s Abbey Retirement Center.

Through a medical ethics course, Brandi was drawn to underserved and community medicine.

She developed an interest in global health and participated in a medical brigade’s trip to Honduras and studied abroad in South Africa where she volunteered at a non-profit clinic.

After graduation, Brandi had an itch to travel more and spent 6 months teaching English and science in Bangkok, Thailand gaining valuable communication skills and teaching methods that she utilizes now in patient encounters. Returning from her adventures abroad, Brandi was excited to begin her medical training at the University of Minnesota Medical School - Duluth. She pursued her interests in policy and addiction medicine though serving as an AMA/MMA student delegate, volunteering for Hands on Advocacy, and working on a research project regarding antepartum opioid use. She further explored underserved medicine through volunteering at a free clinic in a homeless shelter. Brandi was an RPAP (Rural Physician Associate Program) scholar and completed a 9 month longitudinal clerkship in Alexandria, MN; she found great joy in continuity of care and rural medicine.

Brandi is thrilled to join United because of the emphasis on service and community, supportive and diverse faculty, and curriculum opportunities including high risk OB, robust procedural training, and rural rotations. In her spare time, Brandi enjoys reading, hiking, playing any and all sports, and baking her famous banana chocolate chip muffins! She loves to spend time with her husband Ricardo, family, and friends.

Ashley Wittock

Ashley Wittock, MD

Ashley Wittock, MD, grew up on her family’s farm in St. Joseph, MN, enjoying…

the wide open spaces.  She spent most of her childhood keeping up and competing with her older brother and cousins during adventures on the farm, camping up at Cross Lake, MN, and trips to the Wisconsin Dells.

Prior to middle school, she moved to another rural community, Litchfield, MN.  Throughout school, she stayed active year-round playing volleyball, basketball, track and field, and color guard.  At first she tried her little fingers at the cello, but quickly switched to playing the piano and singing in choir.  Academically, she was drawn to the sciences, specifically Biology, Psychology and Sociology.  Medicine seemed like a natural direction as her idols were both her parents who were registered nurses and her grandfather who was a rural family physician.  To test her interest in healthcare, she decided her first job would be a personal care assistant at group homes.  This experience taught her much of medicine occurs at the home and is closely tied to socioeconomics, as well as the power of small acts of kindness.

After graduating high school, she chose to go back to the family farm and attend the College of Saint Benedicts in St. Joseph, MN.  As a Bennie, she continue singing in choir and playing volleyball, but chose to venture out and try the exciting sport of rugby.  With this same adventurous spirit, she decided to explore the world, visiting several European countries, as well as Japan.  While studying abroad in London, UK, she worked at a non-profit organization called Kick-It Stop Smoking.  This experience taught her about the challenges of smoking cessation, plus the positive effects of afternoon tea.  Her outlook on life changed from “living to work” to “working to live”.

The year after college she spent playing rugby for the Minnesota Valkyries and gaining more experience in the healthcare field by scribing for a Family Physician in St. Cloud, MN.  During this time she was promoted to a manager position and gained experience in Internal Medicine, OB/GYN, Pediatrics and Dermatology; however, she already had an inkling that Family Medicine was her calling and decided to attend the University of Minnesota Medical School – Duluth campus, as they focused on training rural Family Physicians.

During her first two years of medical school in Duluth, MN, she found herself spending countless hours at the school either studying medicine or coaching the Duluth women’s rugby team.  For her third year, she departed from Lake Superior and decided to head back home with the Metropolitan Physician Associate Program (MetroPAP) in St. Cloud, MN.  She learned to love the holistic approach and community engagement involved with Family Medicine.  There she researched the Perceptions of Mental Health and Mental Illness Among Somali Adolescents Living in St. Cloud, MN.  This combined her passions to learn about Psychology and cultural differences, while engaging with fun-loving and sociable youth.  Wrapping up her education, she moved to Minneapolis and learned to adapt to the traffic while appreciating the diversity of an urban city.

Throughout her life and medical education, she has enjoyed learning about aspects of medicine.  This affirmed her decision that Family Medicine was the specialty of choice.  She is excited to start with the United Family Medicine Residency program, as she is confident that they will provide excellent full-spectrum Family Medicine training with Obstetrics, Sports Medicine and her various other medical interests.  In her past-time, she enjoys socializing with family and friends, participating in outdoor activities, sports, singing, playing the piano, attending concerts, trying new restaurants and breweries in the Twin Cities and traveling around the world.