Resident AAFP Leaders

Elected and Appointed Positions

Residents make significant contributions to family medicine as members of the wide variety of boards, commissions, and inter-organizational teams that shape the AAFP. Experience in a leadership role provides valuable career insight and unique mentorship opportunities. 

Most resident leadership positions serve for a one-year term, many beginning in the fall.

As medical care and health care reform undergo pivotal changes, the voice of family medicine's next generation of physicians is critical in shaping a future that aligns with the core principles of primary care. Learn what drew current leaders to their roles and find out what they hope to achieve through their skills and passion for family medicine.

Lead Family Medicine

Join the AAFP in its efforts to transform health care to achieve optimal health for everyone by serving as a Resident Leader.


Elected National AAFP Leaders

Michelle Byrne, MD, MPH
Northwestern Family Medicine Residency

In her role, Dr. Byrne brings a resident perspective to high-level decision-making discussions of the AAFP Board of Directors. 

"My involvement with the AAFP over the past several years has connected me to a fantastic community of family physicians who are doing amazing work on the front lines of health care in communities across the country. I am delighted to serve with them as the resident member of the Board of Directors this coming year. I believe that we are at a pivotal point where a recommitment to primary care is needed more than ever, and where our health systems need to be transformed to better serve those who are most vulnerable. I am so grateful to be a part of one of the Teaching Health Center residencies, working daily with patients who are traditionally left out of our health care system and are deeply in need. I look forward to sharing these patient stories on the AAFP Board of Directors this year and supporting the AAFP’s strong commitment to health equity."

Alexandra Gits, MD
University of Minnesota North Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program

In her role Dr. Gits helps to inform decisions made by the STFM Board of Directors. She has voting rights on the Board and is a voting member of the STFM Graduate Student Education Committee. 

"As the Resident Representative to the STFM Board of Directors, I will help ensure that the voices of those that are taught and are impacted by STFM policies are heard. We are currently suffering a nationwide deficit in academic family physicians, and I believe it will be critical for a resident voice to help guide STFM to improve retention and recruitment of talented residents into academic careers."

Ben Meyerink, MD
Mayo Clinic Family Medicine Residency

In his role, Dr. Meyerink represents resident member interestes at the AAFP Congress of Delegates and functions as a member of the AAFP Commission on Education.

"Serving as the Resident Delegate to the AAFP Congress of Delegates is an opportunity for me to reach outside the clinic walls and bring positive change to both my patients and fellow residents. Representing the resident body at the Congress of Delegates certainly is a great responsibility but one that allows me to listen to my colleagues from a variety of practice settings and training programs and work with the body of the AAFP to continue moving family medicine forward. Family medicine needs strong voices to continually advocate for progress and greater access to primary care and I hope to fulfill those goals through this position. Lastly, I have a deep passion for medical education and serving on the Committee on Education will allow me to work with the AAFP to continue enhancing our development of future family physicians for generations to come."

Matt Peters, MD
Cascades East Rural Family Medicine Residency

In his role, Dr. Peters represents resident member interestes at the AAFP Congress of Delegates and functions as a member of the AAFP Commission on Education.

"I hope to continue to grow as a leader by learning more about how to effectively advocate for our patients and our specialty. Specifically, I hope to advocate for the needs of rural physicians and those attempting to continue the tradition of family physicians providing broad-spectrum care, including obstetrics and inpatient care."

Anna Askari, MD, MSBS
Eisenhower Health Family Medicine Residency

In her role, Dr. Askari coordinates and makes decisions regarding resident activities at National Conference. She functions as a member of the AAFP Commission on Education and presides at the business sessions of the National Congress of Family Medicine Residents.

"I attended my first National Conference four years ago, between my first and second years of medical school. I have been attending every conference since then. It was at this conference that I found my home in family medicine. It means the world to me that I get to be such an integral part of the planning of a conference that helps shape the future of family medicine, and on a personal level brings so much joy to me. I look forward to working with everyone on the planning committee to bring our student and resident attendees a fun, informative, productive, and inspiring National Conference in 2019!"

AAFP Commissions

Devesh Vashishtha, MD, MS
Swedish Cherry Hill Family Medicine Residency Program

Email Devesh Vashishtha
Follow Devesh on Twitter: @DMVashishtha

This leadership role includes the study of health care delivery systems (e.g., PCMH, ACOs), performance measurement, practice redesign/quality improvement, privileging, health information technology, practice management, private sector advocacy, and physician payment. 

"I look forward being part of the AAFP's efforts to achieve primary care-centered payment reform. Our health care system grossly undervalues primary care respective to care provided by subspecialists, and I see the CQP as avenue through which I can advocate for a payment system that incentivizes prevention and access to primary care in America. I also hope to advocate for a single-payer health care system with one electronic medical record, so that we may decrease disparities in health by race and socioeconomic status while achieving decreased administrative burden for all doctors."

Reshma Ramachandran, MD, MPP
Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center Family Medicine Residency

As a representative of the AAFP's Commission on Governmental Advocacy, Dr. Ramachandran is involved in guiding the Academy's advocacy efforts before the federal government and to assist the constituent chapters in their advocacy efforts before state governments. 

"As a resident member of the CGA, I look forward to bringing the unique perspective of primary care physicians-in-training towards advocating for patients outside of the exam room. During residency, we have the unique opportunity to see patients at various levels of care face incredible barriers to quality, affordable health care. Many times, we realize there needs to be some systemic change to change this reality not just for one patient, but so many more nationwide. During my tenure, I hope to learn and be part of AAFP's efforts to mobilize family physicians in developing and supporting initiatives to improve access. Finally, I look forward to bringing my past policy experience working with allied organizations, particularly in the realm of access to affordable medicines, to AAFP's CGA especially as a number of proposals emerge at both the local and national level to curb unfair prescription drug prices."

Christen Johnson, MD, MPH
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Family Medicine Residency

This leadership role includes contributing to a wide scope of issues, such as health of the public, evidence-based clinical recommendations and care, generation of new knowledge and science with dissemination and implementation, and disparities and the underserved populations.

"In this role, I hope to broaden my knowledge of the various ways that the AAFP impacts our communities. My past experiences have provided me with the ability to appreciate not just the medical concerns of our patients, but to have a deeper understanding of the societal circumstances that impact citizens lives and systems that affect these situations. It is imperative to not only consider the challenges that patients will face but to also utilize knowledge and resources to lessen those burdens. As the Resident Representative, I hope to also encourage more of my peers to become more familiar with these topics through the work of the Commission on Health of the Public and Science."

Kelly Thibert, DO, MPH
Grant Medical Center Family Medicine Residency

Dr. Thibert's role includes projects in areas such as recruitment, retention, value of membership, member services, life-stage career issues, special needs, awards, international membership, urban/rural membership issues, degree of fellow, special constituencies, National Conference of Special Constituencies planning and chapter relations, and leadership development. 

"I am looking forward to contributing to the mission of the AAFP by cultivating engagement and membership among the various members of the organization. Now, more than ever, physician involvement outside of the exam room is crucial to protecting and improving the health of patients, families and their communities. I hope to aide in the continuation of efforts to make our specialty and Academy, a place free of oppression and safe for all to learn, lead and achieve success within the field of medicine."

Jaya Kasaraneni MD, MS
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at the Permian Basin Family & Community Medicine Residency

In her role, Dr. Kasaraneni works directly with the commission to support the AAFP’s Strategic Objective on Education by supporting the lifelong learning of family physicians and other health care professionals.

"I hope to learn more about currently existing resources, and contribute to the COCPD's vision of identifying current gaps in learning, and continuing education of providers especially aimed towards healthcare disparities in our communities."

Representatives and Liaisons to Other Organizations

Kaci R. Larsen
University of Missouri--Columbia Family Medicine Residency

In her role, Dr. Larsen represents AAFP resident and fellow interests at AMA meetings and interacts with AMA delegates from the AAFP.

"Through my position as a resident representative to the AMA, I hope to bring the spirit of family medicine to a larger organization. I am passionate about health policy and better care for all patients and want to work within the scope of my position help move medicine in the right direction."

This position is currently filled

This leadership role represents AAFP resident and fellow interests at AMA meetings and interacts with AMA delegates from the AAFP.

Please check back soon for more information

This position is currently filled

This leadership role serves as an important communications, policy and membership link between the AMA and grassroots physicians. 

Please check back soon for more information.

Sara Martin, MD, MSc
Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency Program

This leadership role is involved with residency education and accreditation at a national level, and gets mentoring opportunities with national leaders in family medicine residency education.                             

"I am excited to be able to provide the resident voice to the review committee. My past experience as a teacher helps me to understand the challenges that programs face as I work to advocate for learners in a meaningful way."

Kristina Laguerre, MD, MPH
Sunrise GME Consortium, Southern Hills Hospital

In her role, Dr. Laguerre is involved with high-level decision making on a nonprofit board of trustees.                             

"I am excited for the opportunity to work closely with the other Board of Trustee members to advance the mission of the AAFP Foundation. I am particularly looking forward to working towards the rejuvenation of the scientific arm of the Foundation, while also continuing to promote the various humanitarian and education efforts as well. I hope to make more residents aware all the great work the AAFP Foundation does and the resources available to residents."

Katherine Hartl, MD
University of Arizona Family Medicine Residency

As the resident representative to the AFMRD, Dr. Hartl provides a resident perspective to program directors on issues impacting residents and their education.

"In this role I hope to gain more insight into scope and responsibilities of a residency director while improving the resident experience. I have a strong interest in academic medicine and am passionate about resident education and wellness. I believe that I can collect and synthesize the voice of my fellow residents into a purposeful message."

AAFP Advisory and Program Boards

Lauren Bull, MD
University of Colorado Family Medicine Residency

In her role, Dr. Bull helps plan the AAFP Family Medicine Global Health Workshop, and takes the lead in preparing and facilitating the Global Health Networking Meeting at the National Conference. 

"In my role as Resident Representative to the CGHI Board, I seek to further solidify global health as a pillar of Family Medicine and priority for the AAFP, both to stimulate the recruitment of passionate medical students and to support the interests of numerous AAFP members. I hope to develop a Global Health curriculum that all medical students and residents interested in global health can complete to supplement their current educational endeavors. I desire to cultivate a culture of wellness within and surrounding global health that can serve as an antidote to the current, rampant burnout in medical training. Lastly, I hope to foster connections between U.S. residents and students and their counter parts abroad through WONCA to cultivate meaningful dialogue on the differences in our training and healthcare systems to mutually encourage and enlighten one another to new approaches in primary care to promote innovation and progress."

Position is currently filled

This leader works on a peer-reviewed clinical research journal dedicated to advancing knowledge essential to understanding and improving health and primary care.

Please check back soon for more information.

Courtney Pilkerton, MD
West Virginia University Department of Family Medicine

In her role Dr. Pilkerton advises and assists the NRN, which is dedicated to conducting, supporting, promoting, and advocating for primary care research in practice-based settings.

"I will actively participate and bring resident perspectives to conversations that support, shape, and advocate for research that truly impacts family physicians and our patients. I also plan to share my experiences with residents around the country to inspire and encourage residents to participate in primary care research throughout their careers."

Lead Family Medicine

Join the AAFP in its efforts to transform health care to achieve optimal health for everyone by serving as a Resident Leader.