The following family medicine residents were selected for their exemplary patient care, their interpersonal relationships with patients, physicians and faculty, and their demonstrated leadership and community involvement. These 12 men and women are truly health care leaders.
CPT Stuart Batten, MD
Dr. Batten cites being elected as chief resident and creating a wellness curriculum for his residency program as his most important professional accomplishments to date. Physician burnout is one of his primary professional interests, along with academic medicine and medical education. Away from work, he spends time cooking, traveling, and snowboarding. As a shareholder in the Green Bay Packers, he is one of more than 360,000 fans who are partial owners of the team! Whether as a faculty member for a residency program or as a clinical educator and adjunct professor at a medical school, Dr. Batten plans to make a career in medical education following residency. He also hopes to continue developing curricula, particularly to address physician burnout and promote wellness.
Jacqueline Britz, MD, MSPH
Being awarded a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship in 2012 led to one of Dr. Britz’s most important professional accomplishments to date. The scholarship gave her the opportunity to complete a Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) degree at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. In preparation for her master’s thesis, she researched the challenges of meeting the health care needs of immigrants and other vulnerable populations in the United Kingdom and explored potential policy solutions. Her findings were published in Journal of Public Health in 2016. In addition to her focus on public health and health policy, Dr. Britz is interested in health care innovation, including the promotion of efficiency and equity. She also enjoys providing evidence-based medical care to diverse underserved patient populations. Her personal pursuits include cooking and spending time with her family, her friends, and her dog Dora. She likes to be outdoors, particularly hiking or kayaking, and she has a passion for traveling and learning about new cultures. Once she completes residency, Dr. Britz plans to work as an outpatient family physician with a focus on women’s health. She also hopes to find a position—possibly in academic medicine—that allows her to be active in local, state, and national public health and health policy initiatives.
Michelle Byrne, MD, MPH
Dr. Byrne’s most important professional accomplishment to date is serving as the resident member of the AAFP Board of Directors. Her wide-ranging professional interests include health care policy, operations, and delivery, as well as health equity and access to care for underserved populations locally and globally. Another area of interest is the intersection of medicine with social justice issues such as poverty, race, incarceration, faith, education, environment, and immigration. In her free time, Dr. Byrne enjoys running, vegetable gardening, writing, and traveling. She also has a personal interest in community living. Following residency, she plans to practice broad-spectrum family medicine in an underserved setting and will continue to pursue leadership opportunities and policy interests.
Katharine Callaghan, MD
One of Dr. Callaghan’s most important professional accomplishments to date was receiving the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, which was voted on by the graduating class of her medical school. Being elected chief resident for the 2019-2020 academic year is another meaningful accomplishment because it demonstrates her peers’ trust in her leadership, skill, and compassion. She has a number of professional interests, including providing holistic care to marginalized patient populations and teaching students in health care professions through lectures, one-on-one mentoring, and bedside instruction. She is also involved in promoting wellness for medical trainees, both through initiatives within her residency and through local and national speaking opportunities. On a personal level, Dr. Callaghan enjoys spending time with other people, whether she is listening to or making music with friends, discussing theology over a well-made meal, or learning more about a neighbor or acquaintance’s story. Other personal pursuits include promoting access to local, healthy food options for underserved populations in her community and backpacking in the United States and abroad. After completing residency, Dr. Callaghan looks forward to providing direct patient care for marginalized patients in a way that facilitates wholeness for the community in South Bend, IN, and beyond. She also plans to seek diverse teaching opportunities with students at various levels of medical training and to engage in advocacy efforts for physician wellness.
Julie Creech, DO
Being selected to complete her residency training at Eglin Family Medicine Residency is Dr. Creech’s greatest professional accomplishment to date. As an aspiring faculty physician, she has found the faculty attendings at Eglin to be excellent role models. Another one of her professional goals is to develop and work in a medical practice model that emphasizes “preventative patient education,” using small-group visits to educate patients about signs and symptoms of common conditions compared with uncommon conditions, safe initial treatment options, and when to seek medical care. On a personal level, Dr. Creech loves to be physically active, whether she is swimming, running, or doing a CrossFit-style workout. In the summer of 2020, she plans to swim 12.5 miles around Key West, FL, and she also hopes to complete a full Ironman triathlon in the future. Other personal pastimes include hiking, traveling (especially to U.S. national parks), and baking sweet treats to share with others. Following residency, Dr. Creech will pursue a sports medicine fellowship in preparation to be on the sports medicine faculty of a family medicine residency clinic where she can practice full-scope, patient-centered medicine. Her ultimate professional dream is to be on faculty at Eglin Family Medicine Residency.
Laura Kahn, MD, MPH
Dr. Kahn cites conducting a gap analysis and resource assessment of environmental lead exposure in Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 8 as one of her most important professional accomplishments to date because it laid the groundwork for significant policy revision and change in lead exposure practices. Her other professional pursuits include medical asylum medicine and advocacy. She enjoys writing and is inspired by the works of authors who are physicians, including Atul Gawande, Richard Selzer, Anton Chekhov, Oliver Sacks, Lewis Thomas, and Abraham Verghese. Weightlifting, animation, and travel are also among her personal pursuits. Dr. Kahn is interested in community-based medicine and alternative practice models, and she hopes to work in a variety of settings following residency. In particular, she would like to work with health care professionals at Cook County Jail in Illinois, continue performing medical asylum examinations in Chicago, and explore the possibility of providing medical care to individuals who are being detained at the U.S. border.
Daniel Low, MD
Dr. Low’s most important professional accomplishment to date has been helping to bring about specific changes in the grading and ranking of students of color in the WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho) region to account for racial biases. These biases were described by Dr. Low and his coauthors in their article Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Clinical Grading in Medical School. In addition to his focus on racial inequities in medicine, including pipeline and medical training, he is interested in health policy related to universal health care coverage and in end-of-life care in cross-cultural settings and among communities of color. Dr. Low’s personal pursuits include reading, writing, cooking, and living in an environmentally responsible manner. Having grown up playing baseball, he is an avid sports fan. He is also committed to pursuing opportunities for fellowship in order to form deep connections with people from a variety of backgrounds. Dr. Low plans to work at a federally qualified health center (FQHC) in Seattle, WA, following residency. He would also like to complete a fellowship in palliative care so that he can split his medical practice between palliative care and full-spectrum family medicine. Eventually, he hopes to join the faculty of a community family medicine residency.
Darrin E. Nichols, MD
For Dr. Nichols, receiving one of Charleston Area Medical Center’s Heart and Soul Awards was his most meaningful professional accomplishment to date. He was nominated for this award by a patient’s family in recognition of the support and guidance he provided as they made very difficult decisions about initiating comfort care measures for their loved one. Describing the times that he listened to this family’s stories about their loved one, laughing and grieving with them, he notes, “This is an experience that has imprinted on me forever, and I am proud to have been recognized for it.” Away from work, Dr. Nichols makes it a priority to spend time with his immediate and extended family, whether they are celebrating milestones or just hanging out for a barbeque. He also enjoys traveling, particularly when it involves exploring his home state of West Virginia to visit its array of outdoor attractions and collect items made by local artisans. His state pride is also evident when he cheers on the West Virginia University Mountaineers in his alma mater’s athletic events. On a professional level, Dr. Nichols is interested in rural medicine and medical education, and he enjoys being involved with the West Virginia Academy of Family Physicians. He would like to pursue state and national leadership roles within the AAFP in the future. Following residency, he hopes to fulfill his dream of returning to his rural hometown area to practice in a family medicine clinic where he can provide outpatient, inpatient, and procedural care. He also plans to continue teaching medical students and residents.
Rebekah Rollston, MD, MPH
One of Dr. Rollston’s most important professional accomplishments to date is the publication of Promoting Cervical Cancer Screening Among Female-to-Male Transmasculine Patients, a policy brief she wrote. This brief, which was published by The Fenway Institute, discusses a research study that she developed and conducted for her Master of Public Health (MPH) thesis. She also had the opportunity to pursue her research interests when she was selected for the Robert Graham Center’s Larry A. Green Visiting Scholars Program. As a resident faculty member for the Harvard Center for Primary Care, she is actively involved in mentoring the Harvard Medical School Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG). Dr. Rollston has served as a federal peer reviewer for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Rural Opioid Technical Assistance (ROTA) Grants and for Title X Family Planning Program Services Grants for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) and the Office of Population Affairs (OPA). Her personal pursuits include volunteering with the Massachusetts chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and with Back on My Feet, a national program that promotes physical activity for individuals experiencing homelessness and provides education, employment, and housing opportunities. She also serves as an ambassador for the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program. Following residency, Dr. Rollston plans to practice clinical medicine in an underserved community, and she hopes to make reproductive health and family planning a primary part of her practice. In addition, she would like to get involved with health education and policy work at a major public health university in the Boston metro area.
Jennifer Shrestha, MD
Dr. Shrestha’s most important professional accomplishments to date involve building the pipeline for underrepresented minority (URM) students who are interested in health care professions. At Contra Costa Family Medicine Residency, she helped develop a resident diversity council that focuses on improving recruitment and retention of URM residents and faculty. The council has played an active role in changing how the program evaluates residency applicants, with increased value placed on factors such as distance traveled, overcoming adversity, resilience, and dedication to underserved communities. In addition, the council launched a biannual diversity newsletter to highlight residents’ stories and improve allyship within the community. Dr. Shrestha’s other professional pursuits include improving primary care physicians’ ultrasound skills and advancing community-based initiatives related to women’s health and reproductive justice. She is a Zumba enthusiast who also enjoys lauhala weaving, designing origami jewelry, cooking, and learning new languages. After completing residency, she plans to continue in academic medicine, working to develop curricular standards that improve learning climates for URM residents. In particular, she hopes to focus on retention and support for URM residents, changing the traditional narrative of what makes a “successful resident” so that their unique abilities are noticed and valued.
Nash Witten, MD
Being chosen as co-chief resident of his residency program is one of Dr. Witten’s most important professional accomplishments to date. Other professional goals he hopes to achieve include becoming a fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine and earning a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree. Backpacking the Pacific Crest Trail, learning to sail, and becoming scuba certified are among his personal pursuits. As a National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholarship recipient, Dr. Witten plans to work at a federally qualified health center (FQHC) following residency.
Rivers Woodward, MD
Dr. Woodward’s greatest professional accomplishment to date is designing and implementing a rural health careers pipeline program for high school students in two rural counties in Western North Carolina. Aside from rural medicine, he has particular interest in addiction medicine and has led two group visits for office-based opioid treatment (OBOT). He is also interested in clinical innovations that improve patient access to care and enhance the patient-physician relationship. In his free time, you might find him whitewater kayaking, backpacking, or playing racquetball. A tiny-home resident, he also enjoys carpentry and is an avid gardener. Following residency, Dr. Woodward plans to practice full-spectrum family medicine in rural Western North Carolina. He also hopes to build capital and experience to create an innovative low-overhead clinical community center that can provide health care to multigenerational rural families, as well as addressing food insecurity and loneliness.