May 16, 2016

The Future of Family Medicine: Student Scholarships & Awards Presented

The University of Michigan Department of Family Medicine held its 13th annual Scholarships and Awards Ceremony on May 11th. The scholarships and awards, which totaled more than $80,000, were presented to the recipients by Philip Zazove, M.D., the George A. Dean, M.D. Chair of Family Medicine. 

12th Annual Department of Family Medicine Scholarship recipient: Afrah Raza

Presentation of Family Medicine Senior Scholarship

Afrah Raza, winner of the Department of Family Medicine Senior Scholarship, was unable to attend the ceremony because she was preparing for her residency in Vancouver. Her mother, Shumaila Raza, accepted the award on her behalf. 

Afrah graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in anthropology and Asian studies in 2011. She participated in several research projects that resulted in publications and poster presentations. During medical school she received the Vida Scholarship, a merit-based scholarship which is given to a student from non-natural science background whose performance is deemed outstanding. She also received the Evidence-Based Medicine Award as a third-year student for contributing the largest number of primary articles of any medical student to support treatment plans while simultaneously summarizing the articles and teaching her colleagues.

“Not only am I drawn to family medicine because of its intrinsic quality of community advocacy but I am also in love with the clinical aspects of being a family doctor,” shared Afrah. “The Department has always been a huge source of inspiration in my life and development as a physician. As an undergrad, I was exposed to the Japanese Family Health Program and this encounter inspired me to pursue medicine and make a difference in the world.”

Afrah served in leadership positions for several medical student organizations, including as president of the Muslim Medical Student Association and president of the Diversity Student Council. She was an Admissions Committee representative and a volunteer at the Delonis Center Clinic.

Afrah will complete her residency at the University of British Columbia family medicine program in Vancouver.


12th Annual Kenneth & Judy Betz Family Medicine Scholarship: Julie A. Blaszczak

Julie A. Blaszczak and Anne Kittendorf, M.D.

Anne Kittendorf, M.D. (M.D. 2001, RES 2004), assistant professor, (right) congratulates Julie Blaszczak, winner of the Kenneth & Judy Betz Family Medicine Scholarship. The Betzes, Dr. Kittendorf’s parents, established the scholarship to give back to family medicine and further promote the specialty. 

Julie graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in anthropology in 2012. She has been very active in a variety of research efforts, including work with Tammy Chang, M.D., assistant professor. In May 2013, Julie received the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Student Summer Research Fellowship Award which allowed her to conduct research on the social and cultural aspects of sickle cell disease.

As a medical student, Julie was heavily involved in multiple service activities – many in a leadership role. Her range of interests and activities included: Safe House, a shelter and resource center in Ann Arbor that provides support to those impacted by domestic violence and/or sexual assault; free clinics; Food Gatherers, a nonprofit organization that aims to alleviate hunger by distributing food to nonprofit organizations throughout Washtenaw County, Mich.; patient and family advisory councils; student government; reproductive rights; human rights for survivors of torture and violence; and lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender, and questioning issues.

As an M4, Julie was a student participant in the Patients and Populations Branch Pilot Program that explored options for a future primary care-based branch of the U-M Medical School curriculum. She was also a member of the U-M Alpha Omega Alpha chapter and the first

U-M student to receive the 2015 STFM Conference on Medical Student Education Student Scholarship.

Respected by her peers, Julie was chosen by her classmates to receive the Patrick Niland Award at medical school commencement and also received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award and the Department's Terence C. Davies, M.D. Award. 

Julie will begin her residency training at the University of Michigan with her continuity practice at the Ypsilanti Health Center.


8th Annual Vincent P. and Genevieve L. Burns Family Medicine Scholarship recipient and the 13th Annual Harold Kessler, M.D. Family Medicine Scholarship recipient: Sarah A. Pettibone

Sarah Pettibone
Sarah Pettibone

Sarah graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in neuroscience in 2008. She was involved in multiple research and volunteer activities as an undergraduate student and several publications and presentations resulted from that work. During medical school, she completed an M.P.H. in the University of Michigan Masters in Clinical Research Program with a focus on epidemiology. During her masters degree and under the supervision of Christine T. Cigolle, M.D., assistant professor, Sarah conducted research projects with a focus on older patients with dementia.

Sarah was very active in family medicine activities throughout medical school as she participated in the summer preceptorship in Marquette and served as a co-leader of the Family Medicine Interest Group for two years.

“During the summer of my M2 year, I did a family medicine preceptorship in rural Marquette, Mich., to decide whether family medicine was really the choice for me. What struck me during my time in clinic was that some of the most significant conversations of life happen within a family medicine setting,” Sarah noted. “Without a doubt, family medicine has been a continual source of inspiration and challenge for me. Above all, however, I look forward to focusing my training and being a part of these conversations in patients’ lives for many years to come.”

Sarah was the founding student co-director for the U-M Student-Run Free Clinic in Pinckney, Mich., and was a student member and project organizer for the Health Equity Scholars Program. She was also a clinical student examiner for the U-M Asylum Collaborative and a clinical student volunteer at multiple free clinics in Washtenaw and Wayne Counties.

Outside of the of traditional medical school curriculum, Sarah attended creative writing and fiction prose workshops with renowned authors.

Sarah, who grew up in the small town of Pentwater, Mich., was selected as a National Health Service Corps student-to-service loan repayment recipient and will serve in a health professional shortage area for three years upon completion of residency at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center with the University of California, San Francisco.


8th Annual Dale L. Williams, M.D. Family Medicine Scholarship recipient: George R. (Russ) Wasylyshyn

Christel and Dale Williams, M.D. with scholarship winner, Russ Wasylyshyn

Christel and Dale Williams, M.D. celebrate with scholarship recipient, Russ Wasylyshyn. Both Russ and Dr. Williams are committed to serving developing countries. 

Russ graduated from the University of Michigan in 2012 with a B.S. in neuroscience and a minor in community action and social change. During that time, he was involved in multiple research projects and service activities.

During medical school, Russ served as a team leader of a group of medical and nursing students on a four-week medical mission trip to the rural communities on the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. While there, they worked with a grassroots community organization to identify and address the needs of the local populations.
He also assumed leadership positions such as president of the Catholic Medical Association Student Chapter and secretary for the American Men’s Medical Organization.

“Thank you so much for the establishment of this scholarship,” Russ noted. “I am grateful for the opportunity to follow the example set by these great men and women, and to take my place among the next generation of outstanding family physicians.”

Russ begins his residency at the University of Michigan with his continuity practice at the Chelsea Health Center.


8th Annual Chelsea Community Family Medicine Scholarship recipient and the 4th Annual Michael Papo, M.D., Family Medicine Scholarship: Elizabeth (Liz) M. Irish

Phylllis Jonas, Ph.D. and Arlene Howe

Arlene Howe (right), who established the Chelsea Community Family Medicine Scholarship, and Phyllis Jonas, Ph.D. were pleased to hear about their recipient, Elizabeth Irish’s accomplishments at the annual ceremony even though Elizabeth was unable to attend the event. Members of the Papo Family were also unable to attend. 

Liz graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in brain, behavior, and cognitive sciences in 2012.

She was involved in multiple research and volunteer activities both as an undergraduate student and in medical school, often volunteering with the U-M Office of Medical Student Education. She was active in many capacities including: coordinating the M1 Orientation Committee; a Student Advisory Committee Member for Career Development; one of two students selected to serve on the Executive Admissions Committee which was responsible for reviewing individual applicant files and for making overall recommendations regarding applicants' admission; and a coordinator for Second Look Weekend, where she planned and executed a recruitment weekend for accepted medical school applicants.

In 2013, Liz received the Research Excellence Award (Summer Biomedical Research Program at U-M Medical School) and the Resident/Fellow Best of Meeting Abstract Award for her work on pain outcomes and changes in negative psychiatric symptoms following lower extremity joint arthroplasty.

Though she was unable to attend the scholarship ceremony, she is very grateful for the support.

“As someone who enjoys intellectual challenges, understanding people in their unique context, and working hard for those who place their trust in you, a career in family medicine is wholly encompassing for me. These principles, along with those that I will learn as I continue training, are not just valuable lessons learned from my medical education, but are the guiding principles that I will use in the care of my future patients and their loved ones as a family physician,” Liz said.

Liz will remain with the Department and begins her residency training at the University of Michigan with her continuity practice at the Chelsea Health Center.


8th Annual Jill and Thomas R. Berglund, M.D., Family Medicine Scholarship recipient: Lindsey R. Kolar

Philip Zazove, M.D. and Lindsey Kolar
Lindsey Kolar celebrates with Philip Zazove, the George A. Dean, M.D. Chair of Family Medicine. She thoughtfully expressed her gratitude to the Berglund family who were unable to attend the ceremony this year.

Lindsey graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a B.S. in biology and a minor in chemistry in 2011. She was a varsity swimmer for the EMU Eagles for four years.

Lindsey completed several research projects that led to poster presentations, including two on “Frailty, trunk muscle size, and mortality in patients with end-stage liver disease.” Between undergraduate and medical school, she spent time as an emergency department medical scribe and as a professional child care provider.

As a medical student, Lindsey was a student researcher in the Department of Surgery where, as part of a team, she studied variation in ambulatory surgery utilization in Michigan and published findings in the Journal of Surgical Research.

She also volunteered at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center and as a youth mentor for a 9-year-old girl with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Ann Arbor.

“After a lifetime of swimming, I came into medicine eager to start a new journey but naïve as to where it might lead. I found many specialties interesting, but it was family medicine that resonated with me the most. The variety of medical issues was intellectually stimulating. I found the work emotionally fulfilling, and it felt gratifying to interact directly with the community,” noted Lindsey.

Lindsey begins her residency at the University of Colorado in Denver in June.


7th Annual AEI Sorority Family Medicine Scholarship recipient and the 13th Annual Harold Kessler, M.D. Family Medicine Scholarship recipient: Kartik Sidhar

Kartik Sidhar
Kartik Sidhar

Kartik graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in social and general biology in 2011.

He was involved in multiple service activities including: the Delonis Center Clinic; Habitat for Humanity; and the founder and discussion leader of the Hindu Study Group that helped organize a national youth camp. He worked with Vijay Singh, M.D. lecturer, on the Sexual Assault Workshop by facilitating activities to demonstrate the impact of interpersonal violence and ways physicians can address issues that arise in practice. As an M4, he also completed an elective in medically underserved care in Detroit.

He was very active in family medicine activities throughout medical school as he participated in the Betz summer preceptorship program in Petoskey, Mich. with Todd Sheperd, M.D. (Med 19xx) during his M1 and M2 year and served as a co-leader of the Family Medicine Interest Group for one year. Together with Joel J. Heidelbaugh, M.D., professor, he helped to edit and review several chapters in the latest edition of Case Files: Family Medicine.

“When starting medical school, I wanted to become a physician who knew something about everything. I wanted to be able to answer any question, workup any symptom, or know who to contact if I could not answer those questions myself. My first experience with family medicine was at an interest group meeting at the home of one of the senior family medicine faculty. I was thrilled as the faculty described their scope of practice: from taking care of children, maternity care, and general medicine all the way to procedural practices including dermatologic procedures, vasectomies, and women’s health procedures. It seemed family medicine would be a perfect fit for me,” said Kartik.

Kartik begins his residency at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.


6th Annual Robert J. Fisher, M.D. Family Medicine Scholarship recipient: Dominic (Dom) J. Kiley

Dom Kiley and Robert Fisher, M.D.

Robert J. Fisher, M.D., a marine and veteran of three wars, was pleased to discuss military life with his scholarship winner, Dominic Kiley. 

Dom graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A. in theology and preprofessional studies in 2012.

Dom was involved in a variety of service activities during undergraduate school and medical school including serving as a resident assistant during his senior year at Notre Dame. He was actively involved as an ambassador for the Medical School Admissions Committee during all four years of medical school and received a U.S. Army Health Professions Scholarship as a medical student.

“…I feel lucky to be in a position to care for patients of all ages and families in all seasons of life,” Dom said.

Dom begins his residency at the National Capital Consortium Family Medicine Residency Program in Virginia.


5th Annual Paddy and Donald N. Fitch, M.D. Family Medicine Scholarship recipient, the inaugural Gazella-Brandle Memorial Family Medicine Scholarship recipient and the 13th Annual Harold Kessler, M.D. Family Medicine Scholarship recipient: Jonathan D. Waldmann

Jonathan Waldman, Dr. Gary and Bonnie Gazella
Jonathan Waldmann is the first recipient of the Gazella-Brandle Memorial Family Medicine Scholarship. Bonnie and Gary Gazella, M.D. are pleased to support future family physicians in honor of several of their family members. Members of both the Fitch and Kessler Families were unable to attend the event. 

Jon graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill with a B.S. in biology in 2011.

Jon was very active in research and volunteer activities and held several leadership positions in medical student organizations including student director of the U-M Medicine in Spanish Program and clinic coordinator for the Delonis Center.

Jon was a research assistant for the Quality Improvement for Complex Chronic Conditions project in Bolivia, and a member of the Global Health and Disparities Path of Excellence.

“Growing up as a triplet has undoubtedly shaped who I am. My sisters are incredibly important to me, and they have taught me countless lessons. Aside from teaching me how to share, I learned the importance of listening and understanding the viewpoints of others. I had to learn early that the very same life that I was living could be seen so differently by two other people. From this I developed a love for stories, for finding out what drives people, what scares people, and what makes them unique,” said Jon. “I want to work in family medicine because it is these personal interactions and stories that invigorate me.”

Jon returns to North Caroline to begin his residency at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.



“It was so stimulating to see these scholarships being presented to the fourth-year students headed to Family Medicine residencies across the country. Hearing stories of the incredible accomplishments of these students, as well as the background of the donors was inspiring. It is clear that Family Medicine will be in good hands with the next generation,” commented Dr. Zazove.