May 07, 2019

Desire to help others drives four-time graduation award recipient

Lynze R. Franko is one of 18 senior students who will be honored May 9 at the annual Graduation Awards Luncheon, the opening act for the school’s Commencement ceremony later in the day

Lynze R. Franko

Lynze R. Franko has always aspired to help.

First, she cared for animals while growing up on her family’s cattle ranch in Terry, Montana. Then, a desire to help those who are struggling, coupled with a zeal for the sciences, led her to earn a Bachelor of Nursing degree from Montana State University. 

However, the intriguing complexity of patient care, a determination to understand the “why” of treatment decisions, and a desire to alleviate patient suffering ultimately drove Franko to become a physician. 

“It only took a double lung transplant on cardiopulmonary bypass for me to discover my true passion and future path,” says Franko, one of 18 senior students who will be honored May 9 at the annual Graduation Awards Luncheon, the opening act for the school’s Commencement ceremony later in the  day. “My career goal is to become an academic cardiothoracic surgeon specializing in clinical research focused on outcomes, patient safety, quality improvement, and multidisciplinary care.”

Franko will be called to the podium four times at the luncheon to receive the Andrew J. Zweifler Award for Excellence in Clinical Skills, Glasgow-Rubin Certificate of Commendation for Academic Achievement, Academic Recognition Award, and the Michigan Medicine Alumni Society Academic Achievement Award.

Franko’s service on student council ignited her passion for supporting structural changes and progressive policies that ensure personal and professional wellness for all trainees and physicians — something that is critical to providing the best patient care, she says.  She is committed to improving the well-being of colleagues through advocacy and mentorship throughout her career.  

“I have been exceptionally fortunate to learn from my mentors and classmates, who all have incredible compassion, passions, teamwork, and talents,” she says. “They have allowed me to learn from them, propelling me to advance my ability to communicate ideas as well as eagerly embrace diversity, inclusion, and change.”

Franko will graduate with distinction, and distinction in medical education and research. She will begin residency in general surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital.

In addition to Franko, these faculty, staff and students will be honored:


Dean’s Award for Research Excellence
Daniel Kim
Joseph Linzey
Shin-Rong Julia Wu

Puneet “Ashu” Ailawadi Memorial Award
Jasmyne Jackson

Ralph M. Gibson Award
Mariam Ayyash
Jasmyne Jackson

Dr. Jane Skillen Award
Kemi A. Omotoso

Patrick John Niland Award
Gregory T. Woods

Sujal Parikh Award
Jasmyne Jackson

Andrew J. Zweifler Award for Excellence in Clinical Skills
Lynze R. Franko

Paul DeWolf Award
Gregory T. Woods


Glasgow-Rubin Citations for Academic Achievement
Kristen Cross
Catherine Gilbert
Lauren Merz
Jennifer Neva
Megan Zakerski
Katherine Zurales

Glasgow-Rubin Certificate of Commendation for Academic Achievement
Lynze R. Franko

Academic Recognition Awards
Jacob Cederbaum
Lynze R. Franko
Alexander Hjemaas
Rahul Iyengar
Daniel Nelson


David Ashburn, M.D., Memorial Scholarship Award
Jacquelyn Kerchval, M2


Scholarship Service Awards
Ali Assi, M3
Aliya Moreira, M2

Academic Achievement Award
Lynze R. Franko


The American Medical Women’s Association Gender Equity Award
Madelyn Lew, M.D., assistant professor of pathology

Elizabeth Crosby Award
Madelyn Lew, M.D.

Kaiser-Permanente Awards for Excellence in Teaching
Pre-Clinical: Madelyn Lew, M.D.
Clinical: Michael P. Lukela, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine and pediatrics

Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award (presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation)
Faculty: Roland Alexander Blackwood, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pediatrics
Student: Jacob Cedarbaum

Thomas G. Varbedian Award for Excellence in Service to Students
Eric B. Middleton, Ph.D., counseling psychologist, Office of Medical Student Education