[People] Community Programs Come Together for Advocacy Day 2017

EM1HealthPartners CEO Mary Brainerd attending the 2017 Advocacy Day Conference at the Minnesota State Capitol last month

The emergency medicine residency programs at Regions Hospital and Hennepin County Medical Center partnered for the 2017 Emergency Medicine Residency Advocacy Day on March 23 at the Minnesota State Office Building.

The event was attended by emergency medicine residents and faculty from Regions Hospital and Hennepin County Medical Center, University of Minnesota medical students, HealthPartners leaders, and lawmakers. Drew Zinkel, MD, and Felix Ankel, MD, introduced students and residents to advocacy leaders and emphasized the importance of advocacy.

Mary Brainerd, President and CEO of HealthPartners spoke to the residents about HealthPartners’ patient-centered priorities and how our mission, vision, and values guide policy and agenda.  She provided an update on current initiatives that are HealthPartners’ priorities in the legislature and also emphasized on the need for involvement from healthcare professionals in public policy.

Advocacy day was started in 2008, to educate and inform emergency medicine residents about policy and legislation that affect both patients and medical professionals. It has served as an opportunity for residents to learn about advocacy and to share ideas directly with lawmakers.

Senators Scott Jensen, MD (R) and Matt Klein, MD (DFL), both first term senators with a special interest in health care reform, shared their experience of being policymakers as well as medical professionals.  Senator Jensen has a BA and MD from the University of Minnesota and MBA from the University of St. Thomas. He’s the founder of the Catalyst Medical Clinic in Watertown, MN and serves as Vice Chair of the Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee and member of the Higher Education Finance and Policy, Human Services Reform Finance and Policy, and Transportation Finance and Policy Committees. Senator Klein has a BS from the University of Wisconsin, MD from Mayo Medical School and completed his residency at HCMC. Senator Klein is a hospitalist at Hennepin County Medical Center and also serves on the Capital Investment, Health and Human Services Finance and Policy and Human Services Reform Finance and Policy Committees.

Ramnik Dhaliwal, MD, Hennepin County Medical Center, presented an update from American College of Emergency Physicians Leadership and Advocacy Conference in Washington, DC. The presentation informed residents about the current state of policy at national and state level, as well as policy changes and how they affect emergency medicine residents and patients.

Members of the HealthPartners Government Relations team provided additional insight and updates from the legislature for the residents. Following the session, residents had an opportunity for a one on one session with their choice of legislators.

The event was made possible in part by the Mark Bernas Endowment and Regions Hospital Foundation.

[People] Resident hopes to help the community beyond emergency medicine


Callie Schnitker is a second year resident in the Emergency Medicine Program at Regions Hospital. She grew up in St. Paul and attended medical school in Philadelphia. After medical school, she moved back to Minnesota and feels lucky to be able to work while staying close to home. She wants to do more for the community, and help patients with more than what she does in the ER every day as part of her job.  She recently volunteered to lead the Emergency Medicine Residency Program residents at Regions Hospital through the Emergency Medicine Day of Service.

EM Day of Service

EM Day of Service is a program led by the Emergency Medicine Resident’s Association. It encourages emergency healthcare professionals to devote one day in September for identifying and addressing a need in the community. Last year, as part of EM day of service, the residents served breakfast at Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities.

Regions Hospital is a certified Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center, and the residents in the Emergency Medicine Program work closely with children and their families. So this year, they came together to cook and serve dinner at the Ronald McDonald Houses located in Gillette Specialty Center and St. Paul Children’s Hospital.

To make sure that colleagues working all shifts were included, the residents also volunteered to make sandwiches for the Minneapolis Recreational Development Program – an organization that serves the homeless population in St. Paul.

Helping beyond providing emergency medicine

As an Emergency Medicine Resident, Callie is no stranger to working long shifts and through difficult jobs. But she soon realized that organizing, cooking and serving food for a 100 people was not that easy either. It involved a lot of planning, organizing, buying cart-full of groceries with her two-year-old in tow, and making sure that she was able to include everyone.

Her colleagues offered generous help and came together to brighten the day for children and their families at the Ronald McDonald Houses. The residents also get encouragement from senior leaders and residency coordinators to volunteer and get introduced to new opportunities.

Callie volunteered throughout medical school – at free clinics and various organizations. She also volunteered earlier this year, representing Regions Hospital at the EMS tent during the Twin Cities Marathon. As someone who spends most of her time in an Emergency Room, she’s used to seeing patients and families in stress and needing help. While her job is to help, she finds that volunteering  helps her meet people outside the ER – helps her meet families of patients and get involved with other aspects of people’s lives. It isn’t always easy finding time – she works 8-hour shifts, days and nights.

“You have to make time for something you really want to do. You take naps when you can, sleep less if you have to – it’s fun and always worth it,” she said.


[People] Meet the matches – Emergency Medicine

We are pleased to share the  Emergency Medicine Residency  class of 2019.

We look forward to supporting your training experience as we know you represent the future of healthcare!

EM Class of 2019

Check out @regionsem on Twitter.

[People] Meet Dr. Dries and prepare to be inspired!


David Dries, MSE, MD, FACS, FCCP, MCCM

What is your clinical/professional background?

While in medical school at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, they allowed me to finish my master’s degree in engineering at Purdue University.

I went to Duke University Medical Center for surgery training and then, by grace, went to the University of Utah where they were getting ready to do the first pneumatic artificial heart transplantation. Because I had a background in engineering and surgery, I was a logical person to fit into the group. So that was a very exciting time to be in Utah. The people I worked with there included the guy who started dialysis and was called by some the father of the artificial heart.

After I finished my surgical training I was in Chicago for a few years, where I ran critical care units and helicopter programs. I was fortunate to work with some incredibly good researchers and teachers. I still have some of the slides and physicnumic principles they taught me.

I stayed in Chicago until the late 90s and spent a short time at the University of Michigan where I met some very stimulating people, but then was recruited here [to Regions Hospital] where again I worked with some world-class people.

Can you describe your role?

At Regions Hospital I’m the division head for surgery. Within HealthPartners Medical Group I’m also a division leader for surgery. At the University of Minnesota I am a professor in three disciplines: I have an endowed chair in surgery, but I’m also a professor of emergency medicine and anesthesiology. Again, I am fortunate I can straddle many disciplines. There are a lot of lessons that they have to teach each other, and that has been very simulating and enjoyable.

With respect to education at Regions Hospital, Dr. Felix Ankel is one of the first people I met and bonded with as I got engaged here. We found we had a similar view of managing clinical problems and training younger physicians and surgeons not only to care for patients but to work together as effective teams. I think at times because the Emergency Medicine Program is willing to expose its residents to other disciplines, our program has been immeasurably strengthened. For example, our residents will have the knowledge of emergency medicine but also the knowledge of surgeons in the management of trauma. Trauma traditionally is a surgical problem, but our team is very sophisticated in part because of the interdisciplinary way that we do the work.

Can you tell us about working with trainees?

It’s collaborative and stimulating. Working with trainees for me is a given; they are the future. I am selfishly counting on this generation to take care of me. Anything we can do to invest in the younger generations is a huge plus. Students who aren’t framed by their historical biases tend to ask great questions and they bring fresh insight to the new problems they face.

What do you enjoy the most about the work you do within this program?

One of the things I say with great joy is that no two days are alike. From administering board exams in Chicago to covering trauma in the intensive care unit, to writing a critical care curriculum, to traveling to South America to present an interdisciplinary critical care curriculum – it keeps you on your toes and is very stimulating.

What is one innovative idea that you think could improve your program?

The more we can do to build interdisciplinary and personal contact with people will be the biggest single thing. To the extent that we can find within our various duties to make ourselves available to each other so that we can have conversations about whatever the person sitting in the other chair wants to talk about, we come out ahead.

What has been successful in your program that you think would be helpful for others to know?

The multidisciplinary aspect. Here’s an example: I work with complex abdominal wall problems. Sometimes after surgery the abdominal wall breaks down and the intestines are spilling things onto the abdominal wall. That’s a difficult problem and a lot of people either don’t feel comfortable treating it or don’t have the resources to treat it. I work with a nurse who does wonders crafting individualized wound care dressings. Her husband happens to be an engineer. Together, we patented a technology this year which is sold in every state and internationally to help control this spillage of bowel contents. And we have a second patent that should go in this week or next. The engineer husband couldn’t do it by himself, his wife couldn’t do it by herself and I couldn’t make it happen without them. It’s allowed us to provide a unique service to our patients because of the skills each of us brings to the table.

How does the work you do positively impact patient care?

Continuous learning improves the outcomes of the people we operate on. We learn from one another and we figure out what is going on.

What are you top 3 tips for others with your similar responsibilities?

  1. I couldn’t do something I wasn’t passionate about. I won’t say I don’t get up and feel stressed some days, but I’d rather have a healthy degree of stress than be drowned in boredom.
  2. Variety, multidisciplinary stimulation and wide collaboration are a recipe for an enjoyable work environment. Everyone has something so contribute.
  3. Be willing to look outside one’s silo to see possibilities. With crisis comes opportunity; with change comes information … and sometimes self-realization.

[People] Alan Sazama, MD Insight from a PGY2, Emergency Medicine

alan sazama

Alan Sazama, MD

Resident Physician, PGY2

Emergency Medicine

What is your clinical/professional background? 

I graduated from the University of South Dakota Medical school in 2014.  I started my residency at Regions Hospital in July 2014.

What do you enjoy the most about the work you do within this program?

The variety of patients we get to see, every day is different.  Love the people I get to work with from senior staff physicians, to nurses, to techs…we have a great team in the ED.

What has been successful in your program that you think would be helpful for others to know?

Early opportunities for procedural experience as an intern combined with model of graduated responsibility.  By the time we are senior residents, I feel we have had the appropriate amount of exposure to be team leaders in trauma patients and critically ill medical patients.

How does the work you do positively impact patient care?

Each patient encounter is the opportunity to provide care to someone who in all likelihood is having one of the worst days of their life.  In the emergency department, we have this unique opportunity, so I try to meet patients and families where they are at and help them through some dark times.

What are you top 3 tips for others with your similar responsibilities?

  1. Treat all patients equally, like they are your own family
  2. Nothing beats a strong work ethic, work hard while you are at work.
  3. Laugh often.  Be professional, but don’t forget the importance of your own personal well being.

TETNG: Trauma Education the Next Generation 2015

Trauma Education: The Next Generation (TE :TNG) is an inter-professional program for trauma care providers including emergency medicine, surgery, nursing, and prehospital care. It focuses on treatment strategies that are needed in the initial hours after injury. Presentations are fast-paced, with focused, content-rich talks interspersed with brief how-to videos and curbside consults with specialty providers.

There is no death by PowerPoint!

This year’s topics include wound repair tips and tricks, how to keep trauma patients at your hospital, medically clearing your patients, burn stuff, and much more!

To register visit tetng.org.