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Eight Gundersen staff physicians, one physical therapist, one pharmacist, and two physician assistants were honored at the June 15 resident graduation party for their contributions to resident education.

Jon Zlabek, MD

Jon Zlabek, MD, Vascular Institute

Transitional Year Teacher of the Year Award

"Dr. Zlabek is a teacher for whom every single moment on service is an opportunity to educate. Whether through talks, reflections on challenging patient cases, learning-driven games, and yes, even the occasional gentle bribery with ice cream and other treats, he never fails to pull us residents into the education process and to help us fully commit to increasing our medical knowledge and ability to interact compassionately with patients. Not only is he an exemplary clinician in his own right, but it's obvious that he considers his role in training and nurturing future healthcare providers to be equally important and rewarding." — Transitional Year resident, Jacob Light, MD.

Anthony S. Pagliara Internal Medicine Teacher of the Year Award

"Dr. Zlabek is a one of kind physician and teacher. After surveying our residents about their thoughts regarding Dr. Zlabek, one common theme was evident; he is simply a great teacher. His ability to keep the day efficient yet fun creates an awesome learning environment that is optimal for both residents and medical students. No one else is as engaging or committed to making sure everyone on the team learns something every day. His presentations are amazing and very interactive. His approach to teaching is so creative and innovative. Whether it is his vascular man challenge, old guts lie presentation, or vascular medicine beef quiz, he keeps us engaged and excited to learn." — Internal Medicine Chief resident, Kelly Delaney-Nelson.

Lee Trombetta, MD

Lee Trombetta, MD, General Surgery

General Surgery Teacher of the Year Award

"We nominated Dr. Trombetta because he is a gifted and decisive surgeon and it is always a pleasure to spend a day in the OR with him." — Ryan Watson, MD, General Surgery chief resident.

Milan (Trey) Folkers, MD

Milan (Trey) Folkers, MD, Gastroenterology

General Surgery Teacher of the Year Award

"Dr. Folkers is technically gifted and very patient. He is able to clearly articulate steps of a difficult procedure to walk a resident through." — Wesley Badger, MD, General Surgery chief resident.

Ryan Manz, MD

Ryan Manz, MD, Otolaryngology

Thomas G. Stenger, DDS, Memorial Teacher of the Year Award for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

"Dr. Manz has broadened the scope of our education both surgically and didactically. He has the ability to push us to understand concepts on another level." — Mark Erickson, DDS, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery chief resident.

Andrew Elliott, DPM

Andrew Elliott, DPM, Podiatry

Podiatric Medicine and Surgery Teacher of the Year Award

"Dr. Elliott was chosen secondary to his dedication to continuing education and his even keel, kind-hearted approach to delivering information." — Podiatric resident, Peter Hordyk, DPM.

Christopher Cogbill, MD

Christopher Cogbill, MD, Anatomic Pathology

Hematology and Medical Oncology Fellowship Teacher of the Year Award

"Dr. Christopher Cogbill has made a significant impact on our understanding of Hematopathology and has been an asset to the Hematology/Oncology fellows since his arrival to this institution. His work ethic, professionalism and fund of knowledge are ever inspiring for us. His calm demeanor and outstanding teaching skills truly deserve recognition." — Deval Rajyaguru, MD, and Chai Bhaskar, MD, Hematology and Medical Oncology fellows.

John Sterling, MD

John Sterling, MD, Optometry

Optometry Teacher of the Year Award

"Since the beginning, Dr. Sterling has been a mentor and motivator for me every step of the way through my residency, especially in treating and managing neuro rehab/TBI patients. He always made himself available for guidance with patient care and advice for life when I needed it. For that, I thank him and chose him as Teacher of the Year." — Optometry resident, George Bouras, OD.

Eric Johnson, PharmD

Eric Johnson, PharmD, Hospital Pharmacist

Pharmacy Teacher of the Year Award

"Eric serves as an exemplary pharmacist role model and preceptor through his dedication to teaching and patient care in a wide variety of practice areas. Every day, Eric fosters a positive work environment that is ideal for residents to learn and ask questions. While maintaining a considerate and modest attitude, Eric is eager to share his clinical knowledge with residents. Thanks for a great year, Eric!" — Courtney Converse, PharmD, Bradley Hobart, PharmD, Lucas Jorgenson, PharmD, Daniel Rosin, PharmD, and Travis Van Ede, PharmD, Pharmacy residents

Scott Straker, PT, SCS, ATC

Scott Straker, PT, SCS, ATC, Lead Sports Medicine Physical Therapist and Program Director of the Sports Medicine Residency Program

Sports Medicine Teacher of the Year Award

"Scott has gone above and beyond his roles as residency director, clinical rounds instructor, and mentor. He has gone out of his way to ensure that we have a residency experience tailored to our individual interests and is committed to our growth as clinicians in the field of sports medicine physical therapy. Of particular note, during a time when we are away from our family and friends and are working long hours to fulfill our requirements, Scott also supported us on a personal level by taking us on hikes, having coffee with us, making us dinner and including us in family and friend events. Although we do not think this is an expectation for most people in his particular role, we know that it has made an enormous difference in our experience being part of the Gundersen family." — Michael Rodriguez, DPT, and Sarah Menhennett, DPT, Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy residents.

Brandi Strong, MD

Brandi Strong, MD, Family Medicine

Family Medicine Teacher of the Year Award

"Dr. Strong's strength as an educator lies in her ability to foster resident independence when teaching procedures, both in clinic and on labor and delivery. She encourages a 'hands-on' approach for residents to develop their skills and confidence. She is always ready to help residents tackle complex or difficult patient situations, providing guidance while allowing appropriate resident autonomy. Dr. Strong is dedicated to resident learning in Family Medicine Residency clinic. She is open to questions and we really appreciate her feedback when precepting and when she's reviewing notes." — Family Medicine residents

Jake Larkin, PA-C

Jake Larkin, PA-C

Main Campus Educator of the Year Award

"We selected Jake as preceptor of the year because it was evident that he loved teaching, and he was really good at it. He challenged us to understand why we do what we do in patient management, rather than just telling us it's what we do. He also never stopped challenging himself, which set an example to for us of what excellence in the PA profession looks like." — Jenny Fassbinder, PA student.

Amber Oshan, PA-C

Amber Oshan, PA-C

Regional Educator of the Year Award

"I had the opportunity to work with Amber during my Family Medicine rotation in Sparta. Amber is a fantastic educator and preceptor. She advocates for her patients and strives to practice evidence-based medicine. I will be a better provider for having had Amber as a preceptor." — Jess DeBruyne, PA student.


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1900 South Ave.
La Crosse, WI 54601

(608) 782-7300

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