Elizabeth Matera took a non-traditional route to medicine, earning a B.A. in Literature at Harvard before entering the teaching profession. Elizabeth taught with Teach for America for two years before becoming a Program Director for the organization in Arkansas and Mississippi. Her time with Teach for America in poor, rural settings provided a deep appreciation for the health and educational challenges faced by these communities. Her desire to serve rural communities led her to pursue her medical degree at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in her home state of Kentucky. During medical school, Elizabeth mentored adolescents in exercise and weight loss and volunteered at the student-run free clinic, where access to specialty care and ancillary services was nonexistent. This experience forced her to find creative solutions to providing comprehensive care, something she hopes to build on in residency and beyond. When she has spare time, Elizabeth enjoys reading, film, gardening, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, pottery and music.
Nathan Vakharia earned his undergraduate degree in Zoology from UW-Madison and spent time working in research here before completing his medical degree with the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. One of Nathan’s goals in becoming a family physician is to develop meaningful relationships with both patients and their families. During medical school, Nathan completed a longitudinal, community-based service project to improve rural emergency medicine education for family physicians. He served as a co-leader of the Rural Health Interest Group and interned with the Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation where he worked to build relationships with rural healthcare facilities, professional organizations and educational institutions to spread information about the Wisconsin Comprehensive Life Support Program. Nathan is one of two graduates in the first class of the UW’s Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine (WARM) program, which is working to increase the number of physicians who practice in rural Wisconsin.
After earning a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Liberty University, Rachel Hartline completed her medical degree at Eastern Virginia Medical School. She comes to Family Medicine with a strong passion for global health and international justice. This passion has taken her to Nepal, where she volunteered at the Lalgadh Leprosy Service Center, and to an orphanage in Cameroon, where she performed checkups and helped implement a basic health records system. She also traveled to rural Honduras each year of medical school as part of a student-run medical brigade. Through these experiences, she observed first-hand the vital role of physicians who are comfortable treating any patient in need, whether male or female, young or old. In addition to her interests in global health, Rachel has also taken on leadership roles in various advocacy groups closer to home. She served as vice president for the local chapter of the Operation Smile club, which raises funds and awareness for a non-profit organization that provides cleft lip and palate surgery in developing countries. She is also an active member of the Family Medicine Interest Group, the Christian Medical Association, the LGBT & Allies group, and the International Medical Society. Outside of medicine, a few of Rachel
After earning her B.A. in Anthropology and Political Science, Rebecca took a non-traditional route to medical school. As a firefighter and crew medic for the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, she was deployed throughout the American West to assist in the prevention and suppression of wildfires. After an injury forced her to leave firefighting, she worked as a clinical assistant in the Emergency Department at Children’s Hospital in Boston before entering medical school at Meharry Medical College in Tennessee. Rebecca has a strong commitment to serving the most vulnerable populations, both here in the U.S. and internationally. As a medical student she worked at two free clinics in Nashville and was a leader and founding member of a committee to establish a student-run free clinic at Meharry (projected opening of the clinic is October 2012). She also received funding from Hope Through Healing Hands to spend 10 weeks in Ecuador working with a local physician to address issues of maternal-child health. In addition to service, Rebecca held leadership positions in several advocacy groups at her school, including the Family Medicine Interest Group and Physicians for Human Rights, and completed multiple courses through the Vanderbilt Global Health Institute. In her free time, she enjoys reading, growing sprouts, sewing, hiking, cycling, and traveling.
Caitlin Hill earned her B.S. in Anthropology and Biology from UW–Madison and completed her medical degree at the University of Minnesota. She has a strong interest in rural medicine, and several formative experiences have allowed her to see firsthand both the benefits and challenges of providing care to underserved rural areas. After her first year of medical school, she completed a summer internship in Two Harbors, MN, which serves patients from remote areas along the north shore of Lake Superior. Then as a third-year student she participated in the Rural Physicians Associate Program. For nine months she lived and worked in Long Prairie, MN, caring for members of the Amish population and immigrants from Mexico who came to work in the meat packing plants. While in Long Prairie, she worked with leaders of the community to identify health needs and establish a free preventive health clinic that was located in the center of the Amish community. In addition to her work in rural health, Caitlin has been active in her school’s Pediatric and Family Medicine Interest Groups, and she was the Education Committee Co-Chair for her local chapter of Women in Medicine. In her off hours, Caitlin is likely to be found outdoors, hiking, gardening, running, swimming, or canoeing on the local lakes. She is also a loyal Wisconsin Badgers fan.
A lifetime Wisconsin resident, Kira Labby grew up in the rural communities of Clintonville and Shawano. She earned a B.S. in Nutritional Sciences from UW-Madison and completed her medical degree at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. She has a strong interest in rural medicine, which was fostered by her early experiences of family doctors who were able to care for anybody with any condition. She is also drawn to Family Medicine for its focus on establishing relationships and the opportunity to treat the whole patient over the course of a lifetime. As a medical student, she completed Family Medicine rotations in urban Milwaukee, where she worked with patients with limited access to healthcare, and also in Baraboo, where she worked with family practitioners who serve the full range of patients from the surrounding rural communities. She has also volunteered at the student-run MEDiC clinics, which provide free healthcare to underserved populations in Dane County, and with the University of Wisconsin Hospitals Burn Unit. In her free time, Kira enjoys traveling, reading fiction, spending time with family and friends, and playing the piano.