Recent Graduates

Department of Family and Community Medicine

Dave Kurtmen MD Class of 2020

What is your post-residency job/location? I am a hospitalist in Reno.

How did our residency help prepare you for practice? Our program has a strong inpatient presence with the benefit of autonomy, independence, and elective flexibility.

What made the residency unique? The faculty, staff, and fellow residents made my residency unique. Reno is a great location.

Any other special recollections you have of residency?  I feel like my fellow residents and my faculty are my friends and family.  My wife (Brooke Todd MD, Class of 2021) just had our first baby and the residency is really supporting us.

Kaleb Wartgow MD Class of 2019

What is your post-residency job/location?  I am currently working for South Lyon Medical Center in rural Nevada. I work in primary care as well as in a small emergency department of a critical access hospital.

How did our residency help prepare you for practice?  Our residency gave me excellent, up to date primary care training. In addition, I rotated with and establish strong collegial relationships with many specialists.  This expanded my scope of practice and helped define appropriate treatment and referral options.

What made the residency unique?   One of the things that make the UNR Family Medicine residency unique is the tremendous amount of freedom I had in elective rotations. Because I planned to work in a rural ED I chose my electives to gain additional skills in necessary areas: pediatric respiratory care, emergency medicine, and critical care.

Any other special recollections you have of residency?  Above all else, I can say that the people involved throughout my training, both my co-residents and the faculty, are what I will always remember most fondly. I have made life-long friends and mentors who I cherish.

What else would you like to share about your life?  I have the somewhat unique experience of having had all my training; undergraduate, medical school and residency in Nevada. I also happen to be a fourth-generation and lifelong Nevadan myself so having had the opportunity to be raised, trained and now practice medicine in Northern Nevada truly is a joy and privilege.

Laura Stroup MD Class of 2019

What is your post-residency job/location?  I am working with Carson Medical Group in Carson City, Nevada doing outpatient family medicine along with both pediatric and newborn inpatient medicine.

How did our residency help prepare you for practice? Other than adult inpatient medicine and OB, I will be doing everything that residency prepared me for.  I feel very confident in my skill set that I learned during residency here. Our faculty are really trusting and allow us to make decisions on our own.  This helps develop our skills and knowledge.  The faculty is always available and more than willing to help and teach. We have a very good balance here.

What made the residency unique?   Three things made the residency unique.  1. The variety of pathology and patients seen and cared for. 2. The great relationships that the residents have with each other and the faculty. 3. The ability to obtain my MPH while in residency.  I hope to use my MPH skills to advocate for both primary care and public health.

Any other special recollections you have of residency? I have many special memories... like listening to music with our faculty in the Pit and making dutch oven cobble behind the clinic one morning. And really all of this just makes me remember what a good time I had during residency overall.

What else would you like to share about your life?  I recently had my first child and am excited to begin my new life with him and my husband.

Travis Walker MD Class of 2018

I practice family medicine with obstetrics at Renown in Reno.

How did our residency help prepare you for practice?  I felt like I got a well-rounded family medicine experience. I had a good balance of inpatient and outpatient experiences, strong pediatrics exposure, and great continuity between the inpatient and outpatient world with my patients, especially with my obstetric patients and following-up with the babies I delivered.

What made the residency unique? The residency was special for me in the fact that I could have a great professional relationship, as well as great friendships, with both my co-residents and attendings. I felt like all the residents had a voice in the direction of the residency and could even tailor their residency experience to their interests. I still consider myself friends with my attendings both during residency and today.

Any other special recollections you have of residency?Going to Lake Tahoe on our resident retreat. Resident wellness barbecues and events like spa days, ropes courses, and hanging out during and after work with friends.

What else would you like to share about your life?  In addition to the great medical training it felt like I got, I also got great training in the business of medicine. Between our didactic curriculum within the residency and my four-year length of training program (MPH) I feel very prepared for all aspects of medicine I have encountered so far.

Hina Quasim MD Class of 2017

I work as an outpatient primary physician in south Reno with Renown Health

How did our residency help prepare you for practice? Completing residency with the UNR family medicine program gave me the confidence and ability to go out and practice on my own, knowing my exposure to community medicine was vast and my training was strong.

What things about your residency made it special? My residency was special because of the people I worked with and the true ‘family' aspect of the program.

What was fun about your residency program? My residency program was fun because everyone made learning fun and patient interaction fun.

What else would you like to share about your life? I met my (now) husband in my residency program (as he was two years ahead of me in residency) and fell in love with Reno.  My residency truly changed my life :)

Benjamin Hansen MD Class of 2016

I currently practice as an outpatient family physician at Renown Medical Group in Reno

How did our residency help prepare you for practice? The residency provided excellent breadth and depth so that, without limitation, I could decide how to practice when I finished residency.

What made the residency unique? The faculty were incredible role models who each provided something special.

Any other special recollections you have of residency? Dr. McCarthy taught me to love the burnt coffee in the hospital. Dr. Spogen taught me what it meant to take ownership of my patients. Dr. Fiore taught me to always be guided by the evidence but not constrained by it. Dr. Passalacqua taught me how empathy improved patient care. Drs. Johnson and Williams taught me about "human biological process elimination in austere environments". The list goes on and on...

Diana Cheng MD Class of 2013

My current practice is: Hospitalist/nocturnist

How did our residency help prepare you for practice? It was surprising how much emphasis was placed especially in the first year on inpatient medicine, this gave me a very good base to continue to take more inpatient specialty electives as a senior so that I could further pursue inpatient medicine after residency.

What made the residency unique? It's the same refrain that people have stated over and over again, it's the people. And I think that stems from the fact that residents are so involved in the recruitment of future classes so that we always seem to find colleagues that are approachable, intelligent, laid-back and friendly which makes the entire residency process so much more enjoyable.

Any other special recollections you have of residency? The resident retreats were epic both official and not, the hands-on lectures we had during our noon conferences especially the casting session with Dr. Dolan of orthopedic surgery, and volunteering with other residents at the Tahoe rim trail marathon with my sidekick mastiff as our unofficial mascot.

Mike O'Brien MD Class of 2012

I practice outpatient family medicine for a multi-disciplinary medical group based in the Reno/Sparks area. I also do some inpatient and urgent care work on some weekends.

How did our residency prepare you for your practice?  Family medicine residency gave me a strong foundation in outpatient medicine allowing me to transition very easily to a full-time practice. I was also able to moonlight during my time in residency allowing me to gain experience and autonomy early in my training so when I finished training working on my own was nothing new.

What made our residency experience special for you? The faculty and other residents really come together as a family making the 3 years enjoyable. We are able to do many fun activities outside of work which makes the long hours and stresses more manageable. The Reno/Tahoe area offers so many outdoor activities that are within an hour and with so many of the physicians in town that are active it is really easy to get to know the medical community.

What was particularly fun during your residency? Our clinic is located right next to the Wolf Pack football stadium giving us the perfect place for tailgating. The football team was very competitive during my residency time making the games and parties great.

What else would like to share? I grew up in the Reno area and was fortunate enough to be able to do my Family Medicine training here as well. It is a great community with lots of good bars and restaurants as well as great schools. The outdoor activities cant be beaten.

Dorin Popa, M.D. Class of 2011

I work for Banner Health Clinic which is a multi-specialty practice, in the family medicine department. We are located in San Tan Valley, a suburban area of Phoenix, Arizona. I spent most of my time in an outpatient setting, seeing patients of all ages with a variety of diseases. Every few weeks I also round inpatient in the Newborn Nursery. I usually see the newborn prior to my clinic schedule every morning for an entire week. I rotate with few of my colleagues in the family medicine and pediatric departments.

How did our residency prepare you for practice? University of Nevada, Reno Family Medicine Residency has given me a solid foundation in the practice of family medicine. During my three years at UNR, I was exposed to a variety of patients with all kinds of pathologies. That helps me now be able to see patients quickly, make decisive treatment decisions and acknowledge which patients require more counseling, specialty referral or inpatient management.

What made our residency program special for you? The faculty at UNR are priceless. They provided me with lots of autonomy during my second and third year. Thus, now I have the confidence that I need to practice medicine. All the staff at UNR was available at any time to discuss any patients and/or even personal issues. UNR, however, wasn't just a place where I received a great training. It was a place where I developed long life relationships, had lots of fun and grew as a person. If I were to do my NRMP rank list again, I would still rank UNR first.

What else would you like to share? UNR will always be a large part of my life and hope to someday be able to give back at least a fraction of what they have done for me.

Amanda Casey, M.D. Class of 2009 

I practice full-spectrum outpatient family medicine (without obstetrics) in rural Nevada. I take pediatric call and provide inpatient pediatric care at our local Community Hospital. I also take 1-2 shifts per week in our Urgent Care.

How did your residency prepare you for practice? I feel that our residency prepares physicians to practice in many different areas of medicine. I feel that my training prepared me well in the hospital setting, outpatient setting, pediatrics, geriatrics, gynecology and obstetrics. I was taught a wide range of procedures and continue to do a number of procedures in my clinic, including vasectomies, circumcisions, colposcopies, joint injections, biopsies, and lesion removal.

What made your residency special? Reno has such a small town feel with all the amenities of a larger city. I made some great friends and got to know many of the specialists I work so closely within my current practice

What was particularly fun during residency? Resident Retreats! We did some great things together, like the rope course in Tahoe, Cooking classes and go-cart racing. Our attending physicians were fantastic and covered our hospital and clinic duties so everyone could attend.

What else would you like to share? My husband and I grew up in rural Nevada and now have the opportunity to raise our two daughters in the same wonderful environment. Northern Nevada has so much to offer, great activities for the whole family, good food and amazing people.