Dr. Ayesha Ebrahim was inspired to specialize in endocrinology after working with her Associate Professor of Endocrinology, Dr. Marshall, who helped her with her senior research project during her third year of residency. Dr. Ebrahim joined the MNCOME team because she liked the friendly atmosphere as well as being able to concentrate on providing the best possible clinical care. Her favorite healthy activity is snow tubing in the winter and bicycling in the summer with her family, and her favorite indulgence is eating jalapeno and cheddar kettle cooked potato chips while watching a good Bollywood movie with her husband, Dr. Imran Khawaja.
Dr. J. Michael Gonzalez-Campoy (Dr. Mike) knew he wanted to be an endocrinologist from childhood. He was drawn to this specialty because hormones regulate everything, from growth and development to reproduction to aging. Helping patients as an endocrinologist allows him to teach them the "why"s and "how"s of what is going on inside them. He founded MNCOME with Dr. Richardson to prove that obesity is a treatable disease. Dr. Mike enjoys walking the many MN trails in the fall and exploring the cities he visits by foot. He loves Mexican salsas--they are both tasty and healthy! His favorite indulgence is travel (and the local cuisine!). Seeing what the rest of the world is like is a lot of fun, but is also a reminder of how nice it is to live and practice medicine in Minnesota.
Dr. Bruce Richardson has been practicing family medicine for 30 years. He became interested in bariatrics because of obesity's increasing prevalence and its recognition as an endocrine disorder that contributes to the development of diabetes and increased cardiovascular risk. During his time practicing medicine at MNCOME, Dr. Richardson has become board-certified in bariatric medicine and has become a certified diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine. Dr. Richardson helped Dr. Mike found MNCOME with the desire to help its comprehensive and "cutting edge" approach to weight management succeed. Dr. Richardson enjoys taking walks, and his favorite indulgence is chocolate.
Pam Strobel, MS, PA-C was drawn to endocrinology during her undergraduate work at the College of St. Catherine, having found the field of study both fascinating and challenging. As she was finishing her last rotation in PA school a spot opened up at MNCOME, which Pam considers very fortuitous. It was a case of being in the right place at the right time! With the vast amounts of new and hopeful research, especially in diabetes and obesity management, Pam continues to find endocrinology fascinating and challenging. She has formally added bariatrics to her practice by earning membership in the American Society of Bariatric Physicians (ASBP). Her favorite activity is playing pool and her favorite food is lobster or steak.
Beth Blaha, RN, CDE, EMT was drawn to nursing when she became an honorary first responder at 10 years old (ask her about the story!). As an adult, she formalized her commitment to helping others by becoming a nationally registered Emergency Medical Technician and then a Registered Nurse. After over 20 years in this field Beth became interested in helping people on the prevention side of care and added CDE and CPT credentials. She has been part of the MNCOME team since it's first day, having a similar forward thinking attitude as Dr. Mike. Beth enjoys walking around our beautiful MN lakes and during the winter enjoys skating and skiing as well. Her favorite indulgences are making homemade pasta and cheesecake using her mom's family recipes.
Tiphani Martinez, RD, CDE has known since she was five years old that she wanted to be a dietician and help people. She has been part of the MNCOME team since it's first day, and the sense of family among the staff and the genuine desire to collaborate with each other, and with patients on their care, are why she continues to make the minimum one hour each way commute! Tiphani's favorite healthy food is any kind of berry and her favorite indulgence is milk chocolate.
Andrea Pierson, RN, CDE became an RN, then added CDE credentials, because she wanted to be able to further use her talents to help patients with the management of diabetes in particular. She enjoys helping patients set and reach their goals; working at MNCOME was a natural choice because the team focuses on the often omitted step in clinical care of helping patients navigate how to become healthier rather than just telling them to do so. Andrea's favorite healthy food is avocado--it makes most foods taste better!--and her favorite indulgence is bread pudding.
Jessica Quinonez-Weislow, RD, CDE became an RD, CDE because she enjoys the simultaneous simplicity and complexity of food--nutrition itself is straightforward but the hows and whys of eating are not. Jessica likes to focus on helping people improve their relationship with food and set reasonable goals that can be maintained. She enjoys working at MNCOME because the entire team focuses on the goal of setting sustainable lifestyle changes that result in health rather than a diet, which is not common practice in most places. Jessica enjoys swimming, biking and running, and her favorite fun food is chocolate with almonds.
Felicia Herzog has always had a passion for working with others in a medical capacity, and wanted to be able to do more by becoming a Medical Assistant. She did an externship at MNCOME as part of her degree, and fell in love with the hospitality, the family-friendly environment and the knowledgeable staff. She admires the hard work and support that the staff dedicate to each patient and wanted to work in that kind of patient-centered environment. Felicia's favorite food is baked chicken with yellow rice, and she enjoys family outings as a way to get moving. Her favorite indulgence is actually not a food! She loves reading romance novels in her spare time.
Mai Lor chose to become a medical assistant because she likes helping others. She came to MNCOME as an extern in her MA program and impressed the rest of the staff with how she worked with patients--she has a natural talent for it! She was offered a position on the staff after she finished her degree. Mai enjoys a variety of fruits and vegetables, so it's hard to pick just one! Her favorite indulgence is chocolate.
Hope Morrison wanted to dedicate her nursing career to endocrinology for personal reasons; she has a family member that was diagnosed with type II diabetes and working in this specialty would allow her to learn more about this disease in particular. Hope felt MNCOME was the right fit for her because of the dedication to each patient as an individual. Everyone who comes through the door is treated with care. Her favorite activity is aerobics and she likes pasta. Hope's favorite indulgence is cookies--like many people she wishes she could eat them all day!
Alisa Tuquilar joined MNCOME as the lab tech after she completed her Medical Assistant externship--there was a spot open and it just happened to be the luck of, well, the draw! The team atmosphere and the relationships with patients MNCOME fosters made Alisa realize this was where she wanted to be. Her favorite healthy food is, in fact, any vegetable that is part of a good salad, and her favorite indulgence is movie theater popcorn... with too much butter!
Becky Gonzalez-Campoy, COO, a trained journalist who also wrote chapters for Mayo Clinic publications, became the COO of MNCOME when Dr. Mike, her husband, wanted to open the Center. She knew that teamwork was the best way to provide a visionary style of endocrine care that focused heavily on patient and family education. Her efforts have contributed to sustaining what was a cutting edge philosophy ten years ago, and today is the core of healthcare reform. Becky's favorite healthy food is pomegranate Greek yogurt, and she enjoys walking. Her favorite indulgence is chocolate mousse.
Laura Richardson is Dr. Mike's sister. Because she is bilingual, she greatly improved the front desk operations in MNCOME's early days, and has since become a top notch office manager. She now does the billing along with Becky, the COO. Laura's favorite food is anything Mexican and her favorite indulgence is ice cream or spicy chips.
Grace Gonzalez-Campoy (Gracie) says being able to work with family was a big plus of joining MNCOME as a front desk staff member. Gracie is currently studying food science so having the opportunity to learn from many role models while on the job is also a big plus. Her favorite healthy activity is going on runs with Becca Johnson, her best friend, and her favorite indulgence is peanut M&Ms.
Becca Johnson is MNCOME's newest team member and best friend to MNCOME staffer Gracie. Becca enjoys interacting with and helping others, and wants to do what she can to support happy, healthy lifestyles. During warmer months she likes to go on runs around any of the Minneapolis lakes, accented with lots of lunges. When it's snowy she breaks out the cross-country skis! Her favorite indulgence (and one true weakness) is pizza rolls.
Aimee Gonzalez has held various positions at MNCOME, starting with part time receptionist when the Center first opened. She moved to Miami for college, Israel to study abroad (the photo here is from a visit to a small Druze village in northern Israel) and New York for graduate school. She returned to Minnesota, and to MNCOME, as the head of web development and community relations.
Her favorite healthy food is roasted squash with thyme and her favorite indulgences are eggnog lattes (in the winter only!) and, like Gracie, peanut M&Ms.