University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Public health and emergency medicine
Aaron grew up in a small town in eastern Wisconsin with his parents, Robby and Dawn, and brother Adam. He lived in a variety of places in eastern Wisconsin, ranging from a farmhouse to a city dwelling. From a very young age Aaron’s parents valued education above all else, stressing the importance of academic performance to set a foundation for a promising future.
Aaron was exposed to medicine throughout his early years. His mom was a nurse and would tell him stories about her job, and his dad also worked at the hospital. He also learned and enjoyed visits from his Uncle Dean, who was an internal medicine physician in Madison at the University of Wisconsin. Aaron’s family would visit Uncle Dean in Madison and Aaron started to formulate the idea and dream of becoming a physician .
When he was 14, his parents adopted his two sisters from Ethiopia and Nepal. Traveling to Nepal was definitely the most memorable cultural experience of his childhood. Though young, Aaron began to understand what public health meant. He was able to appreciate the rifts in healthcare that were evident compared to his hometown. Aaron enjoyed playing on the school football team with his younger brother. It taught him competition and those efforts transferred to the classroom.
Aaron was accepted and attended the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. He found it both exciting and frightening to have so many more people and students around him.
In his sophomore year he took, “Introduction to Healthcare”. His professor Dr. Dana Merriman sought him out as a very proactive and promising student. Aaron eventually joined her neuroscience lab and she became his “mom away from home” while he attended college. Aaron had a passion for teaching and founded the Pre Medical Society of UW Oshkosh under the direction of Dr. Merriman. The organization flourished and is still going strong today. Aaron continued to stay in contact with the Menominee tribe while away from home, seeking guidance from staff at the College of Menominee Nation.
Before beginning medical school, a key mentor reached out to him; Dr. Erik Brodt, founder and past director of what would become the Native American Center for Health Professions (NACHP). He helped Aaron connect with other Native students, which was key in helping guide him through the rigors of medical school. This support created a welcoming and family environment.
Aaron went through the didactic years with the desire to become a surgeon. He completed research in the Department of Surgery and looked forward to his third and fourth years, where he would transition from classroom to clinic.
Halfway through Aaron’s third year of clinical rotations, he had worked with a wide array of specialties, from surgery to hospital medicine. He began to develop a deep interest in Emergency Medicine, the specialty he would ultimately decide to pursue.
He was very interested in public health and academic medicine, so he decided to take a year between his third and fourth year of medical school to earn his Master’s of Public Health Degree. He is currently conducting Emergency Medicine research at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the University of Minnesota, where he will receive his MPH degree.