UPHS Family Medicine Residency Program: Loving life in the U.P.

MARQUETTE — Rachel Bush loves what she sees in her job as residency coordinator for the UP Health System-Marquette’s Family Medicine Residency Program.

“Our teaching faculty is very committed to what they are doing,” Rachel said. “They want our residents to succeed.”

Rachel, an Alger County native, has been with the UP Health System-Marquette’s Family Medicine Residency Program — which is known by the acronym MFMRP — for more than 12 years. She has witnessed great changes in the young doctors in the program.

“It’s wonderful to see them grow in confidence from the first year to the third year,” she said. “It’s one of the best things, to see them get their confidence.”

One of those residents is Dr. Stephanie Rutterbush, who hails from downstate Oxford, and came to the Upper Peninsula to attend Michigan Tech University.

“I fell in love with the U.P. When I was looking at medical schools, I saw that Michigan State University had a campus program up here and MSU was one of the medical schools I wanted to attend,” Dr. Rutterbush said. “I have done my clinical years here and have loved it a lot.”

Looking at the program in Marquette Dr. Rutterbush was pleased it was unopposed, which means there aren’t other medical residents occupying the educational opportunity.

“That meant lots of hands-on experience. You get to work with a lot more folks and that’s great,” she said. “In the hospital setting, we get to be the best we can be. We see babies and kids and the elderly and all ages in between. You learn many ways to help everybody out. You develop lots of skills. And it’s fun.”

Dr. T. Michael Kates is another resident in the MFMRP program who came to the U.P. from lower Michigan. He has family roots up here and had always wanted the chance to live here but had never really considered the chance until looking at residency options.

“I came up to visit,” he said. “I had never visited Marquette before and I fell in love with the town. There’s a lot of activities that I like to do here, like fishing and hunting. Plus I have great interactions with people. I know I made the right decision in coming here. I can’t imagine being anyplace else.”

Dr. Kates said the Family Medicine program is very supportive and very close.

“We are a tight-knit group which is a reflection of the community at large,” he said. “It’s something you don’t get in other programs.”

Gwinn native Dr. Dexter Clark comes to the program from a bit of a different perspective, already having a wife and six children when he came to MFMRP.

“When I was looking at med schools, I decided I wanted to go into family practice. This was home for me,” he said. “And with the unopposed program, knowing we are the only residents, we get to try everything out, all steps of patient care. That’s good if you’re going to be a rural doctor and take care of all kinds of patients.”

Dr. Ryan Brang, one of the program’s assistant directors, said MFMRP emphasizes improving the physician’s personal well-being.

“The Marquette area is conducive to all forms of outdoor activities, mountain biking is how I connect with nature and maintain my personal wellness,” Dr. Brang said. “Groups of six to 12 meet once a week all year long to mountain bike or do other activities, perhaps followed by pizza and a beverage or two.”

“The faculty puts a lot of emphasis on providing support to the residents. Residency training is difficult and can be very stressful. We aim to provide the education to help learners manage stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle,” Dr. Brang said.

Groups of six to 12 meet once a week all year long to mountain bike or do other activities, perhaps followed by pizza and a beverage or two.

“Living here gives you much to enjoy outside of work. Dr. Brang said. “There’s nothing like it anywhere in the world and I’m so grateful to call Marquette my home.”

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