Behind the stethoscope

New docs at Marquette hospital discuss backgrounds, medical philosophies


Only three are Upper Peninsula natives, but when these six young medical providers finished the family medicine residency program at UP Health System-Marquette, they chose to stay in the U.P.

Here’s a chance to get to know them: Kathryn Lerche, DO, Marquette Family Medicine; Michael Kates, DO – Marquette Family Medicine; Riley Torreano, MD – Bell Family Medicine; Adam Butcher, MD – Adfinitas Hospitalist Group, Marquette; Will Barker, MD – Singletrack Health, Marquette; and Jim Sawyer, MD – War Memorial Hospital Internal & Family Medicine Outpatient Services.

Dr. Kathryn Lerche

Dr. Lerche earned Bachelor of Science degree in 2011 from Michigan Technological University, graduating Magna Cum Laude; went to medical school at the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, finishing in 2016 as a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine; and completed her residency at UP Health System-Marquette this year.

“I fell in love with the U.P. during my time at Michigan Tech and always knew I would end up back here,” Dr. Lerche said. “I love the small-town feel, the natural beauty and the relaxing pace of life. My husband (Chris) is also from the U.P., so being close to family is also important for us.”

She chose to practice at UPHS because: “I enjoyed my time working for UP Health System during my residency training. I think it is a unique area to work as it has a combination of small town/rural feel while also being a regional referral center for the U.P. Being able to continue working for the same clinic also allows for a smooth transition post- residency training.”

Her medical care philosophy?

“As an osteopathic physician I believe in treating the whole patient, not just the symptoms. This includes a strong provider-patient relationship in order to make a decision together about treatments and testing,” she said. “I feel this makes patients more invested in their care and also allows me to make better connections with my patients.”

When she’s not at work, Dr. Lerche enjoys cooking, painting, Great Lakes ship watching, boating and is learning to golf.

Dr. Michael Kates

Dr. Kates did his undergraduate and master’s degree work at Michigan State University, then attended medical school at Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, Missouri. He completed his residency through UP Health System-Marquette earlier this year.

His family is in the Grand Rapids/Holland, Michigan, area, but Dr. Kates has chosen to stay in the Upper Peninsula.

“I enjoy the outdoors and I love being close to so many activities,” Dr. Kates said. “I love being in a place I never feel like I need to leave. The community in the town and in the hospital is so wonderful, I hope to live here for years to come.”

Dr. Kates chose UPHS because: “I have grown to love Marquette and the community. I wanted to try and stay and serve the community as best I can. UP Health System has a lot of the resources of a bigger system including medical students and residents but it still has a community hospital feel.”

His medical care philosophy?

“I believe that health does not happen all at once and it is a long-term process that isn’t the same for everyone,” Dr. Kates said. “I enjoy helping people find that process for themselves and navigate the sometimes confusing world of health care. Some people want to make big changes, other people can just make small changes. Other people just need help maintaining the health they have.”

Dr. Kates interests outside of work include mountain biking, fishing, hunting, art and music.

Dr. Riley Torreano

A graduate of Negaunee High School, Dr. Torreano earned his undergraduate degree in biology/physiology from Northern Michigan University; gained his Doctor of Medicine from MSU’s College of Human Medicine; and completed his residency at the Marquette Family Residency Program through UPHS-Marquette.

He’s working at UPHS-Bell in Ishpeming.

“I have lived in the U.P. my entire life and I grew up in Negaunee. Working at Bell after finishing residency felt like a natural move that will put me back in a community I care deeply for,” Dr. Torreano said.

His medical care philosophy?

“I try to meet people where they are at in their health care journey and to guide them to become the best version of themselves while providing excellent primary care,” he said.

When he’s not at work: “Outside of medicine I enjoy hunting, fishing, and spending time with my wife (Kim) and my two daughters (Olivia, 5, and June, 1).”

Dr. Torreano enjoys camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, painting and playing music.

Dr. Adam Butcher

A graduate of Fenton High School in lower Michigan, Dr. Butcher earned an Honors Degree in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, with a minor in Chemistry. He graduated from the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in 2016 and completed his residency in May.

“I decided to stay with UPHS because I have been with them for five years as a medical student and a resident and I have come to really love the people. The teamwork is awesome,” he said. “But it’s mainly the people I work with.”

His medical philosophy?

“I believe it’s not just treating the medical condition, it’s treating the person. There are many things involved in that,” Dr. Butcher said. “For example, for someone whose family is the most important thing to them, having a conversation with the family about treatment is key. It’s about treating the entire person, not just the medical components.”

When he’s not working, Dr. Butcher enjoys cooking and anything involving the outdoors including mountain biking, kayaking and fishing.

Dr. Will Barker, MD

Originally from Germfask, Michigan, Dr. Barker received his medical degree from Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine and completed his residency in May. Dr. Barker is joining practice with former Marquette Family Medicine residents, Doctors Christopher & Jennifer Dehlin; the husband and wife physician team that founded Singletrack Health in Marquette. He will begin his practice there in August.

James Sawyer, MD, PharmD

Originally from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, Dr. Sawyer also received his medical degree from Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine and completed his family medicine residency in May. He is now practicing in affiliation with War Memorial Hospital’s Internal & Family Medicine outpatient services in the Sault.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)