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Residency Faculty Bios

Faculty Bios

Janice Benson, MD

Dr. Benson has been a Family Medicine doc for several decades now, and she continues to find the work that family physicians do to be important, meaningful, and intellectually stimulating. She is originally from Baltimore, MD and 'grew up' in the middle of the civil rights struggles. Dr. Benson went to MIT for undergraduate to plan a career in basic science research but quickly found that the life of a researcher was not the right fit for her, a people person with a commitment to social justice. At that time, community medicine principles were new but became the guide for scientifically-minded, idealistic pre-meds, such as her. Community Medicine has always meant Family Medicine to her - she saw she could take care of all ages, as the personal physician for families who need us the most. Dr. Benson received her MD from St. Louis University School of Medicine and chose Cook County Hospital for residency. There, she stayed and spent several years in practice and teaching in various roles. After completing a Faculty Development Fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she co-founded a Faculty Development training program that continues to train 5-15 family docs each year.

As Vice Chair of Education, Dr. Benson continues to love teaching residents in the hospital and family care center and interacting with students, fellows and faculty, too.

Her special interests are the dynamics of the health care for the poor, family issues, patients with severe chronic illness and mental illness, and faculty development. Her leisure time activities are hanging out with family, kayaking, x-country skiing, and reading.

Victoria Braund, MD

Dr. Victoria Braund is the Director of the Division of Geriatric Medicine at NorthShore University HealthSystem. She is also a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

Originally from North Dakota, Dr. Braund attended the University of North Dakota for her undergraduate and medical school. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine Affiliated Hospitals in Fargo. She then moved to Chicago where she completed a fellowship in Geriatric Medicine at the University of Chicago.

She maintains an active clinical practice at Glenbrook Hospital and is involved as a teacher of Geriatrics in both the Internal Medicine and Family Medicine residencies at NorthShore. She is also medical director at two skilled facilities and is a Certified Medical Director.

Her clinical interests include aging well, memory loss, end of life care, and transitioning seniors and their families through various levels of care in the community.

She and her husband are delighted to have both of their daughters attending the University of North Dakota.

Gene Combs, MD

Even though he trained in Psychiatry, Gene has always had a warm place in his heart for Family Medicine. As a psychiatrist, he had focused on family therapy, pursuing post-graduate training with many of the most respected theorists in the field.

Gene and his partner in life, Jill Freedman, have co-authored three books and many articles on aspects of Narrative Therapy, including the widely respected Narrative Therapy: the social construction of preferred realities. Gene has served on the Committee on Accreditation in Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) and on the board of the American Family Therapy Academy (AFTA). He was awarded for outstanding contributions and leadership to the association by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. In 2009 (with Jill Freedman) he received the Award for Innovative Contribution to Family Therapy from the American Family Therapy Academy.

For re-creation, Gene likes to travel, eat and try to improve his mediocre skills at playing and singing the music of (among others) Bob Dylan, The Band, Gillian Welch, and Mississippi John Hurt.

Gene has sought out work in a Family Medicine residency program because he has a lifelong commitment to social justice and he finds that doctors who choose Family Medicine share that interest. He enjoys the opportunities he has to help doctors-in-training respond to the psychosocial needs of people in the context of their families and their communities. He is especially interested in helping doctors learn to efficiently and effectively participate in the stories of peoples' struggles with serious illness. He strives to help them preserve a human, interpersonal, and reflective focus in the face of corporate pressures toward ills, procedures, and "productivity."

Mark Drexler, MD

Dr. Drexler was born and raised in the northern suburbs of Chicago. He attended Washington University in St. Louis for college where he received a B.S. in biology with a minor in mathematics. He played college football at Wash U for the first two years and served as a high school youth advisor in the St. Louis community. Dr. Drexler attended the University of Illinois at Chicago for medical school. He completed his residency in Family Medicine at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois. He has worked in a variety of clinical settings including group, solo, and academic settings.

Dr. Drexler joined the medical staff at Glenbrook Hospital in 2004 and started working with the Glenbrook Family Medicine Residency in 2005. He joined the NorthShore Medical Group in July, 2009. He became full time residency faculty in November, 2011 and became the Medical Director/Lead Physician at the Family Care Center in July, 2013. Dr. Drexler enjoys the clinical encounters with patients and their families and continues to see his patients in the clinic, the hospital, and local nursing homes. He works directly with the Family Medicine residents and medical students at NorthShore overseeing their training in the outpatient clinic, inpatient service and obstetrics. As Medical Director, he works closely with the physicians and clinical staff to improve the care provided at the Family Care Center. He is a proponent of the Patient Centered Medical Home and is working with a dedicated team to implement this medical model of care in our clinic.

Dr. Drexler is married with three wonderful children - Aaron age 21, Colby age 19 and Rikki age 15. His wife of 25 years, Sara, is an actuary.

Joseph P. Gibes, MD

Dr. Gibes grew up in the Chicago area and, after majoring in English at Calvin College, went to the University of Illinois in Chicago for medical school, planning to become a surgeon. However, he discovered and fell in love with Family Medicine instead. During that time, he also fell in love with and married Amy. After completing residency in Waukesha, WI, Dr. Gibes spent 11 years as a country doc in southwest Wisconsin, where his three children were born. He returned to the Chicago area and joined the residency faculty in 2006. Dr. Gibes has an MA in Bioethics. Interesting facts: he plays clarinet with FullScore Chamber Orchestra, and he once did a circumcision with an eight-inch steak knife.

Alfred Martin, MD

Dr. Martin was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. He was a Chicago firefighter for 12 years before and during medical school, working on busy rescue squads on the Westside. He received his MD from the University of Illinois College of Medicine and went on to complete 2 years of Emergency Medicine residency at Cook County Hospital. He then discovered his true passion and transferred to Mount Sinai Hospital on the Westside where he completed his Family Medicine residency. He returned to Cook County and was a faculty attending with the residency program there for 14 years. He has been on faculty with NorthShore since October 2013.

Dr. Martin's interest include disaster response (Haiti earthquake 2010; Hurricane Rita, Texas 2005), inpatient care, underserved care, global medicine, and quality improvement and patient safety.

He lives on the Northside of Chicago with his wife, Sara, and their 3 children. He enjoys playing the harmonica, the guitar, reading, coaching basketball, and beating his sons at chess because they think they're so smart (and they are, but not that smart...yet).

Deborah E. Miller, MD

Dr. Miller grew up in the rural town of Brimfield outside of Akron, Ohio. She completed her bachelor's degree at the Ohio State University in Microbiology. She went on to Medical School at Wright State/Boonshoft School of Medicine and stayed on in Dayton, Ohio to complete her residency training. She entered private practice for 4 years and then joined her alma mater as faculty. Early in her career the hospital and residency program were suddenly closed. It was a pivotal event in her life. It sparked an interest in medical economics and management. She went on to become a Certified Physician Executive with the American College of Physician Executives and completed a Master's degree in Academic Medicine with the University of Southern California in 2009. She became the Residency Program Director for the University of Chicago (NorthShore) in 2011.

Dr. Miller enjoys the enthusiasm and passion of resident physicians and medical students. She finds it is a honor to work with such gifted people. At the University of Chicago (NorthShore) Family Medicine Residency she has been privileged to lead a group of diverse and inclusive residents and faculty that care deeply for their patients, their community, and for each other. She and her wife Karen live in Glenview. They have two grand-children Rose and Dean. They enjoy gardening, beaches and tending their 13 year old pug, Whitney.

Lauren Oshman, MD

Dr. Oshman grew up in Dallas, Texas, and attended Baylor College of Medicine. Faced with the lack of access to health insurance and medical care for her patients, she became an advocate for a single payer health care system. She earned her M.P.H. at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and served as the National President of the American Medical Student Association. Advocacy naturally drew Dr. Oshman to family medicine - taking care of the whole person, the whole family, and the whole community is her passion. After residency training at the Institute for Urban Family Health in New York City, she practiced full-scope family medicine at Concord Family Medicine for five years.

In her current role at Northshore, Dr. Oshman serves as the Assistant Medical Director for Quality for the Family Care Center (FCC) and directs the Community Medicine rotation, Women's Health Track, and medical student education as the FCC. She has clinical interests in motivational interviewing and behavior change, integration of behavioral health and primary care, and reproductive health care, and loves taking care of patients of all ages. She is a dedicated advocate for family medicine, serving on the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians Board of Trustees and Government Relations Committee. She is married to percussionist Douglas Perkins, serves as the Cub Scout Webelos den leader for her amazing 9 year old son, and enjoys music, cooking, legos, and running.

Pooja Saigal, MD

Dr. Saigal is a family physician at NorthShore University HealthSystem and core faculty physician with the University of Chicago (NorthShore) Family Medicine Residency Program. A longtime Chicagoan, Dr. Saigal completed her undergraduate degree in psychology and her medical doctorate at Northwestern University. She subsequently completed her residency in family medicine at the University of Chicago, where she now serves as a member of the residency faculty. She has completed University of Arizona's Fellowship in Integrative Medicine, Cook County's Faculty Development Fellowship, and The University of Chicago MERITS Fellowship in Medical Education. Dr. Saigal practices comprehensive family medicine and also offers integrative medicine consultations to optimize disease management and overall wellbeing. She seeks to provide care in an individualized and evidence-based manner, emphasizing nutrition and positive mental state as vital components of overall wellbeing. She is passionate about sharing this holistic philosophy of care with the resident physicians and medical students who train with her.

Miriam K. Whiteley, MD

Dr. Whiteley grew up in Evanston, Illinois and majored in Biology and Fine Arts at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. After a brief stint as a researcher in molecular biology at Northwestern University, she entered medical school at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and was immediately drawn to Family Medicine and the care of underserved populations. She did her residency training from 1992-94 at the John H. Stroger Hospital of Cook County (formerly Cook County Hospital) and a Fellowship in Faculty Development from 1994-96 at Cook County Hospital along with a Masters in Health Professions Education at the University of Illinois.

For 16 years, she was a faculty member at Cook County Hospital as the Director of Maternity Care Services for Family Medicine at Stroger Hospital of Cook County. Dr. Whiteley brought her passion and skills in Maternity care to the University of Chicago (NorthShore)Family Medicine Residency Program in 2007. She is the Associate Program Director for the University of Chicago (NorthShore) Family Medicine residency and directs the Maternity Care educational program. She loves to deliver babies, and to teach residents to care for pregnancy women and their babies.

Dr. Whiteley still lives in Evanston, with her partner Evan, son Noah, and dog Eddie.

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