Our Team

Adrienne Mann, M.D., Co-Founder and LCS Certified Coach

 

I am a hospitalist at the VA,  a good friend, a wife to Scott, mom to Amelia and Charlotte, and APD to residents in Internal Medicine. I am learning how to stop overcommitting to others and underdelivering to myself. I believe it is possible to be successful in everything I do, because I define what my own success is.

Read Adrienne's Story

I found coaching when I was in my 2nd or 3rd year out of training. I had a young family and was advancing through the ranks in my clinical practice and taking on leadership roles in my institution. It wasn’t long before I the wheels started to wobble. I was suffering with post-partum depression and barely keeping my head above water at work or at home. I was eating and drinking more than I wanted or needed to so I could feel better about myself. On a friend’s recommendation, I hired a coach to help me get my mind and body back on track and it  CHANGED MY LIFE.

 

With coaching, I learned how to take responsibility for my own experience in life. The good parts and the hard parts. I learned that it wasn’t anyone or anything (ahem, donuts, wine, or Instagram) else’s job to make me feel better.  I learned that moving UP and moving FORWARD aren’t always in the same direction. I learned that the only person who knows where I need to go and what I need to do is ME.

 

I am here because I know how much I needed these tools as a resident. I needed to know that I deserve to feel confident and worthy regardless of what other people think. I learned that when I let go of pleasing everyone else, and learning how to honor myself, I could grow into the very best version of myself as a woman/mom/wife/clinician and leader.

 

I am SO glad you are here and can’t wait to see what you have in store for yourself!

 

Adrienne

Tyra Fainstad, M.D., Co-Founder and LCS Certified Coach

 

I am a general internist, only child, high achieving, woman. I am a wife to Brandon, mom to Maddie and Desi, teacher to CU residents, and primary care doctor to hundreds. I am a deep empath. I am fascinated by pathophysiology of the human body and emotional complexity of the human brain. I am a recovering approval addict. I am on a never ending path towards self-awareness and, ultimately, radical self-love.

Read Tyra's Story

I used to think that I was nothing without approval, without an honors grade. I felt completely dependent on everyone else’s judgement of me to be worthy. I felt scared and unbelievably stressed. I thought that to feel better, I needed to prove myself. I thought that if I “let my guard down” (i.e. let myself slow down or, worse, feel a shred of self-confidence), I might accidentally kill a patient or humiliate myself. I was starving for praise. I believed what everyone else said, wrote, or assessed about me rather than asking myself what I wanted, needed or knew to be true.

 

Then, I had a baby. A baby that had her own agenda. She didn’t care if I was a super-mom. She didn’t know if I read the books. She could not be learned, memorized, manipulated or controlled. My daughter thrived not by me being rigid with myself, but through some other completely foreign pathway that felt completely unattainable. Then… I broke. And grasped for control. And broke again. And grasped harder for control. Anything. I frantically searched the internet for answers. I read books. I polled friends. I fought with my husband about sleep schedules and milk ounces and ways to respond to her crying until I was crying and then I grasped some more. I tried to make my baby my work, and I did not succeed.

 

Then, I got a life coach. In a few short months I had a new way to think about myself and could process emotions instead of resist or react to them. She helped me use self-compassion where I was used to using self-critique (unsuccessfully). She allowed me to befriend my anxiety. Let it be what it was, even be grateful for it instead of viewing it as my ultimate weakness. This small change was the start of a very, very big evolution that I am still trailblazing through. It’s changed everything.

 

Now, I’m on a mission to continue the awareness and spread the knowledge. I can’t tell you how many times I thought “if only I had this way of thinking during my training!” And also “what if I never got access to this? How long would it be until I burned out?” I don’t want to have to watch this happen to anyone else. I have a clear purpose: To create space for change through teaching and love. I want to show you how to access inner validation rather than relying on external praise. I want to help you manage and even love your inner critic without letting her drive the car. I want to help you choose your thoughts so that you can build you life – how YOU want it.

 

I can’t wait to see you, hear you and create a space for you to watch your mind. I can’t wait to show you the value of unconditional love, and self value.  I can’t wait to watch you take control of your life!

 

Tyra

Christina A Arnold, M.D., LCS Certified Master Coach

 

I am a GI pathologist, mom, wife, certified professional coach in Master Coach training with more than 1800 hours of physician coaching experience, and is the voice behind the Your Path in Focus podcast. I help physicians feel better NOW and up-level everything by working LESS. I also specialize in imposter syndrome, burnout, physician negotiations, momma drama, toxic people, and getting the best sleep of your LIFE!

Read Christina's Story

My life wasn’t always a dream.
There was a time when I was beyond burned out.
I thought I was totally broken.
I was miserable because I thought my job didn’t value me,
I was overwhelmed by having too much to do in not enough time,
and I spent entire days rehashing 2 min interactions with a toxic person.
I was chasing my boss’s praise and was devastated when it didn’t arrive.
I was eating to feel better and couldn’t fit into anything but scrubs.
I developed the worst sleep of my life.
I was exhausted.
I found myself wondering, “Is this all there is?”

 

Not. Even. Close.
Turns out, I had it all wrong.
Through coaching, I learned how to create my own dream life.
I realized I was never broken; I was bracing for my next transformation.
I let go of the rehashing and learned how to manage the toxic people.
I figured out how to get the best sleep of my life without medication.
I saw that I actually always have the exact time I need.
I found out that when I saw, listened, and took care of myself, the rest of my life became easy.

 

I can show you how to do the same.
The process is simple.
The results are immediate.
Life can be easier.

 

Christina

Ami Shah, M.D., LCS Certified Coach

 

I am a pediatric surgeon at Rush University, sister, a wife to Steven, mom to Jai and Alina, and clerkship director. I am learning how to live in the full experience of my daily life, not just getting through the day. Everyday I’m learning to live with joy and passion.

Read Ami's Story

About 3 years ago I was deep in a malaise. Nothing was wrong, everything was “fine” but my world had no color. I was getting through each and every day and waking up to do all the same the next day with minimal joy or sadness in all my days. I looked at myself in the mirror and I didn’t even know what I wanted anymore. I had struggled and fought so hard to get to where I was but I didn’t even like where I was. I saw so much joy in the face of my children that I didn’t know how to experience anymore.

 

I felt so lost and had no idea how to get back to feeling any emotion. I read all the books and double downed on working harder, trying to achieve that next thing to find some happiness. As you can guess this didn’t lead to any sort of change in my life except continuing to live in the shadow of my life.

 

One of my friends had recently started working with a coach and I thought, why not? I started to realize that I was so afraid to feel anything negative I had made the decision to not feel anything. I began to explore the imposter syndrome and perfectionism that had made work feel so difficult to me. In this process I learned to start accepting all the parts of me, even the part that gets sad, lonely and anxious.

 

As I began getting coached I noticed how many students and residents thought the same way that I was. I realized how much better and fuller my experience of residency and fellowship could have been if I had known some of these concepts. I’ve made it my mission to bring this work to trainees at all levels so you have the tools to create the life you want.

 

Ami

Yashika Dooley, M.D., MS, FACOG, LCS Certified Coach

 

I am passionate about women’s health care and training the next generation of physicians and thought leaders in medicine, and have dedicated my career to helping recruit and retain women in medicine and redefine their role as advocates for themselves and their patients.

Read Yashika's Story

After completing my undergraduate degree at Howard University, I earned my medical degree at Harvard Medical School. I then completed my Obstetrics and Gynecology residency in the United States Air Force at Wright Patterson/ Miami Valley Combined Residency Program, and a three year fellowship training at Loyola in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery while earning a Masters in Clinical Research. I am also an assistant professor at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

 

As a trained surgeon and academic leader with over ten years of coaching experience, I help physicians who are overworked, frustrated or struggling to maintain balance.

 

I help you assess your current situation, identify stress points and develop clear paths for success. My coaching is focused on leveraging your mind, time and effort to have the career and personal life that you desire.

 

I help you live, navigate, and succeed on your terms.

 

Yashika

Tonya Caylor

Tonya Caylor, M.D., FAAFP, LCS Certified Coach

 

I am a family physician, an academic coach, on-call faculty for the Alaska Family Medicine Residency, a wife, a mother and now a “Noni” to 2 precious littles. I am living out my purpose of helping others make meaningful progress toward their goals and improve their overall health in work and life through medicine, education, and coaching. My main focus is helping physicians lose unnecessary suffering, and to learn tools, concepts, and techniques to help them enjoy all of life and thrive in their chosen careers.

Read Tonya's Story

I began practice in a physician-owned multi-specialty group in 1999 in Florida. I transitioned into becoming the medical director and primary physician for a startup indigent care clinic. We followed my husband’s dream of living in Alaska and my dream of being in academics in 2007. I managed somehow to make it 16 years out of residency before completely burning out (although there were unrecognized warning signs along the way).

 

When I burned out from being a core faculty member in 2015, I didn’t even know that was a term or condition. I just thought something was wrong with me – my personality just didn’t fit in academics. I had become impatient with people, couldn’t engage with my family in the evenings, lost meaning in my work, and small tasks seemed overwhelming. I attended the Brave Enough conference that year and learned concepts I’d never heard of such as unhealthy perfectionism, boundaries and prioritizing self-care. When a speaker shared about their burnout story, it was like looking in a mirror.

 

I healed over the following 4 years by joining a private practice that a husband and wife owned and had set up for the enjoyment of medicine, not for making a profit. I hired a physician coach to help navigate the next steps to fill the extra margin I had created and now ready to fill. She invited me to also participate in her 12-week program for other women physicians. This is when I saw and experienced the power of coaching. It didn’t take long for me see that coaching in academics was greatly needed.

 

The last few years have been some of the most meaningful of my own career coaching students, residents, fellows and faculty. I am so glad you are investing your time and energy for YOU! You deserve not to settle and find your own best answers.

 

I’ll be cheering you on along the way!

 

Tonya

Diana Mercado-Marmarosh, M.D., LCS Certified Coach

 

I am a family medicine physician, clinic medical director, chief medical officer, and nursing home medical director. I am also founder of OverAchieve Life Coaching, a company designed to help physicians and medical students create systems that are so simple, even someone with ADHD can implement.

Read Diana's Story

For the past decade, prior to discovering life and ADHD coaching, I was someone who always had 200 charts open, and a graveyard of unfinished projects.

 

But all that has now changed.

 

I am now on a mission to help physicians and medical students create systems that support their zone of genius, and reclaim 5-10 hours of their personal life. For physicians ,that means chart at work and complete work at work. For medical students, that means mastering study habits and board exams.

 

I am happily married and have a 3 year old daughter and 4 year old son. I enjoy travel, painting, zumba, yoga nidra meditation, and exploring different cultures.

 

Diana

Rachel Swigris, DO, LCS Certified Coach

 

I am a wife and best friend to Jeff, mother to Atticus and Callum and a daughter, sister, and friend. I practice women’ health as an internist in the WISH (Women’s Integrated Services and Health) clinic at the University of Colorado, and some of my passions include medical education, physician wellness and mindfulness. My happiest times are spent with family and friends. I enjoy reading, gardening, hiking, cooking, and collecting quotes. Through coaching, I am learning to love myself more and focus less on trying to please other people. I believe in kindness, thank-you notes, and the magic of sunrises and sunsets. I live by the mantra “I have enough time for everything that is important today.”

Read Rachel's Story

In 2015, both my father and father-in-law were diagnosed with metastatic cancer (pancreatic and mesothelioma) within months of each other. In June of that same year, life threw our family yet another curve ball. A brain meningioma was discovered incidentally while I was getting evaluated for a concussion. I was hit on the head with a foul ball at my oldest son’s baseball game. Due to the tumor’s size and location, surgery was recommended.

 

In July, of 2016, I underwent a partial resection of the tumor and unfortunately had an intraoperative stroke. I had to learn to talk, walk, drive, and write again; I am so grateful for my amazing therapy team. My husband was my biggest cheerleader and literally walked miles with me and my walker and accompanied me to every appointment. I was dogged in my determination to get back to clinical practice (so much of my identity was wrapped up in being a doctor) and I returned to practice 4 months later. I refused to identify as a patient any longer.

 

“You say impossible, but all I hear is ‘I’m possible.’”

~Ted Lasso

 

In 2019, I hired a life coach. I was having an identity crisis of sorts and on many days felt I wanted to leave medicine altogether. Over the preceding five years, I had almost completely left my positions in medical education and was wondering if continuing my career in academic primary care as a full -time clinician was even sustainable. Immediately, I fell in love with coaching and thought work.

 

This motivated me to become a certified life coach. Initially, I thought this could be an alternative to medicine and a new career. Years of thought work have allowed me to find joy in my practice again and even to take on a new role in medical education at our medical school.

 

Coaching IS teaching and whether that’s with my patients, residents, students or clients; the power of showing another individual their mind and allowing them to see the role their thoughts play in the creation of their life is by far the most powerful teaching I have done.

 

Coaching supports me in my roles as wife, mother, daughter, sister, doctor and teacher. The identity as a life coach allows me to see new possibilities, to heal and teach, and maybe the most important student is myself.

 

Rachel

Ursula Lang, M.D., LCS Certified Coach

 

I am a molecular biologist and dermatopathologist with a passion for translational research and coaching. I have seen firsthand the stressors that academic careers can disproportionally have on women and minorities. Coaching transformed my life, and I have made it a part of my life mission to share the knowledge and tools with others. I am an integral part of the wellness committee within my department, and a leader in the anti-racism efforts at an institutional level. My coaching focuses on improving relationships, time management and living an authentic life, which are integral to the process of finding a fulfilling work-life balance.

Angie Mathai, MD, LCS Certified Coach

 

I am an internal medicine-pediatrics trained physician working in NC at East Carolina University. I work part time in the outpatient clinic, where I get to precept the best residents and spend the rest of time managing the chaos in our family of six. I discovered coaching while trying to figure out why I wasn’t happy despite having the perfect life. I am fascinated by disciplines/schools of thought that hone our intuition, mostly as I am reconditioning myself to hear and honor my inner voice. My current interests include engaging the unconscious mind, normalizing health at every size, and exploring unique ways to manage big emotions.

Wendy Schofer, MD, LCS Certified Coach

 

I am a pediatrician, lifestyle physician, and certified life, weight & health coach who used coaching tools to go from burnout to loving medicine again. I create a safe, cozy, and fun coaching space for you to explore & focus on what’s most important to you. Common coaching topics include parenting, body image, weight loss, raising a healthy family, fitting it all in, and how to practice on your terms, so you can fall back in love with medicine & keep work at work. Reignite your fire, for medicine & more.

Sunny Smith, MD, LCS Master Certified Coach

 

I am a family physician as well as the founder and CEO of Empowering Women Physicians. I advocate for physician wellness through my comprehensive and collaborative coaching program, podcast, and Facebook group that seek to change the culture of medicine through normalizing and humanizing the experience of being a physician. I have been featured in multiple documentaries on medical student and physician wellness, including Do No Harm, which is currently streaming on Amazon. I am the recipient of multiple teaching awards, including Humanism in Medicine, Excellence in Teaching, the Outstanding Community Leader award, and is a member of Forbes Coaches Council. I spent my academic career at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, where I was Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health, Co-Medical Director of the UCSD Student-run Free Clinic Project, and Academic Community Director. My work has been published in many peer-reviewed journals, including JAMA.

Gretchen Bruno, MD, LCS Certified Coach

 

I am a dedicated physician, passionate life coach, grateful mama, and perpetual student of life. I have practiced OBGyn in Denver, CO since 2004. My training prior to that was at UVA in Charlottesville, VA and VCUHS in Richmond, VA. Much of my life has been spent achieving more, doing more, and taking on a lot more than the average human- typical physician behavior. There was a part of me that thought if I just get there, look like that, have this much, it will all be ok. Well I got ‘there’, looked like ‘that’, had plenty and still did not find the golden ticket to utopia as I imagined. Getting out of residency was not the magic I envisioned. I have been on a journey of self discovery for as long as I can remember. Yoga teacher training, Ironman races, meditation retreats were some of my favorites on the path to learning how I work and upleveling my life, but ultimately, coaching and understanding what is underneath my emotions, actions, and results has shifted my life immeasurably in terms of what I now know to be possible. I am so excited to share this gift with you and aspire to be a part of the movement to shift the culture of medicine. We are all better together, and you are way more powerful than you may know!

Shannon Weinstein, DO, LCS Certified Coach

 

I am board-certified emergency medicine physician at Broward Health North and assistant professor of emergency medicine at Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine (FIU-HWCoM) in South Florida. I am core faculty, wellness director and chair of the clinical competency committee of Broward Health’s emergency medicine residency. I currently teach medical students and residents in the department and coach physicians as a physician coach during my time outside the department. I am passionate about empowering residents and physicians to reach their fullest potential inside of medicine and in their personal lives as well. I live and work to be an example of the power of coaching in my personal and professional life. Outside of medicine, I enjoy being with my family, doing home improvement projects and traveling to see my friends.

Elisa Boden, MD, LCS Certified Coach

 

I am a gastroenterologist and certified life coach with expertise in helping clients with chronic disease feel more in control of their health. I also love coaching physicians to navigate the challenges of medicine and reconnect with why they chose to become doctors. In my free time I love reading, laughing with my children and taking long walks in the woods.

Tricia James, MD, LCS Certified Coach

 

I am an academic Internal Medicine physician in Portland, OR. I am also a wellness advocate and leader and absolutely love coaching to help physicians rediscover their power and joy in medicine. I am passionate about shifting our culture so that we can all be human rather than super human and learn to meet our own needs in addition to those of our patients, colleagues and systems. I am also a mom to 3 young children and I am intimately familiar with integrating many roles day to day.

Michael Hersh, MD, LCS Certified Coach

 

I am a gastroenterologist, husband, father, and physician coach. I coaches physicians on creating work-life balance, goal setting, reducing overwhelm, and feeling more present at home and less annoyed at work. My goal is to help physicians stop feeling trapped in medicine so that they can finally enjoy the life they worked so hard to build.

Meet Our Research Team

In addition to delivering a meaningful experience and valuable tools and skills to GME trainees, we are also committed to advancing the scholarship of coaching in academic medicine. We do this through quantitative and qualitative study of Better Together with a talented team including psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, medical students, statisticians, and others.

Nathalie Dieujuste, National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellow

 

I am a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology PhD program at the University of Denver and a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellow. My research experience spans several topic areas, including trauma, suicidology, health services research, and Black maternal health. As a member of the BT Team, I serve as a qualitative analyst and am passionate about interventions aimed at improving the wellness and well-being of women, especially racial and ethnic minority women, in health care and academic medicine. As a graduate trainee, I am interested in investigating the impact of early life trauma and chronic stressors (e.g., racial trauma) on the physical and mental health of Black girls and women across the lifespan.

Pari Shah, MSW, LCSW, PhD Candidate, Professional Research Assistant

 

I am a PhD candidate at the University of Denver in the Graduate School of Social Work, and serve as a research assistant on the Better Together team. With Better Together, I assists with data collection, analysis, data dissemination, and project management. My research is centered on the mental health and wellbeing of healthcare workers, and my dissertation explores of the experiences of moral injury amongst clinical social workers in healthcare. My previous research has included the areas of maternal and child health, innovative clinical social work practices, and workforce interventions. Clinically, I practice therapy in the greater Denver area, and have experience working in the hospital and long-term healthcare settings. I use mixed methodologies in my research and value the convergence of clinical practice with research to best serve our community.

Brooke Dorsey Holliman, PhD, MA

 

I am an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine in the School of Medicine. I specialize in the use of qualitative and mixed methods in health services research, and am skilled at health policy and program evaluation. My research focuses on health disparities and inequalities due to socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, and social and structural factors. My role on the Better Together team is providing qualitative methodology expertise. I believe the focus on coaching women is important because disparities exist for women in science and medicine and the use of rigorous qualitative methods can inform future applications of interventions aimed at women’s wellness in medicine.

Christine D. Jones, MD, MS

 

I am passionate about plugging the leaky pipeline in academic medicine and creating a healthy culture that promotes diversity, equity and inclusion for all in medicine and research. My expertise is in Qualitative, Mixed Methods, and (with support from my PhD friends) Quantitative Analyses – I love thinking about ways we can design our projects to ask and answer great questions and better understand why interventions may or may not be efficacious for different people

Kimiko Dunbar, MD, Pediatric Hospital Medicine Fellow

 

I’m passionate about medical education, mental health and burnout. Through Better Together, I have developed an interest in the increased pre-disposition to burn-out among female physicians. I’m thrilled to have recently joined the research team to pursue my ultimate career interest of combining medical education with clinical medicine!

Kerri Thurmon, M.D., MPH, iPEC Certified Professional Coach

 

I am a urologic surgeon at Denver Health. Our life’s purpose reveals itself when we stop being AFRAID and start being OURSELVES. My purpose – mother, partner, healer, teacher, coach. Leading a value-directed life as opposed to an achievement-directed life shifted my energy to allow my wishes to come true. I journeyed to Colorado for my LOVE, Mike. We are now expecting our first child.