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Faculty

For faculty career opportunities, go to www.essentiahealth.org/careers.

John Wood, MD, Program Director

Dr. Wood is the Program Director. He joined our faculty in October 2012. Dr. Wood grew up on the Eastern Seaboard, graduated from the University of Washington Medical School and is a graduate of the Duluth Family Medicine Residency Program, completing the program in 1991. For 14 years he practiced in Grand Marais, doing full scope Family Medicine, including Obstetrics, ER, Nursing Home Care, EMS Care, and was the team physician for the Cook County High School Football Team. In June 2014, Dr. Wood completed a fellowship in Faculty Development at the University of Minnesota. In addition to his position as Program Director, he continues to moonlight in rural ER’s in Northern Minnesota. He and his family still have a home in Grand Marais. He loves all things outdoors and being with his family.

Mary (Daisy) Braaten, MD

Dr. Mary (Daisy) Braaten grew up on the South Side of Chicago. She studied Classics and Premed at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts and did her junior year at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. Between college and medical school she volunteered with the Redeemer Ministry Corps working in hospital pastoral care. She attended Northwestern University Medical School and residency at the West Suburban Family Practice Residency, serving the West Side of Chicago.

Dr. Braaten first practiced at Family Practice Community Wellness Center, serving an inner-city Latino population. She completed a faculty development fellowship at Cook County Hospital and taught with the St. Elizabeth Family Practice Residency. After 6 years she and her family moved to Northern Minnesota where she joined a rural practice in Deer River, working part-time. She enjoyed this full-spectrum, rural practice for 10 years. Dr. Braaten joined the Duluth Family Medicine Residency Program as faculty in 2013 and she continues to do some rural ER work. She enjoys time with her husband and four children.

James (Jamie) Conniff, MD

Dr. Conniff grew up in Connecticut. He studied history at Yale University, where he completed his pre-medical requirements while taking a year off to perform in a collegiate a cappella singing group. He earned his medical degree from Columbia University’s College of Physicians & Surgeons and completed his residency at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Family Medicine & Community Health, where he focused on global and community health as well as the care of LGBTQ persons.

Dr. Conniff’s affection for the Midwest and its winters grew steadily during his time in Madison, and when he met his partner Carson, a South Dakotan, he decided to stay here for good. Following residency he completed a fellowship in research at UW-Madison, while earning a master’s degree in public health and practicing full-spectrum family medicine. Then the outdoors called and he and Carson decided to move to Duluth in the fall of 2016 when he joined the faculty of the Duluth Family Medicine Residency Program. During his free time he enjoys hiking, biking, skiing, canoeing, reading, cooking and gardening.

Jennifer Jones, MD

Dr. Jennifer Jones was raised in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. For her education, she toured the Midwest with stops at Northwestern College in St. Paul and the University of Wisconsin-Madison for her undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology. She then continued on with her medical education at the University of Iowa, where she stayed to complete her Family Medicine residency in 2005. She then returned to Minnesota to practice full spectrum Family Medicine in Duluth at an independent clinic until 2011. She took a hiatus from medicine to raise her family before returning to a temporary outpatient medicine position with the local Community Health Center in 2012, and then joined the faculty in 2013. Outside of medicine, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, and the variety of year round outdoor activities that Duluth has to offer.

Danielle MacDonald, PharmD

Danielle MacDonald, Pharm.D., BCACP received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy–Duluth in 2007. She then completed an ambulatory care pharmacy practice residency with the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy in 2007-2008. After residency, she practiced both clinic and community pharmacy-based care in an independent health system. She currently practices at three family medicine clinics in Duluth: the Duluth Family Medicine Clinic and the Essentia Health Lakewalk and Lakeside Clinics where she provides comprehensive medication management services. Her professional interests include optimizing disease management services, nurturing interprofessional collaboration, providing practice-based education, and participating in quality improvement and practice-based research. Her personal interests include spending time with family and friends, enjoying music, and spending time outdoors – skiing, hiking, and mountain biking.

Darcy Murphy, MD

Dr. Murphy grew up in Reedsburg, Wisconsin. She studied biology and secondary education at Kalamazoo College in Michigan. After college she taught high school science courses and experiential outdoor education at the Albuquerque Academy in New Mexico and the National Outdoor Leadership School. She later attended the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee where she earned her medical degree and completed her Family Medicine residency in Duluth in 2012.

After graduation she practiced outpatient medicine in Hermantown, Minnesota, and joined our faculty in September 2016. She enjoys spending time with her husband and her young boys, hiking, traveling, gardening, yoga and reading.

Jennifer Nelson-Albee, MSW, LICSW

Jen Nelson Albee grew up in Plymouth, MN. She attended Hamline University where she earned an undergraduate degree in Sociology and Women’s Studies. After completing 2 years as an Americorps Volunteer in Denver, CO and Trout Lake, WA, she returned to graduate school and earned a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Minnesota in 2001. She has lived and worked in Duluth since 2002 primarily providing psychotherapy to adults, children and families. In 2014 she began working part-time at the residency clinic as an Integrated Behavioral Health Specialist. She started full time at the residency as part of the faculty in 2016. Outside of work she enjoys trail running, traveling with her family and spending time with friends.

Lisa Prusak, MD, Associate Director

Dr. Prusak grew up in Marshall, Minnesota. She graduated from the College of St. Catherine and attended the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis medical school. She is a 1990 graduate of the Duluth program. Upon graduation, she spent a year as a volunteer in Bangladesh working with woman and children and doing relief work. She joined P.S. Rudie and Associates in 1992 doing full-scope family practice including obstetrics. For the past 7 years, she has worked at EssentiaHealth – Duluth Clinic Urgent Care. During that time she spent one year in Anchorage, Alaska working in the Community Health Clinic. She joined the residency faculty in August 2011.

Jason Wall, MD

Dr. Wall has a long standing fascination with all things Minnesota. He was raised in Woodstock, Illinois, attended St. Olaf College and graduated from the Chicago Medical School in 2003. Returning to Minnesota for residency, he is a 2006 graduate of the Duluth program. Dr. Wall maintains an interest in underserved healthcare and worked at the Healtheast Salud Integral Clinic in St. Paul, Minnesota, for two years after graduation. Coming full circle, he returned to Duluth where he worked in urgent care until joining the faculty in 2011. Dr. Wall enjoys medical education and is planning a fellowship in faculty development.

Outside of medicine, Dr. Wall is devoted to his family, friends, two cats and a high-maintenance black lab. He maintains an interest in philosophy and completed a Masters degree in the philosophy of religion at the University of Chicago in 1999. Dr. Wall loves the extreme weather of Duluth as well as trail running, mountain biking, wilderness canoeing and dreaming up road trips in his Volkswagen Vanagon.

Ann Yapel, PharmD

Pharmacy school: University of Minnesota
Medical interests: Patient education, interprofessional care and collaboration, geriatric and underserved populations
Personal interests: Time with family and friends, running, music

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