Meet Our Transitional Year Residency Faculty

Farah Ciftci-Olsen, MD

Transition Year Assistant Program Director

Dr. Farah Ciftci Olsen graduated from medical school in Turkey and trained in Neurology before moving to the United States in 2006 to start her Internal Medicine residency at the John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County. After residency graduation, she was asked to stay on as chief medicine resident and then as faculty member at Cook County, working as an attending physician for five years in the Division of Hospital Medicine and later the Division of General Internal Medicine.

During her time at Cook County, Dr. Ciftci served as a member of the core faculty and as Associate Firm Chief of the Internal Medicine Residency Program. She played a pivotal role in numerous educational initiatives in both the inpatient and ambulatory settings, serving as co-director of a resident research mentoring program, director of educational activities of the Division of Hospital Medicine, and Chair of the faculty development program for the Division of General Internal Medicine. She also created and implemented several innovative educational programs for residents including an ambulatory intern immersion rotation and addiction medicine rotation. In addition, her research work and clinical case presentations have been awarded various honors and published in several peer-reviewed journals such as BMJ, Seizure, and Journal of Neurology.

Dr. Ciftci joined MacNeal Hospital in 2016 as the Associate Program Director of the Transitional Year Residency Program and core faculty member of the Internal Medicine Residency Program. Her focus is primarily in medical education innovation and faculty development to improve clinical teaching of housestaff.

As she has worked with all stages of learners in clinical medicine from medical students up to faculty, Dr. Ciftci believes in learner-centered teaching and every learner has the ability to improve and reach their goals with reflection, proper feedback, encouragement, and mentorship, regardless of whether the learner is a resident or a brand-new attending.

Shannon Connolly, DO

Emergency Medicine

Dr. Shannon Connolly graduated from medical school at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and went on to complete her emergency medicine residency through the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is an active clinician and the MacNeal emergency department resident coordinator.

In her free time, Dr. Connolly is a passionate traveler and loves to experience different cultures. One of her favorite destinations is the Peruvian jungle, where she has learned from the locals, gone survival camping, and canoed down the Amazon River. Back home, she enjoys baking and spending time with her family.

Amy Harrison, M.D.

Director of Women's Health Fellowship

I grew up outside of Boston and did my medical training in Philadelphia. Following my Family Medicine Residency and Faculty Development Fellowship, I spent five years as Assistant Director, helping to start up and teach at a new family medicine residency program in Minnesota. Joking that I moved to Chicago for the good weather, I joined MacNeal's faculty in 2000 as the Women's Health Fellowship Director. I continue to enjoy MacNeal because the learners are here because they want to learn, and the teachers are here because they want to teach. Besides women's health and obstetrics, I have professional interests in evidence-based medicine, adolescent health and preventive medicine.

A self-described environmental nut, I look for ways to lessen my impact on our environment, while enjoying cooking and growing a variety of flowers, tomatoes, and berries. In the summer, I love to swim outdoors, find beautiful beaches to lie on, and explore new areas and cultures through travel. I live in nearby Oak Park where I enjoy the weekly farmers market; the outdoor concerts and dining opportunities; the close proximity to all that Chicago offers; and I am continually amazed by the ways in which my children are turning into young adults.

John Brofman, MD

Pulmonary

Dr. John Brofman graduated from medical school at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He completed an internal medicine residency at New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center. He completed a fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Chicago, and spent a year on the faculty at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Brofman currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer at RML Specialty Hospital (an acute long-term care hospital), and as the Medical Director of Intensive Care at MacNeal Hospital. He is also board certified and active in the practice of hospice and palliative care medicine, and serves as a resource for complex end-of-life clinical, ethical, and communication issues. Dr. Brofman, his pulmonary and critical care colleagues, and the ICU hospitalist team foster the provision of evidence-based, compassionate, quality care to the critically ill patients at MacNeal Hospital.

Sindhu Liz Joseph, M.D.

Internal Medicine Assistant Program Director

Dr. Joseph joined MacNeal Hospital as an Associate Program Director for the Internal Medicine Residency Program in 2014, and has focused on residency program innovation and development since that time. She works closely with resident physicians to foster a patient-centered, compassionate, positive, and well balanced approach to patient care.

Residency: University of Texas at Houston
Board Certification: Internal Medicine
Languages Spoken: English

Aaron Lee, D.O.

Director of Sports Medicine Fellowship

Though I was born north of Chicago, I grew up in the Cleveland area. I spent most of my youth playing soccer, and any other sport I could find – all the way through college. After completing a psychology degree with a neuroscience minor at Miami University in Ohio, I spent two years working as a therapist on an adolescent psychiatric unit before finally applying to medical school.

I completed my medical training at the Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine, where I met my wife – she was at the cadaver next to mine in anatomy lab, but I still managed to notice her. We both completed our internship year at Illinois Masonic Hospital in Chicago. Though she moved on to Loyola, I continued my training at Illinois Masonic for my family medicine residency, and was chief resident in my final year. Having been a lifelong sports devotee, and finding athletes to be the most interesting and yet somehow maddening patients, I went on to complete my sports medicine fellowship training at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.

Upon completion of my training, I accepted a position at the MacNeal Hospital Family Medicine Residency as core faculty and as the Associate Program Director of the Sports Medicine Fellowship. Now in my fifth year at the program, I am in charge of the musculoskeletal curriculum for the residency, and have been the Program Director of the fellowship for the last four years. I was drawn to MacNeal because of its long history of excellence in both family and sports medicine, and because of the quality of the residents that I met here. Since coming here, I have come to truly appreciate the staff at MacNeal and my fellow faculty – their dedication to resident education, and the feeling of family that they foster have really made an impact on me. I love teaching our residents, and they are often the best part of my day.

You’ll find that I am always up for a conversation. About anything. It’s a hobby, or a vice – I’m not sure which. I am an avid reader – both of books and of current events. Don’t tell my patients, but I love TV. And food. Really greasy fast food. I pack my and my wife’s lunch every day – but with nice healthy stuff (you can tell my patients that). When I am not at work you will usually find me spending time with my family – mostly chasing around my two sons, aged 2 and 5 wishing that I had time to get back to playing my guitar.

Yvonne T. Murphy, M.D.

Associate Program Director

I grew up in Northwest Indiana and then went downstate to Indiana University for my undergraduate degree in biology with a minor in psychology. Subsequently, I headed east to the University of Rochester in upstate New York for medical school, residency, and a two-year fellowship. In medical school, I was taught by George Engel, the physician who wrote the original paper on the biopsychosocial model of care. My residency was community-based at Highland Hospital and my fellowship focused on family therapy and faculty development.

I’ve been part of the MacNeal faculty since 2001. My passions are creating excellent residency education and teaching doctor-patient communication skills. I strive to teach residents the skills they need to help patients feel better. This includes a mix of both evidence-based medical therapies and interpersonal skills. I have developed an entire curriculum that is used at Family Medicine residency programs throughout the country to teach key communication skills.

I love working at MacNeal and being part of the faculty. I also love practicing full-spectrum family medicine. I practiced OB for 10 years and still do prenatal care, newborn care, many women’s health and other procedures as well as enjoying my complex geriatric patients and providing end-of-life care. I care for three generations of some families in our practice.

When I’m not at work, I love to walk in the woods, play with my son, or relax with my neurologist husband who also works at MacNeal. We met in the radiology reading room of the hospital 10 years ago! I am also an avid environmentalist. I drive an electric car powered by wind energy, reuse or recycle everything, and am vegetarian. 

Davis Yang, M.D.

Program Director and Chair

I’m a Chicago native, having lived on or near the North Shore of Chicago since I was in first grade. I have always been drawn to health sciences and computers. I studied biomedical engineering at Northwestern University in Evanston and medicine at the University of Illinois in Chicago. In 1994, I made the fateful decision to do my residency training at MacNeal Hospital in family medicine.

Twenty-three years later, I still love this place and the people here. I have seen this program from many perspectives – as an intern, chief resident, faculty member, Center Director, and currently Program Director. My admiration and affection for MacNeal and its people continues to grow.

I am fortunate to have had many mentors during my time here, including the opportunity to be influenced by all four previous program directors of MacNeal, starting with Dr. Ken Kessel who founded the program in 1969. The legacy of the MacNeal program is important to me and I am passionate about maintaining the high caliber and tradition of our program.

I love to learn new things and to share that knowledge. I appreciate that my time at MacNeal has allowed and encouraged me to broaden my practice in areas such as leadership, informatics, colposcopy, and Medical Acupuncture. I am grateful for the chance to attend the Scholars for Teaching Excellence Faculty Fellowship at UIC and the National Institute for Program Director Development fellowship. I strive to provide the same encouragement and opportunities for our faculty and residents to constantly grow and pursue their interests and passions.

I am an unapologetic Apple fanboy and some of my interests, other than resident education, are lean process improvement, GTD, and automation of any kind.

I still live on the North Shore, in Evanston, with my wife and 3 daughters, ages 16, 13, and 5. Two of my kids were delivered at MacNeal by MacNeal FM residents.

Jeffrey Zawacki, MD

General Surgery

Dr. Jeffrey Zawacki graduated from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and then did his surgical residency at the Loyola University Medical School in Chicago. During his residency he did a research fellowship in the Shock Trauma Institute at Loyola for one year. After finishing residency he did his colorectal surgical fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.  

Currently Dr. Zawacki is the Academic Director of Surgery at MacNeal and an Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He has served on the American Board of Surgery administering the oral certifying exam in general surgery. Dr. Zawacki has spent his entire professional career in private practice teaching residents and students at MacNeal Hospital. He has received teaching awards at every training and teaching level. He remains committed to teaching residents of all disciplines.