Department faculty receive notes of gratitude for National Doctors' Day

Patient and doctor in clinic

Recently, UW Health offered an opportunity for people to submit notes of gratitude to their physician in celebration of National Doctors' Day on March 30, 2020.

One hundred thirty-five Department of Medicine physicians across all divisions received messages. We’re proud to share excerpts of some of them here. 

Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine

  • For Dr. J. Scott Ferguson: Happy Doctor’s Day to one of the best, most caring doctors I have ever had the chance to know. I barely remember the first time I met you, since I was so very sick in the hospital. But you are the one doctor that said we are not sending you home until we know what is wrong with you. I just wanted you to know you made such a difference in my life and I thank God that he gave me such a wonderful doctor to oversee my care and voice when I didn't have one.
  • For Dr. Charles Weber: I want to thank you for saving my life and showing me continued support and care. There are no words to express my gratitude. I know I am not alone in saying that you are an incredibly rare gift to all of us and I am so thankful.

Cardiovascular Medicine

  • For Dr. Mary Zasadil: There aren't sufficient words to describe Dr. Mary Zasadil. Never before have I felt I had a healthcare partner as I have with her from the very first appointment. From time to time she's been shadowed by medical students and I've thought how very, VERY lucky they are to learn all a physician can be from her. For the rest of my life she will be the standard to which few (I fear) will live up. I'm so very, very grateful for her care.
  • For Dr. David Murray: Without your help and encouragement, today I would not have been able to get outside for a walk, keep my distance from others and walk 1.6 miles with little discomfort. You always take the time to listen to me…no matter how busy your day is.

Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

  • For Dr. Diane Elson: I just [wanted] to let you know how [thankful] I am that you took me on as patient when I had Graves’ disease. You saw me through surgery, and my ups and downs before and after it. I’ve never met someone so knowledgeable and compassionate. Thank you for being here for me.
  • For Dr. Vidushi Sood: Thank you for caring for me during the most critical time in my life and continuing to provide me with the most unbelievable and incomparable support. My family and I are so [appreciative] of all you’ve done for me since my cancer diagnosis. I know my case isn’t easy and you’ve never shied away from the challenge. You are thorough, detailed, and so incredibly compassionate. Thank you for always making me smile during challenging times. I am so thankful to you have on my care team.

Gastroenterology and Hepatology

  • For Dr. Erin Spengler: Thank you Dr. Spengler for always taking the time to listen, and respect my opinions and wishes. I feel comfortable knowing you are looking at me as a whole person, not just your patient.
  • For Dr. Adnan Said: There is no way we can thank you enough for all of the care you have provided to us over the past 12 years. Your compassion and caring has been what has kept us going through these trying times. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have been able to use your expertise and knowledge to help us continue on in this health journey.

Geriatrics and Gerontology

  • For Dr. Nathaniel Chin: Thank you so much for being such an inspiration to me. You are one of those people that quickly put people at ease. This is an incredible trait for such a multi-talented physician to have. I know you wear so many "hats" but I appreciate how much you care about everyone.
  • For Dr. Gerald Pankratz: I appreciate your thoroughness and kindness. I was new to your practice this year and I was impressed with the details you had learned from reading my history. You asked about health events I had forgotten. You have a great sense of humor and you are attentive. I feel well cared for. Thank you.

General Internal Medicine

  • For Dr. Kelly Lavin: I am beyond thankful to have you as my primary care doctor, and am not sure what I would do without you. You have been through the hardest event of my life (losing my brother), to the happiest event of my life (my daughter). You have always gone above and beyond in the care you have provided to me, but those two events are both times when your care was beyond remarkable, and I thank you for that. You deserve to be celebrated and thanked for the work that you do every day, but I hope today on National Doctor’s Day you know what a wonderful doctor you are, and how thankful your patients are for you.
  • For Dr. Cassandra Valmadrid: Thank you for always taking the time to listen to all your patients’ needs. You genuinely care about each one of your patients. I felt that personally with the follow up phone calls you had clinic staff make to check up on me. Thank you for caring so much.

Hematology, Medical Oncology and Palliative Care

  • For Dr. Toby Campbell: Happy Doctors’ Day to one of the very best doctors I have ever had the chance to meet. I barely remember the first time I met you, since I was so very sick in the hospital. But you are the one doctor that started this scary journey with me and is still there cheering me on at each visit. I just wanted you to know you made such a difference in my life and I thank God that he gave me such a wonderful oncologist to oversee my care.
  • For Dr. Robert Hegeman: Being diagnosed with cancer is unimaginable. I never thought it would be me and I could have easily felt so lost and alone in this system. From the beginning, you’ve made me and my family feel cared for, valued, and heard. You’ve shown incredible compassion and humility in delivering good and bad news. I am thankful every day you were assigned to my one-in-a-million case. Thank you for advocating for me and being a critical member of my care team. I am so grateful for all that you’ve done and all you will continue to do.

Hospital Medicine

  • For Dr. Jennifer Passini: Just wanted to say thank you for all that you do for our team and for UW Health. Your dedication to patients is amazing and your never-ending willingness to step in a do whatever it takes is really admirable.
  • For Dr. David Sterken: You are a hero. We are aware that you are protecting us and that we are all safer because you are on the frontlines. Thank you for your heroism.

Infectious Disease

  • For Dr. Richard Reich: Thank you so much for all you do! You are so knowledgeable and dedicated. I have always gotten great care and great advice from you…. Thank you for being there!
  • For Dr. Nasia Safdar: Thank you for your service to the hospital and the community! You are an amazing example of what I believe most doctors go to medical school to do: help people and the communities in which they live.


  • For Dr. Didier Mandelbrot: Thank you so much for all your help and answering my endless questions! I appreciate all you do to keep me healthy! Your team is phenomenal! Keep up the great work.
  • For Dr. Sandesh Parajuli: Thank you for being a kind and wonderful doctor to me. I hope you and your family stay well through all this pandemic…and I am staying home as well. Love you for who you are.


  • For Dr. Jon Arnason: Thank you for always trying to help me any way possible to keep my body, joints and symptoms to a minimum as much as possible. For listening to anything I have to say and for taking it seriously. I can honestly say I have the best rheumatologist possible. Even though sometimes I'm a complex case and you don't have answers you still have so much compassion for me. I know you try your very absolute best to give me answers. I love your dry sense of humor and I'm proud to call you my doctor.
  • For Dr. Shivani Garg: Dr. Garg took me in as a patient when I was out of hope. The care and concern Dr. Garg shows her patients is more than I could have hoped for. I would just like to say thank you to Dr. Garg for being an outstanding care provider and a true patient advocate. I would like to also thank her for her willingness to answer my hundreds of questions.