Dominic O. Vachon, M.Div., Ph.D.

The John G. Sheedy, M.D., Director of the Ruth M. Hillebrand Center for Compassionate Care in Medicine

Dominic Vachon

Prior to joining the Hillebrand Center, Vachon served as Director of Behavioral Medicine and Caring Science Training at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center's Family Medicine Residency Program. Dr. Vachon is also a practicing psychologist specializing in neurofeedback therapy. Past research has focused on the relationship between empathy and burnout. Other areas of interest include factors in maintaining caring behaviors in difficult work, the psychology of helping interactions, physician-patient dynamics, and the role of spirituality in helping others. Dr. Vachon provides workshops nationally in the area of maintaining balanced caring behaviors in the helping professions. He also serves as Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at IU School of Medicine - South Bend. 
As director, he is responsible for management, programs, research, student outreach, and scholarly engagement. In addition to teaching undergraduates, his work with the Center includes researching the physician-patient relationship, teaching effective communication skills, and collaborating with local and national organizations to advance the science of compassionate care in healthcare. Dominic O. Vachon earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Notre Dame, graduating in 1980 with a degree in psychology and philosophy, and earning his master of divinity degree in 1985. In 1993, he earned a doctorate in counseling psychology from Loyola University, Chicago.

His recently published book, "How Doctors Care: The Science of Compassion and Balanced Caring in Medicine," is available through Cognella Academic Publishing.

Contact: Dominic Vachon

Dominic Vachon's CV

Father James K. Foster, C.S.C., M.D.

Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies
Director, Center for Health Sciences Advising

Father Foster

Fr. Foster directs the Center for Health Sciences Advising and serves as chair of the Department of Preprofessional Studies. He closely monitors developments within the health profession admissions process including new schools, course requirements, and curriculum developments.  Fr. Foster joined the Department of Preprofessional Studies in 1997 and became chair of the department in 2005.

Fr. Foster earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Notre Dame in 1977 and earned his M.D. degree in 1981 from the University of Illinois Abraham Lincoln School of Medicine. He completed his training in Internal Medicine (1984) and Infectious Diseases (1986) at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood, Ill. and was board certified in both areas. After several years in private practice, Fr. Foster entered the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1989 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1995. He also completed a Clinical Ethics Fellowship at the University of Chicago School of Medicine in 1997.

Contact: Fr. Foster

Kathleen Kolberg, Ph.D.

Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Kathleen Kolberg

Kathleen Kolberg is responsible for advising preprofessional students in the Center for Health Sciences Advising. She not only advises them regarding preparations to apply for health profession schools, but also assists students experiencing medical, emotional or academic crises. Additionally, she teaches courses concurrently in the Department of Biological Sciences and Department of Psychology.  

Kathleen earned her Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from Albion College in Albion, Michigan, and her doctorate from Notre Dame. Her professional interests include studying the impact of environmental stressors on prenatal and early postnatal development. She also studies the effects of stressors on function and medical conditions, and how these stressors affect adults being treated in medical facilities. Kathleen assists with National Newborn Developmental Care Recommended Standards and Recommended Standards for Newborn ICU Design.

Contact: Kathleen Kolberg






Abigail Battjes, D.O.

Adjunct Professor 

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Dr. Battjes earned her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Hope College, Holland, MI. After receiving her Doctor of Osteopathy from A.T. Sill University, Kirskville College of Osteopathetic Medicine in Missouri, Dr. Battjes completed her postdoctoral training as a Family Medicine resident at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center in Mishawaka, IN where she served as Chief Resident responsible for management and care of patients in the acute care setting, obstetric setting, emergency room, as well as nursing home patients. Dr. Battjes was the recipient of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Teacher’s Award Resident Teacher Award which recognizes the resident who has best demonstrated interest in and commitment to family medicine education

Dr. Battjes provides family medical care through the Saint Joseph Physician Network in South Bend and currently serves on their executive and recruitment committees. Currently Dr. Battjes is a preceptor for Indiana University School of Medicine - South Bend and the SJRMC Family Medicine Residency.  She is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians since 2010.

Katharine Callaghan, M.D., M.P.A.

Adjunct Professor 

Dr. Callaghan




Dr. Callaghan ‘12 is an Associate Director at Memorial Hospital’s Family Medicine Residency Program in South Bend. Since 2020, she has been an adjunct professor through the Hillebrand Center at Notre Dame.

After graduating from Notre Dame, Dr. Callaghan remained in South Bend for a year to work with two different non-profit organizations in the area. She then attended Vanderbilt University School of Medicine earning her Doctor of Medicine degree as well as a certificate in biomedical ethics in 2017. While a resident and fellow at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, she obtained her Master of Public Affairs degree at Indiana University. She is board certified in Family Medicine. Throughout her education, Dr. Callaghan received awards for academic excellence, leadership, and community involvement. 

The ways in which healthcare practitioners’ spiritual beliefs intersect with the practice of medicine, specifically in encounters with the sickness and suffering within themselves and that experienced in the story of their patients has been a particular interest of Dr. Callaghan.


Lindsey Connolly, M.D., FAACOG

Adjunct Professor 

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Dr. Connolly '13 earned her BA with a double major in Music History and Theory and Preprofessional Studies at the University of Notre Dame. She attended medical school at Wright State University’s Boonshoft School of Medicine and then completed her obstetrics and gynecology residency at the University at Buffalo, Sisters of Charity Hospital. Dr. Connolly achieved board certification in ob/gyn in 2023 and currently provides both inpatient and outpatient care through the Saint Joseph Health System in Mishawaka, IN. She has a special interest in research topics surrounding reproductive and fertility care from the Catholic perspective.

As an undergraduate student Dr. Connolly was enrolled in the Medical Counseling Skills course taught by Dr. Dominic Vachon. She has a deep appreciation for the the skills learned in this course, and feels they served both her and her patients well both throughout her training and in her current practice. She now joins Dr. Vachon as co-instructor in the same course, excited to help students learn the practical application of compassionate care in medicine.

Suzanne Courtney, B.S.N., Psy.D., HSPP

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Adjunct Professor

Dr. Courtney earned her doctorate in Clinical Psychology in 1999 after first having a career in Nursing and Nursing Education. As a published author in both fields, Dr. Courtney has remained active in both clinical work and education in her combined fields of training. Educated also in Mass Casualty and Disaster Response by faculty from the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. Dr. Courtney has served as both a commander and field consultant in state lead and national disaster responses including, but not limited to the Columbine shootings, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and most recently, the COVID-19 Pandemic.

After leaving her position as the Director of Behavioral Science in a Family Medicine Residency Program, she re-entered private practice and joined the Hillebrand Center for Compassionate Care Science in Medicine as an adjunct professor. Dr. Courtney embraces the opportunity to advance the role of Compassion Science in understanding the factors creating health, in and for, practitioners and patients.

Lynn A. Damitz, M.D., FACS

Adjunct Professor


Lynn Damitz

Dr. Damitz '89 currently serves as the Chief of the University of North Carolina Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Director of Aesthetic Surgery and a Professor of Surgery.  In addition, Dr. Damitz is active in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). She is also the representative to the American College of Surgeons National Accreditation Program for Breast Center, and a trustee of the Southeastern Society of Plastic Surgeons. In Fall 2020, Dr. Damitz was honored with the Ethel F. and James A. Valone, MD, Distinguished Professor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Her accomplishments now include this prestigious endowed professorship at UNC.


After graduating from Notre Dame, she earned her medical degree from Hahnemann University School of Medicine in 1993. She then completed her general surgery and plastic surgery residencies at UNC. She also completed a general plastic surgery fellowship with Charlotte Plastic Surgery, and a breast and aesthetic fellowship with Nashville Plastic Surgery.


As an adjunct professor for the Hillebrand Center at Notre Dame, Dr. Damitz offers clinic insights for student training and partners on common research interests for compassionate care in medicine. Her professional specialty areas include facial and body aesthetics, breast and oncologic reconstruction, general reconstructive surgery of the face and body, and facial trauma.


She also serves as the vice president of the ND Club of Eastern North Carolina.

Paul V. Detrisac, M.D.

Adjunct Professor


A board-certified physician in critical care and internal medicine, Dr. Detrisac received his medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1978 before completing a residency in internal medicine at Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. As an undergraduate he studied electrical engineering at Michigan. In March 2020, Dr. Detrisac retired from his primary care and critical care practices. As director of the Lakeland Critical Care Unit in Niles, MI, from 1985-March 2020, his clinic responsibilities included keystone rounds in the ICU, coordinating multi-specialty care.

Since 1997, Dr. Detrisac has been involved in bilingual Spanish education and treatment for patients at the Sister Maura Brannick clinic in South Bend. He has trained family practice residents at Memorial Hospital and St. Joseph Medical Center, and currently serves as an Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine for Indiana University School of Medicine - South Bend. Dr. Detrisac serves the community as a court appointed special advocate (CASA) for neglected and abused children.

Marcus Engel, M.S.

Adjunct professor Marcus Engel with his dog James

Adjunct Professor

Marcus earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from Missouri State University and a Master of Science degree in narrative medicine from Columbia University. Marcus is proud to inspire compassionate communication in healthcare by putting an unforgettable name and face to the patient experience movement. He is a Certified Speaking Professional through the National Speakers Association, and a designated Certified Patient Experience Professional who advocates for consistently positive experiences across the continuum of care.

The author of five books, Marcus has more than 20 years of experience as a public speaker. He began the I'M HERE MOVEMENT, a global effort to help health care professionals embrace their power to comfort patients by simply being present. The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine awarded Marcus an honorary doctorate for his contributions to the field of healthcare. Marcus lives in Orlando, Florida with his wife, Marvelyne, and his Seeing Eye dog, James who is a 2023 graduate of The Seeing Eye, Inc. in Morristown, New Jersey. James enjoys interacting with his adoring fans on his Instagram @jamesdwalkafella and you can follow Marcus @blinguypictures.

Contact: Marcus Engel

Gary Fromm, M.D. 

Adjunct Professor 

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Dr. Fromm earned a medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine in 1972, followed by an internship, residencies and pulmonary fellowship at the University of Florida.  He served as the Medical Director Pulmonary Services and the Intensice Care Unit at Memorial Hospital in South Bend from 1977 -2016.  Since 2010 he has been an adjunct professor in the Department of Preprofessional Studies.  As instructor for Film and the Physician—Portrayals of Medicine in Film and the Arts, Dr. Fromm uses 'cinemeducation' to help students explore, discuss, and learn from film clips of medical encounters.  Dr. Fromm is currently the Medical Director of the Memorial Hospital Sleep Disorder Center.  

Dr. Fromm is the 2010 recipient of the Outstanding Physician Award from IU School of Medicine - South Bend, where he has been involved in teaching medical students since 1980 and currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine.

Kristian Lax-Walker, M.S. 

Adjunct Professor 

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Kristian Lax-Walker advises preprofessional students in the Center for Health Sciences Advising. She guides students in their preparation to apply to the health professions, she also organizes programming to enhance students' science identity and to offer opportunities for mentorship. Kristian also serves as the faculty advisor for the Multicultural Pre-medical Society.

Kristian is a doctoral student at Kansas State University in the College of Education where she earned her M.S. in academic advising. Kristian is a graduate research assistant for CASTLE, which is housed in the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE). Her research interests include issues in academic advising and higher education, the impact of advising on college student persistence, and advisor burnout and well-being.


Rachel Rose, M.S.N., RN-CPLC 

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Adjunct Associate Teaching Professor

Rachel Rose earned her BSN in 1996 and MSN-Education in 2019 at Bethel University in Mishawaka, Indiana. From 1998 to 2017 Ms Rose worked as a Labor and Delivery nurse providing individualized holistic care with a deep knowledge of the complexities in the patient experience of pregnancy, and parenthood. Building on that work experience, she now advocates for patients, especially those with cultural needs or perinatal loss as the Perinatal Outreach Coordinator at the Saint Joseph Health System.  She is responsible for program coordination of support services in perinatal hospice, difficult diagnoses, and subsequent pregnancy after perinatal loss. Ms Rose has been a guest lecturer at the Hillebrand Center since 2012 and was appointed an adjunct professor in 2023.

In 2017, Ms. Rose completed her RNC-Perinatal Loss Care (PLC) certification through the Hospice and Palliative Nursing Association after serving as Perinatal Bereavement Coordinator for 16 years which included development of the first perinatal hospice program in the Michiana area. Her MSN research focused on 'The lived experience of Certified Nurse Midwives in perinatal death care'.

Anton Salud, M.D., M.A.

Adjunct Professor 

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Dr. Antonio deVilla Salud ‘92 is an intensivist/pulmonologist with Madison Medical Associates, LLC, at Ascension Columbia-St. Mary’s Hospital Milwaukee. He joins the Hillebrand Center in 2020 as an adjunct professor. After studying theology and pre-medicine at Notre Dame, Dr. Salud attended the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee where he was awarded his medical degree in1999 and an M.A. in biomedical ethics in 2003. He completed his residency in pulmonary and critical care at The University of Utah Affiliated Hospitals in Salt Lake City. Additionally, Dr. Salud received a UT Certificate in Quality Improvement/Quality Assurance Project: End-of-Life Issues in the ICU.

Dr. Salud’s interest in compassionate care has been expressed in the papers he’s presented at conferences and round-tables and in the research he has done during his educational and professional career. Since March 2020, he has delved into research for “COVID-19 Pandemic Disaster Preparedness Development for Critical Care through C3.”

Mark Sandock, M.D.

Adjunct Professor

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Dr. Sandock is a South Bend native who completed his medical education at the Indiana University School of Medicine after graduating from Miami University (Ohio). He started a solo practice of internal medicine in 1975, and was employed by Saint Joseph Physician Network in 1994 to establish their internal medicine practice. He worked there until his retirement in 2008.

After retiring from clinical practice, Dr. Sandock was hired as the first physician consultant to the administration of Elkhart General Hospital. Later, he worked as a physician consultant for Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center in Mishawaka and helped restructure the Physician Assistance Committee for disruptive/impaired physicians across their health system. He was heavily involved in implementing a provider burnout and suicide prevention pilot program. 

In 1986, Dr. Sandock helped establish the Sister Maura Brannick Health Center for indigent patients in South Bend and he served for five years as the first volunteer medical director. He remains an active volunteer physician for the health center. On behalf of the clinic, he and Sister Maura were honored with a "Point of Light Award" from President George H. W. Bush in 1991.

Dr. Sandock currently mentors students at the Indiana University School of Medicine in South Bend.

Contact: Mark Sandock

Cyndy Searfoss, M.A.

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Adjunct Professor

Professor Searfoss is a graduate of the Indiana University and earned a Masters in Creative Writing from Notre Dame in 1995. She currently serves as the Director of Marketing, Communications & Education for the Hospice Foundation, located in Mishawaka, IN, after working in different administrative capacities for the Hospice Foundation since 2011. Ms. Searfoss also serves as instructor for online courses for Purdue University, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, and previously taught for Southwestern Michigan College. Additionally, she lectures for Purdue Polytech South Bend.

Some of Professor Searfoss’s past leadership roles include Director of Advancement for The Stanley Clark School, Director Alumni Affairs and Campus Ceremonies, Indiana University South Bend and Education Director for the Humane Society of St. Joseph County.

Ms. Searfoss has been instrumental as Course Co-Designer in developing a unique course for the Hillebrand Center, Introduction to Hospice and Palliative Care. She is passionate about normalizing end-of-life conversations. Building effective community access to palliative and hospice care in the US and low-resource settings.


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Stephen Trzeciak, M.D., M.P.H.

Adjunct Professor

Dr. Trzeciak '92 is a physician scientist, Chief of Medicine at Cooper University Health Care, and Professor and Chair of Medicine at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University in Camden, New Jersey.  Dr. Trzeciak is a specialist in intensive care medicine and a clinical researcher funded by the National Institutes of Health with more than 100 publications in the scientific literature, primarily in the field of resuscitation science.  Dr. Trzeciak's publications have been featured in prominent medical journals, such as: Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Circulation, and The New England Journal of Medicine.  His scientific program has been supported by research grants from the American Heart Association, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, with Dr. Trzeciak serving in the role of Principal Investigator.

Currently, Dr. Trzeciak’s research is focused on a new field called “Compassionomics”, in which he is studying the scientific effects of compassion on patients, patient care, and those who care for patients.  He is an author of the best-selling book: Compassionomics: The Revolutionary Scientific Evidence that Caring Makes a Difference, which has been featured in numerous media outlets such as CNN, NPR, and The Washington Post.  For this work, Dr. Trzeciak was awarded the 2019 Influencers of Healthcare Award by The Philadelphia Inquirer.  Broadly, Dr. Trzeciak’s mission is to make healthcare more compassionate through science.

Brandon Zabukovic, M.D., M.P.A.

Adjunct Professor

Brandon Zabukovic

Dr. Zabukovic ’97 is the managing partner of Primary Care Partners of South Bend.  He also serves as medical director for the Northern Indiana Maternal and Child Health Network and as consulting physician for the residential substance abuse program at the YWCA of North Central IN.  Since 2009, he has been an adjunct professor in preprofessional studies and the Hillebrand Center at Notre Dame.

After a gap year spent working with a community for disabled adults in Rolling Prairie, Ind., he attended New York Medical College, followed by residency at Memorial Hospital Family Medicine Program in South Bend. Additionally, he holds a Master of Public Administration from IUSB School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and is board certified in family medicine and addiction medicine. Additionally, he participated in the Primary Care Faculty Development Fellowship Program through Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.

Dr. Zabukovic delivers highly personal and accessible primary care to a diverse socioeconomic patient base that includes a program specializing in the treatment of pregnant women and families struggling with addiction, mental health disorders, and psychosocial complications.  Additionally, he serves on the Logan Center Protective Services Board as well as on the Michiana Opioid Task Force as chairperson for the secondary prevention and executive committees.

He has received numerous recognitions, including the American Medical Association Physician’s Recognition Award. Other noteworthy awards include Family Medicine Preceptor of the Year 2008 & 2018 and the Dolly Donahue Award for Community Partnership in 2017.

Rose Carroll, MBA

Operations and Strategic Coordinator

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Rose Carroll '82 joined the Hillebrand Center in 2018 as Operations and Strategic Coordinator. She graduated from Notre Dame with a bachelor's degree in biology and in 2011 earned a Master of Business Administration from Clayton State University in Georgia.

Before returning to South Bend, Rose most recently served as the Executive Director of the Healing Bridge Clinic, a non-profit clinic providing free primary health care to the uninsured in Georgia. She has previously worked as a surgical technician at Touro Infirmary & Mercy Hospital, and as a research assistant at Louisiana State University Medical Center & Tulane University School of Medicine. Rose has held leadership roles with the Notre Dame Alumni Clubs of New Orleans, Atlanta, and St. Joseph Valley, and serves as 1982 Class President. She is currently Secretary for the Board of Trustees for her high school alma mater, Ursuline Academy in New Orleans. 

Contact: Rose Carroll


Corianne Kellems, Department & Program Manager

Rose Marvin, Department & Program Coordinator

219 Jordan Hall of Science
Notre Dame, IN 46556
Phone: (574) 631-9536