Dr. Adam F. Dachman '84
2012 Distinguished Alumnus Award for Professional Achievement
Known as one of Wisconsin’s leaders in Natural Orifice (no incisions) Surgery, Dr. Adam F. Dachman is a well-accomplished physician who has served the past 16 years as Chief of Surgical Services at Upland Hills Health in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. In addition to his career in medicine, Adam is also a gifted composer whose music has been heard on numerous television and cable outlets, radio promotions, inspiration programs and beyond. Adam has a growing list of awards, is a national speaker and performer, and continues to be recognized as a leader in both medicine and music.
A native of Chicago, Adam was drawn to Carroll by its inviting atmosphere, and open-minded candor about his combined interests in music and medicine. He states, “Carroll was the only ‘can-do-both’ school I visited, while all the other programs mandated a choice of one or the other.” As a student, Adam found the sense of freedom, and possibility during his freshman year palpable. While the rigors of academia were ever-present, the excitement of discovery and exploration was supreme. At Carroll, he found support in fostering his two passions, and discovered that he could pursue and realize his dreams.
Adam found his liberal arts education would pave the path for a lifetime of learning. The hours spent in study and in piano practice prepared him for a rich future of creativity and service, while the demands of a pre-med curriculum proved to prepare him well for the rigors of medical school. Active in Carroll’s Jazz Ensemble and member of the Delta Rho Upsilon fraternity, Adam went on to graduate in 1984 with a B.S. degree in biology.
Following his undergraduate education, he became involved in colorectal cancer research at the Northwest Institute for Medical Research in Chicago, IL. After publishing articles with renowned medical scientist Dr. Leon Gershbein, he entered medical school at Des Moines University completing his doctoral in Osteopathic Medicine. In 1990, he began a General Surgical Residency at Michigan State University, and subsequently moved to Dodgeville, WI where he serves as Chief of Surgical Services. Dachman directs a state-of-the-art surgical service, and is a leader in the state in anti-reflux surgical treatment for heartburn. Dr. Dachman is board certified in General Surgery by the American Osteopathic Board of Surgery, and has earned the title of Fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons for services rendered to the community, surgical education, and to the profession.
Musically, his work crosses over genres from Pop to New Age and beyond. Formal training in theory, jazz, improvisation, orchestration, and production led to a seasoned composer. His first CD, Echoes in the Canyon, was released in 1998 on his private label, Player Piano Mouse Productions, followed by Center of My Heart in 2002. In 2004, Dachman was asked to produce a theme song for Genentech, a world leader in bio-pharmaceuticals for the treatment of malignant diseases. The company produced 33,000 CDs of his Music for Life, and distributed it world-wide to lymphoma patients. His work has been noted as healing, comforting, and transformational. By the time of his next recording, Keys of Hope in 2006, Dachman’s work generated interest in California within the film, television and broadcast music publishing arena appearing in many international productions including ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC’s Today Show, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, CSI Las Vegas, the 700 Club, and numerous cable productions. In 2008, his first children’s book, The Player Piano Mouse was finally completed, printed and enjoyed a successful local distribution in Southwest Wisconsin.
Adam has shown his careers have always fed each other. The manual dexterity of piano performance provides him the ability at the operating table, and the need to memorize music has aided in supporting his skill at performing surgery. The emotional content of medicine has flowed into his music, and music has helped him to heal when medicine has brought him to the edge.
Adam shares that if he was to provide advice to current students, he would offer that, “Four years at Carroll is only the beginning of a journey that takes a lifetime. Don’t become trapped in the box of thinking that an education has to have a specific result—like a particular job right after college. You cannot know how things are going to turn out… life has a way of twisting and turning and the more we remain flexible and knowledgeable, the more we can respond with our own values and dreams in mind. Be a student for life.” Importantly, Carroll taught Adam the gift of balance, team-work, self-reliance, and organization. It provided him the foundation for a fulfilling career and a life of rewarding balance.
When asked what his proudest accomplishment is; it is definitely his family. Adam resides in Fitchburg, WI with his wife Roxane and their two children, Abby and Zachary.