Our Team

Image of Tom Blee wearing dress shirt

Question for Dr. Blee?

Dr. Tom Blee, M.D. - Creator & Co-Director

About Tom:

Dr. Tom Blee is the proud father of two sons Nick and Jack. He was born and raised in Rochester, Minnesota to the son of a business man and tavern owner. His undergraduate work in Biology and Psychology was completed at St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN. He completed Medical School at Creighton University in Omaha, NE and a general surgery residency at Gunderson Lutheran Medical Center in LaCrosse WI. For twelve years he practiced general surgery in the small community setting of Red Wing, MN. In 2014 he transitioned his practice to inner city trauma in St. Paul, MN.


Dr. Blee is the Creator & Co-Director of LIFEteam. As a trauma surgeon in the inner city Dr. Blee was dismayed with the revolving door of violence and despair. Inspired to make a change he reached out to community leaders and organizations, creating a coalition of resources. These resources are brought into the hospital in order to offer an environment of hope and healing for patients at a low point in their lives. Since 2014 LIFEteam has been successful in producing profound and lasting change in its participants and their families.


Dr. Blee holds and academic teaching position as an Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Minnesota. In addition to teaching Resident Physicians and Medical Students he is an instructor of Advanced Trauma Life Support. He is active as a speaker both locally and nationally in topics of injury and trauma prevention. His LIFEteam contributions have been featured at national healthcare policy conferences and in forums of social determinants of healthcare. He has been a guest on multiple radio shows, panel discussions and a keynote speaker on such topics as:

  • The impact of mentioning and fathering on the development of young men’s lives
  • Strategies for stopping generational violence
  • The impact of gang activity in both urban and rural environments
  • Healing through life transforming change


Tom is the author of the book “How to Save a Surgeon: Stories of Impossible Healing.” Through raw and urgent storytelling Tom takes us through a small town hospital, an urban trauma center, an inner city murder scene, and the county jail- all as he comes to terms with his own need for healing.


  • Owen Wangensteen Award for Academic Excellence in Resident Teaching
  • Fairview Champion of Care Award
  • Fairview High Potential Graduate
  • Nomination Barbara Jones Caring Soul Award
  • Nomination Health Partners Wilbur Thompson Community Service Award

Jesse Shaw - Chief Operations Officer

About Jesse:

Jesse Shaw grew up in a good family in small town in Wisconsin. In his early twenties, an addiction to prescription drugs led to using then selling methamphetamines. The next several years were a constant struggle of filling an empty hole in his life until eventually he started spending more and more time in jail.

Approaching his thirtieth birthday, Jesse assumed he would never break free from the cycle, but then God brought a group of men into his life. Through them, he was introduced to a deep and healing faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus helped Jesse break the chains of addiction and hurt.

Now Jesse wants to use the skills he has been taught to help free others from the power of addiction. As the proud father of three boys, he has a particular passion to help other men become strong fathers to their children.

John Turnipseed wearing a suit with red tie

John Turnipseed - Co-Director

About John:

John was the Director of the Fathering Center, at Urban Ventures Leadership Foundation for more than 15 years and was promoted to Executive Vice President in October of 2016. Overcoming the deadly effects of a violent and absent father, John is passionate about changing the urban cycles of recidivism, poverty, and patterns of choice. He leads by example both in behavior and education – showing how to building relationships and creating pathways to success. Since transforming his life in 1994, John has become a community leader, pastor, speaker, facilitator and has authored and co-authored curriculum on parenting. On top of his many professional successes, John also spends time as a youth counselor.


John’s reputation is respected not only at the local level, but also nationally. John’s life is referenced in books, articles & movies and he has hosted numerous radio programs. An active leader not only in the world of business, but in the community as a whole, his accomplishments are numerous.

Leadership Activities:

  • The Legal Rights Center, Board of Directors *
  • Volunteers of America Minnesota, Board of Directors *
  • Minneapolis MADDADS, Board of Directors *
  • Resource Recovery Center, Advisory Board *
  • African American Men’s Project, Board of Directors
  • Life Coaches for Kids, Board of Directors
  • Masterworks, Board of Directors
  • Minnesota Department of Correctional Institutions, Guest Speaker *
  • Hennepin County Jail and County Home School, Gang Intervention Specialist *
  • Commission on Juvenile Sentencing for Heinous Crimes, MN State Bar Association

*Currently active in organization


  • 2013 General Mills, MLK Local Legend Award
  • 2012 Emmy Award- winning Minneapolis FOX 9 Investigative Report
  • 2007 TPT and Amicus Everyday Hero Award
  • First National MADDAD’s Award
  • National Council of Leadership Foundation- Best Practice (John’s parenting program)
  • Abby Award Recipient from Abbott Northwestern Hospital
  • Minnesota Fathers & Families Network- Individual of the Year Award