What is your hometown?
Des Moines, IA
What is your official title?
Medical Director of Inpatient Rehabilitation
St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center
How/when did you become interested in science and medicine?
I first became interested in science in junior high school. Then, in high school, I volunteered at a hospital upon the recommendation of one of my science teachers. I was instantly fascinated with patient care and the physician’s role in it. I also was excited by the opportunities I saw for the patient-physician relationship. No one in my family had worked in medicine, so this was a real eye opening experience for me. I decided then that I wanted to become a physician.
What interested you to pursue a career in medicine and medical education?
I knew I wanted to work with people and that I loved science. Medicine was a perfect marriage of those two things.
Please highlight your major career achievements, awards, discoveries, etc.
My most satisfying career achievement has been bringing inpatient rehabilitation services to Twin Falls, Idaho. Prior to my arrival, there were no specialists in my field.
Is there a teacher, mentor or UI Carver College of Medicine faculty member who has helped shape your education?
The staff in the Office of Student Affairs and Curriculum was hugely helpful to me throughout my time at Iowa; I cannot imagine going through medical school without them.
How or why did you choose the University of Iowa for your education and medical training?
I chose to attend the University of Iowa because of its outstanding reputation and affiliation with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
What kind of professional opportunities or advantages has your University of Iowa medical training provided?
The University of Iowa gave me the foundation upon which all my subsequent medical training has been based. I was also fortunate enough to do my transitional year in internal medicine at Iowa, which helped solidify the skills I learned in medical school and prepared me for my residency training in physical medicine & rehabilitation.
Please describe your professional interests.
My professional interests center on caring for individuals with disabilities. As a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation, I provide comprehensive care for individuals with disabilities, that focuses on functional restoration and measures that enhance my patient’s independence.
What are some of your outside interests?
Kayaking, hiking and camping. We also have two dogs - a 10 year old golden retriever and 5 month old bernese mountain dog — that we like to take on walks and hikes.
Do you have an insight or philosophy that guides you in your professional work?
My greatest insights into the patient experience come from my own personal experience as a patient. Just prior to medical school, I sustained a cervical spinal cord injury which rendered me paralyzed. After intensive rehabilitation, I eventually regained the ability to walk and return to independent living. This experience provided me with a tremendous insight into the patient experience and the emotional challenges associated with adjusting to a new disability.
If you could change one thing about the health care system in the United States, what would it be?
I would change the discrepancies in access to care.
What is the biggest change you've experienced in medicine since you were a student?
The biggest change I have seen has been in declining coverage for inpatient rehabilitation. Access to inpatient rehabilitation has become more stringent, and lengths of stays have been drastically reduced for patients with spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, strokes and amputation.
What one piece of advice would you give to today's medical students?
Choose a field of medicine that interests you and pay no attention to reimbursement and compensation. Fee schedules will change; the type of work and patients you see will not.
What do you see as "the future" of the medicine?
A shift in focus to preventative care.
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