Why did you choose to become a doctor?
I was inspired by my mother, who was a family-practice physician in my home state of Wyoming. We lived on the campus of the Wyoming State Training School, a home for people born with developmental disabilities. She worked there for over 20 years and, in her retirement, worked as a physician on Native American reservations in Arizona and New Mexico. Her empathy and sincere love of being able to help people in need of care drew me to medicine and ultimately led me down the path of primary care.
What’s one medical-school memory that has stayed with you?
My first-ever patient as a medical student was a terminally ill artist who painted landscapes. I remember his details vividly – not just his physical exam findings, but also the stories about his work. Several months after I took care of him, I received a letter sent to me through the academic office of my medical school. Inside was a hand-painted card he wrote while in hospice, referencing the importance of strong beginnings and endings.
What’s a quirk of yours?
I feel incomplete without earrings. I think it stems from childhood: Growing up, my father owned a bead business in our Wyoming town. I grew up making jewelry and working in the bead shop.
If you could achieve one medical breakthrough, what would it be?
The discovery would be to unlock the mysteries of metabolism, specifically the interplay of food, exercise, and genetics.
Any book, TV, or podcast recommendations you want to share?
I love a good documentary. I recently watched and enjoyed The Social Dilemma. My poor children may never be allowed to have social media accounts!