Tell us about you.
I was born and raised in a small town called Salem, located amidst a bunch of corn fields in northeastern Ohio. My mother recently retired from her engineering job at GM’s Lordstown Plant, and my father is a dentist. A lot of you know I have a twin sister, Rebekka, who is an Internal Medicine physician at an outpatient practice. During residency, I made it a habit to write inappropriate post-it notes and leave them all over her office for her coworkers to find. My family is really close, and I’m inseparable from my twin. We talk every day, usually on my way into work.
I met my husband Joe during clerkships in Abingdon, Virginia. The town boasts the oldest tavern in the state, but its real crown jewel is the craft brewery half a mile away. That’s where Joe taught me to love craft beer, and we dragged our entire wedding party there the night before we got married.
Joe has lovingly and selflessly let me move him away from Denver, Colorado to Akron, and now here to Jackson for my training. He’s a software engineer and is able to work from home. Thank goodness, because our two rescue dogs, Una and Lily, need someone to torture all day long. Joe and the puppies are the best thing to come home to after work, and Joe religiously packs me a lunch every time I work a night shift.
When did you know you wanted to pursue pulmonary and critical care?
It was the pulmonary/critical care attendings during residency that really made me interested in the field. Specifically the Chandler brothers. Known for their pranks, infectious good humor, and the overall aplomb with which they practiced medicine, their cool-headedness in stressful situations influenced the type of doctor I wanted to be. We were an ICU-heavy residency program, and despite being a really busy rotation, I found that I was the happiest when I rotated through our units. I had the most fun, and learned a lot. Even now, when things are going sideways at work, I ask myself what would the Chandler brothers do?
Tell us how COVID has changed you and your practice.
I can’t describe how heart breaking it has been to work in the ICU during COVID. I could use this space to give you some little uplifting anecdote, but that would do you a disservice—largely because it would undermine how tired we all are. So instead I’ll say this: I’ve had to learn to walk away. Work must stay at work, and you can’t dwell too hard on the things that are going on around you, because they’ll eat you alive. Worry will devour you.
Secondly, more personally, I recognized quite quickly that I needed something to insulate me from work, especially right after I got home. I started reading voraciously. I’ve always been an avid reader, but now we need the escape more than ever. I think I’ve filled an entire Ikea bookshelf with my pandemic reading.
What do you like most about UMMC?
My colleagues are by far my favorite part of UMMC. We laugh a lot, and we prop each other up when we’re feeling blue. I couldn’t ask for better coworkers. I gained a whole bunch of big brothers in my co-fellows, and they’re pretty great.
What advice would you give to the interns?
Ask questions. Now is the time to do it. Also, learn to anticipate needs—it’ll take you really far, especially on busier, more stressful rotations.
What could you give a 40 minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?
There are, like, a handful of topics that I could give you a solid 40-minute lecture on, off the cuff—all of which are boring. My colleagues will tell you that my most loved topic is Disney World. And it’s true. However, a lot of people don’t know that I danced competitively for about fifteen years and was a dance teacher throughout college. So, I guess my answer is that I could give a very animated lecture on how ballet is the foundation for all forms of dance, and that good dancers are made only with a solid ballet and technique curriculum. See? No one is interested in hearing that. (But, still. It’s true, guys.)