I was very fortunate to meet four physicians after my residency. Teaming together, we established Northwest Primary Care to deliver high quality, patient-oriented medical care as we see it today.
Family Physicians get to see and feel the essence of the existence of the patients they care for. Whatever is said is sacred. Whatever is done is not judged. Nothing passes from the exam room.
My endeavors to understand my own path, as well as patients who I have seen over the years, have taught me to be patient, kind, and empathetic toward my patients' health complications. I like to reach inside each one to try to understand their fears, and then collaborate with them to make the necessary changes so they can be the best that they can be and not be afraid. Even if they are not like others, they are not alone.
It is the greatest honor to be chosen as your family physician. I cherish taking care of your health and the health of your family.
My early life was bound up with solitude and many dreams. I considered many career options including becoming a pilot or astronaut, but found I lacked purpose. One day when working as a fishing guide at age ten, my discussion with a neurologist who was on the trip, altered my destiny. He saw qualities in me that I did not see in myself and suggested that I consider being a surgeon as I was very self -reliant (and very good at cleaning fish). On that fateful day, I was launched forward with a renewed interest in school and a single goal. In the years that followed, I entered Michigan State University and paid for college tuition by teaching computer science.
I was offered an externship in Family Medicine at the small hospital I worked at as an orderly. I spent a summer with Gordon Willoughby, MD, a Family Doctor in Frankfort, Michigan before starting medical school. Under his tutelage, I saw the enormous impact a family doctor could have on the health and happiness of a community. He was my idol, mentor, and my friend. He was a pioneer in making Family Medicine a respected specialty. He was enormously happy with his life. Years later he would die in a plane crash.
With my sight set on becoming a physician, I entered University of Michigan's Medical School. The Chief of Medicine at the Medical School offered me a postgraduate residency position in Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan. I countered with the idea of being a Family Doctor. He threw me unceremoniously out of his office. Family Physicians were considered one step above (not by far) witch doctors.
As a third and fourth year medical student in medical school, I chose training in the inner city hospitals of Detroit, Michigan. We saw a continuous stream of patients with gunshot wounds, patients with knife wounds and infections. Many were poor or homeless. I was frustrated at the lack of influence I had with these patients and saw the same ones week after week for the same issues. It was a major turning point for my career. To me becoming a physician meant making a difference in patient's lives. I was determined to have a chance to change their outcome. My spouse and I took a leap of faith and moved to Portland where I entered the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center Family Medicine residency program. As it turns out, it was one of the best decisions of our lives.