Clinical Lecturer in Pediatric Cardiology at the University of Michigan but working full-time for UM and UPHS here at UP Health System in Marquette.
How long have you been employed with us?
I started with UP Health System in July. I had been coming up and starting to meet people and thinking about taking the position since about this time last year. I’ve been working up here full-time since July.
What’s a typical day like for you?
On typical days, I’ll see patients here in the specialty clinic. We’re a pediatric-focused specialty clinic with a lot of different specialists who come by. Most of them come from out of town, including doctors who come up from the University of Michigan, or Michigan State or a couple other spots. That’s what cardiology had been doing before I started here, but they were getting busy enough that they wanted to have someone up here more regularly.
Our clinics are usually a couple times a week. My clinic days are busy. We see a mix of babies, kids, teenagers and some adults who have either known congenital heart disease, meaning there’s something structurally wrong with their heart that they were born with, or have some symptoms like a heart murmur or chest pain while exercising — things like that. During clinic, we often do a number of EKGs and echocardiograms, which is an ultrasound of the heart, and I read all those ultrasounds here and sometimes do parts of the studies myself, too. It’s a mix of seeing patients, discussing their care with their families and primary providers, reading their echo and their studies, and that’s the majority of the clinic days.
On the other days, it’s a mix of things: Reading other echos from kids that are seen here or in the neonatal intensive care unit. I do consults in the NICU as well as see new babies that are born that may be blue or have a murmur. Sometimes we need to have an add-on or an emergent patient seen in the ER or I will read a study from home at night or on weekends.
Outside of pediatrics, we do fetal echos where I see pregnant soon-to-be mothers whose providers are worried that they might have something wrong with the developing baby’s heart. Then we also see adult patients who have a history of congenital heart disease; that’s 20-60 year-old patients who have a congenital heart problem and may or may not have already had surgery, but still need to be followed by someone who understands congenital heart disease, so I’ll follow them the rest of their lives.
What are some of your interests outside of work?
I’m originally from the UP in Escanaba, so my family is still here and I had a fairly strong interest in coming back up. We do a lot of outdoor things; I used to mountain bike a lot and downstate was mostly just commuting, but now I’ve gotten back into mountain biking. This fall was a lot of fun and I’ve enjoyed the other doctors and neighbors around who bike a lot. I got into fat tire biking, so I’m out in the snow. I try to commute on my bike most days; I drive maybe one or two days a month, otherwise I’m biking. The snow has been fun to try to make it through. I ski, too, so it’s a lot of outdoor things.
We have a 5-year old and a 1-year old, so taking care of them and trying to keep them active. Looking forward to doing more with them as they get older.
If you could do any other job in the world for a day, what would it be?
I would probably do something for NASA. When I was growing up, I initially thought I was going to be an astronaut. I was big into space and actually went to space camp when I was in third grade. I have a good friend who’s a space flight doctor, so she did emergency medicine and specialized in space flight and takes care of astronauts while they’re up in space missions and things like that.
I still try to stay a little bit connected to that. I follow the NASA news on the new probes and satellites and watch a lot of the Space X launches, like the car they launched into space last year.
What is something that might surprise others?
I’m fairly into science fiction, so I like to watch a lot of sci-fi movies and read a lot of their books and sometimes play some games that are sci-fi related. Definitely a Star Wars fan; and I’ve gotten my kids into Star Wars.
I like audio books a lot and listen to a bunch of podcasts, but when I want to relax and try to get outside of the world, a sci-fi futuristic book is a good read for me.
What is your favorite part about working at UPHS?
My favorite part is definitely the teammates I get to work with here. It is a great team working in the specialty clinic that provides care for so many kids and adults across the UP, and services that otherwise aren’t available anywhere in the UP. Primary care and other doctors refer patients to me, so I’ve met many of the pediatricians and family docs in the UP, and I like to chat with them on the phone about what’s going on and help to coordinate their care. Ultimately, what I really like doing, is being able to provide cardiac care for relatively rare diseases that are spread out across the UP. We can see here so they don’t have to go 500 miles to see providers in southern Michigan or Wisconsin. I love working with physicians, nurses, social workers, and every other team member here and being able to take care of a vast range of kids and problems across the UP.