RaffaelLa betza, rural family physician in john day, oregon - CLASS OF 2015
I went to medical school to become a rural family doctor in the west. After living in very rural communities in West Africa while serving in the Peace Corps I knew that I wanted a career where I could be part of a community, live amongst those I serve, and enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. To that end I returned to the US and went to medical school at University of Washington after finishing up my post-bacin Atlanta.
When looking for residencies, I knew I wanted full spectrum training. At first, it all came down to OB for me. My major question was, ‘Where can I get the most deliveries?’ As I interviewed, I realized that while I love OB, family medicine is about the whole package and in order to be a rural doc, I needed a place where I could get excellent OB training AND clinic AND geriatrics AND inpatient AND all the rest. On top of that, kindness and teamwork in medicine has been an interest of mine throughout and I knew that I could only really thrive at a place where collegiality and friendship were baked in to the program. After my sub-internship at First Hill I knew that this was the perfect place for me to train and I was overjoyed on match day when my envelope read ‘Swedish First Hill – Downtown Family Medicine.’
At First Hill and DFM I saw a wide variety of patients and learned a careful thoughtful approach to medicine that focuses on the harms of over-diagnosis and over-treatment. I delivered plenty of babies and also took care of ICU patients, nursing home patients, inpatients, ER patients, and clinic patients while being held to equally high standards in all areas. I also gave birth to my son and formed a network of supportive friends and colleagues amongst my fellow residents and faculty. On graduation day, I was even more overjoyed than I was on match day that I ended up at First Hill.
I never lost sight of my goal of being a rural family doctor and so after residency, I spent a year as an OB fellow at Swedish. I knew that I had learned enough to practice OB in a setting with plenty of backup, but I wanted to be able to do my own c-sections. My year of fellowship not only provided me with c-section experience but with a strong knowledge base on the management and triage of OB patients and emergencies.
After all that, I’m finally starting my dream job as a rural family physician in John Day, Oregon. It’s a small community of about 2,000 people; our clinic and hospital serve all of Grant County, which is the size of Connecticut with a population of 7,000 people. Our medical system is run by five family physicians, one general surgeon, two nurse practitioners, and a strong team of dedicated nurses, therapists, and technicians. I work in the clinic, the hospital, and the nursing home. I cover the ER, including trauma call and deliver babies including c-sections. I’m even in the process of becoming the county Medical Examiner! I’m practicing medicine with about as wide a scope as you can imagine and while I have lots to learn, I am reassured every day by the strength of my training. There are times that I can literally hear the voices of my faculty in my head as I workup patients in the ER. I’m still enjoying the support of my co-residents and faculty including good luck texts on my first ER call day (as well as friendly curbside consults any time I need them). My training is taking me exactly where I wanted to go and out here in John Day, I am even more overjoyed than on graduation day or match day that I ended up at First Hill.
Maggie Carpenter, Volunteer Physician in Gondar Ethiopia - Class of 2000
Dr Carpenter is involved with GoDocGo's pilot project launched in 2014 where she is training local physicians and nurses on visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA). Keep up the great work! For more information on her work in Ethiopia Click Here
Erika Bliss, President & CEO Qliance - Class of 2003
Dr. Erika Bliss is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. She received her undergraduate degree in History from San Francisco State University and a Master’s degree in Latin American Studies from Stanford. She completed her medical training at the Swedish Family Medicine Residency Program in Seattle in 2003. She worked briefly for the Community Health Centers of King County before accepting a permanent position at Carolyn Downs Family Medical Center in Seattle, where she served as a staff physician, Clinical Site Director, and Director of Clinical Quality.
Dr. Bliss has traveled extensively in Mexico and Central America. There she collaborated with a local women’s health and human rights group to do research, including a video project, on domestic violence. In addition, she developed and implemented a medical education exchange program with a rural hospital in Honduras. While in medical school, Dr. Bliss was a founding member of the Free Clinic Project of San Diego, a student-run project that delivers primary care to homeless and indigent people. Not only has Dr. Bliss focused on direct patient care, she has also been involved in organized medicine and health policy through her work with the American Academy of Family Physicians. Additionally, she served on the education task force for the Future of Family Medicine Project, a national effort to chart the direction of Family Medicine for future decades.
Dr. Bliss is a member of the board of the Washington Academy of Family Physicians, and serves on the steering committee of P4, Preparing the Personal Physician for Practice, a project to transform family medicine residency training in the US. In 2009, she was elected to serve on the American Board of Family Medicine, the organization that oversees certification and continuing education requirements for family physicians across the US. Dr. Bliss is delighted to be a part of the Qliance team and values providing personalized, high quality and convenient care to the people of Seattle. Her special interests include chronic disease management, care of children, geriatric medicine and mental health issues. Dr. Bliss feels that building relationships that empower patients to take charge of their health is the most important part of her work, and has a particular interest in studying and working on communications between health care providers and their patients.
Dr. Bliss lives with her family in Kirkland. In her spare time she enjoys travel, cooking, hiking and taking in the many movies and cultural events in the Seattle area. (Source)
Jeff Brenner, Executive Director, Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers - Class of 1998
Dr. Jeffrey Brenner is a family physician that has worked in Camden, NJ for the past fifteen years. Dr Brenner owned and operated a solo-practice, urban family medicine office that provided full-spectrum family health services to a largely Hispanic, Medicaid population including delivering babies, caring for children and adults, and doing home visits. Recognizing the need for a new way for hospitals, providers, and community residents to collaborate he founded and has served as the Executive Director of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers since 2003. Through the Camden Coalition, local stakeholders are working to build an integrated, health delivery model to provide better care for Camden City residents. Dr. Brenner’s work was profiled by the writer and surgeon Dr. Atul Gawande in an article in The New Yorker entitled “The Hot Spotters” (1/24/11) and in an episode of PBS Frontline (7/27/11). In 2013 he received a MacArthur award. Dr Brenner, is the Medical Director of the Urban Health Institute, a dedicated business unit built at the Cooper Health System focused on improving care of the underserved. Using modern business techniques they are redesigning long-standing clinical care models to deliver better care at lower cost. (Source)
Anna Earl, Chief of Staff at Liberty Medical Center (Rural Montana) - Class of 1998
Dr. Anna Earl is a graduate of the University of Texas Medical School at Houston where she was a member of the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. She completed her residency at Swedish Hospital Family Medicine in Seattle, Washington and has practiced in Chester since completing her residency in 1998. As one of the most respected family physicians in the State, Dr. Earl is the current chair of the Montana Board of Medical Examiners and is a member of the Board of the Sletten Regional Cancer Center. She is Board Certified in Family Medicine and has been a member of the Academy of Family Physicians since 1992.
Dr. Earl and her husband Brett, a Chemical Engineer, live in Chester with their three beautiful daughters. In addition to playing the piano and gardening, Dr. Earl enjoys the outdoors including camping, skiing, swimming and hiking in the Montana Rockies.
Jay Fathi, CEO Coordinated Care - Class of 1996
Read Dr. Fathi's Q&A session with Pudget Sound Business Journal regarding the future medicine and his leadership with Coordinated Care (Managed Medicaid).