By Julie Winsel
Photo credit: Jeremy Bronson
Published December 2018
The relationships we develop with our doctors are incredibly important. We want to feel listened to, cared for, and like they are making the best decisions for our health. We trust them because they know their craft, but also know us and how our bodies function. We know them for the environment we see them in, in appointment-long increments. They know us, but we may not know them. We talked to three doctors and one dentist to better get to know them, their backgrounds, and their lives outside their offices. They all love the spending time in the outdoors with their families, love their jobs, and love helping their patients stay healthy.
Dr. Katelyn Clark is fully Northwest-grown. She grew up in Eugene, completing her undergrad at Seattle Pacific University before getting her surgical training at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU).
“This is the community I was raised in, so to be able to serve it and work in it again is really cool,” she says.
During her time at OHSU, she rotated down to Northwest Surgical Specialists and immediately felt welcomed by the staff. “They really, dramatically inspired me and were incredibly supportive and provided a lot of mentorship from then on,” she says. “Predominantly, the biggest person who was my source of inspiration and support was David DaHaas.”
Once she graduated, she was fully hired at Northwest Specialists. She’s a general and trauma surgeon, but she really enjoys anything to do with the gastrointestinal tract.
“I think it comes down to what path of physiology you love,” she says. “I learned early that I really liked being able to intervene, being able to do something to make a difference, like with my hands. So, it ended up that I really liked to the path of physiology of GI stuff–so everything from gall bladders to appendicitis to colon cancer to esophageal issues, so it really fits for me.”
Even though she’s passionate about esophageal cancer and the quality of care provided in this area, she likes to keep her days filled with different things. “I don’t like it when my day’s completely planned,” she says. “I like to have a certain amount of different cases, of different challenges.”
She also enjoys the connection she feels with her patients. “I really want my patients to feel like I communicate with them,” she says,” that I really help them understand their diagnosis and what’s going on and the reason why we’re doing things. So, I think an important thing to me is establishing that trust relationship early on and trying to provide education. Once people become educated and know what’s going on, they become a lot less scared.”
Dr. Clark truly loves her job. “What I like most is that I get to see a whole lot of people get better,” she says. “It is extremely rare that, in whatever I’m being consulted for or involved in, that I don’t get to somehow make it better and that’s so great to see every day–to have someone put their trust in you and be able to get them through often what is one of the most difficult times in their lives, or at least really, really stressful. I feel really blessed in my job.”
Outside of the office, Dr. Clark enjoys spending time with her family and keeping herself healthy to she can keep pursuing her career for as long as she can.
To read the full article, click here. https://eugenemagazine.com/feature-stories/passion-for-patients/