What is your position and role at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare? I am a Pediatric Rehabilitation physician who works closely with children who have physical challenges. I spend most of my time in an outpatient clinic setting. My normal day at work starts early. I spend my day trying to help children be their best and live as typical a life as possible despite their challenges. A special part of my work month is the neuromuscular clinic. In the clinic, I get to work with children who have muscle diseases such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Becker muscular dystrophy and spinal muscle atrophy. Like so many of the children I meet, the kids who have SMA are inspirational. Many learn to drive a powered chair before they turn two (I was 18 before I figured a motorbike out)! They remind me that life is fun and worth enjoying. They brighten my day as they always seem so cheerful and go about life twirling around in their powered chairs; up for any challenge life throws their way.
How did you get into health care? I was always intrigued by the human body, even as a young child (per my mother). I am told I loved to play doctor when anyone was sick or with my toys. I am not quite sure when the “games” actually became a career interest, but quite honestly, I cannot think of a time when I wanted to do anything else.
Why did you choose to work at Gillette? That is easy; it is the most caring place for kids with disabilities. I first came to Gillette as a trainee. The first month was the hardest and longest month of my career thus far. My workdays were long and the patients were unique or very complex. Despite this, I saw the staff here worked hard to help each other so the kids could get the best care possible.
What has been one of your most rewarding moments at Gillette? This is a tough one as most every day is rewarding! I guess I would say when a very pretty young lady with long golden braids jumped in front of me and said, “hello, doc”, and I couldn’t recognize her! She was a patient whom I had taken care of after a serious motor vehicle accident. When I had admitted her after a severe traumatic brain injury, her head was shaved for treatment. She had been unable to talk or walk, recognize her family, or even eat orally. To see her progress was remarkable.
What clinical development is on the horizon that you’re most excited about? Or is there anything new and exciting in your field/specialty? Researchers are working on emerging treatments to halt, diminish, or reverse muscle and nerve damage in muscular dystrophy and spinal muscle atrophy.
What is one fun fact about you? I used to love to drive a motorbike as fast as it would let me go in a relatively conservative town. Every head turned and frowned to see a girl driving a bike! I was also a badminton player who competed at the University level.
What do you like to do in your free time? Read, listen to music, enjoy the outdoors and spend time with my family.
What career would you like to have in your next life, if you couldn’t be a physician? A professional soccer player who could travel the world.