Take a moment to meet Ruth “Jo” Barta, MD, a fellowship-trained and board-certified pediatric craniofacial and plastic surgeon at Gillette Children’s. After spending much of her childhood in Taiwan, Jo, a self-proclaimed “triple Gopher,” returned to Minnesota to complete her undergraduate studies, medical school and residency. She then completed a highly sought-after fellowship at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital. She now works at Gillette in conjunction with HealthPartners, treating both adult and pediatric craniofacial patients. She is one of few fellowship-trained craniofacial surgeons in the Twin Cities.

What prompted you to enter the pediatric craniofacial field?

Dr. Barta: Something I really enjoy about working in pediatrics is that you can change the course of a child’s life before they are even aware of it, and one of the beauties of working in craniofacial and plastics is that we restore both form and function. Craniofacial surgery is significantly life-changing and can greatly impact patients. The responsibility of accepting a child’s blind trust that you will do your best for them, and providing continuity of that care over the years, is really motivating.

What drew you to Gillette?

Dr. Barta: Many congenital and craniofacial anomalies require multidisciplinary team collaboration, and that is something I know Gillette champions. Everyone is here pulling together as a team for the benefit of the patient. I enjoy getting to know Gillette patients and their families and fostering genuine, sustained connections with them. I always encourage families to find a physician or care provider that they can trust and comfortably communicate with because that relationship is as important as any other in life.

As the second oldest of nine children, I am used to being in a caregiver role and have a deep appreciation for Gillette’s family-centered care model. I strive to provide my patients with the quality of care that I would give my own family members.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Dr. Barta: I try to go on one medical mission trip a year. The Twin Cities medical community is very passionate about giving back to underserved populations and there are many groups based in Minnesota going on medical missions around the world. What I really appreciate about the team I work with is that we return every single year to the same place in Peru, which offers some continuity of care to a patient population who might not have access to any specialized care outside of the mission group.

When I am not at work, I like to engage in just about any fitness endeavor: running, hiking, lifting weights, etc. I also enjoy spending time with my family. My father is originally from Minnesota so I have a lot of family here and I try to spend time with them whenever I can.

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