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Why I’m Here

Dr. Carpenter Finds her “Happy Place”

Courtney Carpenter, MD is a Gillette Children's pediatric craniofacial and plastic surgeon. 

Courtney Carpenter, MD is a Gillette Children's pediatric craniofacial and plastic surgeon. 

New Gillette Children’s pediatric craniofacial and plastic surgeon, Courtney Carpenter, MD says she’s finally found her “happy place.” It’s not a home near the ocean or a cozy cottage in the woods.

“I just love working with kids and interacting with them,” Carpenter says. “The happiest year I had in my medical training was when I had a fellowship working specifically with kids. I loved it. Now that I’m at Gillette and I can work with children everyday I really feel like I’ve found my ‘happy place.’”

Carpenter did her fellowship training at Albany Medical Center and at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

“In my medical training I became interested in plastic surgery and cleft repair,” Carpenter recalls. “I really fell in love after my first cleft case and was drawn to head, face and neck surgery. These areas of the anatomy are complex and elegant. It requires a mind that can visualize things in 3-D, and I find this very challenging and rewarding.”

Being a mother impacts her work

Carpenter is the mother of three children ages 5, 7 and 9 years old. She says being a mother has a big impact on how she approaches her work.

 “I know what it’s like to send your child off for surgery—even for something relatively minor. It’s stressful and frightening. I do my best to assure parents that I will take excellent care of their child,” Carpenter says.

“I really love interacting with children and enjoy every stage of development—from babies to toddlers to young children and teens. It sounds a bit crazy, but I would have 100 kids if I could!” Carpenter proclaims. “Of course, I can’t have 100 children so, in a way, I get to form a close relationship with each child in my care.” 

Carpenter says her advanced medical training has been a long journey, but it’s been worth it. “I really feel honored that I can take something that is anatomically abnormal, and I can correct it. I know this is a relief for parents and the surgery I’m doing will make the future life of the child better. After the surgery children will have improved speech, an easier time of eating, and it changes their appearance, so they have an easier time of interacting socially. It is very satisfying and rewarding,” Carpenter says.

Making a home in Minnesota

Carpenter was born in Indiana and grew up in Massachusetts. She looks forward to exploring Minnesota. “We’re excited to explore the area and take advantage of the amazing bike trails and parks.”

Before she had children Carpenter traveled extensively and lived in various places around the world. “I lived in England, Bolivia, Tanzania, Ghana, Northern India near the Himalayas, and in the Amazon in Brazil.”

She jokes that she’s always game for trying to learn a new language but for some reason the new language skills don’t always stick. “I’ve tried to learn German, Portuguese, and Swahili. While I admit I’m not the best at languages, I’m proud to say I am fluent in Spanish!”

Grateful to be part of an incredible team

Carpenter is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. She’s a member of the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association.

“I feel grateful to be part of this incredible craniofacial team at Gillette,” Carpenter says. “Dr. Lacey, Dr. Barta and the entire craniofacial team are so impressive. Plus, the team works with amazing neurosurgeons and other expert providers. Having these colleagues and getting to work with children is just the best! It really is my ‘happy place.’”