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Why I’m Here

With Smiles and Tears Dr. Lacey Retires

Gillette Children’s pediatric craniofacial and plastic surgeons, Martin Lacey and Jo Barta, MD. 

Gillette Children’s pediatric craniofacial and plastic surgeons, Martin Lacey and Jo Barta, MD. 

“It’s time. It’s just time,” says Gillette Children’s pediatric craniofacial and plastic surgeon, Martin Lacey, MD.

Dr. Lacey has more than 30 years of experience caring for children who have craniofacial concerns and will retire from Gillette at the end of December 2022. He insists this time he’s sticking with his plan to retire from surgery.

“I’ve tried to retire twice before,” Dr. Lacey says with a smile. “This time I’m sticking to my guns. I love the work. I love my patients. It’s just time to retire and see what else there is in life.”

Dr. Lacey reports he’s seen a few tears from patient families and co-workers when he shares his plan to retire. “That is actually nice to see. I’ve been very touched by the reaction from some of the children I’ve cared for. A few of them have been almost inconsolable. I have cared for some children for years and when they hear I’m leaving I guess it’s a difficult change for these children to think about.” Dr. Lacey says.

Gillette pediatric craniofacial and plastic surgeon, Martin Lacey, MD, examining a patient.

Gillette pediatric craniofacial and plastic surgeon, Martin Lacey, MD, has built strong and long relationships with patients. 

Patients will continue to be well-served

Dr. Lacey’s patients will be in good hands with his colleagues, pediatric craniofacial plastic surgeons, Jo Barta, MD, and Courtney Carpenter, MD.

“I’m leaving the craniofacial department in a really good space,” Dr. Lacey says. “I’ve known Jo Barta since her days at medical school and have had the chance to mentor her. It was always my intention that she would take over my practice at some point.”

Both Barta and Carpenter are fellowship trained pediatric craniofacial and plastic surgeons. This means they have the highest level of training advanced training in their field, and it makes them, and the Gillette program, standout.

Dr. Carpenter began her career at Gillette this past fall after a nationwide search.

“Dr. Barta and I felt Dr. Carpenter would be a good fit here. She’s mission focused and has a very caring approach to children and families,” Lacey adds.

“I’m very comfortable that my patients will be well-served by both of these talented doctors and the rest of our team,” Dr. Lacey says.

Gillette has one of the largest craniofacial programs in the country. Besides craniofacial and plastic surgeons, the Gillette team includes neurosurgeons, dentists, orthodontists, speech-language pathologists, advanced practice nurse practitioners, audiologists and other providers who’ve been carefully selected because of their specialized training in their respective fields to support children.

Dr. Martin Lacey with a smiling patient in his clinic.

Dr. Lacey enjoys making his patients smile. 

The most uplifting place

When he looks back over his career in medicine Dr. Lacey says he feels fortunate that he landed in the right spot when he began at Gillette.

“I was an assistant professor of surgery at the University of West Ontario, and I came down here beginning in 2002,” Dr. Lacey recalls. “When I told my wife that we would be moving to Minnesota she said, ‘Gee, thanks for moving us to a place that’s even colder!’ But it’s actually been a great move.”

“I’ve made thousands of connections with the families I’ve had the opportunity to care for,” Dr. Lacey says. “It’s just been really gratifying. I’ve worked in many hospitals, and they are all doing their best, but Gillette has always been my favorite place to work. It’s just the most uplifting place. Everybody is on the same page, and everybody is focused on delivering the best care for these kids. Just watching the interactions with staff, with the kids and families has just truly been an honor.”

Dr. Martin Lacey talking to the parent of a young patient.

Parents and caregivers appreciate Dr. Lacey's calm and helpful advice. 

Reflecting and cycling

When asked about his plans for retirement Dr. Lacey is quick to provide a one-word answer—Boredom!

“Some people have a very specific plan about what they’re going to do as soon as they retire,” Dr. Lacey says. “I’m not that guy. I’m going to reflect on life and then probably dabble in a variety of things.”

Dr. Lacey is known for his passion for cycling, and he plans to continue to be actively involved in the Twin Cities cycling community.

“You can’t really cycle for 10 hours a day every day,” Dr. Lacey jokes. “So, there will be some other things to keep me busy.”

As he prepares for this last day of service at Gillette Dr. Lacey has a message for his patient families.

“Thank you for allowing me to take care of your child. It’s been such a great journey and I’m grateful to be part of your lives.”