I became an orthopaedic surgeon because...
I first fell in love with the mechanical aspect of orthopaedic surgery—with how our muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons work together in an intricate, powerful system to create movement. Every detail matters. The combination of anatomical and surgical understanding allows me to directly impact a person’s quality of life. You can correct problems that otherwise limit or completely remove a person’s ability to move. I am constantly inspired and humbled by this responsibility.
What is the most rewarding part of being an orthopaedic surgeon?
Three parts are the most rewarding:
In general, the successful treatment of my patients. You feel a mixture of pride, joy, and gratefulness when a patient who couldn’t walk returns to clinic the next day, walking through the door. In the subspecialty of trauma (involves extreme injuries, e.g., from car accidents), putting people back together. Literally. In subspecialty of pediatrics, immediately correcting congenital anomalies (i.e., birth defects) of children. When kids are born with an extra set of fingers or an underdeveloped foot, the ability to perform even little tasks becomes a struggle. An obstacle to doing things that all kids should do. But children are amazingly efficient at adapting to various lifestyles, and so the functional limitation actually becomes the norm. So . . . witnessing the look on their face when they hold a doll—using, for the first time, all 5 fingers—stirs up quite big feelings. For everyone.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Run. Bike. Swim. Read. Think. Explore the world with my kids.
In what volunteer activities or efforts do you engage that mean the most to you and those you serve?
I am passionate about community outreach that exposes young women to the world of science. Every year, I volunteer at the Perry Outreach Program in Albuquerque, an all-day event that allows young women from high schools throughout to New Mexico to join hands-on workshops and open discussions in orthopaedic surgery and engineering. For zero cost to them or their families. I am grateful for the opportunity to show our students that a lifelong career as a physician or engineer is a readily available option—regardless of whether you’re a boy or a girl.