Surgeon Bios

I became an orthopaedic surgeon because...

Two weeks before leaving for college, I was riding a bike and was struck by a car. I broke both arms, both legs, and my pelvis. Instead of an exciting college life I was in a wheelchair with casts on all 4 limbs and couldn’t even get a hand to my mouth. It is hard enough to talk to your mother when you are 18 — can you imagine having your mother feed you?

After a month in the acute-care hospital and 2 months in a rehab hospital and more recovering at home, I showed up in Boston to start college 5 months late. I was alone, 2000 miles from home, on crutches, and it was snowing! I vowed that I would never forget how important it was to be able to walk and use my arms.

Loving math and science, I was planning on engineering. However, in my first year of college I found that the mechanical engineering department also worked on bones. I started doing research in a lab at a nearby hospital and I found a perfect match — I could use my engineering interest but also help injured people. Foot and ankle research work led me to my current area of specialization.

What is the most rewarding part of being an orthopaedic surgeon?

Almost 30 years later, I have not forgotten what it feels like to be unable to walk or use my arms. Helping my patients get back to the activities they need and want to do gives me joy every day.

What do you like to do in your free time?

With children at home, most of my free time is spent sharing family activities. The fun: school sports and concerts. The not-so-fun: monitoring homework. Like many parents, I seem to spend lots of time driving them around. I may get grumpy about it, but then I realize how quickly children grow up. When my husband and I have the chance, we are avid ballroom dancers. We have found that you if you listen with your heart, dancing music plays everywhere– on the street, in a store, even in a Starbucks!

In what volunteer activities or efforts do you engage that mean the most to you and those you serve?

As a mother, I support the activities of my children and teach them the importance of helping others. Some of my favorite memories are the years I spent leading a Boy Scout troop. I serve as team mom for my daughter’s sports teams at school and as a band booster for my son, the musician. On their school foundation, I work to raise money so that all the students can experience programs that the public school no longer funds. Through a mother-daughter group, I spend “girl time” doing everything from knitting to sorting food at the food bank. My children joined me on a trip to Belize and while I provided medical services, they worked with a group to lay the foundation for a new community school. As a physician, I share my professional skills in my community. Through the county medical society, I provide office visits and free surgical care to those without insurance. As an Orthopaedic Surgeon I help others in my field do their best by volunteering with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the California Orthopaedic Association, doing everything from helping to build playgrounds to teaching others about a surgeons work with primary care physicians to provide the best comprehensive care to our patients