How did you decide to become a doctor?
I graduated from Marquette with a degree in biomedical engineering and ultimately decided that I wanted a little bit more variety in my work. I found by shadowing physicians that no two days are ever the same. I also wanted to walk with patients through the numerous bioethical dilemmas that arise in practice.
So, in a way, was your faith a driving factor in that decision?
Definitely it was. I became interested in bioethics during high school because we had a very animated religion teacher who addressed all of the encyclicals that talk about the moral teachings of the church, and I just found it so relevant to our modern world. I knew that there has to be an alternative to things like IVF. In high school, I was working on a project related to IVF and alternatives to it, and that’s when I discovered NaPro Technology. I didn’t touch on NaPro Technology again until residency, so in a way it was a full-circle moment there. I have since completed training in NaPro Technology and it is a large component of my practice today.
Can you describe what NaPro Technology is?
It’s a practice which addresses a lot of common concerns with women’s health but gets to the root issue for those common concerns and respects a woman’s cycle with our treatment choices.
Would this be for situations where there is infertility?
Infertility, recurrent miscarriages, abnormal uterine bleeding — also progesterone management in pregnancy for the prevention of preterm labor.
What led you to choose family medicine, and why do you like that specialty?
I get to see the whole family, I get to treat patients of all ages and there are so many ethical concerns that arise, not just with women’s health but almost every patient. I like to help navigate through those dilemmas with a patient.
How do you incorporate your faith into your practice?
I see many times that patients are offered treatments simply because the patient has asked for it, and the physician doesn’t ask any questions — the patient’s autonomy takes priority. It’s certainly an easy way to practice medicine, but it’s not always a moral way to practice. I always try to be mindful of the means and the end to any treatment I would recommend, and if I object to a treatment due to my religious beliefs, I try to offer patients a morally acceptable alternative.
How do you tackle those conversations?
When I discuss that with patients, they tend to be appreciative of a different perspective to their healthcare, but at the very least, I think it’s a subtle opportunity for evangelization, which can teach not only my patients but also colleagues I work with that there are indeed moral boundaries to what and how we practice as an earthly physician. After all, God is the Divine Healer. There needs to be some concept that, even though it is possible, it might not be what’s truly best for the patient.
Has faith always been a big part of your life?
I would say yes. I was taught by the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia through my elementary and high school years, and we were taught how to incorporate our faith into every hour and day of the school week. Building those relationships with each of the sisters and witnessing their devotion to our Lord really served as the foundation to my faith life. I learned through my youth that, even with a religious sister, I can share many common interests, not just with our faith. For example, one of the sisters was a professional ballerina before she became a sister, and over the lunch breaks, I would have private impromptu ballet lessons with her. It was just neat to form personal relationships with someone who is so deeply in love with their faith.
What do you love about being a physician?
I would say it’s the relationships you are able to build with your patients. You see your patients in the good times and the bad, and when you can help them through those experiences, I think that’s very rewarding. Something else I enjoy discussing with patients is the concept of redemptive suffering. Many times, patients are coming to me in despair and hopelessness, in suffering, and so I take some of those opportunities to remind them that we can find God in our pain and our sorrow, and lift that up for the salvation of souls.