Emily Fitzgerald, MDBoise Program
Class of 2024
University of Washington School of Medicine
Hi! I’m Emily.
I grew up on an island in Southeast Alaska in a town called Ketchikan with the Pacific Ocean and the Tongass National Rainforest in my backyard. For perspective, we measured our annual precipitation not in inches a year but in feet. For those of you that have read Dune, Boise in comparison feels like Arrakis. My partner, Nathan Ord, teases me that I must be part Fremen. During my undergraduate years I split my time studying philosophy at the University of Washington and commercial fishing for Salmon off the coast of Southeast Alaska. I traded cell phone coverage for wild mountains and waterways, grocery store produce for salmon and fern tips, and the easy access to services urban Seattle life afforded me with closely knit communities of small fishing towns. I loved every minute of it.
In small town Alaska, medicine is no different. Family doctors are the clinicians, hospitalists, ER docs, laborists, proceduralists, and intensivists. During my family medicine rotation in Sitka, I assisted on a c-section, assessed the neonate still covered in amniotic fluid and then returned to help sew up the mother. I diagnosed a patient with Grave’s Disease, set fractures, and med-evac’d a patient with ascending cholangitis to Anchorage. On a typical day we prescribed immunomodulators and vasopressors in the ER, discussed meditation apps and intermittent fasting, cared for young and old. Conversations on lifestyle, healthy movement and nutrition were given equal importance as the emergencies that neglecting them can lead to. It is this appreciation for preventive medicine, ability to provide truly comprehensive care, and establishing deep patient connections that drew me to family medicine.
I am excited to be training at a program that will provide me with the full spectrum training practicing family medicine in Alaska requires so that I can give back to the wild places and the salt of the earth kind of people I have found there. In the meantime, Nathan and I are enjoying meeting new friends in Boise and exploring all the wilds places Idaho has to offer with our eight-month-old Australian Shepard puppy Tikka!