Why did you choose to become an OB/GYN?
The formative moment for me was watching my oldest son, who is actually a first year medical student right now, be born. He was born by an emergency cesarean section. I was in my first year of medical school. I went from watching my wife in labor to watching my son be born by an emergency c-section in a few minutes. It was surprising how grateful I was by the skill of that young doctor, who was a resident. It made me pause and think what a difference this doctor make in the life of my son and my wife. It’s what pointed me in that direction and put me in a position to be that kind of doctor for patients—one that could take an average situation and keep it safe or take a potentially disastrous situation and help it turn around. That’s where my focus shifted to Obstetrics.
I’ve joked with a lot of medical students that I’ve worked with and trained over the years, when they’ve asked me that same question, “Why did you choose OBGYN?” and I’ve shared some of the things, but truthfully I think you either love it or you don’t love it—there’s not a lot of grey area about deciding if this is something you want to do. You know when you have that experience, even though the hours are terrible, when you have that moment with patients, you know if this is something you want to spend your life doing.
What was the first experience you had delivering a baby?
What has been your most memorable experience as an OBGYN?
The joy that you get to experience with couples and families as they experience birth is something that never gets old to me. I treasure that! I don’t know that there is one particular moment other than it seems like every birth builds on the last birth. I have a collection of moments that I treasure each day. I feel grateful every day when I’m driving into work, morning or night, that I have the job that I do.
What is your favorite part about being an OB/GYN?
For me, it’s sharing in a significant moment in people’s lives and sometimes, getting to share that again and again with them. There is a continuity with patients. It’s really neat to guide a mother through her first pregnancy, then having her back in a few years to do it again and then as she transitions into her middle age and beyond—you still get to be her doctor! There aren’t many opportunities in this current history of medicine where you get to maintain that kind of continuity.
It’s also humbling for me, as a physician, to watch women put their life on the line to have a baby. That kind of sacrifice, that kind of love, that kind of willingness to do that, is something I endlessly respect. I guess that is part of why I wanted to be an OB/GYN. President Nelson said in the most recent General Conference, “I couldn’t be a mother, so I chose to be a doctor” and I would almost take it one step further and say, “I couldn’t be a mother, so I chose to be an Obstetrician in particular.” For me it was and is amazing to watch what women do and try to help them in that process. It’s just amazing in so many ways!
What do you love about Valley Women’s Health?
I feel like our model has always been “We are going to take care of you together.” That togetherness from the physicians, nurses and receptionists is why we don’t assign you to just one doctor. We are a team! I like that for a lot of reasons. Quality assurance is nice. My partners are looking over my shoulder making sure that I don’t miss anything. I appreciate the chance to have the patients feel like they have a good comprehensive set of eyes looking out for them. I think they appreciate that too. The inherent skill and compassion that my partners have is what attracted me to joining Valley Women’s Health back in 2005. The two most important things, like I said, that make physicians great are skill and compassion. My partners have both and that makes this a great place to be.
Also, I tell patients that there are times you really don’t want me to deliver your baby. For example, if I haven’t been sleeping. Why would you want a sleep deprived doctor to be put in a position where they’ve got to perform and have good dexterity and skills? As much as a doctor would want to be there 24/7 for patients, I don’t think it’s ethical or safe for any doctor to truly promise that, especially in a business like Obstetrics, where you don’t have control over the timing of when things happen. I really think our model is great for patient safety and to optimize care.
What is one thing you wish all women could know?
That their food choices are absolutely critical to their health. We live in a time where our food environment is challenging, to say the least. It’s harder and harder for us to make wise choices based on what food or food-like substances we are surrounded by. I am absolutely committed to the idea that the best thing all of us can do, men and women, to maintain and promote good health is to eat well. In the small confines of a 9 month pregnancy, that’s obviously something we discuss a lot.
How we eat is one of those things that will continue to evolve as far as what we know and what medical science can teach us about what the best way to do that is. All of us know from our own experience that when we eat well, we are healthier. We may not always stay consistent, but it’s obvious to all of us that we feel better when we eat the right way. We want to empower patients to own their health. That’s what I love about OB/GYN, especially in pregnancy. My job is to keep a healthy woman healthy—rather than taking a sick woman and hopefully make her well. That’s a better approach to healthcare. Let’s keep people healthy instead of trying to salvage a bad situation.
Tell us about yourself and your family.
I grew up in Springfield, Missouri and Orem, Utah. I attended Orem High School and Brigham Young University. I served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Pusan, South Korea. I have been married to my wife, Rachel, for 28 years. We have four children, the oldest of whom is currently in medical school.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I lived in Japan for three years while in the Air Force. While there, I hiked Mount Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan!
What song can always put you in a good mood?
The songs that will always put me in a good mood are “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire and “Rise & Shout”, the BYU fight song.
What are your hobbies?
I love to cycle. That’s my passion! When I go to Hawaii there’s this ride I like to do (Cycle to the Sun). I’ve done it a couple of times. It’s a unique ride where you climb 10,000 feet in 36 miles. You ride from sea level to the top of Haleakala Crater. It’s a unique ride because it’s so compact and it’s grueling, an unending assent. It’s 36 miles of pain and you’re usually battling some pretty fierce weather when you get up there. I’m weird, but I just love to grind out a long climb on my bike. That’s what I love.