COMPASSION IS WHAT SUSTAINS ME: CAROL COTTRILL

It seems so fitting that Carol Cottrill’s medical specialty is the hearts of children - both physical and emotional. Her career path began when her 4th child was born with congenital heart disease.  Growing up on a family farm, she learned to balance compassion and necessity, a skill she would use in caring for her daughter and later during 18 years as medical director of UK’s pediatric ICU. Her daughter’s illness introduced her to wonderfully compassionate doctors and nurses who….

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FRIEND TO THOSE WHO ARE AILING: DANESH MAZLOOMDOOST, MD

Danesh Mazloomdoost, MD has inherited a tradition reflected in his name itself. In his family’s native Iran, Mazloomdoost means “friend to those who are ailing.” His life in medicine seems almost preordained by his family history. His father (a U.S. trained anesthesiologist who specialized in pain management) and mother (who trained in anesthesiology in Iran and retrained in psychiatry in the U.S.) built their practice around a comprehensive mind-body approach to pain management, long before such….

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SUSTAINING AN ALTRUISTIC SPIRIT: TERRY BARRETT

Terry Barrett is Chief of the Gastroenterology Division of the Department of Medicine, University of Kentucky College of Medicine. He came to Lexington in 2013 from Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago.  Becoming a Doctor.   Although there were no doctors in his family, he always felt a parental expectation of excellence and high achievement. He had a poor impression of the competitive nature of pre-medical education he witnessed among his peers.

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produce individual wellness help influence population health. Our dedicated public health team helps educate and influence people to do the right thing for their health."


Have you ever felt burned out or compassion fatigue?"

I have felt worn out or less able to function optimally, especially when I don’t get the sleep I need.  With me, it can take the form of being more irritable with colleagues and having less tolerance for others’ viewpoints.


The burden of thinking that if we could just do more, we could save more lives, can be stressful.  The current pandemic is a good example.  Even in wartime, though, people are allowed to take some breaks and have some “down time” to relax, if we want to be as effective as we can be in fighting the enemy."


How have you handled stress/burnout/work-life balance?  What is your go-to stress reliever?

"In a helping profession, boundaries between home and work life can often blur, making it especially important to set aside wellness time.


Swimming is a reliable stress reliever, and one exercise I really enjoy participating in. For me, being in the water is calming, therapeutic and almost meditative.  Aquatic centers were closed early in the pandemic and my regular morning swim routine was interrupted, which was a real challenge. On the other hand, it gave me the opportunity to pursue land-based strength training and calisthenics at home. Pools have now re-opened and I am back to my morning swims.


I tend to laugh a lot at work. I find that seeing the humor in situations helps promote camaraderie and relieve tension at work. Also, my faith enables me to stay centered. Support from my faith community and my family and friends has been especially vital to my well-being during the pandemic."


Describe your personal mission, purpose, values and how you express them in your job

"This is a tough one. I strive to optimize my performance and that of our staff by consistently modeling reliability and responsibility for those we serve.  My objective at work is to move the health department forward in its mission to help Lexington be well.


I’m often striving for something that’s just a bit out of reach. My goals aren’t always realized exactly as I envision them.  Public health professionals recognize the realities of the world we live in and try to achieve our objectives working in the confines of those realities.


The constantly evolving challenge of this pandemic illustrates the grey zone public health professionals work in. Public health is a very under-resourced field, so public health professionals have to figure out ways to accomplish their goals with fewer resources and by leveraging other resources and partners in the community.  The old aphorism “many hands make light work” is certainly true in this field."


What makes you tick, motivates you, inspires you?

"I am motivated by the opportunity to influence the health of not only of individual patients, but also the health of people throughout the community, even those who’ve never stepped foot into the health department.  When I can make it easier for people to make choices that are going to positively influence their health, then that’s a good day.


While I’m data driven, a life-long learner and enjoy solving epidemiological mysteries, I’m inspired daily by the people who are my colleagues at this service agency and others like it throughout our public health, medical and mental health services system.  We are fortunate to have bright, committed, experienced professionals at every level and in every discipline who are helping us fight the pandemic and improve health. I am inspired by the dedication of our public health team and our partners in the community."


How can we help our colleagues, residents and students navigate these stressful times in medicine and society?

"I think it’s good to remind ourselves that life is cyclical and that our plight is temporary.  Despite this pickle we find ourselves in, God is using us daily and has plans for us beyond our current situation. Though it’s heartbreaking and challenging, the pandemic is a chance for us to stretch ourselves and to learn more about our humanity and how we can support each other. Part of our reason for being is to show kindness that transcends our predicament. Each of us has gifts to give to others and society."        

Kraig Humbaugh MD is Lexington’s Commissioner of Health. He is a former pediatrician who shifted his career to public health. He heads the local effort to address the current COVID-19 pandemic.


When (how old) and why did you want/ decide to be a doctor?

"I grew up in rural southern Indiana and attended public schools. No one in my family was a practicing healthcare professional, so I don’t know how I got the idea that medicine could be a career choice. It was a gradual realization; it wasn’t like a light bulb going off or a bolt of lightning striking me.


While I was spending a year in New Zealand as a Fulbright scholar studying biochemistry after college, I began to understand more fully that I enjoy being a generalist more than I do being a specialist who concentrates and knows everything about one area of specialty. I thought I would be more suited to working broadly as a medical professional than as a basic scientist doing research at the bench.  At the same time, being a physician allows me to read and evaluate the scientific literature and translate it into practice."


Why public health? What does it mean to you to be a public health physician?

"My career pathway to public health has been roundabout. I trained as a pediatrician and spent several years in a private, single specialty practice in the Nashville area. I don’t remember much specific public health training in medical school, but we medical students were

BY JOHN A. PATTERSON MD, MSPH, FAAFP

exposed to a wide array of disciplines. During med school, I often hung out with students who were pursuing public health degrees at the affiliated public health school, so through them, I was aware of public health and its mission.


Several years into my pediatric career, I decided to stretch myself by leaving a well-established pediatric practice and taking a position at a Western-style medical clinic in Moscow that got its start after perestroika.  It was probably not as much of a stretch as it might seem.  I had taken Russian language courses in college, had done a short summer study abroad program there, and it seemed like an exciting adventure to embark on.


I think almost all pediatricians consider themselves public health practitioners because of our emphasis on prevention, wellness and working with families.  And my experiences as an American physician in Russia further helped lead me to return to school to study for a graduate degree in public health and launch a career in more traditional public health practice.


As a public health physician, I view the community as my patient. Because I am a physician, I can appreciate firsthand that the medical care and environment that

JOHN A. PATTERSON MD, MSPH, FAAFP

Dr Patterson chairs the Lexington Medical

Senator Alvarado earned his bachelor's degree in biology from Loma Linda University (California) in 1990, and then went on to receive his Doctorate in Medicine in 1994. He completed his medical residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Kentucky in 1998. Society's Physician Wellness Commission and is certified in Physician Coaching. He is on the family practice faculty UK College of Medicine and teaches nationally for Saybrook School of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences (San Francisco) and the Center for Mind Body Medicine (Washington, DC). After 30 years in private family practice in Irvine KY, he now operates the Mind Body Studio in Lexington, where he offers integrative mind-body medicine consultations specializing in mindfulness-based approaches to stress-related chronic conditions and burnout prevention for helping professionals. He can be reached through his website at www.mindbodystudio.org