To celebrate 60 years of service to our medical community, each week we will spotlight one of our member physicians over the coming year.
If you have somebody you think deserves a little light shining on them, please let us know
With parents from Sri Lanka, Canadian by birth, time spent in Australia as a teaching fellow, and working in rural India, Dr. Andrea Christopher’s perspective on the US healthcare system is broadly informed. Her passion for health equity motivates her interests in medical education, health policy research and clinical practice. She is the Clerkship Site Director at the Boise Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) and Associate Program Director for the UW Boise Internal Medicine Residency.
As a primary care provider at the VAMC, Dr. Christopher is very honored to serve our nation’s veterans. As a health services researcher, she focuses on disparities in access to healthcare for vulnerable populations. Her recent research projects examine the financial burden of out-of-pocket healthcare expenditures and the impact of being uninsured on chronic disease outcomes. In fact, this research was profiled in The Atlantic in 2018, bringing the idea of health equity to a general audience at the national level.
But she admits, “Teaching the next generation of physicians is what gets me out of bed in the morning.” Dr. Christopher supervises and teaches third year medical students on their internal medicine clerkships. She helped develop the Advocacy 101 course for physician trainees here become more effective advocates for their patients beyond the exam room. It was a real moment of pride for her to watch some advocate at the Idaho Capitol and argues how much responsibility physicians have as leaders in our community.
“I’m continually blown away by how readily we have access to changemakers in our community. I find it incredibly easy to connect with colleagues, community partners, and elected officials in Ada County.” She worked on the Medicaid expansion ballot initiative in 2018 and serves on an equity advisory committee for new Boise Mayor Lauren McLean.
She completed her training at the UW Internal Medicine Residency in 2013, rotating as a Teaching Fellow at the University of Melbourne School of Medicine. She then returned to serve as Chief Medical Resident for the newly formed UW Boise Internal Medicine Residency, going onto Boston for a two-year General Internal Medicine Fellowship at Harvard Medical School, during which she earned a master’s degree at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.
But she returned to Boise “because I found tremendous mentorship and role models here during my training. In particular, I was inspired by physicians who exemplified putting the patient first and their work-life balance.” Now, she considers it a huge privilege to help mentor future physicians as they grow in their career. “Seeing physician trainees’ enthusiasm for clinical medicine reinvigorates my practice. And, I hope our rapidly growing physician community continues to work towards improving healthcare systems thoughtfully to achieve The Quadruple Aim.” In 2018, she received Idaho WWAMI’s Excellence in Teaching award.
Last year, she and VAMC colleague Dr. Alicia Carrasco started working to grow the “Community for Inclusion in Healthcare” – a space to celebrate diversity, to network, and build an inclusive environment for all healthcare providers in the Treasure Valley. They’ve held a couple of different discussions and get-togethers, hoping to draw more into the conversation.
In her spare time, she loves recreational learning, including international travel, reading non-fiction and learning to cook different cuisines.
Dr. Ron Dorn entered the Army while at the University of New Mexico Medical School during the Vietnam War. Upon graduation, he moved to Washington DC where he ended up serving as the Chief of Radiation Oncology and Director of the Cancer Program. Eventually, he made his way out to Boise in 1983 and joined the Mountain States Tumor Institute (MSTI). He retired from the Army, active duty and reserves, in the early 1990’s with a rank of Colonel.
Though patient care has always been his first love, Dr Dorn says he has also had many incredible opportunities including directing a large brain tumor research program at Idaho National Laboratory (late 80’s - mid 90’s). At St Lukes’ MSTI, he served as Executive Medical Director, Chairman of Radiation Oncology, and on the Board of St Luke’s. He has also served a term as President of the Idaho Division of the American Cancer Society.
Dorn cites several important mentors during his career including his teaching chief Dr. M M Kligerman, one of the “fathers” of the field of Radiation Oncology in the United States and Dr Samuel Hellman, another of Dr Kligerman’s trainees. Dr. Hellman has been one of the most influential thought-leaders in the field of oncology during the past 50 years.
After he retired from full-time practice in 2014, Dr. Dorn moved on to a new career and is now Chairman of MIEC, a medical liability/physician services company headquartered in Oakland, CA. MIEC was formed as the West’s first truly physician-owned med-mal insurer and was pivotal in the Idaho market after the industry's malpractice crises in the 1970’s and 1980’s when several companies fled the regional market.
His other off time activities have included triathlons (completing the Ironman in Hawaii as the state age-group Champion in Idaho), ultramarathons and scuba diving. He was a founding Board member of the Expedition Inspiration Fund for Breast Cancer Research and was a team physician on that organization’s seminal mountain climb of Aconcagua in 1995.
He has served on the Board of the Discovery Center of Idaho for almost 20 years and considers the promotion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education as a critical need in our state and country. He and his wife celebrate their fiftieth anniversary this year.
Dr. Dorn’s encourages physicians to engage with the community and organized medicine - as difficult as that may be in the context of a busy clinical practice. He believes that type of work outside the office is important both to our patients and to society as a whole.
Dr. Ashley King claims she is probably one of very few physicians in Boise who actually enjoys walking into a courtroom. As the St. Luke’s Medical Director for the SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner) team, she works closely with the FACES of Hope Victim Center. This coordinated community response connects 17 different agency partners to respond to interpersonal violence, which improves outcomes and enables victims to access all the services they need from a single location in downtown Boise.
While attending the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, Dr. King remembers when CEO Dr. Ted Epperly spoke during orientation: “To be a family doctor is to be the kind of doctor your community needs.” That statement was crucial in helping her develop a clinic specializing in acute and follow up care for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and elder abuse. As she worked her way through residency, she took in the depth and scope of medicine practiced here in the Treasure Valley and concluded that domestic violence victim services were severely lacking.
Moving into this field was of personal interest to Dr. King, as her oldest sister was brutally assaulted as a junior in college. The horrific experience showed her how people who experience violence are able to recover fully with the right resources present from the beginning; that they may be able to come to a place where the violence they experienced is a part of their lives but does not define it. Early on, she knew that her passion, personality and training as a family physician would provide opportunities to care for victims of violence who might otherwise not receive the care they need.
Her role at Faces of Hope has evolved over the past several years she has been there. As the lead forensic examiner, she regularly testifies in court as an expert witness educating juries on the risks associated with strangulation in the setting of intimate partner violence.
Dr. King encourages physicians to take time with their patients whenever they can. In an era where visits are becoming increasingly brief, time spent connecting with a patient is just that much more valuable. She feels she can grow as a physician and as a human-being right along with them. For her, these personal connections are invaluable and are oftentimes just the antidote to feeling burnt-out, bringing fulfillment to each day in medicine.
When she’s not at work, Dr. King can be found off on an adventure in the mountains with her husband and two children. Many weekends are spent skiing, hiking, mountain biking and building sandcastles wherever they can.
For the past 25 years, Dr. Karl Watts has provided strong leadership in the Boise medical community, bringing innovation to Idaho and standing up as a voice for the underserved both locally and internationally. Watts arrived in Boise in 1988 to finish his medical training at the Family Practice Residency of Idaho. Later, he served as interim director at FMRI, helped establish its sports medicine program, and served as a clinical associate professor for the University of Washington, Department of Family Medicine. He is medical director of the Patient Centered Medical Home transformation at Saint Alphonsus Health System and practices family medicine at Saint Alphonsus Medical Group – Overland.
But it is as co-founder of Genesis Community Health (formerly Genesis World Mission) that he is probably best known. Watts began his international medical work in 1985 in Ecuador while attending school at the Medical College of Virginia. It was there that he made a life-long commitment to providing health care to those most in need. Since then, Watts has continued to fulfill his medical mission work in other developing nations, and has been involved in outreaches in Kenya, India, Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala and the Philippines, working on both short-term medical mission trips as well as long term community health improvement projects.
In 2001, Watts co-founded Genesis World Mission with an initial focus on addressing the unmet health needs of people in the developing world. However, when the local medical community came together to tackle the issue of a closing free clinic, Dr. Watts offered Genesis World Mission to open and operate the Garden City Community Clinic in 2003. Since then, the clinic has utilized volunteer healthcare professionals to provide care to thousands of uninsured people. Under his leadership, Watts also established the Volunteer Physician Network which brokers donated specialty services to local free clinics.
With his hands serving the community, Dr. Watts also became a voice for health care reform. In 2007, Dr. Watts was selected as the only physician member of the Governor’s Select Committee on Health Care. Through work on this committee, Dr Watts became a strong advocate and promoter of the patient-centered medical home model of care, which eventually became part of Idaho’s Statewide Healthcare Innovation Plan (SHIP) which started in 2013.
Watts has been active in the Idaho High School Activity Association’s Sports Medicine Advisory Board and helps organize the high school physicals screening each spring for Centennial High where he is a team doctor.
Watts has received many awards and accolades, including the Family Physician of the Year by AAFP (2009), IAFP’s Idaho Family Physician of the Year (2008), Treasure Valley Lions Community Man of the Year (2008), Boise Rotary Foundation’s Bob Gibb Fellowship Award (2006), Ada County Medical Society Physician of the Year (2005), Bob Lebow Community Health Award (2004), Idaho Medical Group Managers Association’s Physician of the Year (2003) and City of Garden City Friend of the City (2003). He was given a key to the City of Garden City in 2010 by Mayor John Evans.
Dr. Jeralyn Jones served as the Program Director of the ID/UW Advanced Clinician Psychiatry track, a four-year residency program of the University of Washington. Started in 2007, the program has helped fill the need for more psychiatrists in Idaho. Psychiatry residents see patients at the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, the Boise VA, St Luke’s and St Alphonsus Hospitals, Boise State University, and other local training sites. Approximately half of the residents stay in Idaho and the Intermountain West after graduation, replenishing the shrinking numbers of psychiatrists here.
Dr. Jones spent childhood summers with her grandparents who lived on the Ohio River, near the Appalachian Mountains. Her physician grandfather and nurse grandmother made house calls and were sometimes paid with delicious sweet corn and tomatoes. A summer highlight was attending the local medical society picnic, where the community ate apple pie and fed horses. The sense of working together for the common good, and enjoying each other’s company while doing so, was palpable. These early experiences influenced her desire to be part of a group of healers which she has found throughout the Ada County medical community.
She attended the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas and completed her psychiatric residency at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. She moved to Boise with her native Idahoan husband shortly after residency and has been practicing here for nearly 30 years. As recent empty nesters, they spend free time exploring Idaho trails and rivers.
She currently sees patients and supervises psychiatry residents at Boise State University. Her practice highlights are watching residents gain confidence in reducing a patients’ suffering. Dr. Jones received the 2012-13 Psychiatry Residency Clinical Faculty of the Year at University of Washington and the 2013 Ada County Medical Society’s Physician of the Year award.
Dr. Perry Brown Jr is a local pediatrician committed to education, research, service and improving the health and well-being of children. He is a the St. Luke's Cystic Fibrosis Center of Idaho co-director and a leader in screening newborns for CF. He is also a pediatric faculty member since 2004 for the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho.
Dr. Brown is very involved locally and nationally in CF research, including working on studies resulting in the FDA approval of 3 new, game-changing drugs for CF, and serving on the steering committee for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s research arm (Therapeutics Development Network).
Currently, he is conducting a feasibility analysis and roadmap towards the development of a pediatric residency here in Boise. It would be Idaho’s first pediatric residency and the only pediatric residency along the northwestern tier of states between Seattle / Portland and the South Dakota / Minnesota border.
He has served on numerous boards and committees including Idaho Kids Count, Idaho Child Immunization Policy Commission, Idaho Immunization Coalition, Idaho Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics, St. Luke’s Health System, the Department of Health and Welfare, Idaho Conservation League, and the Conservation Voters for Idaho.
Dr. Brown was named an Idaho Health Care Hero in 2010 by the Idaho Business Weekly. In 2012 he was awarded the Ron Lemire WWAMI Pediatric and Teaching Award in 2012, Faculty of the Year in 2007 and Rookie Faculty of the Year in 2005. He was honored as ACMS Physician of the Year in 2014.
He completed his undergraduate education at Dartmouth College and attended medical school at the University of California, San Francisco. He completed his pediatric residency at University of Colorado Health Sciences’ Denver Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Brown is married to his lovely wife Desiree and together have 6 children.
Originally born in Canada, Edward H. Newcombe, MD started his fifty-year medical career studying at the McGill University Faculty of Medicine and completing his residency at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. He completed a fellowship at the University of California VA Hospital, later going on to become an associate clinical professor of medicine there. He also served as coordinator of rehabilitation at Laguna Honda Hospital and an ER physician elsewhere.
He moved to Boise in 1981 and started his practice on Cole Road where he remained for the past 34 years. For as long as his colleagues can remember, Dr. Newcombe has been involved in serving patients in nursing homes, sometimes the only physician who would do so. During that time, he has served as medical director at various long-term care facilities including Life Care, Capital Care/Apex, and Marquis Nursing Home and always kept patient care at the center of decision making.
Along with Sue, his wife of 35 years who also nursed alongside him, Dr. Newcombe has been active in overseas medical missions outreaches. They have traveled to Kenya, Guatemala, and Peru multiple times, providing care to people deep in jungles or remote villages. “Some of these people are getting treated with health care concepts that are 200 years old, even though modern medicine is within reach,” reflects Newcombe.
He was active during his career at Camp Hodia, which serves children with diabetes. Dr. Newcombe retired from practice in August 2015, after being honored at the Idaho Medical Association’s conference for joining the 50-year Club, recognizing his five decades in active medical care.
Dr. Newcombe was recognized as the ACMS 2015 Physician of the Year. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quHsiFzs8Fg
Dr. Joseph Callanan is one of our community's medical treasures. After finishing his medical degree in 1965 at the University of New York Buffalo, he was sent to the frontlines of the Vietnam War to serve as a battalion surgeon, receiving a Bronze Star and Combat Medic Badge.
Dr. Callanan has been involved in multiple roles of leadership to the medical community. He was honored as the John A. Edwards MD Memorial Award "Doctor of the Year" by ACMS in 1992 for his outstanding contributions and years of support for our Winter Clinics. He was the Ada County Medical Society's president from 1980-1981, the Idaho Medical Association president from 1994-1995 and was an active mentor in the lives of younger physicians.
He returned to finish his residency at Oregon Health Sciences University and an Allergy & Immunology fellowship at the University of Michigan finishing in 1971. He started his independent allergy and internal medicine practice in 1971, naming it The Boise Valley Allergy and Asthma Clinic in 1990 and later formed The Allergy Group.
He was also active in high school physicals and the volunteer physician’s specialty network over the years. In his retirement, you can still often find him at Grand Rounds and on the golf course. Dr. Callanan has four children and nine grandchildren.
Dr. Callanan was awarded the ACMS Physician of the Year Award in 2016.
Dr. Williams is a board-certified urologist and founding member of the Idaho Urologic Institute and the Medical Director of the Surgery Center of Idaho. A native Idahoan, he graduated from the University of Arkansas and completed his internship in surgery and his urology residency at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. He also served in the military for 10 years and is a decorated Naval veteran in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield.
During his tenure as ACMS president in 2015, he refocused the organization on prioritizing early career physicians and addressing physician burnout, resulting in our Physician Vitality Initiatives and counseling program. He remains instrumental in pushing forward various initiatives around physician well-being and is a strong advocate for policies that treat doctors and medical staff with professional courtesy.
His medical community leadership roles are numerous and include:
Capital Coalition for Physician Well-Being
Dr. Williams was selected as the 2017 ACMS Physician of the Year.
Dr. Kyle Palmer has been a huge asset in our local medical community, he served on the ACMS board of directors from 2009 to 2015, serving as its president in 2014. During his tenure, Dr. Palmer helped establish and promote a local medical society focused on family-friendly events, fundraising socials, and collegial relationships. He was also involved in the High School Physicals annual screening program over the course of his career. He provided critical service to the board of directors of the Idaho Medical Association as its treasurer from 2012 to 2018.
His professional medical career has been one of selfless service to his community and colleagues. He served in the United States Navy Reserve from 1988 to 1998, achieving the rank of lieutenant commander. He has held many positions in local school athletics and club soccer establishments as a sports medicine specialist. He was a member of the board of directors of the Meridian Education Foundation and its president from 2005 to 2007.
For many years, he owned and operated his own orthopedic practice providing excellent care to patients before moving into semi-retirement in 2018.
Kyle and his wife Jill can often be found playing a huge role in hospitality and friendliness in whatever venue you find them in.
Dr. Palmer was award the 2018 ACMS Physician of the Year Award.
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