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.