Sixty for Sixty Spotlight

Heather Hammerstedt, MD, MPH




Featured 2/17/2020

Vituity emergency medicine physician Heather Hammerstedt is a force to be reckoned with. Whether she is at the Idaho statehouse testifying at a bill, resuscitating a patient in the E.D., tweeting back to the NRA, or coaching people in lifestyle medicine, her zeal for good medicine and public health advocacy stands out.

After graduating from the Temple University Lewis Katz School of Medicine in 2004, Dr. Hammerstedt went on to complete her emergency medicine residency and a Master’s in Public Health at Harvard. She is a diplomate and faculty on both the American College of Emergency Medicine and the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine.

Her early physician mentors included Dr. Rich Wolfe and Peter Rosen, who supported and pushed her to be the best she could be in emergency medicine. “They never blinked at my gender and held me to the highest standards they could.” She thinks of them every shift and because of them knows how to be the best emergency resuscitator she knows how to be.

In fact, it was her interest in the latter that caused her to start Wholisthealth.com, a lifestyle medicine coaching and consulting company. She uses evidenced-based knowledge behind food, sleep, exercise, mindset, and mindfulness for the prevention and reversal of disease and for the promotion of long-term health and weight wellness.  On the path to becoming a health coach, she learned about the evidence and technique behind coaching which completely revolutionized how she approached patients. She knows better how to empathize with them, discuss health behavior changes, and meet them in the at the level of change they are at rather than assuming they can come to the ideal place.


Part of that passion includes elevating women to their best bodies and minds they strive for in personal and professional growth. To that end, she also started the Idaho Women in Medicine, a private Facebook group for female physicians to discuss privately the joys and challenges of their profession. They meet on a quarterly basis in Boise to share life and laughter together.


In 2007, Dr. Hammerstedt co-founded a charitable non-profit with four other EM physicians called Global Emergency Care. Their primary work has been in Uganda doing emergency medicine education and capacity development.  GEC has been instrumental in developing multiple cadres of the first emergency practitioners and physicians in the country, and consulting in the country’s development of emergency care systems nationally. They have published over 30 published and over 150 abstracts on the novel development of emergency medicine training and capacity development in East Africa.


She has served as the president of Idaho ACEP, which has been actively involved in advocacy for physician and patient issues at the state level. Some of the recent year’s focused work has been around physician mental health, credentialing issues, opiate treatment, electronic medical record communication, patient mental health holds, and out of network fair reimbursement (“surprise billing/balanced billing.”) She was outspoken when the National Rifle Association tweeted that doctors with opinions about gun violence should "stay in their lane."

With her husband Peter, she is also raising two “little muppets” (Silas 8 & Kasper 5) who keep her running, humble and very loved. They love to travel in their sprinter camper to whitewater, kayak, raft, camp, hike, ski and play in the water wherever/ whenever they can.



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