Friday, October 18, 2019
St. Luke’s Doctor Loves Hands-On Approach
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Dr. Cathryn “Kate” Erickson has relished the opportunity to hike dirt trails and paved bike trails with her dog Griffin since moving here a few months ago.
 
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

She grew up a product of St. Luke’s in Boise, her father having grown up on a farm in Meridian and her mother having served as a receptionist for a radiologist.

So, Dr. Cathryn “Kate” Erickson is delighted to come back to the St. Luke’s family—this time as an internal medicine physician at St. Luke’s Wood River Internal Medicine.

“I’m so excited to give back and be part of this organization—my family members have a lot of trust in the system,” she said.

 
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Dr. Cathryn “Kate” Erickson grew up in Meridian before St. Luke’s Meridian opened.
 

Erickson will work alongside Dr. Dan Fairman who founded Wood River Internal Medicine in 2003.

She has a fistful of degrees stashed in her lab coat that leave her uniquely positioned to draw from a variety of medical perspectives.

She combines the traditional allopathic medicine that’s so ubiquitous to the United States with  osteopathic medicine, which considers lifestyle and environment in formulating treatment options that  complement drug and surgery.

She might, for instance, use muscle energy practices and stretching techniques with traditional western medicine to treat a shoulder injury that has resulted in lost range of motion If someone’s suffered a neck whiplash in a car accident, she might reposition the neck into a position of ease—a counterstrain, she calls it--until they feel relaxed so they can heal quicker.

“Not all doctors who are osteopathic doctors do manipulative work,” said Erickson, who earned a doctorate in osteopathic medicine from Western University of Health Sciences in Lebanon, Ore. “I enjoy using the more hands-on, muscular-skeletal approach because I feel it provides the patient something so they don’t have to rely on pain medication so much.”

Erickson also earned a bachelor of science in dietetics at Idaho State University, and she uses what she learned there to suggest lifestyle modifications for her patients, particularly for chronic diseases like heart disease.

 “To be healthy is about more than a lack of pain and disease. It’s about thriving,” she said.

Erickson completed her internal medicine residency at the University of New Mexico in June. There, she worked among underserved populations in Albuquerque—half of whom spoke Spanish.  Because they had little access to a doctor, these patients often had multiple diseases by the time they did see a doctor.

Sometimes it took a bunch of sleuth work to detect was wrong with a patient, such as the time she used tests and other diagnostic tools until she figured out a patient’s rash was caused by stress.

Erickson moved to Sun Valley this summer with her husband Kaleb, who writes fantasy novels, and their dog Griffin. She started her new job at St. Luke’s Wood River Internal Medicine this past week.

Avid mountain bikers and hikers, she and her husband couldn’t believe their good fortune to land in a place where she vacationed as a child. And their border collie-mix Griffin is head-over-paws happy about his new Sun Valley home.

“I am going to miss being able to get five avocados for $5 as I did in Albuquerque,” said Erickson, who is also looking forward to skiing and snowboarding, having been a former ski instructor at Tamarack near Cascade. “But my husband grew up in Durango so this town is a perfect fit for him.”

Erickson won’t miss the 100-hour weeks she put in as a resident while her husband plied her with tacos  stuffed with spicy chicken to get her through, though.

“It was exhausting,” said Erickson, who tackled the stress by running up and down hospital stairs when she could. “Sometimes you feel like you’re standing in front of a fire hose pushing back. You live at the hospital, sleep when you can, and somehow you emerge as a confident well-trained doctor from that. I needed this summer to recover--I’ve been getting nine hours of sleep a night since moving here.”

Dr. Fairman, who has been with St. Luke’s Wood River since its inception in 2000, said he was excited to have a freshly trained internal medicine physician to work with.

“Dr. Erickson has a warm, calm, caring attitude and she is a perfect fit for our patients,’ he added.

To learn more, call 208-727-8888.

 

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