UHD signs another doctor
Although she hasn’t spent a lot of time in Minnesota, Jennifer Smith is looking forward to moving to Blue Earth next year.
Smith will be the second doctor to move here in August to work at United Hospital District-Clinic, joining another new physician, Dr. Aaron Johnson.
“I knew early on I didn’t want to move to a big city,” Smith says. “My husband is from Dodge City, Kan. and I grew up in Topeka.”
Right now Dr. Smith and her family live in Sayre, Pa., another relatively small town.
“I was actually born in Philadelphia, Pa., and lived there as a child,” Smith says.
Completing one year of undergrad work at Kansas University, Smith finished her undergraduate degree at Washburn University in Topeka.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree, Smith obtained her masters in bio-medicine, and then traveled to Philadelphia and the College of Osteopathic Medicine for her medical degree.
“My mother’s family lives right across the river in New Jersey, so I lived with them while going to school,” says the doctor, adding she had spent every other summer there while growing up.
Smith is currently doing her residency at Robert Packer Hospital-Guthrie Health Systems, in Sayre. She will graduate next June.
“When I was in medical school I had to do a ‘rural rotation’ at a small hospital in the area,” she says. “I was at Robert Parker in Sayre. That is where my daughter, Elsie, was born.”
Ironically, Smith now works with the doctor who delivered her daughter 3 1/2 years ago.
“Where I am now has the hospital and clinic together, just like UHD is planning to do,” Smith says. “It works quite well here. You walk down the hall in the clinic and suddenly you are in the hospital.”
Smith’s interests are in Family Medicine.
“I love to do OB, pediatrics, geriatrics, and everything in between,” she says. “I enjoy doing procedures, sports medicine – you name it.”
The physician has wanted to be a rural doctor ever since she watched ‘Little House on the Prairie’ as a girl.
“I always identified with the doctor in the horse-drawn buggy more than the girls on the show,” she chuckles. Smith hopes to make a trip to Walnut Grove after moving here, and see the town and Plum Creek.
The doctor and her husband, Brian, are outdoor enthusiasts, enjoying biking, camping and rollerblading.
“I also love scrapbooking and photography,” Smith adds.
There is one other hobby the doc admits is a bit unusual.
“I love to tap dance,” she says. “When I was little, my mother made us take ballet, and I never really liked it. Now that I am older I have taken up tap and just love it.”
“Yes — we put on recitals, which are a lot of fun,” she laughs.
Smith isn’t sure if the hobby will continue once the move to Blue Earth is complete.
“Still, we are very, very excited about coming to Blue Earth,” she says. “We have started looking at houses on the internet. The countdown has begun.”
The physician was looking at job openings in Wisconsin, when she and Brian stumbled upon Blue Earth.
“My husband likes it a lot… reminds him of Kansas,” she says. He is a systems engineer by training and feels he can find a job in the area, she says.
“Our parents are pretty excited as well,” Smith says. “It will be a seven hour trip for them to come visit, instead of 17 hours now,” she explains.
Although not looking forward to moving 15 hours away, Smith is excited about coming to UHD-Clinic, especially at a time when a new facility is going to be constructed.
“We are also excited to have Dr. Smith coming to UHD,” Jeff Lang, hospital administrator says. “She and her husband are both from the Midwest and will be an excellent fit for this community.
“It has been awhile since we have had a female doctor here, although we have some mid-level medicine practitioners who are women,” Lang says.
He added that although both Dr. Johnson and Dr. Smith will not be here until August, the hospital and clinic staff are pleased to be getting two excellent doctors who perfectly fit into a small town.