For Medical school, you attended the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Tell us about why it made the top of your list.
When searching for the right medical school, I was instantly struck by the friendliness of the people at Wake Forest and it quickly rose to the top of my list. Not to mention the beautiful location and warm, Southern temperature added to the school’s appeal. It proved to be a wonderful decision that led to clinical integration, even as a first-year medical student, where I was placed in a pediatric clinic in Mooresville. Having the clinical practice experience integrated directly with the science early on was both beneficial and enjoyable and continues to fascinate me.
You completed your residency at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, please share with us how and why you end up choosing that location?
Completing my internship and residency in pediatrics and later my fellowships in Pediatric Emergency Medicine and in Emergency Ultrasound was the result of mentors from medical school who encouraged me to seek out a large and busy program. Knowing I had yet to choose what I would do within Pediatrics, they knew it was important to go somewhere that would expose me to a lot, and it stuck: I loved UAB and Children’s of Alabama. I learned so much and was so fortunate to train under and with wonderful, brilliant individuals.
Tell us more about how you came to choose the field of medicine?
I chose medicine early. My parents say I first declared that I would become a doctor at just 4 years old. Fast forward to college, indecision led me to a business management degree with an eye on the nonprofit sector, but after a short time working in business, medical volunteer work brought me the realization that I still very much had an interest in medicine.
How did you choose Pediatric Emergency Medicine as your specialty?
Believe it or not, I began my first day of pediatric internship on a night shift in the pediatric emergency department (PED). It quickly became clear to me what this was the right field and place to be. Throughout the remainder of my three years of pediatric residency, I came back to the PED any chance I could. PEM fellowship was fun! I had PED attendings tell me that fellowship for them, was the most fun of their training and I wholeheartedly agree. We worked extremely hard, I trained where we saw >70K PED visits a year which was challenging, interesting, and an overall great experience!
What about becoming a physician was attractive?
Becoming a physician intrigued me because of my own experiences: I was born prematurely, life-flighted to a pediatric hospital when I was hours old, and for many years had ear infections, multiple surgeries, and other procedures done by ENTs. I think the 4-year-old me imagined being an ENT, and although I didn’t pursue that specialty, I love my work and the opportunities it affords me to take care of a broad array of clinical concerns and meet so many wonderful children!
What do you enjoy most about your day-to-day practice?
I enjoy the variety of patients and working through their chief complaints. I favor the fast pace and the constant need to multi-task, conversation, coaching, educating, listening, and empathizing with my patients and their families. However brief or involved that may be, it is a special privilege to meet families and patients in the vulnerable state that often unfolds in the Emergency Department, and I don’t take it for granted. I hope my experiences as a physician, my mentors’ examples, and my love for my own children, allow me to make decisions that are wise and grounded in compassion for my patients.
What led you to practice with MEMA? How long have you been with MEMA?
Having just begun my career with MEMA in March 2021, I am rather new, and it was a little unusual to begin a job during a pandemic with not being able to meet many in my group other than virtually, but I have been so thankful to be here. MEMA’s team approach is evident, and all have been so kind.
Are you a member of any associations, societies, or organizations?
I am a member of the following organizations:
Fellow, American Academy of Pediatrics
AAP, Emergency Medicine
Gold Humanism Honor Society
North Carolina Chapter of AAP
North Carolina Medical Society
Society for Pediatric Sedation
Have you received any awards or been recognized from your peers?
2019-2020 Outstanding Contributor to Physician Assistant Education in the Pediatric Emergency Department, Duke University
2019-2020 Pediatric Emergency Medicine Educator Award by the Duke Emergency Medicine Residents
Richard KR, Glisson KL, Shah N, Aban I, Pruitt CM, Samuy N, Wu CL.Hosp Pediatr. 2020 May;10(5):424-429. doi: 10.1542/hpeds.2019-0307.PMID: 32321739
Richard KR, Shelburne JS, Kirk JK.Clin Ther. 2011 Nov;33(11):1609-29. doi: 10.1016/j.clinthera.2011.09.028. Epub 2011 Nov 8.PMID: 22071236 Review.
Richard KR, Lovvorn JJ, Oliver SE, Ross SA, Benner KW, Kong MY.Am J Case Rep. 2015 Oct 19;16:740-4. doi: 10.12659/ajcr.894509.PMID: 26477750 Free PMC article.
Fleenor T, Haupt J, Richard K, Nichols M, Shah N.South Med J. 2020 Jan;113(1):23-28. doi: 10.14423/SMJ.0000000000001052.PMID: 31897495
Principal Investigator for a Clinical Trial: BULLET: Bladder Ultrasound Limits Length (of Time), Expedites Treatment – Full Text View – ClinicalTrials.gov
Do you have any hobbies, interests, secret powers that are unique to you?
I enjoy running, playing tennis, baking and cooking, and being outdoors with my two boys.