While I love my parents, my first word was our pet’s name. Our dog, Gizmo, would let me pull on her hair to balance while I learned to walk. She was my pillow when we were on the floor, and my protection against the monsters under my bed. I had been known to sleep in her crate with her. Animals have always been, and continue to be, a crucial part of my life and identity.
Like many veterinarians, I had always wanted to be a veterinarian and was lucky enough to have opportunities to pursue and accomplish that dream. I was born in North Dakota but consider myself "growing up" in Torrance, CA. I started volunteering cleaning kennels, litter boxes, and bathing pets at thirteen and continued working when I wasn't in sports or at school. I graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in psychology and my pre-veterinary prerequisites before the University of Illinois drew me back to the Midwest. I completed a dual degree program, a doctorate in veterinary medicine (Urbana-Champaign) and a master’s degree in public health (Chicago) focusing on epidemiology and biostatistics.
After graduation, I began teaching undergraduate courses in public health and practicing clinical medicine in the Chicagoland area. Realizing "it is difficult to shovel sunshine," I moved to Arizona, working in private practice and helping support multiple practices between Tucson and Phoenix. Clinically, I loved educating families and helping solve problems pragmatically to help make lives better for families and their loved ones. I returned to my high school alma mater to coach high school football (Go Tartars!) in my spare time, channeling my passions for mentoring, volunteering and educating. I am proud and grateful to be able to return to Southern California to serve the area in such a meaningful way.
Focusing on end-of-life care has allowed me to combine my loves for clinical medicine, education, psychology and compassion to help families celebrate and honor their loved ones.