Introducing our first #womancrushwednesday, Dr. Katie Kimbrough, MD, a fellowship-trained Trauma and Critical Care Surgeon at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). She is a mentor, friend, and an inspiration for all women pursuing careers in the surgical fields.
“Your compassion is not a weakness, it is your strength. I was once told I was ‘too nice to be a surgeon’…I hope I can successfully show you that YOU CAN BE BOTH!!”
– Dr. Katie Kimbrough, MD
Name: Mary Katherine (Katie) Kimbrough
Specialty: Trauma/Acute Care General Surgery/Surgical Critical Care
Undergraduate education: Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA
Medical school: Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, LA
Residency: General Surgery, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, LA
Fellowship: Surgical Critical Care, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA
Hometown: Ruston, LA
Tell us about yourself? I am a wife, a mom, a surgeon, and a teacher! I am a Louisiana girl, but moved to Arkansas 4 years ago with my husband and our bulldog Louie. We have made Arkansas our home, and both of our daughters were born here at UAMS. We live in Hillcrest and our family loves Hillcrest events like Harvest Fest and the Pumpkin Roll!
What are some fun facts about you? I met my husband online through eHarmony while I was doing my fellowship in New Orleans! We met in person for the first time on Ash Wednesday after Mardi Gras in 2011, after we had texted and talked on the phone for several months. I am quite the introvert and I wasn’t really into dating anyone from the hospital, so online dating was the only way for me to meet anyone!
What do you love about surgery? Your field? I love surgery because of the pace, the chance to think on my feet, and work with my hands. I love Trauma for the same reasons, and also because the cases are challenging and always different. Trauma is exciting and although somewhat algorithmic (ABCs!) in our approach to patients, it gives me the chance to think critically about a problem and come up with a solution. Two patients with the exact same injuries might have totally different hospital courses. I also enjoy the family interaction that I get to do with Trauma and Surgical Critical Care. We have to establish rapport with the patients and their families very quickly and often in life-threatening situations, and get them to trust us to care for themselves or their loved one. It’s a tough task, and not for everyone, but it’s worth it when our patients have critical injury/illness and start to recover and how amazing and exciting it is for the families. And finally, I LOVE my job because of the residents and students I get to work with every day. It is truly a privilege to come to work and get to mentor and train the next generation of surgeons. Seeing a resident grow and mature from an intern to a strong, confident chief resident surgeon is one of the highlights of my job.
Did you have a career before medical school? My first real job was as a peach packer at the local peach orchard in Ruston, LA! I inspected and selected peaches off the assembly line and packed them into the cartons for sale! The only other jobs I held before medical school were as a girls’ summer softball league umpire and as youth group intern at my church in Ruston, LA!
What brought you to Little Rock? The job! Dr. Jason Mizell (a UAMS Colorectal surgeon) is one of my good friends from general surgery residency in Louisiana and he texted me one day after I’d had several bad call nights in a row “Hey we are looking to build the trauma program in Little Rock at UAMS, would you be interested in coming up to interview?” I came to interview just a few weeks later and the rest is history!
What do you like to do when you’re not at the hospital? I like hanging out with my family and spending quality time with my girls (playing, snuggling, going to the zoo, going to the park, etc). I like reading, watching TV/movies, and traveling! I love a good road trip, although a road trip with a 3 year old and a 1 year old presents some challenges!!
Do you have some WISE words for women who want to become surgeons? Always strive to make the next generation…students, residents, surgeons…better than you. Be kind, compassionate, and respectful to everyone…treat the CEO of the hospital the same way you treat the janitor of the hospital. Be resilient…resilience is the strength of understanding your own vulnerability. Your compassion is not a weakness, it is your strength. I was once told I was “too nice to be a surgeon”…I hope I can successfully show you that YOU CAN BE BOTH!!