Holcomb native returns home as doctor

10/5/2012

By ANGIE HAFLICH

By ANGIE HAFLICH

ahaflich@gctelegram.com

Lindsay Byrnes' goal, after completing medical school, was to return to her native southwest Kansas to practice medicine.

"I am very proud to be from the area. My whole family is here — a lot of extended family — and my goal, before I went to train to be a doctor, was to come back and practice in this community," Byrnes said.

Starting this month, the goal became a reality when the Holcomb native, who is now a doctor, began her medical practice in the newly formed Internal Medicine and Pediatrics specialty clinic at Siena Medical Clinic.

The combination of the two specialties is right up her alley, as she completed residency training in both areas at the University of Minnesota. The combined specialty is more common on the East Coast and upper Midwest, Byrnes said.

"We're going to see adults, just like we would in a traditional internal medicine practice, covering preventive care, chronic disease management all the way through," she said. "Similarly, pediatrics will be just like a traditional pediatrics, only a practice where we see both acute- and well-child visits and manage chronic conditions. So, it's just a matter of the folks coming through the door."

She said that the combination lends itself to providing medical care across a person's lifespan.

Her roots to the tight-knit communities of Holcomb and Garden City are apparent in the way that she and her staff members, Registered Nurse Linda Roemer and receptionist Karisa White, already have bonded as a team.

"Karisa, Linda and I all work as a team. This is our clinic and our team, and what we seek to establish is a patient-centered medical home," Byrnes said.

Byrnes said that a patient-centered medical home, a concept that the American Academy of Pediatrics introduced in 1967, is exactly what it sounds like.

"It's a clinic, a medical setting that is designed to help coordinate the care of patients to navigate them through the system ... as well as interpret (tests and studies) for our patients, help them understand their care, help them take responsibility for their own health, and we help in all the different disciplines, medicine, nursing," she said.

This concept allows for integrated care across all elements of the complex health care system. As part of this integrated care, Byrnes said that White's experience in social work will help provide a better understanding of each individual patient's needs.

"Karisa brings a very special addition to our clinic because she knows social work, and so many determinants of health rely on those social factors," Byrnes said. "She's the lovely face of our clinic, the first person you see when you walk in, but she also has an amazing amount of knowledge about social work, so we are calling on her to do a lot of different jobs."

White said that she, too, is a returning native, having just moved back to Garden City from Fort Worth, Texas. She said that after talking to Byrnes about the position, she felt like the clinic is where she needed to be.

"I just really got on board with it and just really felt like it was home," White said.

Roemer is a registered nurse who already has a great deal of experience in pediatrics, but is excited to gain more experience in internal medicine and treating adults.

"With my pediatrics background, that's where I'm most comfortable, but I do have (experience with) the adult population. I did some work in medical, surgical and a little bit of ICU, and I've had an interest in it, so that is exciting," she said.

Byrnes said that treating patients of varied ages is a challenge, but one she is excited to face.

In addition to utilizing databases and other resources in order to stay current on medical practices, Byrnes also plans to bring preventive medicine to the forefront of her care.

"I am a believer, and we all are, in wanting to keep people as healthy as possible, and that does mean regular visits to the clinic so we can assist with issues that come up before they become severe problems," she said.

Byrnes, who also will be part of the NBICU at St. Catherine Hospital, is married to Matthew Byrnes, who is from Wichita and is a general surgeon at Siena and St. Catherine. The couple has two sons, Mattie and Mikey. Byrnes' parents, Mike and Debbie Rome, still reside in Holcomb, as do her brothers.

"I grew up in Holcomb and went to Holcomb High School. Go Longhorns," she said and laughed.

Prior to attending the University of Kansas Medical Center, Byrnes worked as a volunteer at St. Catherine and while an undergraduate, she worked under Dr. Ann Polich and Dr. Mark Simmons.

"They were both great mentors to me," she said.

After graduating from KUMC in 2007, Byrnes completed combined residency training in internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Minnesota, served as chief internal medicine resident at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minn., and completed training in global health and worked with physicians focused on travel and immigrant medicine.

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