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Kern brings woman's slant to family medicine at clinic

Dr. Carrie Kern, D.O., has joined the staff at the Mayo Clinic Health System in Ellsworth. Kern is a native and resident of nearby Red Wing. (Herald photo by Bill Kirk)

A reluctant student at first, Dr. Carrie Kern, D.O., has found her niche as the new family medicine provider at Mayo Clinic Health System in Ellsworth.

It wasn’t until her senior year of college that Kern decided on a career as a physician, she said Thursday. She’d previously considered it as a possible future direction, though no one else in her family had been in health care, other than an aunt who was a nurse practitioner.

“I was the first one in medicine,” she said about her kin.

A “big hang-up” was the entrance exams she knew she’d have to take, Kern said. And they were to be the first of many.

Yet, she believed she had a strong science background, counting chemistry as a top subject when she was at Red Wing High School, she said. Advanced literature was another favorite (because it was both challenging and rewarding) for the daughter of John and Linda, who has a brother, Josh, now of Blaine, Minn. She played volleyball and softball, ran track and was in band before graduating from RWHS in 2001.

Still undecided about her employment goal, Kern said she emphasized chemistry while at St. Olaf’s College in Northfield, Minn., for four years. She also enjoyed an art class she “took for fun” and a women’s studies class she entered late in her time at the college, a subject which might have gained more of her attention if she’d encountered it earlier, she admitted.

“Then I took a year off,” she said.

During that year, Kern got a job at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in the Twin Cities as a cardiovascular monitor technician. She assisted with monitoring the various machines in the cardiovascular unit. Like the hospital, the unit was big; there were 35 operating rooms, for example.

Once her career decision was finalized, the student went to medical school at Des Moines (Ia.) University College of Osteopathic Medicine, she said. The D.O. designation behind her name differs from M.D. in that she has extra training in the muscular-skeletal system, she explained. While there for four years, she was introduced to a holistic approach, being able to avoid medications in some treatments, for instance.

For more please read the Nov. 27 print version of the Herald. 

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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