Anna grew up in Seattle. She attended the University of Washington for undergraduate, obtaining a degree in Spanish Language and Literature while also completing her prerequisites for medical school. She wanted to take a break from formal education for a while, so after college she joined the Peace Corps. She spent two years as a Rural Health and Sanitation Volunteer in a small town in Paraguay. While there she got a dog, Muñequi (Moon-yecky), who she brought back and who is now her favorite hiking partner.
Anna attended Oregon Health & Science University in Portland for medical school. During her fourth year she did a rotation in Klamath Falls and fell in love with the program and the area. She looks forward to exploring the mountains and lakes around Klamath Falls, and learning about the plants unique to the east side of the Cascades.
Anne Marie Kessler, M.D.
Ohio State University
Anne Marie came from an energetic, boisterous family in Columbus, Ohio. Her parents and siblings always encouraged her to travel and explore new opportunities, and as a result she spent some time during and after college exploring possible career options including tea tasting, psychology, and midwifery before deciding that a career working with a community as a family doctor was the right fit.
She attended college at St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland and Santa Fe, New Mexico, then lived in Los Angeles and Vermont. After venturing around the country, Anne Marie went to medical school at Ohio State University, where she met her husband, Connor. Together, they decided to embark on a career dedicated to serving their community as family doctors. Anne Marie is a 2011-2012 Schweitzer Fellow and co-founder of a volunteer organization that worked to improve maternal and infant health by building relationships between mothers from vulnerable populations and community volunteers. She is interested in maternal child health, humanism in medicine, international medicine and public health. She and Connor chose Cascades East and Klamath Falls because of the wonderful people, the broad and yet personal training opportunities, and the beautiful setting. Anne Marie loves to hike, ski, travel, sing and play piano, and read.
Autumn Polidor, M.D.
University of Vermont
Autumn spent her formative years in magical Vermont, cross country skiing on moonlit fields and creating watercolor renditions of the fiery autumnal landscapes. At the University of Vermont, she received a bachelor’s degree in Studio Art and hung around to attend medical school there, as well. Prior to medical school, Autumn worked as a baker and also started her own small business, Catey is a Girl, where she designed women’s clothing and accessories using recycled materials. Autumn made the western trek with her husband, Ben, who is also wildly enthusiastic about the outdoor wonderland surrounding Klamath Falls. In her ample free-time, Autumn enjoys gardening, sewing, reading, running, listening to records, and immersing herself in the natural world.
Connor Burke, M.D.
Ohio State University
Connor is thrilled to be here in Klamath Falls. He grew up all over the Midwest before his family settled in Ohio, where he went to college at Case Western and med school at Ohio State (where, during orientation, he met his brilliant and beautiful wife Anne Marie Kessler - see below). In spite of his Midwestern roots, he loves hiking, biking, climbing, skiing, and travelling. He has a particular love of backpacking through beautiful places, prompting him to through-hike the Appalachian Trail between college and med school. The Klamath Basin’s beautiful mountains, forests and lakes were not all that drew him to Cascades East! It was the dedication to full-spectrum training for physicians interested in serving the underserved. Connor and Anne Marie had the opportunity in medical school to spend two months in Uganda at a rural hospital, and would love to incorporate international medicine into their future someday. He was also attracted to Cascades East by the wonderful people - faculty, staff, and residents - who are truly second-to-none. He is excited to be beginning his career as a rural family physician!
Irina Iacobucci, M.D.
Stavropol State Medical Academy
I was born and raised in a mountainous area that is very unique within Russia, both in terms of its spell-binding beauty and its multiculturalism. It was a wonderful place in which to grow up. I went to Stavropol State Medical Academy in Russia.
I started to gravitate toward a career in Family Medicine, because it is the field that aligned best with the type of doctor I was committed to becoming: someone who works on the front line of health care; one who gets to know patients not only on the basis of their illnesses and injuries, but in terms of who they are, and what their life dreams are… in short, one who truly listens to and cares about them. My interest in Family Medicine blossomed further when I started to work at a local rural medicine clinic with my mentor and teacher, Dr. Clarke. Among everything else, I came to love the tremendous diversity that the field offers: in one day, we could deliver a baby, diagnose some disease I had never seen before, see numerous patients with more common afflictions, spend time in the ER splinting and suturing injuries, and assist in a surgical procedure or two. How could anyone EVER be bored?
I moved to Klamath Falls with my husband, who works for BLM and our precious chocolate lab named Choco.
JP Prouty, M.D.
University of Missouri
JP was born in Amarillo, Texas but quickly found himself in Stilwell, Kansas where he grew up pestering his older sister and terrorizing the town on his Lil' Indian mini-bike. He attended Grinnell College in Iowa and majored in Biochemistry while also playing on the baseball and soccer teams. He did not venture far for medical school graduating with his M.D. from the University of Missouri. JP is thrilled to be joining the Cascades East team and for the new experiences he will encounter in Oregon. In his free time, JP enjoys playing sports, being outdoors, cheering for the perennially underachieving Kansas City Royals, and playing his musical instruments way too loud.
Leslie McCalister, M.D.
University of Texas Southwestern
Leslie moved around a bit as a kid, but is mostly Texan. She ventured north for college at the University of Oklahoma, studied economics, saw a tornado or two, and spoke her first words of broken medical Spanish at a free clinic in Oklahoma City. She returned to Dallas for medical school at UT Southwestern, where she worked with a similar population of underserved, Spanish-speaking patients. While she enjoyed learning about how medicine works in a large county hospital in a city with a 25% uninsurance rate, Leslie realized that she would rather work in a smaller setting and be a more immediate point of care in a rural community. She visited Cascades East in her fourth year of med school and found an excellent place to train for full-scope family medicine.
It helped, of course, that Klamath Falls is wonderful town, surrounded by beautiful scenery. As a newly minted Oregonian, she is still figuring out the exciting world of hiking, rafting, kayaks, and mountains, but is very excited to be in the Northwest. Otherwise, in her spare time, she enjoys cooking, painting, listening to nerdy podcasts, and happily wheezing up the hills with her dog, Millie.
Stewart Decker, M.D.
University of Minnesota
Stewart is a lot like a migratory bird. Or whale: He is on a journey of self-improvement and, upon reaching each “destination,” he remembers that these journeys never really end, so he starts again. Therefore, he is always looking to surround himself with wise, skilled, and passionate people from whom he can learn as much as possible. This, of course, is what brought him to Klamath Falls. On the way here he studied chemistry at the University of Puget Sound where, in addition to learning about solvents and solutes, he developed a love for all sorts of outdoor activities. He then spent a year as an EMT and social worker and worked at REI and yes, he eventually got used to a 92-hour work week. Next was medical school at the University of Minnesota. Before graduating, he spent a year in Peru where he got a certificate in international public health. He also wrote a public health curriculum for a children’s after school project, and served as project manager for an NGO training community health workers. This experience, besides being epically beautiful, proved to him that he wants a career practicing both community health and broad-scope clinical family medicine.
As such, he looks forward to continued involvement with the American Academy of Family Physicians, working with the Oregon Academy of Family Physicians, and getting to know the community of Klamath Falls via Ultimate Frisbee, community projects, hiking, biking, mountaineering, and karaoke. He sings a haunting version of Ice Ice Baby. Haunting in a good way, of course.