Katie Googe, DO ’20, grew up in rural Cochran, Georgia, with a father whom she describes as an “emergency department frequent flyer, a non-compliant patient and accident prone.” Raised in a community with limited access to medical services, the family traveled about an hour away to Macon, Georgia, when they needed care.
When Katie was 16, her father spent two months in the hospital before passing away. “Losing my father to preventable conditions shaped my childhood and showed me the importance of primary care,” Googe said. “I knew then I wanted to promote prevention as a physician.”
She also learned to embrace osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM). “I believe medications have their place, but I also believe there are sometimes useful alternatives to explore,” she said.
Googe realized her passion for preventative family medicine during her third year of medical school following a patient encounter. “I distinctly remember one of my patients being seen for a follow-up of hypertension,” someone who reminded her of her father.
“I discussed with the patient his blood pressure, the importance of taking his medications daily according to the directions, and how to monitor his blood pressure at home,” said Googe. “I tried my best to instill the importance of this advice because this encounter really hit home with me. He was kind and seemed receptive. I realized that day that family medicine is where I belong.”
“Educating patients on ways to promote their health and prevent disease, finding alternatives for chronic pain, and building lifelong relationships with families while watching them grow for generations,” she added, “these are just a few reasons why family medicine is the right path for me.”
Googe matched into family medicine at Baptist Health in Montgomery, Alabama, the same city where her husband, TSgt Donald Googe, is stationed at Maxwell Air Force Base. Having married her high school sweetheart eight years ago, she is excited to “begin living with my spouse again” after spending six years apart due to military and education obligations.
She offers the following advice to medical students coming behind her: “Work hard, show up early, have a good attitude, be nice and ask for help when needed. These qualities can actually set you apart from other students, but really they just make you a better person and future healthcare provider.”
Googe also advises future medical students to take Anatomy prior to starting medical school. “It kicked my butt, but I was able to make it through that and so many other challenges because of the help I received from faculty and my classmates.”