Member of the Month:
Jane Sadler, M.D.
Physician is active in local community, also a published writer
Coming from a family of physicians, Jane Sadler, M.D., had no trouble choosing medicine as a major. When it came time to choose a specialty, she knew in her heart that family medicine was right for her, despite the discouragement from medical mentors and her father, who was chief of endocrinology at MD Anderson for 25 years. Her mother’s experience as a family physician drove her to stick with the specialty, leading to her current position practicing as a Baylor physician representative with the Family Medical Center at North Garland. As volunteer faculty with the Baylor Garland Family Practice program, Sadler says she enjoys “teaching young doctors the exclusive art of family medicine.”
As a Texas A&M undergraduate student, she trained aerobic exercise instructors, helped to exercise the football team after games, led an athletic medical research paper, and majored in Exercise Technology. After working with the university’s physical education leaders to develop a pre-med program, she chose to stay at Texas A&M for medical school, which at the time was only accepting 50 students a year.
Dr. Sadler was D Magazine’s Best Doctor three years in a row, 2007, 2008, and 2009. She was also given the 2012 HealthTexas Provider Network Top Performing Physician award in preventive care and diabetes. Sadler currently writes for the Dallas Morning News health blog, covering various medical topics. You can read her blog posts at healthblog.dallasnews.com.
Why did you choose family medicine, and what’s your favorite aspect of it? Were you inspired by anyone?
In medical school, I was encouraged to pursue a specialty. Both my father and my physician mentors discouraged me from family practice (a family doctor was seen as a “less prestigious” profession compared to specialty peers). I trained in obstetrics/gynecology at Parkland. There, I enjoyed my intern rotations in emergency room, pediatrics, gynecology, and internal medicine. It was a powerful decision to change to family practice. Even after I made my decision to change to family practice, I received a phone call from one of my mentors expressing his concern with my change of profession but in my heart, I needed to follow my intuition.
Growing up with a mother who was a successful family physician was my biggest inspiration. I always enjoyed going with her to the office, assisting her and was awed by the close relationship she shared with her patients.
How did your column with Dallas Morning News come about?
I have never turned down an opportunity to write for any magazine or column. My professional advice has been published in several magazines including Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Shape, and Teen Magazine, along with several local and national newspapers. While I have been interviewed on several local and national TV stations, I really prefer my writing venue. The opportunity to both blog and write with the Dallas Morning News was an opportunity of a lifetime. I love to take medical literature and make it an “easy read” that is applicable for my patients.
Why do you think it is important for family docs like yourself to be active in the local community?
I live, work, eat, and shop (a lot!) in my community. My church community has embraced my services for emergency care “call” during worship, and now is expanding clinic services. Our “Hope Clinic” in Garland serves our community and binds us all together. It is a commitment of sharing that helps my practice thrive and continues to give me purpose every morning I awaken. The art of medicine is a spiritual gift meant for sharing.
What advice would you offer to medical students discerning their specialty?
My goal is to encourage students to seek family practice as their area of specialty. For them to realize that family practice is a “specialty” and not a “general” medicine background that strives to improve the lives of families by promoting preventive health. Family practice is emergency medicine, it is dermatology, it is gynecology, and so much more. Most importantly, there is a shortage of ME! We need to encourage more doctors to engage in family practice as their primary specialty. Come spend a day in my shoes. You will see how much fun it can be! There is never a day I wake up regretting my decision to pursue family practice.
The most important resource I find TAFP offers me is: Texas Family Physician magazine. I love to read the latest from my peers. I keep it by my bedside.
What is the most interesting/memorable experience you have had when dealing with a patient?
My experience with the National Geographic television series “Drugged.” These patients came from all over the U.S. with tremendous dependency on illicit drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and hydrocodone. I spent days and nights in preparation with study in order to be able to understand the chemical processes of addiction and treatment. During one of my interviews, an agitated patient became very angry and agitated and walked out on my discussions. I was crushed. However, the experience made me a more thoughtful physician with a greater understanding for addiction and its treatment.
If you could change one thing in your field or in health care as a whole what would it be?
I would prefer any way to decrease the administrative hassles that put barriers between patients and doctors. I know doctors that won’t take Medicare because of the necessary restrictive coding issues that prevent appropriate reimbursement for work performed. As a member of the coding compliance committee for Health Texas Provider Network, I understand and share the frustrations physicians experience with coding and billing.
Tell me something fun about yourself.
I have a wonderful husband who helps edit my writing and supports me in every way he can. I have two really cute kids that are excellent students at Trinity Christian Academy.
When I was younger, I was invited to work out with Jane Fonda and I also was an aerobics instructor for the Texas A&M football team for the occasional Sunday afternoon post-game practices. In my teens, I was heavily involved in 4-H, and won competitions in the Junior National Horse Judging arena. I grew up with cattle and horses and my mother is a retired family doctor who is a vegetarian and raises Santa Gertrudes cattle (she tells me that she gives them happy lives).
This summer I completed three parts of a television series with National Geographic, “Drugged,” in which I helped with the management of drug-addicted individuals. It was an experience of a lifetime and involved many days and hours of intense filming.
If you weren’t a doctor what would you be doing with your career?
I would be a full-time volunteer mom for our childrens’ school and in the gym as much as possible, or I would be at our family farm helping mom with the cows, horses, goats, ducks, and chickens! I love exercising and being outdoors and consider it a healthy addiction.
TAFP’s Member of the Month program highlights Texas family physicians in TAFP News Now and on the TAFP website. We feature a biography and a Q&A with a different TAFP member each month and his or her unique approach to family medicine. If you know an outstanding family physician colleague who you think should be featured as a Member of the Month or if you’d like to tell your own story, nominate yourself or your colleague by contacting TAFP by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (512) 329-8666. View past Members of the Month here.