Rural and loving it: New TMH pediatrician excited about move
March 12, 2012
At a glance …
Name: Dr. Kristie Yarmer
— 1997: Earned a bachelor’s degree from Carroll College in Helena, Mont.
— 2002: Earned a medical degree from Creighton Medical School in Omaha, Neb.
— 2005: Completed pediatric internship and residency at Children’s Hospital in Denver
• Family: Husband Chad, 37; son Benjamin, 5; daughter Emilee, 4.
“We’re really excited to come and get started. We love Craig.”
— Dr. Kristie Yarmer, newly hired pediatrician at The Memorial Hospital Medical Clinic, on her family’s move to Craig this summer
Dr. Kristie Yarmer knows a thing or two about practicing medicine in a small town.
The pediatrician's first clinic was on an unpaved road in rural Georgia, and the woods waited just outside her back door, she said.
So when an opportunity came to become a pediatrician at The Memorial Hospital Medical Clinic in Craig, she jumped at it.
"I love rural medicine," she said. "I like the small-town atmosphere."
Yarmer — mother of Benjamin, 5, and Emilee, 4 — begins work at TMH Clinic in July, and she's excited to make the move.
She and her husband, Chad, both 37, visited Craig in late February and "we fell in love with Craig," she said. "… It was a good fit for our family."
Yarmer made a good impression on her future colleagues at TMH.
"All of the medical staff that met with her liked her a lot," said Jennifer Riley, TMH chief of organizational excellence.
Yarmer's career took her and her family to new territory first in Georgia and later in Florida, where she works at First Coast Pediatrics in Fernandina Beach.
Recently, though, "We've been a little bit homesick, and we've been wanting to move back to the mountains," she said.
Yarmer will be the sole pediatrician in Craig when she arrives this summer, but she won't be alone for long.
Kelly Follett will join the staff in August 2013 after she finishes her pediatric residency at Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City.
Follett also is well acquainted with rural communities — specifically with those in northern Colorado.
She grew up in Walden and graduated from North Park High School in 2000 before heading to Colorado State University, where she earned her bachelor's degree in human development and family studies.
She completed her pre-med studies at the University of Hawaii and further pursued her training at Medical School of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, the hospital reported in a news release.
She is married to Tate, who works for a Walden-based logging company and who has a 9-year-old son, Brock.
"My original plans included working as a general pediatrician in a more rural area, and I wanted to return to northern Colorado, so we were excited to jump on the opportunity in Craig," she said in the release.
Bringing pediatrics to Craig has been a priority since TMH officials drafted the hospital's strategic plan in 2008. Part of the planning process involved asking residents about what services they'd like to see at the hospital, and pediatrics came up on the list, Riley said.
Filling that need was easier said than done.
"Pediatricians are very difficult to recruit," because not many physicians specialize solely in pediatric medicine, Riley said.
The hospital is "very fortunate" to have found two pediatricians with an intimate knowledge of small-town medicine, she said.
Yarmer also is glad to have found an opportunity to continue her career in the rural West.
"We're really excited to come and get started," she said. "We love Craig."