I am a doctor, writer, and advocate.
I grew up on a small Oklahoma farm and knew as a child I wanted to become a doctor. Early on, my parents taught me about human rights violations around the world. In college, I became intrigued by international affairs and studied factors that lead to genocide, torture, and other human atrocities. Rarely, if ever, did my professors discuss comprehensive solutions to these problems. By the time I entered medical school, I had also become attuned to the suffering of animals around the world, as well as the link between violence against people and animals. It was then that I began to seriously consider the relationship between the plight of people and animals, and what we can do to improve the lives of both.
Today, as an internist and preventive medicine physician, my expertise spans the fields of medicine, public health, and ethics. My work bridges my love and respect for people and animals.
For more than a decade, I’ve cared for patients, evaluated and treated survivors of torture and sexual violence, taught medical students and residents, and led key research and policy initiatives. I’ve collaborated with national and international agencies, lectured in academic centers and public spaces in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia, and appeared on local, national, and international radio and television programs.
Internationally, I’ve worked in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Uganda, and the Federated States of Micronesia. In the United States, I’ve worked with nonprofit organizations providing health care and advocacy for homeless, immigrant, underinsured, and other marginalized populations in urban and rural settings.
While working around the globe, I’ve learned we must heal the world we live in so we can heal ourselves.
Much of my work centers on the connections between human and animal well-being. My book, Phoenix Zones, shows how people and animals across the globe can help each other recover from trauma and heal—an experience known as the “Phoenix Effect.”
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