Getting to know the people of the NC Medical Board: Five Questions: Barbara Walker, DOComments: 0 comments
Family Practice and OMT | Southeast Area Health Education Center (SEAHEC) | Appointed 2013 | Board Member
Q: Why did you want to serve on the Medical Board?
A: My years of family medicine experience in both military and civilian practice environments, as well as in academic medicine, prepared me well for serving on the Board. I also believe it is important to have osteopathic representation on the Board. This is especially important with the presence of an osteopathic medical school at Campbell University and the growing osteopathic physician base in North Carolina.
Q: What do you find most rewarding about practicing medicine?
A: As an osteopathic family physician, I have been honored to have patients share their pain and concerns as well as to be included in their joys and celebrations. From singing “Happy Birthday” at the delivery of an infant, to watching that child grow, to caring for their parents and grandparents, it is an amazing privilege to share so many moments with patients.
Q: What is the best lesson you have learned from your personal or professional life experiences?
A: It is important to focus on the positive aspects of life. I love the Cherokee story of the old grandfather Indian Chief who tells his grandson, “A fight is going on inside of me. It is between two wolves. One is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, self-pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.” The grandson thinks about it for a minute and then asks his grandfather, “Which one will win?” The old Cherokee replies, “The one you feed!” It reminds me to continue to feed the good in my life.
Q: What advice would you give to someone entering the medical profession?
A: I like the comment by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, the founder of osteopathy, who said, “To find health should be the object of the doctor. Anyone can find disease.” Focus on the healthy patient with the illness and guide them back to their health. It’s an amazing journey.
Q: What are the biggest challenges facing medicine or medical regulation?
A: Physicians have lost much of the control over how we practice. There are constant changes in medical regulation, along with constant changes in therapeutics. Focusing on the patient and on preventive health as we move forward must be a priority. We also need to reeducate patients that it is not the goal of medicine to make life pain-free. Daily life and activities will cause some pain, especially as we become more “age-gifted”. The goal is not to eliminate the pains of life, but to guide patients to adaptations for functional living.