What is your name, title, and job position?

Karen R. Studer, MD, MBA, MPH
Program Director, Preventive Medicine Residency Program
Assistant Professor, Schools of Medicine and Public Health

In what clinical settings do you work?

I worked at the VA in the Preventive Medicine department for about six years after residency.  After obtaining a HRSA grant to start a program track in maternal health, I started a women’s health lifestyle medicine clinic at our local FQHC, SAC Health.

What makes your job so special?

Preventive Medicine is a diverse field that allows for variety in my weekly schedule.  I have an excellent mix of teaching, projects, administration and clinical work.

What is a typical day and week in your practice?

In clinic, I focus on treating the diseases of obesity and type II diabetes and tobacco dependence.  I rely on motivational interviewing skills to partner with patients in making long-lasting changes in their lives. 

Most rewarding aspect of your specialty?

The most rewarding aspect of my specialty is my work with residents and medical students.  Teaching them about motivational interviewing, lifestyle medicine and prevention can be life changing for learners and patients.

Most challenging aspect of your specialty?

The most challenging aspect is that it is not as well known as other specialties, so often we need to explain what our specialty is, what we do, and how we can benefit a potential employer.

Any unique challenges faced by your specialty?

Our specialty is the only specialty that does not receive government funding to help support our programs.  Many programs rely solely on HRSA grant funding, which makes building and sustaining  a program difficult.  Thankfully, here at LLU, we are blessed with a supportive GME office and have an excellent and stable program.

What is the lifestyle (work-life balance) of a physician in your specialty?

Luckily, prevention is never an emergency, so we do not take call or work on weekends.  As a whole, our specialty emphasizes physician self-care and living a well-balanced life based on the six pillars of lifestyle medicine.

Did you do any additional fellowship training after and why?

I decided to complete a quality improvement and patient safety Chief year with the VA, which was similar to a fellowship.  It provided me with an excellent education in the field, leadership experience and connecting with many different departments at the VA.

Why did you choose to work at Loma Linda University Health?

Loma Linda University Health aligns with my personal values and mission.  I knew I wanted to stay in academic medicine since I love teaching and creating curricula.