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New doc brings expertise back home

Staff writer

Back when Alisa Jost was lettering in volleyball and track for Hillsboro High School, she knew she wanted to be a doctor.

Twelve years, a wedding, three kids, and more than a decade of medical education later, Jost, now Alisa Schmidt, is following through on her dream.

Schmidt will be a new physician at Hillsboro Community Hospital’s physician clinic when she opens her practice July 20. She finishes her residency this week. She’s been spending three days a week working with the staff at HCH.

“This hospital actually gave me a scholarship when I first went to college,” said Schmidt, a Tabor graduate. “I wanted to come back to this area.”

Not at first, though. At least, not for certain.

Her initial interests were in OB-GYN care and pediatrics care, which meant she’d probably be at a larger, regional hospital.

As she delved deeper into the medical field, however, things changed.

Her training consisted of medical school, which she spent in the Kansas University system at its Kansas City and Wichita campuses. She had her residency at Smoky Hill Family Residency in Salina.

Her third year of residency was especially eye-opening.

“You do different things each month, you’ll do a month of this, a month of that, and it kind of helps focus you on where you want to go,” she said. “Every time I started a new rotation, I’d come home and say ‘Oh, I could do this.’”

The closest answer to “all of the above” for Schmidt was family medicine.

“I always was drawn to rural medicine and family medicine, and really being able to take care of the entirety of the family from birth to the grave,” she said. “It’s knowing the family history, knowing somebody so well that you maybe know more about their health than they do because you have all that family information.”

Her rotation with a hospice director gave her a new perspective on end-of-life care.

“It matters. It really matters,” she said. “Most doctors, their whole job, they’ve been taught, is to fight death. Yet, you’re gonna lose with every single person. None of us are going to change that. So just becoming more comfortable with that was always a goal through all my training.”

Among her many medical interests, end-of-life care was one of the first she named.

“I feel like it often happens badly,” she said.

She said it’s too often the case where an individual isn’t at peace with one issue or another in their life. Decisions about their end-of-life care are often taken out of their hands, and sometimes handled irresponsibly. Questions are asked too late. False hope is given.

Schmidt said she was trained for rural-specific practice, which meant learning things like how to treat heart issues when the nearest cardiologist is 30 minutes away, or other situations where there’s no specialist on site.

Schmidt’s three children, June, 7; Hudson, 5; and Pearl, 2, are already adjusting to the community. She and her husband Ben think it will be a good long-term fit.

“We love Hillsboro for our kids,” she said. “The school district is just amazing, their ACT scores are so much higher than the state average and the national average. The opportunities here — we’ve been doing T-ball and drama camp and craft camp, my kids love it. They’ve been making good friends already.”

Schmidt said she wants to provide service to the Hillsboro community for a long time.

“I want to be here forever,” she said. “They can start planning the retirement party.”

Last modified June 25, 2015

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