Internal medicine physician, educator and NCMS Physician of the Year values engagement for the ability to affect positive change for patients

Christie Reimer, MD, is a community-based primary care internal medicine physician and a clinician-educator. She keeps long-term relationships at the core of her medical practice, values engagement and is motivated by her students. She is a strong advocate for patients and a leader in medical associations and other groups.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself and your career:

A: I grew up in South Dakota where I went to college and medical school, did my residency and chief year in Kansas, earned a primary care faculty development fellowship certificate at Michigan State, and then was full-time medical school faculty at the Universities of Kansas and Iowa. In 2008 I moved to Colorado and joined Poudre Valley Internists, which has now transitioned to UCHealth Medical Group.

I like to do work that leads to change in our system that most positively impacts populations; I have thus dedicated a lot of time to working with the American College Physicians, the UCHealth Medical Group Board, and the Northern Colorado Medical Society.

When the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Colorado State University collaborated to launch a four-year branch campus here, I took the opportunity to play an active role in building this exciting program. I hope to engage students in our community, share the joy of walking through illness and health with patients, and model advocacy.  

Q: Why did you choose medicine and what’s your favorite aspect of it? 

A: In college I was a chemistry major/math minor and was headed to graduate school for a career in research. The summer between my junior and senior year I spent three months working in a very small inorganic chemistry lab with no windows and the same five people every day. I learned a lot, and that included learning about myself: I really wanted to have a career in science that would allow me to interact with people. The people are still my favorite part: my patients, my team, my peers, and my learners. 

Q: How do you hope to make a difference in medicine? 

A: I hope to make a difference at the individual level. I hope each patient feels heard when they see me. I hope that I can advocate for each one of them in a complicated system. I hope we can individualize and optimize their wellbeing during illness and during health. 

Q: If you could change one thing in your field or health care as a whole, what would it be? 

A: Every person deserves equitable access to affordable health care. 

Q: What is the most important purpose of the Colorado Medical Society, and why is your membership important to you? 

A: I value the advocacy work. We physicians are best suited to have a seat the table where decisions are made that impact our patients, and I am thankful we can come together as a community via CMS to have a voice. 

Q: What drew you to work with medical students? 

A: Having a learner in clinic makes my day better. Students bring a unique energy, they ask hard questions, they brighten our team dynamics, they remind me of why I entered this career pathway, they help patients in so many ways, and they make me feel optimistic about the future of medicine. 

Q: You dedicated your Physician of the Year award to all NCMS member physicians; who inspires you?   

A: In my acceptance speech at the NCMS Annual Meeting in February, I mentioned that this is the Year of the Physician. The whole medical community has been impacted by the pandemic, and we are all recovering in different ways. Right now, I am most inspired by my peers who are focusing on improving disparities and discrimination, engaging in practices to mitigate climate change, addressing firearms-related deaths, and rebuilding trust. I am so very appreciative of my inner circle of doctor-mom friends who just get it and whose support enables me to be the best mom, friend, partner and physician that I can be; I learn from them every day.

Q: What is a book you most recently read that has stayed with you? 

A: I wish I had more time to read but I am a dance mom and a band mom and spend a lot of time driving, so let me share my favorite podcasts: I listen to Up First every morning after drop-off, and I try to catch more in-depth news via the Daily when there’s time.  The Science of Happiness is great. I learn a lot of useful medical information from the Curbsiders and Annals of Internal Medicine podcasts. And I have gotten absorbed pretty quickly in many of the nonfiction but fascinating Serial and Wondery series.

The Colorado Medical Society is proud to launch the CMS member spotlight in 2022. Do you want to be spotlighted this year? Contact to self-nominate or to nominate one of your colleagues.

Categories: Communications, ASAP