Meet Our Current Fellows

Get to know the family medicine obstetric fellows at Essentia Health.

Chris Childs

Chris Childs, MD

Obstetric Fellow, Essentia Health Duluth Clinic

Email Chris Childs.

Why an OB Fellowship

I had great high-risk obstetrics training during residency, however, my experience as primary surgeon for Cesarean deliveries and managing newborn resuscitation was more limited. In order to provide more comprehensive obstetrical and neonatal care in my future rural practice, I desired further training in these areas.

Why this OB Fellowship

The Essentia Health OB Fellowship is a great program for any family physician looking to practice in a rural community. In addition to excellent surgical and high risk obstetrics training, I am able to maintain my generalist and procedural skills through precepting with the Duluth Family Medicine Residency Program, off-service rotations in emergency medicine, critical care and electives; and a 3 month rural capstone. This is especially valuable for me as I will be completing my capstone at my future practice.

Future Practice/Practice Interests

I will be practicing full spectrum family medicine including surgical obstetrics, inpatient, outpatient and emergency care in Ashland, Wisconsin.

Extra-Curricular Interests

Climbing, running and being outdoors with my family; home projects, exploring the Lake Superior region.

Katie Williams

Katie Williams, MD

Obstetric Fellow, Essentia Health Duluth Clinic

Email Katie Williams.

Why an OB Fellowship

I knew I wanted to practice family medicine with obstetrics in a rural area early in residency. Most of the towns I was considering for my practice did not have obstetricians, and they did not have enough C-section trained FP-OBs to have someone available 24/7 to come in to do a C-section. So I knew that, if I wanted to practice obstetrics in those towns, I needed to be C-section trained. While I had excellent quality of obstetric and C-section training in my residency, very few family medicine residencies have the C-section volume to train their residents to safely perform C-sections independently upon graduation. Fellowship allows for that increased volume and, with it, the opportunity to see and manage complications. As the OB fellow, you are pulled in to the complicated cases and cases where things do not go quite as expected, and you are the one managing those complications, with instruction and supervision. Attendings know that you will soon be in a rural area with less back-up and support and they target their teaching and mentoring accordingly. I know that I will be much more competent to practice surgical obstetrics in a rural area after this year.

Why this OB Fellowship

I was looking for a fellowship that was geared toward training family docs to practice in a rural area. I was very impressed with the obstetricians I interviewed with and their dedication to training family doctors for rural practice. St. Mary’s Medical Center is the major referral center for northeastern Minnesota and parts of northwestern Wisconsin, and Duluth is, by far, the largest city in that region. So the physicians are accustomed to working closely with rural towns and receiving referrals and patient transfers from places with limited resources. They understand the challenges of working in those areas and focus their teaching accordingly. I also appreciated the variety of this fellowship. You get plenty of OB experience, but you also have the opportunity to maintain and expand your other family medicine skills with rotations in emergency medicine and critical care, plus an additional month of elective time to obtain more training in other areas that will be relevant to your practice. Many rural family docs cover ER shifts, and, even if you are not planning on working in the ER, I know from my rural rotations during residency that it is always helpful to have more comfort managing very sick patients: you never know when you might be pitching in to help if the small hospital gets overwhelmed. You will also precept family medicine residents in clinic 2-3 times per month and be the hospital attending for the family medicine teaching service about one weekend per month. Finally, the 3 months of rural family medicine with OB allow you to “put it all together” doing what you love and, if you do not already have a job, essentially audition for a job in rural Minnesota or Wisconsin. Those are all of the reasons this fellowship made sense, but, of course, there was also the all-important gut feeling. After interviewing at several fellowships, this one just felt right. Also, Duluth is a super cool city, with lots to do outside: not a bad place for me to spend a year outside of Montana!

Future Practice/Practice Interests

I will be practicing in Lewistown, MT, a town of 6,000 that is the geographic center of the state. I will be doing outpatient family medicine at the community health center, inpatient medicine - rotating call with the other physicians in town - at the critical access hospital, and, of course, obstetrics. 

Extra-Curricular Interests

After growing up on the East Coast, I landed in Western Montana for residency and fell in love with the outdoors. I enjoy hiking, road biking, kayaking and skiing, both downhill and cross country. I also enjoy live music and diving into a good book (fiction or non-fiction). I love exploring farmers markets and cooking and eating seasonally. Someday I plan to have a garden.

Advance your skills as full-spectrum family medicine physician. Become an OB fellow at Essentia Health.

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