Dr. April Weinberger, a family practice physician at Corvallis Family Medicine and Chief Medical officer at Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital, has recently been voted Bitterroot’s Best Physician in a poll of community members.
Weinberger grew up in rural Wisconsin and initially went to music school as a piano performance major. Then she had one of those “life changing moments” when you ask yourself what you really want to do with your life, and she decided that she wanted to do some sort of service work that would really help people. She said majoring in music involved a lot of training, mostly practicing alone and concentrating on self-improvement. She decided then that leading a life of self-help was not what she wanted. She wanted to help others. She chose the health care field, “because it is the most ubiquitous form of public service,” she said, “and the most important.”
So, she set her goal and made good on it. She got her degree in medicine from Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and did her residency at Mountain Area Health Education Center in Asheville, North Carolina.
Then she made her next good life-decision and decided to move out to Montana. Her husband’s dad is from eastern Montana so the two of them had been out here in the summer before. She landed at Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital.
Weinberger loves the rural environment here and working in a relatively small hospital where the job mixes easily with her private life in the community.
“You see patients down at the farmers market,” she said, and friendships are born.
Asked what she has learned from her patients in her years of health care, she paused, thought for moment.
“To slow down,” she said, “and to look at things deeply. You see people dealing with very difficult things in their lives. It is a privilege to share that. It’s a learning experience about what is important in life.”
Weinberger is also a working mom with three young children. She said her husband’s father helps with child care, but she manages to spend a few full days with the family and feels like it is a good balance.
According to Weinberger, she couldn’t do it all without a lot of support at home and at work. She said her work at the Corvallis Medical Clinic was team oriented. She said the clinic has sort of a “hive-mind.” If something problematic comes up with a patient, she said, they all work on it.
“There’s not a lot of hierarchy in our system,” she said, “and our patients appreciate the fact that a team is working on their problems.”
“I can be Best in the Bitterroot,” she said, “because I have the best team.”