After 23 years of practicing internal medicine in the Shoreline area north of Seattle, Dr. David Jackson, the clinic's managing partner, found himself yearning for new adventure and a fresh start.
He found it in Kittitas County.
"I was feeling burned out," says Jackson, now a physician with KVH Internal Medicine, part of the Kittitas Valley Healthcare system. "I was tired of the commute, traffic, and the rain." With their two sons grown, he and his wife Karen, a kindergarten teacher, found themselves stressed by the pace of their lives and wanting more time together sharing their mutual passion for horses.
Karen recalls the shock she felt when David told her he was considering positions outside of Seattle in Flagstaff, Boise or Ellensburg. She knew his practice, patients and colleagues would help define him and that he needed a change. But her job, elderly parents and friends were on the west side. Ellensburg, closest to Seattle, was the best choice due to proximity and because it has a huge horse community.
David came solo for his initial visit and was excited about this new opportunity. He was attracted to the community and impressed by the efficiency and friendliness of the internal medicine clinic and staff. Karen came to visit Ellensburg a few weeks later. It was an unusually unpleasant day - dreary with leaden skies. "I didn't know if I could move here," she says, standing in the kitchen of the couple's spacious home. "Eventually, I realized moving to Ellensburg would provide the opportunity to live my dream."
Karen volunteers in a special needs class at Ellensburg High and with special needs children in an after school program. She also volunteers at Spirit Equine Therapeutic Center and is working to become a certified Equine Facilitated Learning Instructor. Her goal: to operate an equine learning facility for at-risk youth, a dream she says wouldn't have happened if she hadn't made the move.
The Jacksons, who attend church in Kittitas, open their home on Sunday evenings for Bible studies. They say coming to Kittitas County has enhanced their quality of life. David, an active outdoorsman, delights in the area's recreational opportunities as well as in his professional setting. They both enjoy their time together with their rescue Collies, one of which is blind, and riding their horses. The sunny days have been a wonderful bonus.
"The hardest thing about leaving the west side was saying goodbye to my patients. I tend to get attached to people," David says. "I've been here a year and a half. It's a great place to live and work. The quality of the healthcare system is excellent. It's a small, rural area and there are lots of things they don't have here, things they can't do. But the doctors and the hospital focus on what they can do - and they do it well. I really like it here. I can see myself staying for years to come."
Want to know more? See Dr. Jackson's medical education and clinic information here.