The Doctor is in

<I>Contributed photo</I><BR>Louise LeDuc, M.D. (right) with her daughter Katy in the Australian outback on Christmas Eve 2006. Dr. LeDuc, who recently joined the Strawberry Wilderness Community Clinic, worked for six months in rural parts of Queensland.

JOHN DAY - After working temporarily in such places as Australia, New Zealand and, most recently, on a Navajo reservation in Shiprock, N.M. - all in rural areas - Dr. Louise LeDuc, MD, has decided to settle in John Day.

LeDuc has joined the staff at the Strawberry Wilderness Community Clinic, located at Blue Mountain Hospital.

"I consider myself lucky," she said of her decision.

LeDuc (pronounced LeDuke) had been hired at the clinic on a locum tenens basis - a temporary placement - a few months ago. Clinic and hospital officials were hoping she would sign a contract for a permanent post.

"I kept finding reasons to stay," LeDuc said.

And so she did.

Strawberry Clinic office manager Marci Brown is happy LeDuc decided to stay.

"We're very excited to have a new doctor join our clinic," Brown said. "She fits in well with our staff and patients."

Practicing family medicine since 2003, LeDuc received her training at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pa., and after finishing her residency in Lancaster, Pa. she practiced in Lancaster for three years.

While LeDuc is a relatively new doctor, she's been in the medical field for some time.

Before entering medical school, she taught pharmacology to graduate and medical students at Penn State, and performed scientific research funded with grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Her research topics included inflammatory bowel disease and, also, how compounds like ibuprofen and aspirin affect the biochemistry of the body.

Now, LeDuc said, she's glad to be interacting with patients.

"I love the combination of using my scientific knowledge and trying to help people directly," she said. "It's such a privilege to hear their stories and share that part of their lives."

LeDuc said she especially enjoys her very young and elderly patients. She's seen those groups of people and everyone in-between. She's also interested in helping those with mental health issues.

While LeDuc sees obstetric patients in the office, other local doctors will perform the deliveries.

When asked her opinion about influenza vaccinations, she said, "I'm a big fan of flu shots." Some people, she said, don't understand what influenza really is and the dangers involved.

She explained that she had the flu almost 20 years ago when her daughter, Katy, was a baby.

"All my plants died," she said, but Katy and the cat were taken care of.

Since coming to John Day, LeDuc's made herself at home, joining the bird club, a book club and attending yoga classes.

She's glad she made the decision to stay.

Her associates work to a high standard, she said, and are easy to work with.

"The people of Grant County are friendly and accepting," she added.

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