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Murat Z. Akalin, MD, MPH

Dr. Murat Akalin earned his undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University, his Masters in Public Health from Columbia University, and his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. Dr. Akalin now practices family medicine and psychiatry in Mammoth Lakes, Mono County...

"I am doing family medicine and psychiatry in the small “critical access” hospital, and attached rural health clinic here. The hospital work has been really fun. Things really are different in a small hospital. And I do mean small – we have 12 inpatient beds, and an average daily census of about 4 or 5 patients. Everything is manageable : the workload, the pace, the numbers, the system, the nurses.

In clinic, I am doing both general family medicine as well as psychiatry. The psychiatry demand has been overwhelming, and I am continually trying to find a balance, so that I can continue doing both. Much to my surprise, I am finding the psychiatry more difficult (more draining) than the family medicine. I am really enjoying expanding the spectrum of what I do in family medicine, especially in the area of procedures. I do joint and soft tissue injections, casting and splinting, occipital nerve blocks, skin excisions, and peritonsillar abscesses. And I still do ingrown toenails just the way Dr. Folsom taught me!

I am so happy to have done the combined residency. Despite being a bit overwhelmed by being the only psychiatrist in town, it’s definitely nice to feel so relatively “expert” – and appreciated -- in a particular field of medicine. The UCSD combined program in particular, provided me with incredible preparation for the kind of work I am doing now. Looking back, it was hard…. but it cultivated in me the most important things that I needed: the flexibility, confidence and presence to meet and learn from whatever clinical situation I may find before me.

There is life after residency, and if you choose your path well, you can have time to get back to things you enjoy, and find new ones too! We go hiking all the time, before and after work, and even at lunch time. I’ve taken up mountain biking, and in the summers there a weekly family-style races after work. Now that the snow is here, I’m back to snowboarding (I had actually broken my arm doing this up here in 2000, right before my interview at UCSD! Now I’m working alongside the old-time family doc who had casted me back then. Today he just showed me how to diagnose and treat 3rd degree tears of the ulnar collateral ligament of the thumb); this season I am going to learn to telemark ski. I am watching birds and learning about trees, and enjoy watching for the coyotes and bears who sometimes walk through our backyard!

And whatever your path , Live with heart."