Growing up in Neoga, Family Practice Physician Kimberly Whitaker, MD, is thrilled to be caring for people of all ages close to home at Sarah Bush Lincoln’s Charleston Family Practice.
With extensive experience in rural healthcare, Dr. Whitaker said, “I enjoy getting to know my patients and their families on a more personal level. That’s one of the reasons I chose family medicine.” She partners with her patients and family members to develop personalized treatment plans and lifestyle changes to optimize their health and wellbeing.
Dr. Whitaker comes to the community after providing healthcare to the medically underserved in the Champaign/Urbana area at Promise Healthcare, Frances Nelson Health Center, since 2010.
Interested in pursuing medicine since high school, Dr. Whitaker first earned a degree in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Illinois in 1999. Thankful for her experiences in learning about human development in the context of family, community and society, “I have used this knowledge as much as anything in my practice,” she said.
Dr. Whitaker graduated from the East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine, which is well known for its excellence in rural medicine education. There, she developed specialized rural clinical skills by caring for the underserved and developing outreach programs in a small community in the Appalachian Mountains.
After earning her medical degree in 2003, Dr. Whitaker completed a three-year residency in family practice at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Fluent in Spanish, “it gave me the opportunity to work with a diverse patient population with respect to ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds and I loved it,” she said. She also provided care to Pueblo, Navajo and urban Indian populations.
Earning a National Health Service Corps scholarship, which helped pay her way through medical school, Dr. Whitaker was committed to working in a rural health area following residency. She took advantage of an opportunity to work at Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation, which provides healthcare for 58 rural communities in southwest Alaska, from 2006 to 2010. She gained experience providing a broad scope of services including pediatrics, geriatrics, orthopedics, obstetrics and urgent care to the Yu-pik Eskimo community. “It was an amazing experience and a great education,” Dr. Whitaker said, adding that the people live mostly off the land. With little access to specialized care, she also gained more experience in performing urgent care procedures and using telemedicine.
Ready for a change, Dr. Whitaker is excited to care for people where she grew up. With a special interest in women’s healthcare and preventive care, she believes in encouraging people to take an active role in their health. She is committed to ensuring her patients are educated and will work to help them make informed choices about their healthcare needs.
Dr. Whitaker is also active in the Christian Medical and Dental Association’s Global Health Outreach and has taken medical mission trips to Escuapa, Honduras, Kabul, Afghanistan, Riobamba, and Ecuador. She recently married Matt Stump, who serves as pastor for the United Methodist Church in Monticello.
To make an appointment with Dr. Whitaker, call Charleston Family Practice at (217) 345-7700.