Sarah Bush Lincoln Tuscola Clinic welcomes new patients as it opens its doors on Tuesday, May 31. The clinic is located along US 36 in Tuscola in front of the Outlet Mall at 1100 Tuscola Blvd.
The clinic features primary care staffed by Family Physician Kim Whitaker. Dr. Whitaker, who grew up in Neoga, is excited to be taking care of people so close to her hometown. 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.
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 was excited to care for people in the region where she grew up when she came to Sarah Bush Lincoln in early 2015 to work at Charleston Family Practice. 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.
The clinic also features laboratory and diagnostic imaging services and a walk-in clinic with extended hours in the evening and on the weekend, which will open August 15 to ensure it is fully staffed. Its hours will be 7 am to 7 pm, Monday through Friday and 8 am to 3 pm, Saturday and Sunday. Future plans also include visiting specialists and Occupational Medicine services at the clinic.
Similar to Sarah Bush Lincoln’s other Walk-In Clinics in Mattoon and Charleston, the Walk-In Clinic is often visited by people with acute illnesses who are unable to see their medical provider. People with major injuries or life-threatening illnesses should seek care at the nearest emergency room.
The facility is approximately 6,200 square feet, with a full brick façade and a drive up canopied entrance to created easier access to the building. Construction costs were $1.5 million. The architect was Hurst-Rosche and Upchurch Group. Wohltman Construction was the general contractor.
To make an appointment with Dr. Whitaker, please call 217 253-2020.