Dr. Kirk Weller
"I try to care for my patients in a way I would want to be cared for. While at times communication feels like a 'lost art,' focused practice makes a big difference."
When people ask where I grew up, I say it hasn't happened yet. Similarly, only a few physicians ever complete their training early in their career. For the rest of us, we can't help ourselves but to keep learning. Long ago, I went to Oberlin College for a Bachelor's in Psychobiology, University of Victoria for a Masters in Neuropsychology, University of Washington for my medical degree, and Oregon Health Sciences University for my Neurology Residency.
How did you become interested in neurology?
Neurology lives at the boundary of the mind and the body. I realized this in high school. How this gelatinous mass of a hundred billion cells can write symphonies, go to the moon, and create the "world wide web" is a worthwhile challenge to figure out.
What is your care philosophy?
I try to care for my patients in a way I would want to be cared for. Of course, that involves respect for their unique abilities, glories and struggles. While at times communication feels like a “lost art,” focused practice makes a big difference. A sense of humor doesn’t hurt – on occasion.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Most of my life I have been a painter. I have a painting in the permanent collection of the Museum of Encaustic Art in Santa Fe and will be in the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology "Sitka Invitational" art exhibit for the third year this November 3-4 at the World Forestry Center. I also avidly enjoy whitewater kayaking, photography, hiking, fly fishing, writing poetry (which I sometimes combine with a given painting), and walking every day for an hour with a Farm Collie – the third in a series of very good dogs. I love spending time with my wonderful wife and with my extended family in Colorado.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party, alive or dead?
E.O. Wilson, Wallace Stegner, Galen Rowell, Georgia O'Keefe, Ansel Adams, Ernest Shackleton, John Lennon, Aretha Franklin, Northwest painter Morris Graves, Teddy Roosevelt and my father's maternal grandfather, George Barton, who came to Colorado from the east coast on a sailing ship around Cape Horn and via steam train from San Francisco. Quite a mix.
What has been the highlight of your career?
I love to hear my patient’s stories. It often only takes a few minutes to find out what we have in common, or to discover some amazing historical fact. Early in my career, a late octogenarian patient told me of how his father, ranching in southern Utah many decades before, had on occasion, allowed a guy named Butch Cassidy to hole up at the ranch, always in a hurry to go somewhere. Not sure if that one is true, as it would have had to occur in the late 1800s, but the telling was quite matter of fact.