A Teacher and Physician

When Joseph Wren, M.D., was in high school his science teacher inspired him to pursue a career in education. While Joe first believed this would mean he, too, would become a teacher, he later decided that he would fulfill his love of science by pursuing a degree in medicine.

“I like to tell people I copped out,” laughed Joe, speaking of his decision to become a physician rather than a teacher. “Seriously, though, I love my job. I would do it for free!”

A pediatrician with Blue Mountain Medical Group in Walla Walla, Washington, Joe and his family found their way to the area and Walla Walla General Hospital (WWGH) via a very indirect route.

After accepting a job on the island of Guam, the Wren’s house didn’t sell in time for him to actually take the position. While he had practiced in Maine for 10 years, a replacement had already been hired for his position at Parkview Adventist Medical Center and when the family’s home did sell, Joe was without a job.

“I’ve always wanted to work within the Adventist health care system,” said Joe. “I believe that you grow where you are planted and certainly Adventist physicians can work outside of a religious setting; however, for me it has always been such a good experience.”

Thanks to Adventist Health’s Web site, Joe found several job opportunities throughout the West Coast health system, and he and his family moved across the country to Washington state.

Joe's typical day is busy—filled with visits from parents and their children. He loves working with babies and enjoys interacting with toddlers and young children.

“It’s fun to establish relationships with my patients. Some of the little ones really get attached to me and love coming to the office,” said Joe. “Most adults dread doctor’s appointments but children find adventure in even the most routine parts of life.”

In addition to his busy practice, Joe works with WWGH to provide valuable information to prospective parents during Lamaze classes. He discusses a variety of newborn issues with new moms and dads, orients them to what a pediatrician does and emphasizes the importance of well-baby checkups during the first year of an infant’s life.

Joe also is passionate about childhood obesity and is anxious to start a program aimed at combating the epidemic.

“Childhood obesity is the No. 1 health issue facing our kids today,” said Joe. “I see so many children who have developed type 2 diabetes because they are overweight. I really want to start a program that educates them and their parents about healthy lifestyle issues and the importance of a proper diet and adequate exercise.”

While his days are busy and his ambitions endless, Joe still manages to make it to the office early to pray over his roster of patients. He asks the Lord to give him opportunities to minister to them on a spiritual level as well as tend to their physical needs. And while he never became a professor, Joe is a teacher in his own right—sharing tips with expectant moms and dads, showing parents how to care for their developing youngsters and pursuing the dream of developing an educational program to combat childhood obesity.

“I’ve never regretted my decision to become a physician,” said Joe. “It is truly a blessing to come to work everyday because I love what I do.”

October 01, 2006 / Feature