Dr. Brauer opened Bluegrass Family Allergy in April 2015 with the intent of providing premier allergy and asthma care to the Western Kentucky community. With every single patient interaction, she has that mission in mind and cares deeply for her patients. Take a look at what Dr. Brauer thinks about her job, why educating her patients is so important to her, her time in medical school, and more:
What is an aspect of your job that you love?
“I love my job. I love helping people feel better and see real results like playing outside on the playground without having watery and swollen eyes, being able to keep their beloved pets without fear of breathing issues, or eliminating sick days due to frequent illnesses. So many people thank me for helping them and say, “Thank you so much for listening to me!” I think it’s sad that our interaction is the exception and not the rule for physicians and their patients.”
Why is educating your patients so important to you?
“I love helping my patients understand their illnesses and what their testing means. Medicine is full of smart-sounding medical terms and tons of (sometimes) necessary technicality. I love the intricacies of it, but for a non-medical person, it is like a foreign language. I like to “interpret” that for my patients into terms they can understand. Listening to patients and using common sense is a big part of why my office is different, and patients notice.”
What are your thoughts on allergy testing?
“I love explaining testing, what it shows, and reassuring patients about things I’ve ruled out and weaning medicine they don’t need. I’m an anomaly — I’m a doctor who doesn’t like medicine (but I prescribe it all the time!). I like to get more information via labs or skin tests in order to avoid the trigger, help people feel better, and also allow them to take less medicine overall. I also like to empower patients with this information in a way they can understand, so they can start to self-manage some of their illness. For some of my patients, I make a “baseline” plan for their allergies, but also give them a way to “step it up” during their main season or exposure, based on the testing we’ve done previously. I don’t like to over-test patients (another anomaly), but I will conduct testing if it’s going to help us understand their disease process, justify a continued avoidance (i.e. food), or help to tailor medications to exposures or seasons.”
Tell me about your time in medical school.
“When I started medical school, I was on a Family Practice scholarship because I loved the idea of a small-town doctor who “did it all.” I shadowed several of the doctors here in Owensboro and fell in love with the “Doc Hollywood” idea. Later, I realized what I liked were the relationships that you build in Family Practice and the variety of seeing newborns all the way up to octogenarians. I was also already considering practicing here locally and thought that Family Practice was my only option to “stay home.” As I got further into my medical training, I realized my personality and the way I think is not a generalist – I am a detail person. I like knowing everything there is to know about a specific subject, and my talents were more suited to the detail that immunology brings—all the interleukins, toll-like receptors, and the ‘geeky’ parts of the immune system really get me excited. I really like to explain what I’m doing to get my patients to be a partner in the process. I tell them I can’t help until I know where we’re starting from, and that makes us have a more honest and real conversation from the beginning.”
How is Bluegrass Family Allergy different from other practices?
“When I started my solo practice 6 years ago after being in a group practice for the 7 years prior, I knew I would do things differently. My staff is an extension of me, and we all treat each other and our patients with the respect they deserve. Once I’m treating someone, I give them the same level of care I would to my mom, my grandpa, or one of my kids. I try to do right by everyone who walks through my door and give them the absolute best care I’m capable of giving. We really do treat each other and our patients like we would our family members!”
How do you feel about practicing in Owensboro?
“I grew up 5 minutes down the road from where I practice, and my extended family is huge and still here locally. My dad and brother run a local lawn equipment business (Hagan’s Outdoor Equipment), and I have a reputation to uphold! Sometimes I feel like I’m related to or went to school with over half the town. After 6 years, I’m humbled and honored by the continued support of our patients, families, and the community. I’m so proud of what we’ve built together! I have a quote on my desk, “I still remember when I prayed for the things I have now.” It’s true… It’s a wonderful life. Thank you for being part of mine!”