GETTING STARTED | Medical Minds: Careers in Health and Wellness

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By Alison Bailin Batz

Arizona will add nearly 543,000 net new jobs through 2026, based on a 10-year estimate from the state Office of Economic Opportunity.

The industry expected to create the highest number of new jobs: Health care and health services.

As such, we asked leaders in several areas of health, wellness and medicine to share with us how they got inspired to go into said industries – and how they got started.

Dr. Brandt Feuerstein (right)

“Growing up, I had always imagined being a physician but had little concept of what doctors actually did. In college, my interests led me to physical anthropology, the study of how culture, behavior and environment affect human health and disease. This interest continued through medical school and eventually culminated in a choice to pursue surgery as a specialty. After a 17-year career as a general surgeon, I now volunteer my time to perform overseas medical missions. By partnering with Esperanca – a Valley-based nonprofit that works within some of the poorest communities in the world by coordinating volunteer surgical missions – I am able to combine my undergraduate studies and training as a surgeon to provide surgical care, in a culturally sensitive way, to international locations where they are needed most.”

Dr. Brandt J. Feuerstein, volunteer medical provider for Esperanca

“I wanted to help people with their health without looking at mangled body parts. Since 10th grade, I had always thought I would be a chain pharmacist. Shortly after college, I realized chain pharmacy wasn’t for me. Owning an independent pharmacy is rewarding in helping patients, doing things my way and the added benefit of a long-term retirement plan when I end up selling my business. My patients really appreciate us and our additional services we offer, making all the hard work worth it. With business coaching, I have learned to delegate and now the business runs itself, giving me a lot of freedom in my schedule.”

Teresa Dickinson, owner and pharmacist at Melrose Pharmacy

“My love for people brought me to nursing. After four years of caring for cancer patients as a nurse, my passion for empowering women brought me to women’s health. I was blessed to get my doctorate of nursing practice as a nurse practitioner of women’s health from Arizona State University. There I learned how to support women through all seasons of life and inspire them to take ownership of their health. As a fertility nurse practitioner, I now have the privilege of helping women make their dreams come true, assisting them in their journey to get pregnant.”

Holly Pela, Doctor of Nursing Practice, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

“When I was growing up, my mom encouraged me to become a doctor. In college, I realized that I preferred my psychology classes over my pre-med classes, and pursued a graduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Working in community behavioral health opened my eyes to so many paths to service in health care. My strengths tended more toward management and I’m thrilled to be working with Jewish Family & Children’s Service as a clinical director, working every day with our teams to provide top-notch care to our clients.”

Melissa Baker, clinical director for Behavioral and Integrated Health at Jewish Family & Children’s Service

“I originally went to college to become a physical therapist, then a naturopathic doctor. As life happens, I became pregnant within months of beginning my program. That happy occurrence led me to reexamine my priorities. I realized I could create the business I really wanted with a little focus and perseverance and have a family. My desire has been to teach people to care for and heal their bodies naturally and create life-affirming daily choices that lead to vibrant good health and a full life. With a diverse tool kit, I am able to help people find what they need physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.”

Theresa Martin, yoga instructor, licensed massage therapist and founder of Karma Life Center

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