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Q&A: Gastroenterologist Kimberly Viskocil, MD, loves her role as a doctor and educator

“I hope I can help develop and train some of our future medical leaders and innovators.”
Gastroenterologist Kimberly Viskocil, MD, joined University of Minnesota Health in August. She is fascinated by the complexity of the digestive system.

There’s no place like home.

And that’s exactly what University of Minnesota Health has become for Gastroenterologist Kimberly Viskocil, MD, who joined the M Health community in August 2015, following completion of her residency and fellowship at the University of Minnesota. Viskocil is fascinated by the complexity of the digestive system, and loves her role as a teacher and doctor.

We spoke with Viskocil about her desire to become a gastroenterologist, her role on the gastrointestinal care team and her desire to educate and train Minnesota’s future gastroenterologists.

Why did you want to become a gastroenterologist?
Like most gastroenterologists, I find the gut fascinating. Many people think it is just one long tube that food passes through, but there are innumerable complex processes happening as food passes through the different organs of our digestive system. Our gastrointestinal system digests food, absorbs nutrients, and is a key component in our immune system—among the many other roles it plays within our body.

Why are you passionate about the gastrointestinal (GI) system?
Gastroenterology encompasses the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine and the related organs of pancreas and liver as well as the bile ducts. Our luminal GI team focuses on the diseases of just the gastrointestinal lumen—from mouth to bottom.

I love that I interact with and help patients in several different ways. I see patients in the clinic whom I may follow for years as I help them manage their chronic gastrointestinal conditions. Or, I may see a patient only a couple times, when I perform screening colonoscopies to look for cancer. At times, I may also intervene with an emergency procedure to completely resolve an issue for a patient, such as when I treat a bleeding stomach ulcer.

Learn more about gastroenterology care at University of Minnesota Medical Center.

Why did you choose to join the University of Minnesota Health community?
I had the fortune of completing all of my medical training at the University of Minnesota—including my medical school, residency and fellowship. Though I looked at other institutions at each stage of my training career, Minnesota always had the exact mix of what I was looking for to continue to grow as a physician. My new University of Minnesota Health position permits me to see a wonderfully diverse group of patients and help them manage complicated gastrointestinal problems that are best served by a multi-disciplinary care team at our large academic medical center. I’m very excited that teaching Minnesota’s future gastroenterologists is also a big part of my job.

What are your goals before the end of your career?
In addition to the work of patient care, I hope I can help develop and train some of our future medical leaders and innovators. I also want to demonstrate for my children the benefits of a job in service to others.