Describing herself as a surgeon who “wanders in and out of sessions keeping to herself,” Dr. Cate Straub calls the SAGES annual meeting a completely different experience, one that makes her feel “part of an inner echelon where you don’t just attend sessions and go home. You meet and learn from mentors, talk about your practice and create a sense of community that you take home with you.”
That supportive environment is especially valuable for Dr. Straub, a community surgeon in Wenatchee, Washington. She was first invited by Dr. Adnan Alseidi to present on healthcare advocacy and the community surgeon (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lA4kobsML1w ) at SAGES 2021 in Las Vegas. And earlier this year in Montreal, friend and mentor Dr. Caroline Reinke asked her to make a presentation on Robotics and Acute Care Surgery.
While these are the kinds of professional and international opportunities aren’t always available to community surgeons, Dr. Straub wouldn’t trade practicing in rural Washington. She’s recently taken over as the Chair of the Department of Surgery and runs the robotics program at her hospital. She says, “I’m very passionate about providing a high level of update to date care in a rural community.”
A New York native and member of the Community Practice committee, Dr. Straub went to the University of Virginia medical school and did her residency at the University of Utah. Moving further west to Washington was a choice she made because she “didn’t want to overspecialize. I wanted to meet and treat a wide variety of patients.”
And Dr. Straub has definitely treated—and taught—a wide variety of professional colleagues and patients. During her research year at the University of Utah, she traveled with Dr. Ray Price to teach laparoscopic surgery in Khovd, Mongolia. She also worked with Dr. Price at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City.
Now a SAGES member for four years, Straub can already recount several memorable moments, including having to ad lib her presentation in Montreal earlier this year because her slide deck wouldn’t load. She remembers, “I really learned to present on the fly!”
Less stressful was a party for the Surgeons Mom Group (well known as SMG) Facebook group Dr. Straub put together with Dr. Laura Doyon, and riding road bikes around a Formula 1 race track in Montreal with Dr. Eric Pauli. Describing herself as a great cook, Dr. Straub’s “safer” hobbies include experimenting with food and hiking.