Santoro-Beer-Kari alum2

The mentorship, camaraderie, and a strong sense of community in emergency and critical care drew Kari Santoro-Beer (DVM ’09) to the specialty, and continue to animate her work. As is the case with many criticalists, she didn’t begin school with an eye on critical care. Her path to the specialty was through personal connections rather than a classroom.

“Dr. Matt Beal leads a Friday morning running group that leaves from the College, and I met him and some emergency medicine students through that. They inspired me to check out emergency medicine,” she says.

From there, it all came together. She started joining morning case rounds in the emergency unit and began participating in the Student Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society. After her second year in the DVM program, Santoro-Beer participated in the Emergency and Critical Care Medicine (ECCM) summer fellowship program. The hands-on experience clinched the deal.

“I finished the program feeling like I was ready to get out there—to start to be a doctor.”

“The challenges and the rewards of the specialty are both great,” says Santoro-Beer. “There is stress, trauma, and unpredictability in emergency medicine—and also the joy of succeeding in life-threatening challenges.”

“One of the great strengths of MSU is the clinical experience,” says Santoro-Beer. “Most veterinary programs include just one year of clinics. We start rotations halfway into our third year. That extra experience is a huge asset—it gets you into the hospital, working with patients. It’s the real deal.”

Residents and interns also are important figures in the learning environment. “One thing I’ll never forget is Dr. Page Yaxley teaching CPR. I was so nervous about it and Dr. Yaxley said, ‘The important thing to remember is that you can only help the patient at this point and that each attempt you make is a learning experience that will help a patient in the future’—those words completely changed my attitude,” says Santoro-Beer. “I teach this to my students.”

As a resident at the University of Pennsylvania, Santoro-Beer met another important mentor. Dr. Garret Pachtinger was a third-year resident when she was a first-year resident, and when Pachtinger joined Dr. Justine Lee in developing VetGirl, he invited Santoro-Beer to participate.

VetGirl is a tool for delivering clinical tips, new literature, and updates in veterinary medicine. Santoro-Beer sees its on-demand podcasts and webinars as an exciting method for offering continuing education. She says she has listened to human medicine podcasts, but this model has never been done in veterinary medicine.

Learning—and having time to absorb information and experience—continues to be important to Santoro-Beer. Her path to emergency medicine began, in part, with running, and long-distance running is still important to her. Santoro-Beer also enjoys competing in triathlons, cooking, and exploring Philadelphia.

Posted: June 17, 2013
Contact: Casey Williamson