Beth Baker came to Alaska at age 32, joining an Anchorage medical group as a pulmonary physician in 1982, staying with them for 36 years, through 2018.
As she wrote in a letter to her patients, “Unfortunately, due to changes in the US medical system, it has become increasingly difficult for pulmonary physicians to remain in private practice and to care for patients on Medicare, Medicaid, or those without insurance…evidenced by the fact that multiple pulmonary physicians have closed their private practice within the last decade in Anchorage.” Baker moved over to Providence Hospital’s pulmonary clinic for her last two years. She still cares for lung patients with sleeping disorders through a local sleep clinic, but she has retired as a pulmonary physician.
“Because I enjoy my career, it is difficult to stop, ” she wrote to her patients in her goodbye letter.
Baker has taken full advantage of her nearly 40 years as an Alaska resident: to play, to give back, to challenge herself. In this edition of Hometown Alaska, we’ll ask Dr. Baker why she chose Alaska, about her many outdoor adventures here, how she copes with COVID 19 on the brink of her retirement freedom, and her thoughts on the American health care system and what she’s observed about its strengths and its problems.
Hers is a unique perspective fueled by curiosity and the drive to keep learning and growing, an attitude as true in her retirement as it was as a fledgling doctor and a new Alaskan. Please join us!
HOST: Kathleen McCoy
- Dr. Beth Baker, nearly 40-year Alaska resident who chose the state for its beauty and adventure, and spent decades helping lung patients.
- Iditarod archives, Beth Baker’s 1994 run, winner of Sportsmanship award
- The Race: Medical attention lacking – Where are the Idita-docs? Veterinarians wait for the dogs at every checkpoint, but ailing mushers are on their own, ADN 2.23.2003 through News Bank (will require a Loussac library card to view)
- Women in the Wild – Venturing into the outdoors is not just a ‘man thing’ anymore, ADN 7.5.1996 through News Bank (includes details of Baker’s Denali climb, will require a Loussac library card to view)
- Typical Outdoors hotline listing for Beth Baker, ADN, 6.24.2007, “Naturalist Beth Baker leads a hike to an active beaver colony on the upper loop of the Albert Trail. No dogs, please.”
- Opinion: The business of health care depends on exploiting doctors and nurses, The New York Times, 6.8.2019
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- LIVE: Monday, August 31, 2020 at 2:00 p.m
- RE-AIR: Monday, August 31, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
- PODCAST: at alaskapublic.org/hometown for free future public access