New Doctor to begin practicing for UNHS January 30th

Everyone knows there is an annual New Years Baby, but when the newest member of the UNHS Medical Staff begins practicing at the end of January, she could be called the New Years Doctor.

Dr. Patricia L. Spencer is more than just a Doctor of Medicine (MD) though. She is also trained, and Board Certified in Family Medicine with OB, having served her residency at Idaho State University. She practiced in internal medicine for 18 years, and has a Masters in Medical Sciences (MMSc), a Masters in Business Administration (MBA), and a Masters in Science of Public Health (MScPH). In the past 25 years she’s worked in a wide range of medical practices, including full scope family medicine with OB, including C-sections; Director for a Family Medicine Group at Madras Hospital, in Madras, Oregon; had an active practice of Internal Medicine; and was CEO and Medical Director for a major Cancer Hospital Center. Now she will bring that wealth of experience to Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. and Blue Mountain Hospital, beginning January 30.

According to Dr. Spencer, her parents immigrated to the United States from Chile when they were young. She and her siblings were all born in America but the family moved back to Chile in 1970, when she was 8 years old. Most of her family moved back to America a few years later, but Dr. Spencer stayed in Chile with her mother until 2003, when she moved back to America.

During her time in Chile she learned to speak Spanish fluently and came to value her time in Chile living amid many of her cousins and other family members. She also learned to value Latin customs, including hugging and kissing those you greet, which she finds many Americans look twice at.

While in Chile, she completed her Doctor of Medicine studies in Internal Medicine and her Masters in Medical Science (MMS) in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Chile. She also received a Masters in Business Administration from Adolfo Ibáñez University. Four years later Dr. Spencer decided to move back to America with her family and she said she’s glad to be back in this country.

Upon returning to America, she lived in Florida and attended the University of South Florida, in Tampa. There she received her Masters in Science of Public Health (MScPH), and she is also working on her Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health. In 2012 she finished her Family Medicine w/OB residency from Idaho State University, in Pocatello, Idaho.

After her residency in Idaho, Dr. Spencer practiced Family Medicine w/OB in Douglas, Wyoming for two years and then moved to Madras, Oregon, where she has been practicing for the past two years. She said living in Wyoming and Oregon has been a lot different from living in the large cities like Santiago, Chile and Tampa, Florida. She enjoys living in smaller communities and she’s looking forward to living in San Juan County and practicing with UNHS and at Blue Mountain Hospital.

“I’ve always lived in big cities, but I like small towns because things are slower. I’m looking forward to doing family medicine and OB. Doctor Jones (UNHS Medical Director Dr. Val Jones) has been very nice, the hospital is great and it’s a great community,” she said. “Everyone is involved and has the same goals. I look forward to fitting in and working hard at the hospital and the clinic.”

Dr. Spencer has four grown children and she is proud of each one. Her oldest is Rafael, age 30, an Aerospace Engineer with Boeing. Valentina, 28, is a Dr. who is finishing her residency in Ophthalmology, in Florida. Matias, 26, also lives in Florida and has a degree in Business Administration. Diego, 25, plans to be a surgeon. He is in his second year of medical school at the University of Miami. She said her partner has a PHD in Psychology and is a retired professor of clinical psychology.

Dr. Spencer enjoys music, especially classical music, and learned to play the piano from her grandmother, who was a concert pianist. She also enjoys all sports and was a gymnast in her youth. She enjoys jogging, tennis and all outdoor activities. She and her partner are looking forward to hiking and camping when they move to San Juan County.

“I really like Michael (UNHS CEO Michael Jensen) and all the doctors. The medical facilities are top notch. For the people in a rural area the medical facilities are very good,” she added.

Jensen said he is excited to have Dr. Spencer as part of the UNHS Medical Staff. He said having a female family practice doctor, who does OB, including C-sections, will be a great addition. He said he really enjoyed meeting her and looks forward to working with her as part of the UNHS family.

Dr. Spencer will work primarily at the Blanding Family Practice Clinic and Blue Mountain Hospital, but said she will eventually travel to Monument Valley to work with OB patients there on Wednesdays.

“I love doing OB work,” Dr. Spencer said. “It is very fulfilling. And I think I’m going to like the drive down to Monument Valley.”

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