Four LMU Women Physicians You Should Know
Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM) is joining
physicians around the nation Feb. 3, to celebrate National Women’s Physician Day (NWPD),
to honor and recognize female physicians.
DR. TERESA CAMPBELL
Teresa Campbell, M.D., is the chair of pathology and an associate professor of pathology at LMU-DCOM. Campbell joined LMU in 2010 after serving as director of Forensic Pathology at East Tennessee State University. Campbell also served as a family medicine physician and flight surgeon for over 20 years in the United States Air Force (active duty and reserve) and the Tennessee Air National Guard.
“My initial specialty was family medicine. Even though pathology was my favorite subject in medical school, I equated the practice of medicine with being a clinician,” Campbell said. “I decided on family medicine to gain experience in a variety of medical fields so that I could be as well-rounded a physician as possible.”
While practicing in family and emergency medicine as a military and civilian physician, Campbell never forgot about her love of pathology in medical school and decided to enter a pathology residency. During that time, she discovered the world of autopsy pathology, which led her ultimately to a forensic pathology fellowship.
“I never imagined being a forensic pathologist, but it proved to be the area of pathology I found the most interesting,” Campbell said. “Forensic pathologists see a variety of diseases as well as trauma and I found that my experiences in family medicine were beneficial in this field.”
Campbell was inspired to become a physician by her mother, who went back to school in her 30s to become a nurse.
“I read her anatomy and physiology books and would base my middle school science projects on my newfound knowledge,” Campbell said.
Campbell knew she wanted to enter a profession in the medical field.
“This was during the early 1970s and women were making inroads into professions that were traditionally pursued by men,” Campbell said. “Somewhere along the way, I came to the realization that I could become a physician if I wanted.”
DR. JAN ZIEREN
Jan Zieren, DO, MPH, FACOFP dist, joined LMU-DCOM in 2012 as a professor of family medicine. Before LMU, Zieren spent 30 years as a family physician and three years as an emergency medicine physician.
From the age of 10, Zieren describes learning the names of the bones and collecting medical articles from Reader’s Digest.
“I just always had this goal or dream to be a doctor,” Zieren said. “My high school and college classes were scheduled with pre-med in mind. Even with bumps in the road, things finally fell into place.”
When asked what specialty she chose, she emphatically says that family medicine chose her.
“While in medical school, I happened to enjoy every rotation I experienced. I loved OB, surgery, urology, cardiothoracic vascular surgery, neurology and emergency medicine,” Zieren said. “The only specialty that encompasses all of those is family medicine. So actually – it found me!”
When she began to practice, she was delivering babies, doing outpatient surgeries and in-office surgeries, assisting major surgeries, admitting patients to the hospital, caring for patients in nursing homes, and seeing patients in the office.
“Over the years, there were reasons for reducing some of these activities until ultimately I was office only, but it was a wild ride with no regrets,” Zieren said. “I have been considering writing a book of many of the wonderful stories I have from my years of seeing patients.”
In her tenure, Zieren has had the opportunity to get involved in leadership at many levels in hospitals, state and national organizations. She served as president of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP) from 2009 to 2010. She was honored to serve on the Arizona and Tennessee licensing boards, and currently is the secretary-treasurer of the American Association of Osteopathic Examiners (AAOE).
Zieren said, “Transitioning from a clinician in a busy practice to professor at LMU-DCOM, however, has been a personal highlight of my career.
DR. LEAH SNODGRASS
Leah Snodgrass, M.D., is a native of Middlesboro, Kentucky, and spent five years working as a medical director for Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) in Southeastern Kentucky before joining LMU-DCOM as chair of Behavioral Health in 2012. Snodgrass is the only locally born and raised psychiatrist in the region and one of the only board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrists in Southeastern Kentucky and Northeast Tennessee.
The woman who inspired Snodgrass was her mother.
“My mother had a ninth-grade education. In spite of that, she deeply valued education and desperately wanted her children to be educated. She never gave up on me – ever,” Snodgrass said. “Even after I dropped out of high school, she kept encouraging and supporting and at one point almost begging me to just try a few classes at the community college.”
She did just as her mother encouraged her to do, and at 22 years old she enrolled at Southeast Community College where she met Dr. Omar.
“Dr. Omar asked me to come into his office after a basic biology class one day. He asked what my plans were, and I told him I didn’t really have any. He told me I should consider medicine or going to medical school because based on my performance in his class, he felt I had what it would take academically,” said Snodgrass. “Furthermore, he encouraged me to consider psychiatry. I was not sold on the psychiatry, but from that day forward I was pre-med and never looked back.”
Ultimately, Snodgrass chose the specialty of child and adolescent psychiatry.
“I love children and teens who have problems, issues, struggles – perhaps because I had problems, issues and struggles as a child and teen,” Snodgrass said. “I love the opportunity to intervene in a young person’s life, figure out what is going on, work toward removing or greatly reducing the burden, and putting them back on their correct trajectory.”
Snodgrass recalls one of her patients who is now 22 years old. Her patient came from a broken home with drug addicted parents and a mother who committed suicide when her patient was 16 years old.
“I started seeing her when she was 17, a straight A student in a local high school in spite of having acted as the primary caregiver to two younger siblings for most of her life. In May 2021, she will graduate with honors from the University of Tennessee and move on to a graduate program in psychology,” said Snodgrass. “I am as proud if not prouder than her mother would have been. I requested an invite to the ceremonies and plan to frame it for my office to remind me of the resilience we can find in every child – if only we will look for it.”
Snodgrass sees it as both a calling, a blessing and an honor to provide such intimate care to the children, teens and young adults in her hometown and surrounding area. Though she has had several milestones, she says the impact she has had on her patients and the improved quality of their lives is what matters.
“Adults are like books whose chapters are all written; children are like books that are still in the process of being written – I just get to help them change their narrative which in turn changes the subsequent chapters in their books.”
DR. VEERA MOTASHAW
Veera Motashaw, DO, HMDC, is an assistant professor of Osteopathic Principles and Practice for DCOM at LMU-Knoxville. For Motashaw, it was her mom who was the ultimate inspiration for her to become a doctor.
“From as far back as I can remember, I always looked up to my mom. I have fond memories of us playing ‘doctor-doctor’ as a small child,” Motashaw said. “She would let me listen to her heart, talk to her about made up problems, and do pretend physical exams on her. Her creativity and insight are amazing, especially given that I am the first physician on her side of the family. Through all the ups and downs she stuck with me and had faith in anything I opted to pursue.”
During her undergraduate years she learned about osteopathic medicine from her adviser and mentor, Dr. Anita Flick, and it immediately resonated with her life’s purpose. Through medical school she was surrounded by phenomenal female mentors and strong female physicians. One of those mentors was Dr. Christina Steele, who brought her into the world of traditional osteopathy and helped her to find her family within the profession.
“I studied as much as I could with her and connected to many other greats in the profession through her mentorship and friendship,” Motashaw said. “The more I studied, the more I was convinced that all of health care should incorporate traditional osteopathy.”
Motashaw’s desire to serve underserved and rural populations, and to develop relationships with families, led her to pursue family medicine.
As she mentored students, she recognized a deficit in osteopathic curriculum for the terminally ill and dying patient, which led her to pursue a fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Care. Her desire for academia and continuing education grew; and with the female mentorship of Dr. Ann Habenicht and executive director of the American Academy of Osteopathy, Sherri Quarrels, her academic career advanced. She began developing curriculum for third- and fourth-year students at Marian University, and then transitioned to teaching for DCOM at LMU-Knoxville, where she is able to share her passion for patient care and advancing the role of osteopathy in the seriously ill, or complex patient.
“When I look back on the last two decades of my life, it is clear that many female mentors have helped me along the way, but I would be remiss if I did not mention the strong support from several male mentors as well,” Motashaw said. “I realize just how much I have accomplished, and more so, how I would not have made it without all the strong women in my life!”
Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine is located on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee, with an additional location at LMU-Knoxville. LMU-DCOM is an integral part of LMU’s values-based learning community and is dedicated to preparing the next generation of osteopathic physicians to provide health care in the often underserved region of Appalachia and beyond. For more information about LMU-DCOM, call 1.800.325.0900, ext. 7082, email dcom@LMUnet.edu, or visit us online at http://med.LMUnet.edu.