Retiring at 70, this MD helped lung patients, climbed Denali, ran the Iditarod and saved lives along the trail. Hear her stories.

Beth Baker on a winter bike ride, one of her Alaska passions. (Photo courtesy Beth Baker)

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.

On the Iditarod Trail, 1994.

“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!

Summit bound on Denali. 1996. Photo courtesy of Beth Baker

HOST: Kathleen McCoy

GUEST:

  • Dr. Beth Baker, nearly 40-year Alaska resident who chose the state for its beauty and adventure, and spent decades helping lung patients.

LINKS

PARTICIPATE:

  • Call 550-8433 (Anchorage) or 1-888-353-5752 (statewide) during the live broadcast (2:00 – 3:00pm)
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  • Post your comment or question below (comments may be read on air
  • LIVE: Monday, August 31, 2020 at 2:00 p.m
  • RE-AIR: Monday, August 31, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
  • PODCAST: at www.alaskapublic.org/hometown for free future public access