Episode 71: Listen to this live Mastermind Webinar with rural physician, Dr. David Yale. Learn, first-hand, what it takes to practice rural medicine in the 21st Century.



In this episode we are going to meet a rural physician. He is the real deal. He practices rural primary care. And when I say rural, I mean rural. When he goes to the grocery store, he says it’s like rounding on his patients. You got to hear this. What I specially appreciate is he takes us back to that first year of medical school, and what his experience was like. And comes away with a few gems. For those of you that care about community service and communities in the United States and abroad that are medically under served, you definitely want to tune in to this guy’s vibrations because he knows what it takes to serve the underserved. Last thing I want to say, is that this is a physician member of the mastermind community that finds support and strength in community through the regular teleconferences that we have on a weekly and monthly basis for different topics including a new bi-monthly Imcat series. Without any further adieu, I give you Dr. David Yale.




David Yale:                  My name is Dave Yale. I’m a family physician. I’ve been working in a kind of the rural mountains in North Carolina for almost four years now. It’s kind of my hometown. It’s warm so – I sort of, you know, just came back home and practiced medicine here where, you know, I essentially sort of do full practice, you know, full spectrum family medicine. I deliver babies, and take care of kids, and take care of adults and stuff like that. There’s not a lot of specialists a lot here. So we end up doing a lot of the stuff ourselves. And, you know, one of the biggest things that you deal with as a rural doc is, there’s just not a lot of camaraderie, or there’s not a lot of other doctors around. And you’re always looking for, you know, to get around other medical type people and just bounce ideas off of each other and things like that.


And you know, that’s really kind of where I got in touch with the Dan, through the email, just trying to get you know, get involved in a group of docs or you know, pre med students or med students things like that just to, you know, kind of open my horizons a little bit, because it kind of gets lonely up here sometimes. So he had mentioned, you know, just kind of being in med talking about, you know, my medical school years, and resident years, and kind of what it’s like being a doc and being a family doc and things like that. And I’m happy to, you know, answer any questions or you know, just kind of talk about the different things that I’ve don through the years and things like that if you’d like me to.


Interviewer:                That will be great. Please do.


Rural Physician Background


David Yale:                  Okay. So I’m sort of a non-traditional student. I grew up – I don’t have – you know, my family is not – wasn’t – none of my family members had really even gone to college or even really graduated from high school. So I was kind of the first person in our family to get into college much less be able to get into medical school. And there are all kinds of you know, problems and things that you run into as sort of a non-traditional student, you know, that go along with that. You’re not used to the kind of the education workload that a lot of these kids, you know, who were second or third generation doctors or medical students are used to. You know, you’re more used to sort of a hands-on approach to things.


And that was a big – that a huge – that was a huge stumbling block for me. I ended up taking a lot of Kaplan courses when I was studying for my boards and studying for my MCATs and found that courses like that or courses like the medical mastermind community are an excellent thing just because you can get around other people and kind of brainstorm different strategies and things like that trying to figure out test, and how to score well on your test because, you know, unfortunately that’s kind of how you get graded. You know, when you’re moving up through college and through medical school, even as, you know, your grades and your test scores like that. So, you know, I went to a medical school – well, I went college at Appalachian State, that’s a small – well that’s not small anymore. It’s about 20,000 students. But when I went there it was about 12,000 or 13,000 students in North Carolina which was close to my home town.


And then I did my doctorate in medicine at Chapel Hill in North Carolina. I also got masters in public health there as well. And then did my residency in a Rural Track program near Asheville, North Carolina and spent three years there. And you know – and then kind of came back home. So here I am. I’m with one partner. He and I have worked with two nurse practitioners and one midwife. And, you know, just kind of brought it up here and kind of take care of our sleepy little town up here. So…


Interviewer:                Very cool. I was in Boon, North Carolina last week trying to make it to the mountain passes in a small little rental car. It was icy up there into Johnson City Tennessee travelling around for interviews. And I gave up. I’m not afraid of the mountains. I like to ski and everything. I typically do that every couple of years in Sun Valley. But I was not prepared for the weather. It’s amazing. The uphill areas beautiful; two hours to the beach and about four hours to snow skiing. It’s really amazing. And the…


David Yale:                  When you went – I’m sorry, I was going to say when you went to Boon, you were about 30 minutes from me.


Interviewer:                Wow. Yes, we were close.


David Yale:                  So.


Interviewer:                Yes.


David Yale:                  Yes. Funny.


Interviewer:                It’s a really pretty area. I just needed a different car to feel comfortable on.


David Yale:                  Come back in spring or the fall man. It’s beautiful. But it’s been like 5 degrees here, it’s ridiculous. We got about 17 inches of snow last week.


Interviewer:                Yes. I think that was probably when I was trying to drive through there I wasn’t ready for it.


David Yale:                  Were you doing your – you were doing some residency interviews?


Interviewer:                Exactly. I’m on the huge – interview trail is going to psychiatry residencies. I got a total of 19 interviews. And…


David Yale:                  Wow.


Interviewer:                I’ve done 12 of them already. And I don’t think I’m going to make it to all of them. I did a couple of army interviews on the phone too. I’m not accounting those. But – the interviews have all gone well.


David Yale:                  Johnson City’s – yes, Johnson City is a great hospital. You should try – if you can, just try to make it to the interviews.


Interviewer:                Yes.


David Yale:                  I almost went to residency there. It was like my second choice because it was so close to my home. It’s a real nice hospital. Too bad you weren’t able to make it.


Interviewer:                Yes. Unfortunately, I’m really broke. And I’m looking at about – what do I say seven more, I know there’s two of them I want to go to for sure, Scott and White in Temple, Texas and UNM in Albuquerque. That ought to be neat.


David Yale:                  Yes.


Interviewer:                But the rest of them, honestly, the interviews are going to well and I’m so broke for travelling that I’m thinking I’m going to look at the others to see – well which ones can pay for my hotel or not. I mean, when you get picky, I guess, you can do that. You know.


David Yale:                  That’s right.


Interviewer:                I’m not fully decided. I’m not picky. But I think it’s more a financial problem, you know.


David Yale:                  Oh, that’s great.


Interviewer:                That week in North Carolina cost me a lot of money, you know.


David Yale:                  Yes. Chapel Hill is not cheap, for sure. Yes, you could’ve – actually man, if you could have made it up here, you could have spent the night at my place because Johnson City is only like 45 minutes from where I live.


Interviewer:                That’s cool.


David Yale:                  That is so hilarious. Yes. Small world.




Interviewer:                Yes. So I’m curios to get a little more insight into what do you want in a mastermind group? How can we help you find other rural doctors to kind of sharpen your academic swords with or other kinds of needs that you may have? You know, we will certainly be open to trying and help facilitate that anyway we can.


David Yale:                  You know, I’m just really – I just like getting around talking with other doctors just hearing, you know, just other – it’s great being around medical students and pre med students who are in residence. I mean, they just bring sort of a fresh perspective on things; just hanging out really. You know, listening to how things are going with pre med and applying in the medical school.  I know it took me a couple of – I didn’t get into medical school my first go around. It took me a second, you know, two interview or two years to get into med school. I just remember man, just being so crushed, you know, that first year. Just thinking, you know, I’m just going to keep at this. And keep, you know, keep going until I get in and do what I want to do, you know, get in and be a doctor which is what I’ve always wanted to do.


And it’s just, you know, just being around listening to – I’ve almost forgotten about that now. And it’s just kind of neat. I like to talk to other, you know, folks who are kind of going through it. And – because a lot of the non-traditional folks end up doing, they end up doing primary care, primary care is a real big – you know, they’re talking about how primary care is going to play a big part in medicine in U.S. over the next, you know, 15, 20 years. It’s always great to make new contacts. People are coming through the pipe too. And if I can help, you know, help anybody that’s interested in rural medicine or how to, you know, how to get some money for school loans, or you know, kind of different groups and things like that to get involved in when you get into medical school, that’s sort of – that’s sort of what I’m here for. Just to be kind of part of things initially, kind of feel my way out to see if I can help anybody or…


Interviewer:                Sure.


David Yale:                  You know, things like that just sort of – you know, just sort of be part of the group.


Interviewer:                That’s awesome. It’s kind of like, you have a few areas you’re well suited to kind of give us a presentation or a brief lecture or something like that. So what we could do is make list of those few things that are sort of what things you like to tell students about.


David Yale:                  Yes.


Interviewer:                And we could schedule something like that going into next year. The other thing…


David Yale:                  I’d love to do anything.


Interviewer:                Good. The other thing I wanted to point out is that, you started a blog about the ruraldoc.net. And I pulled it up here on my screen to look at it.


David Yale:                  Oh, cool.


Interviewer:                And it’s a really neat thing. I wanted to have you guys check that out. It’s not exactly something that a medical student or a pre med student would be interested in yet. But if you want to know the landscape of what healthcare is really like out there, you know, the more informed you could be, the better. So I’d recommend reading it just to understand the language because this is kind of a different world.


David Yale:                  Uh-huh. Well you know, the other thing I was thinking about – the other thing I was thinking about doing is just sort of making a little diary of what my call schedule’s like. And you know, what – sort of my day to day activity in order to – just people can get a feel for what you know, life as sort of the rural doc is.


Interviewer:                Right. Okay so…


David Yale:                  If I can get…




Interviewer:                You are – you’re totally interested in mastermind groups. You understand the power of it now by – like minded people maybe – with the more diverse backgrounds the better, getting together towards a particular purpose and sharing. Now, to look back in your early life, even high school or early college, where in your journey did you start figuring out how important it is to kind of mastermind – what it had done if you had found something like the medical mastermind community earlier in your education.


David Yale:                  Oh, yes, man. I’m telling you the – so, when I found out how important sort of getting around like minded people was right in the middle of medical school.


Interviewer:                Okay.


David Yale:                  And it was essentially, you know, up until medical school, I always felt like I could just sort of do things on my own. You know, I just wanted to sort of be that kind of guy who could figure out all, you know, figure out the test himself and be able to, you know, take that biology quiz and do real well on it on all my tests and just kind of do it myself. And then, you know, when I got into medical school, I mean, it was like the flood gates opened. You know, it was like the most overwhelming thing that I had ever experienced in my life. The amount of reading, and the amount of studying that you had to do was just – to me it was just too much for any one person to be able to do.


And so my first experience with someone like a mastermind group was my first or second year in medical school when, you know, we would have these real big study groups. And we have you know, five or six people in the study group and we would all kind of take turns at teaching each other things because, you know, you just couldn’t – you just couldn’t learn it all yourself. And I really believe, you know, that was what allowed me to get through this first couple of years in medical school. I don’t think there was any other way I could have done it. And then, you know, those were the same friends that, you know, we hand out and helped each other through our third and fourth years of medical school and things like that.


It’s not necessarily like how much you know or how smart you are, but it’s really important that you be able to know a lot of people who are smart. Because, you know, that collective brain power is going to help you do so much more than you could by yourself, you know. And so anyway, I always felt like that was a huge deal.


Interviewer:                Very cool. I was just looking for an email I got from someone who’s sent me an email last week. And he said, that he grew up in the middle of nowhere in Mississippi, and no he was interviewing at great medical schools. He said he had owed a lot to the podcast. I’ve never heard from this guy before. So – some people already benefit from the podcast we’ve done. And I never hear from them. I think that’s a neat thing. I like to hear the feedback, of course. It kind of keeps me motivated.


But I have a particular interest in people with your background too. And going to the rural areas. Rural is one thing. But particularly the person that doesn’t have the family background, or even education. But that you don’t have to be in the contrary to be sort of at a disadvantage from you’re talking about competing in the medical school.


I was from the Houston area, but I was a disadvantage. You know, no one in my family had gone to college that was around me. I did not grow up with anyone that had been around a college giving me any kind of advice or direction on what that process was like. It seem like it was for somebody else.


David Yale:                  Yes.


Interviewer:                And so, I have a particular interest for the underdog. Even when a group of football teams I root for the underdog just pretty much all the time. And I love to hear the career stories too of people that…


David Yale:                  Yes.


Interviewer:                …some of them get laid off, or they can’t find a team to play on for sometimes years or they’re in the background, and their mindset is the same. You know, I think that they have a lot – at the higher levels you’ll find more people that have the same kind of success principles implemented into their life. And I like to see people do bounce backs in their career and things like that. So we’ve…


David Yale:                  Yes.


Interviewer:                …developing this website with a goal of helping, sort of disadvantaged students – and when I say disadvantaged, I don’t mean in the traditional ways you’re used to hearing it. I mean, those that maybe don’t study too well, or they’ve hurt their career because maybe when they first started out in college, they didn’t care much about grades or even partied for a while, have something in their past that’s kind of hurting them now. The non-traditional, you know.


David Yale:                  Right.


Interviewer:                In any of those forms, I love to capture that, help people develop, you know, how that can be turned into a success story that worked for them. So that’s kind of what we do. So it’s really neat to have you with us.


If you want to practice rural medicine and are somewhere along the medical education journey, you may be interested in a lifetime membership at the medical mastermind community, you can enjoy this kind of camaraderie and career support for a lifetime. I’m Dr. Dan. And good luck on your next exam.

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