Lisa Doggett, MD, MPH is a family physician and author of a new memoir, White Spots and Black Holes: A Doctor's Transformation from Caregiver to Patient. A seventh-generation Texan, Lisa grew up in Austin, where she developed a strong commitment to public service under the influence of her father, a U.S. Congressman, and her mother, a nationally known advocate for children and families. She attended Amherst College, Baylor College of Medicine, and the University of Texas School of Public Health. She completed her residency in family medicine at the University of Cincinnati.
Returning to Austin in 2002 with her pediatrician husband, Lisa practiced medicine for several years at People's Community Clinic. Then, at the age of thirty-four, with virtually no administrative experience, she leaped at the opportunity to direct a new clinic for Central Texas residents without insurance.
Days after her younger daughter turned two, Lisa was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Shocked and scared, Lisa faced a bleak future, plagued by chronic dizziness and the specter of disability hovering nearby. She didn't know if she would ever be able to work again or serve as an effective parent.
But she has done both. Lisa now works full-time as the Texas medical director for a national care management company - a job she loves and which allows for creativity, continued work with vulnerable populations, and improved stress management. Her daughters - now ten and thirteen - are thriving, and her husband provides support through the challenges of her illness. Since her diagnosis in 2009, despite several relapses, she has hiked the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, traveled with her daughters to China, and run two marathons. A co-founder of Texas Physicians for Social Responsibility, she remains active on the board, currently serving as vice-president. She has loosened her grip on perfectionism and accepts uncertainty. MS is now a reason to seize opportunities and rejoice in each day.