You’ve heard her every episode, but now it’s time to get to know her a bit better. In this episode of Off the Charts, we talk with our co-host, Dr. Kari Haley. She’s the assistant medical director of Regions Hospital EMS and an emergency medicine doctor who cares for patients on the front lines of the COVID pandemic every day.

She talks with us about growing up in a small town, what it’s like in the emergency room and how she keeps going when things are stressful. Listen to the episode or read the transcript.

Growing up in Delano

Dr. Haley was adopted from South Korea by parents in Delano, Minnesota. Though she grew up in a small town and predominantly white community, she had a great childhood. She stayed in the Midwest for most of her life, eventually attending the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and moving to the Twin Cities to work at Regions Hospital.

Working in emergency medicine during a pandemic

After attending a research program that took place in an emergency department, Dr. Haley knew she wanted to work in emergency medicine. But working in the emergency room isn’t easy. There have been changes to the number of patients and the severity of cases since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

In addition to patients who are struggling with COVID-19, Dr. Haley and her team treat several people who are sick with chronic illnesses. She’s helped people recover from everything from severe asthma to extreme mental health crises. And the challenge of helping so many sick people is taking its toll. It is difficult to recover from the stress and leave work at work.

How Dr. Haley keeps going in stressful times

Dr. Haley has been careful about carving out time for herself so she can shake off some of the pressures of work. She gets outdoors when she can, spending time with her daughters while hiking and camping. Cooking is another favorite activity that she does to relieve stress. And she made the decision to cut back on her clinical hours so she could pursue other projects outside of the emergency room, including the Off the Charts podcast.

Listen to the episode to learn more about Dr. Haley.