2022 Top Doctor: Kara Lynn Asbury, M.D.

Editorial StaffMarch 3, 2022
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Photography by Steve Craft
Photography by Steve Craft

Infectious Disease

Med School/Year Graduated: Meharry Medical College, 2006

Years in Practice: 15

In the era of COVID, it seems like everyone is a self-styled infectious disease expert. Do you think COVID has lowered or raised mainstream literacy about your field?

I think it’s unchanged. That gap in the general public’s knowledge and understanding of public health is still there as we navigate vaccine hesitancy [and] public policy recommendations. So, promoting and effectively communicating evidence and science-based medicine is still vital… both to generate greater understanding of science and to combat misinformation.

What have been your most mysterious and captivating medical cases?

I would say my most interesting case might have been something called disseminated meningococcemia visceral leishmaniasis. It’s a rare parasitic infection [we found] in a returning traveler from the Mediterranean.

What are the bulk of your patients seeing you for?

Currently, most are people afflicted with COVID-19 or bloodstream infections, and many orthopedic infections. We also see a lot of coccidioidomycosis, which is the clinical term for Valley fever.

You spend time each week treating elderly, economically disadvantaged patients. Why is it important to you to reach this population?

It’s fulfilling for me to be a part of a care team involved in treating vulnerable populations because they often have treatable and/or curable health conditions that have unfortunately been exacerbated by inadequate access to healthcare.

You matriculated in Georgia and Tennessee. How does the Southwest compare to the South?

The hospitable nature of the people in the Southwest is like the South. It’s just hotter here!

You enjoy traveling. What are your bucket-list destinations?

The Galápagos Islands, Antarctica and Madagascar, in that order.

Name the best depiction of your field in TV or film that you’ve ever seen.

The Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow movie Contagion.

What are your hobbies and interests outside medicine?

Cooking, playing the piano or violin and exercising.

What are you watching on Netflix these days?

Ozark.

“If I wasn’t a doctor. I’d be…”

A detective.

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