Prescription for best doctor

Financial training plus medical expertise equals optimal care

Created date

April 26th, 2010

[caption id="attachment_11710" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Mary Norman, M.D., and her husband celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary last year by renewing their vows in the Hillcrest Clubhouse at Highland Springs, where she is the medical director."]Highland Springs. Like most, Norman s career path didn t follow a straight line. My mother had cancer when I was young, so I spent a lot of time looking after her, explains Norman. When I went off to school, I needed to take a break from caregiving. So at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, she majored in finance and economics. After graduating, she spent two years in the banking industry. But I wasn t content when the main focus of my day was to maximize the bottom line, says Norman. I realized that my heart belonged in caring for other people.

Change of plans

Norman headed west to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where her mother had received treatment. She remained at UCSF for the duration of her medical training, specializing in internal medicine and geriatric medicine. I loved living and working in California, says Norman. There was such a diverse patient population. But my parents and my husband s parents lived in Texas and Louisiana. They were aging and needed help. In 2002, Norman and her family moved back to Texas, where she went to work for the Baylor Senior Health Network. When the opportunity arose to become the medical director atHighland Springsin June 2007, Norman jumped at the chance. This is a very special place to work, she says. You get to know your patients well because you see them regularly, not just in the medical center, but around the community.

Useful detour

Norman s unique blend of caring and practicality has earned her high praise from the residents and staff. The time I spent in the business world was a useful detour, says Norman. It taught me to be a good manager of the residents funds. It also helps me to switch gears between the Medicare maze and the caregiving side of my job. And in one of life s unexpected turns, Norman is now advising someone who used to advise her. Carter Murphy, Ph.D., professor emeritus of economics at SMU, was one of Norman s undergraduate professors. He and his wife, Teiko, moved toHighland Springsin September 2007 and are both patients of Norman. Mary was certainly a catalyst in our decision to move toHighland Springs, says Dr. Murphy. She s excellent in her knowledge of medicine and as a diagnostician. She s also one of the world s most caring people. You can t ask for a better combination in a doctor.

Balancing act

When she is not atHighland Springs, Norman juggles a busy schedule at home. She and her husband, David, celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary last year with a vow renewal ceremony atHighland Springs. The couple have two sons, ages 9 and 13. We are an active family, says Norman. One son plays basketball, baseball, and runs track. The other son plays basketball and football. And while Norman stays busy at work and raising her boys, she also makes it a point to keep herself in shape. She and her husband will ride 150 miles from Frisco to Fort Worth to raise funds for multiple sclerosis in the MS 150 this month. I ve never done anything like this before, says Norman, so it s a new challenge.