A. Christine Emler, MD, MHCM, recently joined the division of general internal medicine as both a hospitalist and as the Deputy Chief of Staff at the Durham VA Medical Center. Dr. Emler attended Duke University as an undergrad and we are very pleased to have her back! Read on to learn more about her from our interview.
Where do you work?
I work mostly at the Durham VA as the Deputy Chief of Staff, but will also be attending on the in-patient wards and in the PRIME clinic.
What brought you to Duke?
I first chose Duke over 30 years ago and was choosing between Wake Forest and Duke as an undergrad – at Wake Forrest the weekend I visited no one was allowed on the lawns because graduation was coming up and they wanted it to look good. At Duke there were students hanging out on the lawns playing Frisbee, studying, and looking like they were having way more fun. I came back to Duke because I love the VA and this particular VA’s partnership with Duke makes it unique -- the clinical care, research, and education opportunities are unparalleled.
"I came back to Duke because I love the VA and this particular VA’s partnership with Duke makes it unique -- the clinical care, research, and education opportunities are unparalleled."
Is there any research you are doing or plan on doing?
I am not currently doing any research, but I am hoping that at some point in my career here I’ll have the opportunity to do some health systems and care delivery research.
What are your hobbies or interests outside of work?
I have lots of interests and enjoy spending time with my husband going on walks and traveling. I also enjoy reading, writing, playing piano, knitting, and running. I’ve completed over 40 marathons in my quest to finish a marathon in each state. If I stick to my plan, I should be done before I retire from the VA.
Any trips you've taken recently that you would like to share?
My husband and I did a walking tour in Ireland for 10 days last fall that was really fabulous – we spent most of every day walking through pastures and little towns and spent every night in little inns and pubs. I drank enough Guinness and ate enough full Irish breakfasts that in spite of all the walking I managed to not lose any weight!
Any recent books you’ve read that you’d like to share?
I read and enjoyed the discussion around The Serving Leader by Ken Jennings and John Stahl-Wert in a VA leadership training series. I also loved the great conversation we had when my after-work book club read Dr. Willie Parker’s Life’s Work, A moral Argument for Choice; we had the honor of meeting this remarkable man. Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace is what I’m reading now for escape fiction and am enjoying it. I recently listened to and found riveting The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas at the recommendation of one of my daughters and am looking forward to reading Salvage the Bones, by Jesmyn Ward, a recommendation by my other daughter.
What is a fun fact about yourself?
I have two great daughters – one studying acting in London this year and one at Carleton College studying music. And one great husband who is a psychologist who studies law and psychology and decision making. He is currently working at the National Science Foundation and when I’m lucky enough to have him in Durham I enjoy his company and his excellent cooking skills.
What is your favorite food?
I really haven’t found a food I don’t like. Other than maybe blood sausage. I like trying all kinds of food.
What is your favorite restaurant?
Durham has so much to offer and we’ve only scratched the surface since we returned so I hesitate to say what my favorite is. We do like Local 22 and Bar Virgile and we use the Saturday morning farmer’s market on Foster Street as a breakfast restaurant – coffee from a truck, various pastries, then fresh produce and cheese nibbled as we meander among the stalls.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I’m really excited about being part of the Duke General Internal Medicine team, getting to know as many of the great people here, and participating in as many events and programs as I can.