GIM Faculty Spotlight: Katherine Neal, MD

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Katherine Neal, MD, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the General Internal Medicine (GIM) division and a hospitalist at Duke University Hospital. Learn more about her in our interview below. 

What brought you to Duke?
We have family in the area; both my husband and I attended UNC-Chapel Hill for undergrad. We knew we would move back at some point to be closer to family. After residency in Boston, I interviewed at Duke when a hospitalist position opened up unexpectedly in 2009, and here I am!

What are your interests in the field?
I am part of the Threatened Limb work group where we care for patients with lower extremity wounds (usually related to diabetes or peripheral arterial disease). Our group strives to make care for this patient population more efficient and effective in the hospital setting. I am also a physician advisor, an area that focuses on compliance and insurance issues.

How did you get in to this specific field?
I was asked to join a Care Redesign project in 2017 focusing on patients with lower extremity wounds and those with amputations. Once I began working with this group (encompassing podiatry, limb loss/wound care nursing, orthopedic surgery, plastic surgery, and vascular surgery among others), I realized how big of a problem this was for patients and how we could advocate for this often-underserved population. Hearing David Armstrong, a world leader in diabetic foot care, speak at a national meeting really opened my eyes!

Is there any research you are doing or plan on doing?
We focus mainly on QI projects within our Threatened Limb team-utilizing order sets, analyzing length of stay, or showing improvements in use of regional pain catheters for example.

What are your hobbies or interests outside of work?
We have a 7 year old daughter, Amelia, and an 9 year old son, Robert. They are currently playing sports like soccer and tennis, so I really enjoy watching them learn new skills and build confidence through sports with their friends. I played a lot of tennis growing up, so I'm hoping to get back into that. I got a new racket this year, so I remain hopeful! I like to run (slowly) and work in our yard. My dad is a skilled gardener so I am always trying to learn from him.

Any recent books you've read that you would like to share?
I most recently read "Becoming," by Michelle Obama. I enjoyed hearing her perspectives on being a working mom and how her formative years led her to later projects in life.

What is a fun fact about yourself?
I grew up in Statesville, NC, near Charlotte. When I was about 8 or 9, my family entered a contest to name the mascot of the Charlotte Knights minor league baseball team. About 100 people chose the name we did, "Homer," but our name got selected as the winner of the contest so we won a trip to Chicago Cubs Spring Training in Arizona one year. It was a super fun trip-I got to see some baseball and the Grand Canyon!

What is your favorite food?
Chips and salsa. I could eat it at every meal!

What is your favorite restaurant?
My husband and I really like Glasshalffull in Carrboro and Rue Cler in Durham.