Ann (Annie) M. Rusk, M.D.

  • Resident, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine

What moment or experience in your life influenced your decision to be a clinician?

Witnessing my mother's care during cancer treatment greatly influenced my decision to become a physician. The multidisciplinary treatments she received were well coordinated and inspired me to become a leader in health care. As a clinician, I have the privilege to serve others in a team environment during some of the most uncertain times of their lives.

What motivated you to become a Kern Health Care Delivery Scholar?

When I entered medical practice, I discovered a difficult dichotomy in health care. The wealth of innovation, scientific discovery and novel pharmaceuticals are distributed to people in an unequal fashion. Delivery of medical care differs greatly depending on a multitude of factors, including geography, socioeconomics and ethnicity.

The Mayo Clinic Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery's mission to improve patient care by addressing delivery is in line with my desire to improve health equity. The mentorship, education and leadership training offered by the center will further my clinical and research abilities after my fellowship.

What is your focus as a scholar within the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery?

Tobacco use is higher in Native Americans than in any other ethnicity in the United States. This public health crisis is of great importance to me as an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation. My goal is to identify existing smoking patterns and successful components of smoking cessation programs for Native Americans to create successful smoking cessation interventions.

Tell us about your mentoring team.

I am very lucky to have an expert team of mentors.

How will your research improve patient care or impact public health?

The morbidity and mortality associated with smoking is significant. Native Americans who smoke develop lung cancer and cardiovascular disease at disproportionate levels. Identifying existing smoking patterns and components of successful quit-smoking programs will allow formation of successful smoking cessation interventions for Native Americans.

Why did you choose Mayo Clinic to pursue your career?

The three shields of Mayo Clinic and the support for each mission attracted me to Mayo Clinic. The holistic approach to training and education offered by Mayo Clinic is incredible. Everyone is willing to collaborate for their patients, and the atmosphere cultivated is overwhelmingly positive. Learning from world experts in a positive environment is an incredible opportunity, and I feel lucky to be part of the team.