New family doc joins Roaring Fork Family Practice
Valley View Hospital
Dr. Lauren Sontag is the new family physician at Roaring Fork Family Practice in Carbondale. She grew up in northern Arizona, attended the University of Arizona for undergraduate then Mayo Clinic School of Medicine for medical school and University of Minnesota for a master’s in public health. She comes to us most recently from Grand Junction where she completed her family medicine residency at St. Mary’s.
Q: Where are you originally from?
When I was 7, my family moved from Philadelphia to Flagstaff, Arizona. Growing up in northern Arizona was wonderful — lots of hiking and skiing. I raised rabbits through 4-H, and we had up to 40 at one time!
Q: Why did you decide to become a family doctor?
My mom was a nurse for one of Flagstaff’s well-loved family doctors while I was growing up. That vision of Dr. Taylor was always in the back of my mind when deciding what to do in medicine. I love primary care — developing relationships with patients, participating in happy moments as well as challenging or sad ones, and being the provider whose job it is to care for the whole person.
Q: Why did you choose to come here and practice at Roaring Fork Family Practice?
My husband is a long-time ski instructor, and while I was in family medicine residency in Grand Junction he worked as a ski instructor at Aspen Highlands. He loves working there, and we were interested in staying close enough after graduation for him to continue. I did a rotation with Roaring Fork Family Practice during residency and fell in love with it. The staff is great, the doctors work together well, and I liked the way they practiced family medicine in a way that focuses on the patient. That mix is not found everywhere! I feel blessed to be here.
Q: What do you do for fun?
I love to run, downhill and telemark ski, and spend time with our sweet black lab, Jake.
Q: Where is the joy in medicine?
There is joy in every patient interaction for me. It’s such a privilege to be let into a patient’s life as their doctor. To do that every day is the best job in the world.
Q: What does patient-centered care mean to you?
I went to Mayo Clinic for medical school where the motto is: “The needs of the patient come first.” I try to uphold that still. Care should be tailored to the needs and goals of each individual.
Q: What are your patient’s most common questions?
Are you old enough to be a doctor? Yes, I promise. Where are you from? I still have a bit of an accent from medical school in Minnesota.
Q: What is your philosophy around after-hours care?
We always have a physician available by phone. I like that our patients have someone a phone call away, but I’m happy to share that responsibility so that I can sleep soundly on nights I’m not on call. After just finishing residency, I appreciate sleep!
Q: What do patients say about you?
They say that I’m kind and thorough and that I try to really listen to them.
Q: If you could sing a karaoke song, what would it be?
The Proclaimers’ “500 Miles.”
Q: Rumor has it you are passionate about thrift shopping.
Yes, I love to find a good deal or something fun! Ask to see my mountain lion hat.
Q: What is your favorite local dish?
Espresso semifreddo at The Pullman — please bring it back to the menu! And, spinach eggs benedict at the Village Smithy.
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Roaring Fork Schools volunteers who have already completed a comparable background check through an approved entity would be good to go.