March 01, 2012

Kristina Gallagher, MD: Family physician, teacher, Wolverine from birth

Kristina Gallagher, MD
What do you do at UMHS?

I’m a family physician and I spend the majority of my time caring for patients at Briarwood Family Medicine. I think of the staff and my colleagues as my second family—they are so wonderful! I’ve developed a strong bond with many of my patients who range in age from birth to 98. I’ve known some of them for more than 15 years.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

In addition to patient care, one of my favorite roles is as a small group instructor for the Family Centered Experience. This is a longitudinal course that spans the first two years of medical school. When the M2s transition to their clinical years, I’m always filled with pride as they continue their journey to becoming caring, empathic physicians. I also enjoy interviewing medical school candidates as a member of the Admissions Committee. It is an honor to meet highly intelligent, accomplished students from all over the world.

When you’re not at work, what do you do?

I spend my free time with my family and hilarious friends. My husband, Jim, and I are fortunate to have both sets of parents in Ann Arbor and we often visit to enjoy their delicious cooking. Although our son, Devon (13), and daughter, Whitney (10), are busy with hockey, lacrosse, basketball, and tennis, we make it a priority to have family dinners together regularly. We are blessed to find humor and joy in our home that often feels like a circus.

Who inspires you?

After surviving a treacherous childhood during World War II, my father, Peter Meier, emigrated from Germany to the U.S. at age 14. He put himself through school and earned his Ph.D. He has enjoyed his role as a professor in the U-M School of Public Health for more than forty years. Growing up, I witnessed his strong work ethic and his love of teaching. He has always been my greatest role model.

What is your guilty pleasure?

When I exercise on the elliptical I enjoy watching sitcoms on TV. My current favorite is “Modern Family.” Oh, I also love shoe shopping.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

“No one looks back on their life wishing they had spent more time working.” I strive to find balance between my career and family. Spending quality time with my children and friends makes me a happier, more understanding physician.

What don’t your colleagues know about you?

I was born in Ann Arbor and experienced my first “Big House” football game at age three. I grew up in maize and blue so it is no surprise that I chose U-M for my undergraduate and medical school training. I’ve been told that I cheer “too loudly” during Michigan football games. “Go Blue!”