Orr joins De Soto practice
Dr. Maribeth Orr said late in her undergraduate days at Kansas State University she had thoughts not unfamiliar to those about to don a cap and gown.
"I thought, 'Gosh, what do I want to do?'" she said.
Orr found the answer to the question by looking to her interests, which had her on the cusp of earning degrees in nutrition and kinesiology, the study of anatomical motion.
"Science has always interested me," she said. "I was always reading articles on medicine. I think I just wanted to know why."
Helping Orr shape those interests into a career was De Soto physician Dr. Carl Inzerillo.
Orr said she visited with Inzerillo during her senior year, inquiring about the possibility of studying medicine.
Inzerillo gave her more than encouragement. A graduate of University Health Science's College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kansas City, Mo., Inzerillo was also a big help in steering his protege through the school's competitive application process.
"There are 15 applicants for every available spot," she said. "It's like that at every medical school.
"Dr. Inzerillo was the little foot that got me in the door."
Her relationship with Inzerillo and De Soto Family Practice didn't end with the start of her studies. She did a three-month internship at the clinic while in medical school.
Medical studies weren't all that was happening in Orr's life the past four years. As she applied herself to the rigors of medical school, she and her husband, Michael, decided to start a family.
"I didn't want to wait to start a family," she said. "I had one child in medical school, are right in the middle of my residency and one at the end of residency."
Together, the two strands in Orr's life worked to bring her to De Soto. The lifelong Eudora resident kept in touch with office manager Joan Barenclau and others at the clinic as she commuted to and from her residency at Kansas City Baptist Medical Center.
During those years, there were big changes at the clinic. Inzerillo left the clinic, and shortly after it was slated to be closed. A community effort to save the clinic proved successful when it was sold to Mid America Physicians Chartered of Shawnee in February 2004.
Since the purchase, Mid-America has searched for a physician for the clinic to join the staff of physician's assistant Jim Boyes and Mid America CEO Dr. Steven Rittinger, who split time between Shawnee and De Soto.
"I'd stop by just to say hello," Orr said. "It just so happened there was an opening. Joan asked me, 'Why don't you talk to Dr. Rittinger?'
"We had a couple of conversations and decided this might just be a good thing."
The good thing became official last week when Orr joined the staff of De Soto Family Practice.
"We promised De Soto a physician," said Kathleen McInnis, Mid America Physicians practice administrator. "We kind of took the long route, but we finally got there.
"We're obviously thrilled to get her. She just fits in with our group very well."
It certainly fits well with Orr. She and Michael, a teacher in the Olathe school district, continue to live in Eudora, which is also home to their parents, Gary and Roberta Malburg and Linda and Robbie Orr.
That's no accident, Orr said.
"I have to stay close to my mom," she said. "I have a very close relationship with both her and my father."
The family bonds allow her to have a career with a young family, Orr said.
"My husband, my parents and my husband's parents, play a very big role in allowing me to do this thing as a mother and a doctor," she said. "It's like Hillary Clinton said, 'It takes a village.'
"My husband takes note when I'm tired. That helps a lot. But he helps in a lot of ways. He's a good dad."
The young mom and doctor now finds herself sitting behind Inzerillo's desk. It's a bit strange, Orr said, because of the respect she has for her friend and mentor. But she said she was comfortable and confident she found the answer to the long-ago moment of undergraduate angst.
"It's a thrill," she said. "I've always wanted to be in a smaller town -- definitely in a family practice seeing patients of all ages and staying close to home."