President's Corner

Meet Kristin Englund, MD
2020 - 2021 AMCNO President

Tell us about yourself and your practice

First and foremost, I am a Buckeye, tried and true, as I did my undergraduate at The Ohio State University. Following this, I attended University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and I completed my residency and Infectious Disease Fellowship at Northwestern University in Chicago. After moving to Cleveland in 1997, I volunteered at the Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland, and then became their medical director for two years. Following that, I joined the Cleveland Clinic’s Infectious Disease Department, of which I am currently the Vice Chair. Throughout all of my training and career, I have always searched out ways to serve the disenfranchised and often overlooked. Whether serving HIV positive patients in the 1990s, to marginalized Latino populations in Chicago, to women and men in homeless shelters throughout Cleveland, to the mentally ill, I have made a point of bringing attention to causes and people who are often swept under the rug. This pandemic has been stressful and trying for everyone, and as an Infectious Disease physician, I have seen firsthand the death and trauma brought by a tiny virus. This also means that I have an acute awareness of the current needs and care gaps within all different communities that have been affected. Unfortunately, this pandemic has further exposed the gaps within our public health system, not just in Cleveland or America, but worldwide. A goal of mine during my year of Presidency of the AMCNO is to assess and address how the Academy can help to fill these and many other gaps.

What got you interested in medicine? 

I originally went to college intending to become a biomedical engineer. I was, however, always more drawn to my biology courses, and I eventually realized that I wanted a career that would enable me to interact with humans rather than just machines. During my junior year in college in 1985, I was the only student representative to the University’s taskforce on HTLV3 (later named HIV). As we discussed how the University would respond to any students identified with HIV, I realized my true passion was to represent and speak up for people who were marginalized by a disease.

What accomplishments are you most proud of? 

My family has always been my number one priority and source of pride. My husband, Teji, is an Internist at the Cleveland Clinic, and he serves as the East Region Primary Care Medical Director. My daughter, Ella, graduated from Williams College, Summa Cum Laude, with a degree in Biology and Psychology, and she is currently applying to medical school. My son, Blake, is a junior at Washington University in St. Louis. He is an astrophysics major, and I never understand a word he says. Professionally, I have most recently pioneered the ReCOVer clinic for long-term COVID patients at the Cleveland Clinic. Our goal is to set patients with longstanding COVID symptoms on a path to recovery through individualized treatment plans. More to come!

What are your hobbies and interests? 

I have been practicing Taekwondo for a little more than two years now. I am currently a blue belt with a red strip, and I have a mean back kick. My family and I have also enjoyed skiing over the years, and we have been to Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Montana. We also love a variety of movies—from Oscar winners to Will Ferrell silly comedies. But most importantly, we are dog lovers. We always adopt from a shelter, and we currently have a 110-pound mutt named Scooby and a 35- pound princess named Stella.

What are your goals and priorities for the AMCNO this year? 

This year, my main priority is to update our mission and goals. While legislative advocacy has always been a priority, and will remain a priority, we need to reach out to northern Ohio physicians in all practice venues to see how we can most effectively serve all of their needs. Additionally, we need to start a Public Health Committee to address the gaps and needs laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic. Another goal is to engage physicians who are at all levels of their career, from students to seasoned professionals. This will allow us to keep the Academy alive and growing by broadening and diversifying the voices directing this organization.

What are your concerns about the future of health care?  

One of my main concerns about our healthcare system is that insurance companies too often interfere with physicians’ care plans regarding medications and procedures. The insurance companies need to be held in check to ensure the best outcomes for patients. In addition, another concern of mine is the attempt to broaden the scope of practice for non-physician providers. Patients deserve appropriately trained providers, and numerous legislative bills have recently been proposed to broaden non-physician’s responsibilities beyond their training and skills. Finally, I am concerned about the degree of misinformation that is pervasive on the Internet and social media, misleading the public about critical medical information. I want the AMCNO to be a leader in providing evidence-based, timely, and accessible information to physicians and the general public.

How would you ask physicians to support the AMCNO?  

While membership is important, I want physicians to be ACTIVE members of the AMCNO. This is your opportunity to impact medical care not only in Cleveland and Northern Ohio, but across the state. This is your venue to let your voice be heard. Join a committee, reach out to the Board, or better yet, apply to be a member of the Board.