"I always knew I didn't want a job where I'd be just doing one thing all day," says Dr. Basham. Without a doubt, she has found a career to meet that objective. How did she find it? The answer begins in a college biology class, and at Cottage. She was a teaching assistant while an undergraduate at Vassar College. Then she was a physical therapy aide at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.
Surrounded by engineers and business majors, Dr. Basham is the first physician in her family. "I always had an interest in science," she recalls. "The musculoskeletal system, neurological functionŠas a PT aide at Cottage I was able to hone my interests and also discover the rewards of a team approach, having long-term patient contact and working with the entire family to achieve a patient's goals and promote independence. That path led me to medical school.
"It never fails to amaze me when I see how patients and families can find the strength and perseverance to turn what could be a tragedy into something positive and inspiring," says Dr. Basham. "My job has challenges, but this is one of its greatest rewards, to know people who sustain traumatic spinal cord injuries and never give up on themselves. A tetraplegic person can go on to lead a productive life and make valuable contributions to society. I've learned so much by witnessing a patient's outlook on life, family and work, the power of attitude. It's truly incredible."
When she's not working, Dr. Basham enjoys long walks on the beach with her husband and their dog. She enjoys cooking for friends and family. And she jokes, "I love tennis so much that I married a tennis pro!"
On this day at 2:23 p.m., though, she races off to her next duty, even she may not know what the day will bring. There are always new challenges. And that is just what she needs to work best.
BY COLETTE BRIERE | PHOTO BY GLENN DUBOCK