[Courtesy photo]

Moab Regional Hospital welcomed a new general surgeon to its staff this month.

Dr. Kim Brandau joins the hospital from Anaheim, California, where her involvement in medicine ranged from serving as the medical director for a fire department, to working with wounded veterans, to assisting with disaster relief. And that was just during her off hours.

As a full-time surgeon for both Anaheim Regional Medical Center and St. Joseph Hospital, Brandau’s scope of practice has included breast procedures such as biopsies, lumpectomies, mastectomies and procedures to address breast pain. Her areas of expertise also include skin cancer procedures, according to Moab Regional Hospital (MRH) Director of Marketing and Community Relations Sarah Shea.

“Dr. Brandau has an excellent reputation for providing high-quality and compassionate care with her patients and colleagues,” Moab Regional Hospital CEO Jen Sadoff said. “When her youngest two children graduated from high school and she began looking for practice opportunities in the region, and we had an opening for a general surgeon, it was a perfect match.”

Brandau, who is fluent in Spanish, received her medical degree from the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine. She then completed both her internship and residency in surgery at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center near Los Angeles. She also completed an internship in obstetrics and gynecology at Harbor, and she graduated magna cum laude with her bachelor’s degree from Chapman University.

An avid outdoorswoman, Brandau has been visiting Moab for more than 20 years, and she said she comes to the job with an intimate knowledge of the risks and rewards of the types of recreation that residents and visitors enjoy.

“Knowing the danger out there helps a lot,” she said.

Southeastern Utah is where she first learned to mountain bike, and Bluff has been a special destination for hiking and backpacking, where she loves to take in the landscape and see petroglyphs and other artifacts, she said. She also enjoys dirt biking, kayaking, camping, hunting and fishing.

“Porcupine Rim was always my favorite (mountain biking) trail,” she said, joking that she’s “old school.”

“All my favorite trails are the ones that have been here forever,” she said.

Not much for cross-country cycling, the thrill of downhill is what attracts Brandau to mountain biking, she said.

Her general inclination professionally is to look for the challenge around the bend, as well, she said, and she spends much of her free time volunteering in emergency medicine in different capacities.

As a fire department’s volunteer medical director in California, she assisted with the development of Community Paramedicine. The community-based medicine program organizes firefighters who are paramedics to respond to non-life-threatening emergency 911 calls, saving both the medical system and patients time and money.

She also volunteered with the San Diego Military Hospital’s Wounded Warrior program, providing medical care and supervision for its outdoor recreation rehabilitation program. Recently, she became part of Team Rubicon, a nonprofit disaster-relief group that two American veterans founded after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Only about 20 percent of the organization’s medically trained volunteers are civilians; the rest are veterans.

It’s a population she loves to work with, Brandau said. Her father is a Vietnam veteran, she said, and her boyfriend was a Marine for 20 years who served multiple combat tours overseas.

“I always wanted to join, but my career and then my family came first and it never happened,” she said. “Serving vets is my way of making up for that.”

She is looking forward to joining efforts with local organizations and individuals to continue to increase the quality of Moab’s health services, she said.

Attending the hospital’s most recent Community Health Needs Assessment meeting, Brandau was surprised by the severity of the health care accessibility crisis in Moab, she said. Many workers do not receive federal subsidies through the Affordable Care Act, and since they live in a state that chose not to expand Medicaid, the situation here is worse than that of economically comparable communities in California, she said.

“As a surgeon, my scope of practice is limited as far as what I can do practically,” she said. “The needs are for pediatric care and more general family practice … But I definitely want to be involved in addressing the gaps in coverage, however I can.”

Coming to Moab with more than 16 years at her previous practice and multiple leadership roles in the hospital and as a volunteer, Sadoff said that Brandau is a wonderful addition to Moab’s medical community and the community at large.

Brandau said she’s excited and fortunate to be in Moab.

“It’s an incredibly welcoming community,” she said.

While the patients and staff at Anaheim Regional Medical Center are happy to see Brandau reach her goals, they will feel the loss, said Dr. Bogdan Popa, an anesthesiologist who has worked with Brandau since 2003.

“I can only talk about her in superlatives,” Popa said. “She truly practices medicine because she loves it and loves to take care of her patients. It’s a big loss for us; everyone loves her.”

Moab Regional Hospital patients can schedule appointments with Dr. Brandau at the Moab Regional Multispecialty Clinic on Mondays and Tuesdays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The clinic number is 435-719-5550.

MRH says Dr Kim Brandau brings skill, experience and familiarity with Moab

I can only talk about her in superlatives … She truly practices medicine because she loves it and loves to take care of her patients.