Three pre-med students learning the ropes at Sleeping Bear Pediatrics |

Three pre-med students learning the ropes at Sleeping Bear Pediatrics

Sleeping Bear Pediatrics clinical staff members, from left, Sarah Dixson, Ben Massey and Linnea Dixson, all plan to begin medical school in fall 2017.
John F. Russell

— Three young Steamboat natives are learning the tricks of the medical trade at Sleeping Bear Pediatrics, each with the hope of one day returning to a small, rural community to practice medicine.

Sarah Dixson graduated from Steamboat Springs High School in 2009, while her sister, Linnea Dixson, and classmate Ben Massey graduated in 2011.

All went on to earn college degrees before returning to the Yampa Valley to begin preparations for medical school.

While pediatrician Steven Ross said his practice — Sleeping Bear Pediatrics — typically employs one pre-med student at a time, he was happy to accommodate all three when they reached out to gain job experience at different times through the past year.

Sarah Dixson, 25, explained that the three local graduates are part of the clinical staff, answering telephones and completing clerical work, as well as taking vitals, giving immunizations and teaching patients under the close supervision of Ross and physician assistant Bridget Ross.

The Dixsons, who are former patients, and Massey said it was Ross who solidified each of their interests in pursuing medical school and in working in a rural community when finished.

“Watching Dr. Ross inspired me,” Massey said. “There’s a big teaching component, and he really is teaching us to be doctors.”

Linnea Dixson, 24, explained that, because many doctors choose to pursue more highly paid specialty positions, few pursue family or pediatric medicine in rural settings.

“That’s what sets us apart from other applicants,” said Massey, 23, who completed his MCAT exam in June and is now completing applications for medical schools he would attend beginning in fall 2017.

The Dixsons took their MCAT exams this month and also are entering the application process for a variety of schools.

While hands-on medical experience isn’t specifically required for most programs, the students said that schools are so competitive, they needed to spend some time in a medical setting to boost their resumes.

The three students will learn by the upcoming spring where they’ve been accepted.

Massey plans to pursue pediatrics, specifically, while the Dixsons said they are each interested in either pediatrics or family medicine, which means being a physician who cares for adults and children.

“They are very bright and hardworking,” Bridget Ross said of the three pre-med students. “We’re delighted to have them. It’s very inspirational”

Ross said that patients, typically newborns to age 21, are inspired by the three young adults, who each are accomplished athletes, intelligent and focused.

“The kids look up to them,” she said.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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