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Kimberly Kuphal: Redefining Women's Role in Medicine


Kimberly Kuphal, physician assistant on the Aspirus Cardiothoracic Surgery team

In the realm of healthcare, there exist remarkable individuals who have forged unique and inspiring paths to contribute to the well-being of others. As we celebrate Women in Medicine Month, the story of Kimberly Kuphal, physician assistant on the Aspirus Cardiothoracic Surgery team, stands as a testament to the transformative power of determination and passion.


Kimberly's journey into the medical field began in an unconventional manner. She graduated from the University of Arizona in Tucson with a double major in History and Political Science. After she briefly ventured into the world of politics, she later found herself intrigued by another field. Seeking purpose, she embarked on a life-altering journey, volunteering in Guatemala, where she worked closely with indigenous Mayan communities. There, she discovered her true calling—the medical field.


Upon returning to the United States, her dedication to healthcare led her to nursing, where she worked for 25 years. However, the desire to expand her role and make a more profound impact prompted her to contemplate becoming a nurse practitioner or physician assistant. Determined to pursue her passion, she went back to school and graduated from the UW-Madison WISPAC program as a physician assistant.


Kimberly's medical career has been marked by a profound passion for ultrasound technology. She recognizes the vital role ultrasound plays in modern medicine and has championed its integration into patient care. She, along with a colleague, actively educates practitioners and students across the nation on the benefits of ultrasound through national programs and conferences.


From thoracentesis to central line placements, medical professional’s use of ultrasound has made these procedures safer and more precise. It has also reduced the need for multiple CT scans and X-rays, leading to lower patient radiation exposure.


“The ability to provide immediate insights through ultrasound has transformed patient care, allowing for faster diagnoses and interventions,” says Kimberly.


Reflecting on her journey, Kimberly acknowledges the challenges she faced in a time when women were not widely encouraged to pursue medical careers. Her story serves as a powerful reminder that times have changed, and women in medicine now have boundless opportunities.

“I went to school in a time when women weren't encouraged to become medical professionals. You know, I was encouraged 30 years ago that nursing was what I could aspire to, and as I got into the healthcare profession, I realized there were more opportunities open to me, and that's why I decided to pursue becoming a physician assistant,” states Kimberly.


The landscape of medicine has evolved significantly over the years, and she takes pride in witnessing the increasing presence of women as physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. The once-unthinkable roles, such as female cardiothoracic surgeons and vascular surgeons, are now a reality, inspiring the next generation of women and redefining their limits.


Kimberly's message to young women aspiring to make their mark in medicine is clear: "The sky is the limit right now." She urges them to explore a multitude of opportunities and to always follow their passion.



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