We sat down with Dr. Kimberlee Wilson, Medical Director of Arcadia Trails INTEGRIS Center for Addiction Recovery to learn more about her story and dreams for the facility.
1. Why did you choose to specialize in addiction medicine?
There are many exciting areas of medicine to practice, especially in psychiatry, but I became drawn to the patient with substance use disorders early on in my residency training while many of my colleagues were not. I was more curious about the course of illness and the symptoms that manifest repeatedly with this kind of brain disease. I suppose I felt more compassion for what I saw as a tumultuous rollercoaster ride for patients that they couldn’t stop to get off. I was so gratified by seeing a difference in cognition and behaviors when going from the intoxication or withdrawal phase to sobriety. Then, patients would thank me for changing or saving their lives. How can someone turn that down?
2. What makes Arcadia Trails Center for Addiction Recovery so special?
It’s the first of its kind in Oklahoma, and the perfect example of the Oklahoma pioneer spirit! The fact that a handful of people got together and dreamed of this, then persuaded INTEGRIS to pursue it, then helped raise the funds from our statewide community to support it, makes me believe in the impossible. For a physician like me, it is a dream to work in a program that is a medical model, located on a hospital campus, and within a health system that recognizes the importance of treating chronic illnesses of the brain and mind. Our curriculum was designed by local professionals and people in recovery, and it will address not only chemical addictions, but the underlying traumatic experiences and other psychiatric illnesses that make addiction so difficult to overcome.
3. What brings you joy?
This sounds so cliché, but it’s my children, first and foremost. Next, my joy is knowing that I have made a positive difference in patients’ lives so that they can experience joy, too.
4. What is your guilty pleasure?
How many can I name? Travelling abroad, dark chocolate, and a perfectly prepared meal from the Provence region of southern France.
5. Favorite moment in your professional career?
Probably coming to this project. I feel an intense sense of pride as a homegrown “Okie” to be the founding medical director and be here from the inception of this exceptional facility and program!
6. What inspires you?
I’m inspired by others who overcome incredibly adverse odds to succeed in reaching their goal. And, I’m also inspired by a challenge.
7. What are your favorite hobbies?
In the last year I’ve had little time for hobbies! I used to be an athlete, now I’m an armchair athlete, but I’d like to try pickle ball and hike more. I’m a big tennis fan and have been to the U.S. Open tournament twice, and the Championships at Wimbledon once. I now need to attend the French and Italian Opens. I don’t know if I’ll ever make it to the Australian, but that’s a great goal! Also, I watch every Oklahoma Sooner football game, and try to watch most OKC Thunder games.
8. Why do you feel philanthropy is important?
Giving to others is like giving to yourself. There’s no feeling like doing something positive for others and the community around you. Everybody needs a little help at some point in their life.
9. What is something that people would be surprised to know about you?
I was a pie supper queen in the 7th grade, and I worked as a news and weather anchor in my first job.
10. What are your dreams for Arcadia Trails Center for Addiction Recovery?
I hope we become the world class treatment center that we aspire to be, and that we are known for our integrity in the way we treat our patients and their families. My dream is to make this the center of brain and mind health for INTEGRIS, a research and education center, a program providing complete care for everyone we treat- from first recognizing when someone is in need, to the first day of a residential stay, to the continual wellness after they return home. We want to be their source for care and walk with them throughout recovery.
Posted on Tue, August 27, 2019
by Julie Confer