real LIFE

with Dr. Chad Harston, Lexington Clinic Center for Breast Care

Where did you grow up?
I have moved several times and don’t really consider any city my hometown. I was born in Texas, and lived there for approximately 14 years during my medical training and military service. I have also lived in Guam and Salt Lake City, Utah during my teenage years. I met my wife in Jerusalem during a study abroad program and have also lived in Finland for two years.

What brought you to Lexington Clinic?
I spent a few weeks doing part time (locum tenens) work at Lexington Clinic in 2009 and 2010 and enjoyed the culture and professional atmosphere.  When an opening became available at the clinic for my position I jumped at the opportunity to work here.

What made you want to become a physician?
I have always had a desire to prevent unnecessary pain and suffering.  This desire has increased over the years as I have learned more and more ways to prevent disease or treat it more effectively.

What extracurricular activities are you involved in?
My wife and I spend a lot of time providing church service.  I made a goal several years ago to visit the highest point in each of the states with at least one member of my family.  So, far I have visited 41 out of 50.  We still have several difficult ones to visit including Mt. Rainier (Washington) and Denali (Alaska).  However, I’m not in a hurry.  

What is the moment in your career that stands out the most to you?
After I completed my fellowship training in women’s imaging I spent 4 years serving as an attending physician at an academic hospital in the US Air Force.  I enjoyed teaching more than 40 radiology residents about breast imaging during that time at the largest radiology training program in the Air Force.  I was able to care for a large number of women in the San Antonio TX area who were active or retired from the Armed Forces.  My deployment to Iraq during that time was also memorable.

What about practicing medicine brings you the most joy?
When I discover an early breast cancer with screening and it is successfully treated, I enjoy seeing that woman come back to my clinic year after year in good health.  I know that the care we offered made her cancer a mere speed bump on her road to a long happy life rather than a devastating and potentially lethal disease.

Who has had the greatest impact on your career or life?
My wife has been my greatest support.  My father who is a retired family physician has also been a great example to me.

What is one thing your patients would be surprised to find out about you?
Several years ago while I was serving in Iraq I decided to learn more about nutrition with my spare time.  I read as much as I could and came to the conclusion that the best way to reduce my risk of developing common chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, etc. was to eat a diet mainly composed of unprocessed plant foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds.  I gave up meat, dairy and eggs.  I have also gradually eliminated processed foods containing added sugar, oil or white flour from my diet.  As a result I have enjoyed remarkable improvements in my health.  I credit my diet with giving me the stamina to tackle challenging mountains like Mt. Whitney (California, elevation 14,505 ft) and to participate in local races with my children.