Doctor Erika Pope, the new Assistant Medical Director for Hospice of the Northwest, was born and raised in Skagit Valley (a Sedro Woolley High School graduate). She is eager to bring her enthusiasm for holistic care to Hospice of the Northwest.
Dr. Pope received her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from Pacific Northwest University. She completed her family medicine residency at Skagit Regional Health and was a family physician prior to joining the team at Hospice of the Northwest.
She was inspired to become a physician because of her family’s experience with Huntington’s disease.
Dr. Pope’s “Why” for a Career in Medicine
When she was 11 years old, Dr. Pope’s father died after suffering from Huntington’s disease. Because Huntington’s disease is genetic, she and her sister were both tested for the gene. Dr. Pope’s results came back negative, but her sister became symptomatic of the disease soon after Dr. Pope went to university. She attended Western Washington University and the Art Institute of Seattle for culinary arts, but switched her career to medicine in an effort to “provide support for the Huntington’s community” and her own sister directly.
Dr. Pope’s sister passed away from Huntington’s disease at age 33, before which she had received “exceptional care from Hospice of the Northwest” near the end of her life. Throughout Dr. Pope’s medical education and training, her goal had been to treat and cure her sister’s disease. With her sister gone, she searched for a new purpose in medicine.
After her experience with hospice, Dr. Pope found a new purpose with palliative and hospice care.
“When I was given the opportunity to join the team at HNW, I knew that it would be an incredible way to bring my ‘why medicine’ full circle,” Dr. Pope said. “I feel beyond honored to have the opportunity to serve our community as Assistant Medical Director for Hospice of the Northwest.”
During her free time, Dr. Pope raises her two children (aged 6 years and 20 months), creates with her laser cutter, and tries keeping her many plants alive.