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(952) 920-7001 www.southdaleobgyn.com
Twelve-year-old Leigh Koidahl didn’t sleep in on Saturday mornings. She was in the car, her dad at the wheel, making the hour-long drive from Marine on St. Croix to her volunteer job at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.
“My Grandma Alice was a breast cancer survivor and an Abbott volunteer, and she inspired me to do it, too,” says Dr. Koidahl. Eight years later, when Alice needed extra care, 20-year-old Leigh moved in for the summer. “Taking care of her, and being an advocate for her, led to my decision to become a doctor,” says Dr. Koidahl. “I wanted to be charged with people’s care. My grandma was one of the biggest influences in my life.”
Dr. Koidahl first thought about specializing in geriatrics. But that changed when she participated in the Rural Physician Assistance Program and did her OB/Gyn rotation at Bemidji Hospital. “I was the only medical student there, so I got to assist with all the deliveries and surgeries,” she says. “I remember thinking, ‘This is by far the coolest thing in medicine.’ I just knew it was what I wanted to do.”
Another highlight came in January of 2012, when Dr. Koidahl traveled to the Philippines on a medical mission trip. “We did gynecologic surgeries for 10 hours a day, in a really hot operating room, with women lined up down the street. We were able to make such a huge difference in their lives, and they were so grateful. It was incredibly rewarding.”
Dr. Koidahl describes herself as a “take-charge person, but I’m also calm in high pressure situations, and a good listener. It’s so important to be able to put yourself in your patient’s shoes, and help her make the decisions that are best for her.”
In her free time, Dr. Koidahl likes to hang out with her husband, their son and their two “awesome” felines: Wednesday and Carlton. She also enjoys hiking, camping, traveling, reading (Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” is her favorite book), and cooking. “I’m vegetarian, and getting people to like vegetarian food is a passion of mine.”
As a physician, Dr. Koidahl is grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in her patients’ lives, every day. “Ob/gyn is my dream job,” she says, “and I know there aren’t a lot of people who get to do their dream job. I feel very lucky.”