CLINICAL ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
Interior – Kelowna General Hospital
Dr. Ashlee Dobbe is a clinical assistant professor with the UBC Department of Orthopaedics and an orthopedic surgeon at Kelowna General Hospital in the BC Interior. Dr. Dobbe has travelled to Ecuador as part of Canadian Medical Teams Abroad and recently joined the Central Okanagan Search and Rescue Team (COSAR).
Can you share a little bit about your educational background and journey, and how you got to where you are today?
I grew up in North Vancouver playing various sports and skiing the hills of Whistler and Blackcomb. Although my childhood dream was to become a ski instructor, my life took a different path. After graduating high school, nourishing a love for softball and academics, I headed south to Virginia Tech University where I completed my degree in Exercise Science and Nutrition. After not getting into medical school the first go-around, I headed to Tennessee to coach softball and earn a master’s degree in nutrition. My injuries, and injuries to those around me, quickly piqued my interest in sports medicine and eventually orthopaedic surgery.
The real passion for orthopaeidcs did not arise until my research years at BC Children’s Hospital. I struggled with whether it was the specialty of orthopaedics that I loved—or the people that surrounded me. I soon discovered that this was a common theme on every orthopaedic rotation; thus, orthopaedics it was. I completed medical school at UBC and then an orthopaedic residency at the University of Alberta (a very unexpected blessing). My ties to BC Children’s, and the strong mentorship that I received, led to a pediatric fellowship at BC Children’s Hospital. I then completed another year and a half of pediatric orthopaedics at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Sydney, Australia.
Fortunately, an opportunity to develop a pediatric orthopaedic practice arose in Kelowna, BC. However, I learned quickly that a community orthopedic practice could not rely solely on treating kids. This led me to a steep learning curve while broadening my practice, and I now find myself treating patients from the cradle to the grave!
What excites you most about your work? What are you most proud of?
The resiliency and optimism of children are a breath of fresh air. I truly value the opportunity to make pediatric orthopedics apart of my practice. I feel blessed to be able to help families from all over Interior Health—saving them long hours of travel and allowing them to stay close to their support networks.
I’ve also had the opportunity to be part of Canadian Medical Teams Abroad, travelling to Ecuador as a pediatric orthopedic surgeon treating those less fortunate with little access to care. With every trip, I value more and more the resources and access to care we have in Canada.
Closer to home, I am able to combine my medical background and passion for the outdoors as a member of the Central Okanagan Search and Rescue Team (COSAR)—a new endeavor that I’m really looking forward to!
What is one piece of advice that you would give to current trainees?
Every day is the opportunity to learn something new: be curious, ask questions, and seek out where your passion lies. The days may seem long, and there will be highs and there will be lows (low lows), but remember to enjoy the ride, seek some fun, and find something that lets you burn off a little steam. Despite what it seems, residency does hold some of the best days of your lives and the friendships you make will be ones that will last a lifetime.
And remember, the possibilities to use your skills and give back are endless—I encourage you to always keep an eye out for new opportunities!
When you’re not working, where can we find you?
When not working you can find me in my happy place—the mountains! On my skis, on my bike, or chasing my dog, Scout—the mountains are where I will be.