Francie Ekengren likes to say that running saved her life.
About three years ago, after training for her first marathon, Ekengren, Wesley Medical Center’s chief medical officer, found a mass that turned out to be breast cancer.
Now that she’s healthy again, she’s gone from bald to a full head of reddish hair.
“I get a lot of Reba (McEntire) jokes,” she said.
When she’s not running or riding motorcycles with other doctors who are a part of the Dark Horse Gang, Ekengren says she likes to spend time with her husband, Hugh Ekengren, their three kids and read or watch “NCIS.”
Ekengren grew up in Nashville, Tenn., and was later a Hutchinson Salthawk before going on to study microbiology and then medicine at the University of Kansas.
For the last two years of medical school, Ekengren studied at the KU School of Medicine-Wichita. She was in Wesley’s family medicine residency program and went on to practice in its emergency department.
In 1995, she became the emergency department medical director and in 1999, chief medical officer, where she is responsible for overseeing privileges of hospital physicians, credentialing, dealing with complaints and helping with graduate medical education.
It’s not an experience I want to have again, and I certainly don’t want to experience every disease so I’m better, but I think that’s been helpful.
However it turns out there’s going to be change that’s going to be challenging and we’re just going to have to meet that head on. Trying to hold on to the way things are now is not going to work.