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Dr. Who? Meet Miriam Krause, MD

Dr. Krause was recently featured in a Dr. Who Member Spotlight by the Greater Louisville Medical Society. Read the article below!

Born in Heidelberg, Germany, Dr. Miriam Krause’s journey to Louisville was filled with rewards and surprises. With the support of family and friends, she has built a life more than 4,000 miles away from her hometown as a practicing reproductive endocrinologist and OB/GYN for Fertility and Endocrine Associates.

The daughter of Dietmar and Gerlinde, Dr. Krause is the oldest of three siblings and the first of her family to go into medicine or live in America. She and her two brothers were raised in the 5,000-person village of Talheim in the south of Germany, and she lived there until she moved out for college. Her parents loved to travel though, taking their children to visit America, drive throughout Europe and camp in Scandinavia.

“My parents had a camping bus, and we traveled a lot as I was growing up,” Dr. Krause recalled. “In Scandinavia, you can camp anywhere as long as you don’t destroy nature. So, we’d go wherever we wanted to hike and kayak. I didn’t always like it, since there were some summers where it rained the whole time. I preferred the mountains or the beach, and we did some of that too. We liked anything outdoorsy.”

From early childhood, Dr. Krause gravitated towards becoming a physician. “Anytime anyone hurt themselves, I’d want to be the one to clean it or put a Band-Aid on. That stuck with me through school, and I always knew I wanted to be a doctor.”

There are no physicians in the Krause family, her parents were well-educated. Dr. Krause’s mother was a language teacher and her father was a mechanical engineer. Through their guidance came a natural inquisitiveness in Dr. Krause which appeared, not just in her predilection towards medicine, but also in the way foreign languages came easily to her.

“I always liked languages. I’m fluent in English and still remember German,” Dr. Krause laughed. “I also had five years of French and spent six months in Brazil which made me pretty fluent in Portuguese.” Adapting quickly to languages is useful when moving to faraway places, but first Dr. Krause had to enter and complete medical school. In 1999, she began her career at Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, the Heidelberg University School of Medicine.

“Medical school was a change. I moved out after high school at age 19. The university was just an hour away but, of course, I felt a little lonely not being around my family at first, but soon I made new friends and kept busy studying,” she recalled. It was during medical school that Dr. Krause first began to consider a practice in America. She rotated to the U.S. three times during her medical school years, testing the waters.

“I did one rotation at Texas A&M, a month in San Diego at an urgent care center and then four months in Nebraska at UNMC. I was open to anything,” Dr. Krause said. “Those were really useful. They helped me learn more about the American medical system and got me excited about wanting to do a residency here in America.”

Graduating from medical school in November 2006, Dr. Krause had to wait almost nine months before the next residency class began in the U.S. To extend her medical knowledge, she spent six months in Porto Alegre, Brazil, thanks to an exchange program between Heidelberg University and the Universidade Federal Do Rio Grande Do Sul (UFRGS for short).

“I’d never been to Southern America before. I thought everyone there spoke English. Then I got to Porto Alegre, and no one spoke English or German. I knew right away it was going to be interesting,” Dr. Krause said, explaining that her research focused on the lining of the uterus and the differing factors it can allow in relation to implantation.

“It was very rewarding to expand my studies there. Plus, I met great people and at the end of six months, I went to Germany to put my things in order and then flew to the U.S. just three weeks later.”

It’s difficult for a foreign graduate to be accepted into a U.S. residency program, as Dr. Krause found out. Prior to her research in Brazil, she applied to 40 different OB/GYN programs throughout the United States. Two invitations came back, one from Las Vegas and the other from Springfield, Ill. She hoped for Springfield and was lucky enough to be accepted there at Southern Illinois University.

“I was completely by myself at first. I didn’t know anybody and residency is a big adjustment regardless,” Dr. Krause said, noting that medical school in Germany didn’t quite prepare her for the rigors of residency in America.

“While Germany’s medical schooling is very good at theoretical work, there isn’t as much hands-on experience done there. For example, medical students here work night shifts. I never did night shifts in Germany. So, that shock combined with not knowing anybody was a little tough to get used to,” she said.

But, for someone who lived on three continents in a year’s time, adaptation comes naturally. “I got my apartment and car. I made friends and got over the shock of the beginning. Throughout my residency, I remained very interested in my studies on implantation and decided to apply for fellowship. That led to me being accepted here at the University of Louisville in 2011,” she said.

Dr. Krause’s Louisville fellowship in reproductive endocrinology and fertility would change her life in many ways. She found that the city of Louisville reminded her of Heidelberg, discovered mentors within her fellowship, became involved with organized medicine through the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology (ACOG) and the Louisville OBGYN Society and, last but not least, met and fell in love with her husband.

“I’m still amazed. It gives me goosebumps thinking about it,” she said, smiling. “A fellow, whom I’d met just once before, asked if I wanted to go out to dinner. There were supposed to be other people but it ended up just being her and her husband, me and her husband’s best friend, who is now my husband.”

“He told me he knew German and had lived in Germany. I said okay, figuring he was just trying to impress me. But, as we were leaving, he wrote his number down. The German ‘1’ is written like the American ‘7’. When he wrote, he wrote it the German way, and I realized then he knew what he was talking about. We didn’t start dating right away, but suddenly he was a lot more interesting,” she laughed.  They married in Germany in September 2014, and honeymooned by hiking the Alps, a destination they return to each year. While they’ve talked about returning to Germany, Dr. Krause’s blossoming practice and her husband’s commitment to the family business, has kept their roots planted firmly in Louisville.

For fun, Dr. Krause and her husband love to ride horses on his family’s farm. They garden in the summertime, cook German dishes, hike and travel whenever possible. While the thought of moving to Germany is always somewhere to mind, they’ve made a home and a life together here in Louisville.

“I love my work and I’m very happy here,” she said. “I’ve experienced so much support since I arrived, and I feel like I want to give that back.”

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