Helen M. Ward, MD
I speak: English
My gender: Female
Where I practice
I grew up in a beautiful, small college town in Virginia. Much of my childhood was spent in the surrounding mountains and farms exploring the outdoors. I always thought I would become a veterinarian after spending so much time with animals and nature. However, after my niece died of cancer, I realized my heart was in practicing medicine with people instead.Once I completed my internal medicine training in Texas, I wanted to move back to the East Coast to be closer to home. Georgia provided the perfect opportunity to be near the mountains and outdoors while also being in a place of exciting medical opportunity. This led me to go on and complete my training in pulmonary and critical care medicine. Georgia also provided the opportunity to meet my husband who grew up in this area. We are very lucky to have two beautiful children and extended family around Atlanta. We feel fortunate to live in a place full of such tremendous learning and cultural potential, while also being close to the mountains and outdoors of my childhood.
About my practice
I chose to train in the fields of both pulmonary and critical care medicine because I feel they are full of challenge. I see a very diverse group of patients, while also taking care of our members with the greatest needs in the intensive care unit (ICU). I am very fortunate to work with an incredible group of pulmonary doctors who are collaborative and supportive in the care of all of our members. Working as an ICU doctor also allows me to have direct interaction with many other Kaiser Permanente doctors. As a pulmonary doctor, I see many patients with asthma, COPD and emphysema. It is a tremendous reward to be able to help patients with breathing difficulties start to breathe better. I also lead a conference where pulmonary and radiology doctors discuss complicated diagnoses and treatment options for patients so that our members can receive the most current care. My practice challenges me to learn something each day to be able to continue to provide high-quality care for our members.
How I thrive
I like to challenge myself and reach new goals. Part of why I chose to practice medicine was because of the constant career challenges this field provides. I feel that by setting goals in all aspects of my life, I will set myself on a path that remains filled with happiness and satisfaction. Some recent goals in my life have been to spend more time volunteering at my children's school, find a better variety of meals to cook at home, run a half marathon and start yoga classes. While I realize there is not enough time in the day to work and fit in all these activities, I do think that balance can be achieved. By having specific and focused goals, I am able to find time over a few weeks or months to move towards each one. Reading is my secret pleasure, and I almost always try to read at least a few minutes before the end of the day! I know that raising children in a home filled with goals and opportunities will pass along the "drive to thrive" to them as well.