Connection and Community Support Matters

“St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation is amazing working with doctors to help identify additional resources we need.”

– Julie Lyons, MD

St. Luke’s Wood River’s staff is exceptional. While organizations generally can claim a handful of stand-out employees, St. Luke’s Wood River is teeming with hard-working, highly skilled, compassionate and extraordinary staff members who support and inspire one another.

Time and time again, employees express how grateful they are to work with colleagues deeply committed to excellence and patient care.

Julie Lyons, MD, family physician and vice chief of staff, and her husband, Blair Choate, RN, BSN, lead clinical educator, are pillars of St. Luke’s Wood River’s all-star staff. Each has worked at St. Luke’s for 14 years, devoting their hearts and expertise to improving well-being in Blaine County. After meeting at the hospital during the first year of their second careers, Julie and Blair tied the knot, then committed to supporting St. Luke’s Wood River and staying in the valley to raise a family.

While they approached their work in health care from different paths, they agree that the opportunity to care for people inspired them to pursue medical careers. Before joining St. Luke’s Wood River, Dr. Lyons was a middle school science teacher. She especially loved teaching health as part of her job and realized that medicine was her passion. “I’m a fourth-generation doctor,” she said, “so I also had a lot of role models.”

From a young age, Blair pursued jobs that required medical expertise. Blair was a professional lifeguard for the city of Santa Barbara throughout college and for several years after. Later, he ran adventure tours in Idaho and joined the Wood River Fire and Rescue Department. His mom, also a nurse, offered him a glimpse into the nursing profession that he found interesting. “I knew that nursing was something I wouldn’t get bored of, and I loved spending time with patients, so it was a perfect fit,” Blair said.

To this day, their passion for patient care sustains and inspires them, even after working many grueling, 80-hour weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic. “What I enjoy most about my work is the patient relationship,” Dr. Lyons explained. “After 14 years in family medicine, I have been able to care for four to five generations of family members. It’s a beautiful opportunity to understand where someone comes from and how to best support them.”

Blair echoes this sentiment, reiterating how the teamwork among nurses is amazing and how caring for patients is fulfilling. “For most patients, being at the hospital is one of the scariest times. I love putting the patients at ease, reminding them that they are safe, well cared for and will be supported when they go home,” he said. These small yet profound acts of tenderness and compassion are what make St. Luke’s Wood River special.

This attention to detail and commitment to excellence is also an extraordinary characteristic of St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation’s donors. “The Foundation is amazing at working with doctors to help identify additional resources we need,” said Dr. Lyons. “They helped me secure a vision scanner for [3- to 5-year-old children] who have vision deficits and a point-of-care ultrasound that allows us to do bedside assessments inside and outside the hospital. These seemingly little things make a big difference.”

Whether it’s new patient chairs or beds, meals for the staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, professional development and education for staff, resuscitation beds for babies or important renovations, St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation delivers. Always thinking a step ahead, St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation makes sure the hospital receives the necessary support and resources to deliver excellent patient care. This is all thanks to overwhelming community generosity. Along with St. Luke’s Wood River staff, our community donors are the backbone of a healthy Blaine County.

“St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation is amazing working with doctors to help identify additional resources we need.” Julie Lyons.