‘Nowhere Are the Problems
To his surprise, Dr. Douglas Borst, a family medicine practitioner, found a calling in treating people suffering from substance abuse
By Bob Woods
Photograph by Tim McGuire
“I came out of the Miller School with no desire to work with substance abuse. It was the opposite of what I wanted to do as a doctor,” admitted Douglas T. Borst, M.D. ’14.
That all changed during his residency in family medicine at the Kootenai Clinic in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. “I did a complete 180 during those three years,” Dr. Borst said, recalling his work with individuals struggling with substance abuse.
He followed up that career-changing experience with a fellowship in addiction medicine at MultiCare East Pierce Family Medicine (EPFM), a primary care facility in Puyallup, Washington, near Seattle.
Today, while he balances a family medicine practice in Puyallup and faculty duties at EPFM, Dr. Borst spends much of his time treating people dealing with various types of substance abuse, mostly through his affiliation with MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital.
Dr. Borst was drawn to this field because treating addiction is like treating other chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, only amplified. “The consequences are huge, with people’s lives, liberty and families at stake. People come to me appearing to be at death’s door. But they also work incredibly hard to change, and their recovery can be a complete transformation. Getting to help them with that is my life’s privilege.”