September 23, 2017

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Dr. Ewa Wysokinska, A Twist of Fate: From Poland to Minnesota and Back Again

Dr. Ewa Wysokinska, Willmar Regional Cancer CenterDr. Ewa Wysokinska is a new hematologist/oncologist at the Willmar Regional Cancer Center. Though she’s no stranger to Minnesota, Dr. Wysokinska has spent most of her life in Poland.

She grew up in a small town named Siechnice, about five miles outside of Wroclaw, Poland.  Poland is home to beautiful countryside with bubbling rivers and lush forests—perfect for playing games like hide and seek with her siblings and friends or reading under her favorite tree.  Wroclaw and neighboring Siechnice are towns steeped in history, culture, religion and stunning, historical architecture.  Poland was also where her interest in medicine first began when her father, a vascular physician, let her tag along on house visits to tend to his patients.

“I loved going on those visits with my dad.  I grew up watching him help people.  I knew from a very young age, I wanted to be just like him, developing a relationship with my patients and helping them through difficult times,” said Dr. Wysokinska.

From Poland to the US

When she was 11, Dr. Wysokinska came to the U.S. for the first time when her dad accepted a fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.   Just two years later, her family returned to Poland, where she started high school.  In Poland high school helps prepare students for the career paths they will pursue.  For Dr. Wysokinska, that was medicine.

“I always wanted to be a doctor, though at that time I briefly considered becoming an architect—that was until I realized I couldn’t really draw,” she laughed.  “So I set that idea aside to pursue my dream of becoming a doctor.”

After high school came six years of medical school and a two-year internship, both which she completed in Poland.  Then Dr. Wysokinska left Poland once more for Minnesota—first for residency at AbbotNorthwesternHospital in Minneapolis and then a fellowship at the Mayo Clinic, where her father returned to work in vascular and cardiovascular medicine.  Soon after she began her residency, she met a young lawyer and her future husband, Adam, at a Polish picnic her mom organizes every year in Rochester.  Over the next three years, she and Adam were married and had two children all while she completed her fellowship/residency.  This past November, her next big move brought Dr. Wysokinska and her family to WillmarRegionalCancerCenter in west central Minnesota.

As a wife, mom and hematologist/oncologist, life for Dr. Wysokinska is busier than ever.

“I’ve come a long way from that girl who used to make house calls with my dad, but those early experiences and growing up in Poland have shaped who I am  as an individual and a doctor today.  Poland will always hold a special place in my heart.  No matter where I live, Poland will always be a part of me.  As my family and I turn the page to a new chapter, we’re excited to make Willmar home,” said Dr. Wysokinska.

“Some things in life are just meant to be,” she said.  “By some twist of fate, medicine keeps bringing me back to Minnesota.”