MAJ(P) Carolyn Salter

Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA Member of the Month: June 2023
MAJ(P) Carolyn Salter

What inspired you to work in sexual medicine?

My experience working with combat-injured soldiers at Walter Reed is what sparked my interest in sexual medicine. We had many young soldiers with devastating genital trauma from dismounted IED (improvised explosive device) blasts. Even as a medical student, I was very interested in the surgeries and medical treatments we provided these patients to help maintain their sexual function and fertility potential. I remember having a patient with a traumatic loss of his scrotum who had thigh pouches created for his testicles until he was stable enough for reconstructive surgery. I had no idea these types of surgeries even existed. I immediately wanted to learn more, and I signed up for a Urology elective. From there, I knew early on that I had found my future career path.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your career?

I love to be able to help patients’ quality of life and to hear what an impact that makes on them. Some of my best moments are when a patient I have treated for infertility sends me a picture of the prenatal ultrasound or of their newborn! Or when a patient with testosterone deficiency or erectile dysfunction tells me I helped him feel like himself again, or that I gave him his life back. Sexual medicine is incredibly rewarding as we can make a drastic and lasting improvement in the quality of life of our patients.

What is something most people don’t know about you? 

I used to be a competitive synchronized figure skater from middle school to college.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

One of the female surgeons I look up to told me this regarding work-life balance as a physician: it may not be a good balance on any given day, but hopefully it will be a balance in the long-term. Some days, work has to take precedence; other days, your family life will be the priority. Don’t be too hard on yourself when you feel like you can’t excel in all of your roles every day.

What would your ideal vacation be?

I love cruises, especially to somewhere off the beaten path. Next destinations on my list are Antarctica and the Arctic.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA
Member of the Month: June 2023

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