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Mission in My Words: Dr. Travis Stork

I didn’t set out to be a doctor, much less host the daytime show The Doctors.

I grew up in the Midwest, graduated from Duke University with a degree in Math, and then moved to Washington D.C. where I took a job as an actuarial scientist. While I have always loved numbers (insert nerd joke here), I longed for face time with regular people. In my spare time I started volunteering at a free clinic. It was an eye-opening experience that showed me I could use science and also connect with people on a personal level. It was that experience that ultimately led me back to school to become a doctor.

Nashville became my home in 2003 when I arrived at Vanderbilt University Medical Center to complete my residency as an emergency medicine physician. I fell in love with the city, and with the people, and it’s why I continue to call Nashville home.

As an ER doctor, I have witnessed many people in their most vulnerable moments—hurt, injured, sick. I have treated people of all ages, and from all walks of life, and have learned so much about humanity along the way. Any individual who has spent time working in the ER, especially in an urban setting such as Nashville, will tell you that once you spend time in that environment, it colors your perspective on everything in life. In addition to dealing with health issues, you also see a multitude of social problems and a lot of physical and emotional suffering. We can treat a lot of problems in the ER but when it comes time to discharge a patient … what if they have no place to go? For example, when you treat someone in the ER with a foot wound, you can offer help. But when it comes time for discharge, what if they are homeless and their only pair of socks are dirty and ripped? Or their shoes are falling apart and they have no place to properly treat the wound? It is disconcerting to know that you are discharging someone without a home.

That’s why I’m thankful that here in Nashville there is a place for someone like that to go—Nashville Rescue Mission. I know for those who are down on their luck, the Mission offers a safe, reliable place. If a person doesn’t have a home, the Mission tries to make it feel like home. I know that if someone is hungry, there is a place where they can get a hot meal. If someone is in need of shelter, the Mission has a bed waiting for them. If a person needs clean socks and shoes, there is a place where they can get them for free. People always ask me why I fly to and from Los Angeles (where we tape The Doctors) rather than just stay in California full-time. It’s because there is something special about the city of Nashville … it has a soul and the people have a lot of heart. The Mission is a great example of that heart and reflects the willingness of the good people of Nashville to help each other out when someone is in need.


Dr. Travis Stork is an Emmy®-nominated host of the award-winning, syndicated daytime talk show The Doctors, and a board-certified emergency medicine physician. He makes his home in Nashville, TN, when he’s not filming his show in Los Angeles. The show kicks off their 10th season in September.

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