I want to be your family doctor. Here’s why.

Hi! My name is Dr Karen Weese Bell, and I’m here to tell you my story of how I came to be here in Fort Collins and why I decided to open up my own clinic.

Why I decided to go into medical school…

When I was growing up, I always had a sense that I would be in the healing profession. As a young athlete involved in competitive dance and baton twirling, I was always in and out of physical therapy clinics or doctor’s offices for injuries and well checkups. I came to appreciate the body’s amazing ability to heal and in particular the musculoskeletal system in it’s wonder. I was affectionately known as the unofficial “team masseuse” because I always seemed to know intuitively where someone was having pain and could often improve with my rudimentary teenage massage skills. I loved doing it; I could feel the directions of the muscle fibers underneath my fingers and I was fascinated with how we as humans were put together.

I also had a strong interest nutrition given all the competitive activities I was doing. Once I completed high school, I started to pursue a degree in nutritional sciences and dietetics at my hometown university in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. I loved learning the science behind food, and most importantly, how does food become fuel and nourishment for our bodies. As I went through my education, I realized that many of the health problems we face today can be traced back to our nutrition and our lifestyles. While I was being groomed to be a dietitian, I felt very limited in my scope of only knowing food and not disease processes or medications and herbs. I realized that I could impact so many more people if I understood more of the science behind disease and how the body worked as a whole. I wanted to know how all the pieces of the human body puzzle fit together and I wanted to have more influence in people’s lives, so I chose to enter medical school.

Why I decided to be a family doctor…

Medical school and my family medicine residency were life-changing experiences for several reasons. I felt fortunate to be at a small enough medical school, which meant we received quite a bit of teaching time with attending physicians. So much learning in such a short period of time. As we progressed in our clerkships and residencies, 80-100 hour workweeks and sleep deprivation became the norm and my type A personality went into overdrive! Because I loved general practice, I spent time in more rural areas with physicians who worked in small emergency rooms and delivered babies – the “old country doctor” types. I loved how they knew generations of families and served as leaders and role models for their small communities. I enjoyed all of the learning. I also started exploring alternative medical practices, including meditation. I met my now husband at a meditation retreat in Santa Fe, New Mexico during my training.

During medical school, I went through my own personal challenges. My father had been diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer and underwent palliative treatment for 4 years before he passed away in my first year of residency.   People always ask me why I chose to stay and do my clerkship and my residency in my hometown and that is my answer. I remember spending all day at 1 hospital in my city only to grab a bite to eat at a hospital cafeteria on my way to another hospital to stay part of the evening with Dad. I ate a lot of hospital cafeteria food in those days. My father’s family doctor was also the head of the Academic Family Medicine unit – or essentially one of my supervisors. Watching him care for my dad and be there for him until he passed away was a source of inspiration and great comfort for me. My dad trusted him implicitly and he was one of the few people dad looked forward to seeing even when he was quite sick. He watched over me as a student doctor and he looked out for my father without breaking any confidentiality agreements or crossing any boundaries. He encouraged me to make good choices for myself and supported my decision to take 2 months off to grieve for my father before returning to residency. He was my father’s doctor, but also my teacher and he gave me one of the greatest gifts a person could have; he taught me by example what it was like to be wonderful at both.

Why I worked in two countries…

After completing my residency and my Canadian family medicine boards, I pursued an old dream of being a country doctor. I started to work up in northern Saskatchewan (where it gets starts to get REALLY cold!) in a small community called the Athabasca Health Region; accessible only by air and a winter road, I was in service for 2 and a half years to this little community of around 3000 people. I would fly in and work for 2 weeks and then fly to see my then fiance down in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was exhausting and way to much travel, but I loved it. I did emergency medicine and delivered babies occasionally as well as saw my patients in clinic. While other people drove their cars to work – I was flying on a float plane to work!

Once I immigrated and completed my licensing process in New Mexico, I found a job a little closer to our home, which was Santa Fe.   I worked at a federally qualitified health center for 2 years in a small suburb of Albuquerque called Rio Rancho. Here I became board-certified in family medicine in the USA and learned all about the healthcare system in the united states. I made many good friends and had the privilege of being a regular family doctor for many people and many families. While my husband and I both loved Santa Fe, his business was pulling him away from New Mexico and into Colorado, so we chose to settle in Fort Collins to start our businesses and our family.

Why I started my own clinic…

While the healthcare systems of the USA and Canada are vastly different in some ways, a common theme for me was that I never felt I could spend enough time with my patients. No matter which country I was in, I was always double-booked with a busy clinic schedule with too many demands on my time. I was always having to cut people off or whisk in and out of exam rooms in order to keep on schedule – which was usually an impossible task! I never felt as though I could connect with my patients simply due to lack of time. I wanted to be that doctor who listened and who picked up on subtleties and used better listening skills to diagnose; I wanted to be able to have a discussion around treatment or research something with my patient if I needed to. I wanted to have the freedom to be able to do my job properly and effectively.   I wanted to start studying and incorporating more holistic techniques into allopathic medicine, but time again was an issue. Opening up my own clinic is the best way for me to be able to realize this dream.


I want to be your health advocate as you journey through life. I want to look after you and your family. I want to be known as your reliable, trustworthy family doctor. I want to have enough time to listen to you and your concerns fully and create a treatment plan that works for both of us. I want to have the time and resources to attend holistic health conferences and merge east and western treatments. I want to be able to tailor my services to my patients and if I need additional training to give you the services you want, I want to be able to pursue that. In addition to meeting my professional requirements, I want to poll all of my patients from time to time to make sure I am delivering services that YOU want. I want to use technology to make our professional relationship and interactions easier, not more complicated. I believe in getting to know my patients and their families so that I can understand you and the context of your situation.

 I am choosing to have my own practice, so that I may do my best job in being of service to you. I invite you to join me in a therapeutic partnership that allows me to be the best doctor I can, and gives you the care and attention you deserve.