I have loved serving as a visiting professor at the In His Image Family Medicine Residency Program in Tulsa, OK, a program that trains young family medicine residents for a life of missionary service. Enis Sakirgil, MD, the president of their alumni association interviewed me recently. I thought you might like to read this.
Dr. Enis Sakirgil: Please briefly tell us about yourself and what you do.
Dr. Walt Larimore: I’ve been a follower of Jesus for almost fifty years, Barb’s husband and best friend for nearly 47 years (although we first met when we were five years old), a family physician for almost forty years, and an adjunct/visiting professor at In His Image for fifteen years.
Currently, I’m seeing Occupational Medicine patients two days a week at the University of Colorado (UCHealth). The other days are split between writing and directing our church’s marriage ministry with Barb.
ES: Before starting at IHI, you had some incredible career experiences.
WL: That’s true. In addition to my family medicine practice, I was the Medical Director for Fox Health Network, previously known as America’s Health Network, for a few years. I also did a prime-time show called “Ask the Family Doctor.”
It was an excellent opportunity to educate the public about health care—especially the connection between physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual health.
My partner, John Hartman, MD, and I both loved and did a lot of sports medicine. We had the opportunity to work as volunteer physicians for the US Olympic Committee, where we served by doing drug testing of athletes at national competitions and by caring for Olympic athletes who were training in Central Florida. We also served as rodeo doctors for the Silver Spurs Rodeo.
ES: You’ve earned a lot of accolades in your career, including being recently named a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient of Marquis Who’s Who in America, awarded the “Thomas W. Johnson Award” by the American Academy of Family Physicians, and you and your wife, Barb, were named “National Educators of the Year” by CMDA. On top of that, you’ve published hundreds of articles and studies. Where did you learn to write?
WL: I’ve never trained as a writer. But I certainly learned a lot from professional editors who endlessly had to correct my mistakes.
I’ve also learned from expert authors and editors.
Having recently published the 1000th piece I’ve written since 1990, I feel I might finally be learning the craft a bit.
ES: My goodness! That’s over thirty publications a year.
WL: That sounds about right. But that includes books, book forewords, medical studies, encyclopedia entries, editorials, medical textbook chapters, columns in lay and professional journals, and several CME courses.
ES: These include the courses that we use in our spiritual curriculum at In His Image.
WL: That’s right. It was a distinct honor to co-author those two curriculums with William Carr Peel, ThM, DMin. The combination of a physician and a pastor/theologian was potent.
Bill and I first presented The Saline Solution in 1994. It was instantly well received and has been taught thousands of times in dozens of countries around the world. I’ve been told the course has been attended by over 80,000 health professionals in the last 25 years.
ES: I’d love to discuss your most recent book, The Best Medicine, but first, give us a highlight of your other works.
WL: My books have been translated into 15 languages and the last I saw, they have sold over 750,000 copies.
The Best Medicine will be my 38th book, and I’m hard at work on another four books.
Besides the publications you have mentioned, I’ve written or co-authored other books on evangelism, novels, marriage, and honeymoons, as well as health books for adults, parents, and kids, two natural medicine (herb, vitamin, supplement) books, and three memoirs—the Bryson City books—the first of which, Bryson City Tales, IHI usually gives to incoming interns each year.
ES: What was your motivation for writing Bryson City Tales?
WL: The Bryson City books had several purposes.
One was just to record what it’s like to live and practice in a rural town—where the family physicians provide the vast majority of care.
Another reason was the opportunity to explore with readers what it’s like to be a physician moving from training to practice—the opportunities we physicians all have to learn from our colleagues, our patients, and, most of all, our mistakes.
Thirdly, I wanted to revisit and flesh out from my memories and journals, what it felt like to grow as a Christian, a husband, and a father.
But, most of all, I wanted readers to see what the Lord taught me about transitioning from a physician who just happened to be a Christian, to a Christian who just happened to be a physician.
It was a profound experience for me to both re-explore and then write about all this. Readers seemed to resonate with the Bryson City books—and still do.
I hope they’ll find the same with The Best Medicine.
ES: So, did the Bryson City books actually lead to The Best Medicine? What should we expect when we read it?
WL: The editor for the three Bryson City books, Cindy Lambert, has known the many stories I had experienced in my practice and family in Kissimmee.
She’s wanted me to do several books about my Kissimmee experiences, especially about how I learned to take my faith to work with me with each patient—how the Lord taught me to transition my practice from the practice of family medicine to the ministry of family medicine.
However, after leaving practice in Kissimmee in 2001 to answer the call to become a Vice President at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, I didn’t have the time to begin writing these books.
As other book projects came along, the idea of the Kissimmee books sat on her shelf until 2018 when she once again approached me about writing the books.
Barb and I prayed about it and both felt the Lord would be pleased if I did. So, I began working on two books.
The first, The Best Medicine: Tales of Humor and Hope from a Small-Town Doctor, will be released in October of 2020. The second, which I’m finishing up now, is titled, The Best Gift: Tales of a Small-Town Doctor Learning Life’s Greatest Lessons.
My hope and prayers are that both will be a spiritual encouragement to readers; that the books will be a glimpse into the wonderful, although often difficult, journey and adventure of being a follower of Jesus.
WL: Yes, he was kind enough to agree to look The Best Medicine over and see if it deserved his support.
After he read the book, he called the publisher, saying he liked it so much that he wanted to write the Foreword.
He did an incredible job. I must admit it brought tears to my eyes. But, so did the endorsement of Ruth Graham, Billy and Ruth Graham’s daughter. Since then, I’ve been blessed with several marvelous endorsements.
ES: We look forward to its release!
The Best Medicine has been released since this interview.
Praise for The Best Medicine
“This book is more than fun homespun stories of small-town medicine. You may see yourself in its mirror, yet trust me, you’ll be the better for it in the end.”
From the Foreword by Jerry B. Jenkins, New York Times bestselling novelist and biographer
“Once again, Dr. Larimore has provided a delightful book full of sound wisdom and fascinating characters. Enjoy a great read!”
Ruth Graham, author of Forgiving My Father, Forgiving Myself: An Invitation to the Miracle of Forgiveness
© Copyright WLL, INC. 2021. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.