In January, Perham Health welcomed a new pediatrician to their team when Dr. Kathryn Obregon, 62, joined the Perham Health staff.

Obregon said she moved to Perham just after Thanksgiving and started seeing the first of her new patients in the last two weeks, after finishing her orientation that started on Jan. 11.

Obregon, who is native to North Dakota, did both her undergraduate and medical degrees at the University of North Dakota. “Why did I want to be a physician? I don’t know it’s just one of those things where that’s what I wanted to do,” Obregon said.

Obregon said she did not initially want to be a pediatrician and deal with crying children. “In medical school, after having a child who had heart surgery three days before, running up and down the hallway and I thought ‘I kind of like you,’” she said. “I realized I liked little kids and for the most part, they’re healthy and forgive you.”

In her first two weeks seeing patients at Perham Health, Obregon has only gotten to see a hand full of patients so far. “I like playing with kids so hopefully, things will get busy,” she said. “The kids come in and I want to go, ‘Mom you can go. I’m just going to play with you child for a while.’ I love engaging.”

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Obregon said in working with children she learns a lot of things from them, like the fact that the movie “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” is back.

“It’s fun to watch them think and grow and learn and it’s fun to watch the parents grow,” Obregon said.

Obregon worked in pediatrics for more than 20 years before taking a break from medicine. Due to burning out, she took a couple of months off then “I worked in a school as a paraprofessional for three years and it was great,” she said.

Obregon said in the second year of being a paraprofessional, her husband suddenly became ill and passed away. After re-evaluating what to do next, Obregon said she decided to return to medicine in Bismarck, N.D.. She said it was her recruiter who has a cabin in the lakes area who encouraged her to look at Perham Health.

“So far, wherever I’ve gone in town, even if it’s only to buy gas, everybody’s been so friendly and welcoming,” Obregon said.

Obregon said if she drives slowly, she can get to work in four minutes and come summer, she could bike it in 10. “I can bike anywhere,” she said. She said part of the draw to Perham was not only that it was smaller and quieter than Bismarck, but was also still accessible.

In addition to biking, Obregon said she loves to read, paint, color adult coloring books and her two cats.

“I’m not a runner or anything like that,” Oregon said. “I like to travel, so hopefully COVID will go out so I can go back to doing that.”

Obregon has five children and seven grandchildren, most in North Dakota, with a couple more on the way.