As more Citizen Potawatomi Nation members receive degrees, the number returning to the Nation after graduation continues to increase. Dr. Patrick Kennedye, member of the Peltier family, recently joined CPN Health Services as a primary care physician. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma Medical School in 2015 with the help of CPN scholarships. After three years of residency, he accepted a position with the Nation.
“It’s something that I have been thinking about for a long time, as far as coming back to work for the Tribe,” Dr. Kennedye said. “I was planning on being here, and probably over two years before I actually came, I contacted the medical director.”
In Dr. Kennedye’s formative years, his father worked as an emergency room physician. His time growing up around the field helped inspire him to pursue a medical degree.
“I just always have loved math and science,” Dr. Kennedye said. “I just thought it was really interesting, and I used to shadow my dad a little bit to see some of the things that he got to do.”
His father is a member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, and Dr. Kennedye’s mother is Citizen Potawatomi.
“I always joke and say my mom’s family got to me first, so I’ve been enrolled in CPN since I was real little,” he said, then laughed.
Dr. Kennedye often attended Family Reunion Festival growing up, and he has fond memories of competing in hand games and other activities. He continues the tradition within his own family. His two oldest children have always participated in Festival, and Dr. Kennedye plans to introduce his newborn to the event this summer.
Aspirations and advice
Dr. Kennedye’s focus includes employing evidence-based medicine as well as supporting the culture around developing scientifically-justified treatments.
“For the majority of the decisions I make every day as a doctor, there is not good evidence on which I can use to base my decisions,” he explained.
When a patient walks into Dr. Kennedye’s office with symptoms, he listens, asks questions and conducts an exam. He then develops the best course of action for that individual based upon their specific needs, but sometimes, he makes these decisions without the support of data and relies on personal experience.
“There are some things that we do have good evidence for. If we have that evidence available, I want to be able to use that,” he explained.
Because of this, he is inspired to develop more evidence-based medical treatments for a variety of illnesses.
He is also dedicated to providing well-rounded medical attention, ensuring patients receive the best advice.
“For me, success is making sure that I can kind of wrangle all the pieces of information because as a primary care physician, everything is fair game,” he said. “When they walk into the door, they can ask me anything, and I have to address it somehow.
“I tell my patients that I see myself as kind of a quarterback — I want to be in the loop on everything they do.”
When a patient goes to a specialist or another doctor, Dr. Kennedye compiles notes to gain a greater understanding of the care administered outside of his office.
“I can take into account all parts of their health because sometimes certain treatments recommended by specialists are in conflict with one another,” Dr. Kennedye said.
He also attempts to have a proactive approach by thinking ahead on what someone may need “because so many times, people don’t know what medical treatments are recommended by guidelines for them,” he added.
He encourages fellow CPN members to have a good primary care physician that can follow and track their medical history, even if they have not seen a doctor before in their lives, “whether that’s a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant, someone who will follow your care along with you and try to keep everything up to date for you,” he said.
Dr. Kennedye currently has several openings for new patients of all ages. For those interested in learning more about CPN Health Services or to schedule an appointment, visit cpn.news/CPNHealth.