Myra Muramoto

Career Story: 

Since finishing residency, my career has gone through changes that I never would have imagined while I was a resident. Right after graduating, I did a year as a chief resident/faculty development fellow, followed by a research fellowship year. Although in medical school I was SURE I'd never be in academic medicine, I found I really enjoyed teaching students and residents and was very intrigued by research. More than two decades later, I'm still in academic medicine and still enjoying it.I joined the UA FCM faculty in 1990 (I think it was because I wouldn't go away, so they gave me a job"_). In 1992, while still a FCM faculty member, I moved to Lesotho, Southern Africa to direct the nutrition and substance abuse surveys for the Lesotho Highlands Health Survey (LHHS). The LHHS was a large epidemiologic study to document the health status of people and livestock living in the area impacted by the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, at that time the largest heavy construction project in the world. It was an incredible experience personal, professionally, and politically. Lesotho is an enclave, completely surrounded by South Africa, and was one of the most impoverished countries in the world. I moved there just days before the "all race" referendum which marked the beginning of political dismantling of apartheid. I learned a huge amount, never worked so hard in my life even harder than residency, and had some amazing life experiences.After 18 months in Lesotho, I moved back to the US and restarted my family practice. My work in Africa opened my eyes to the power of public health to improve people's lives, so I enrolled in the UA's new Master of Public Health program.I kept working full time as FCM faculty while pursuing my MPH and until recently held the MPH program record for "taking the longest to get her degree." While doing my MPH, I met a tobacco researcher who got me involved in tobacco cessation clinical trial research. This collaboration really started my tobacco research career.Tobacco cessation is field where I can bring together my various work experiences: family medicine, addiction treatment, substance abuse education, international health, public health and clinical research. I've been very fortunate and have built a successful research program that allows me to continue pursuing interesting ideas and try new things. We call ourselves the REACH Group (Research and Education on Addictions and Community Health Group). My research mostly focuses on studying clinical and public health interventions for tobacco cessation. Most of my studies are with special populations, e.g. socioeconomically vulnerable populations, adolescents, military, international populations.Always interested in learning new things, in 2005 I completed a Fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the U of A. Integrative medicine is now woven into my clinical practice and my research. I'm currently doing a study with Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) providers training them to help their patients quit tobacco. In the last couple of years, I started working more with Arizona's Medicaid program helping them use research to improve health outcomes and control costs. Consequently, I've gotten interested in developing more effective ways to provide primary care to medically vulnerable populations especially the high-risk, high-cost populations. Whew! I've got lots to keep me busy for a while!

Notable Personal Accomplishments: 

Maybe these don't really qualify as "notable accomplishments", but here are some things that I am very happy about: Happily re-married. Helped raise my step-daughter. Have been a Tai Chi practitioner for more than 15 years. Have kept up my running. Taught myself to knit. Finally was able to buy a cabin in the mountains to retreat (and retire) to. Have traveled to a lot of interesting countries/places.

Notable Professional Accomplishments: 

Directed Lesotho Highlands Health Survey, MPH degree, established successful research program, got promoted to full Professor

Favorite Recreational Activity: 

Gardening, hiking, cooking, art and crafts

Favorite Memory from Residency: 

Our residency class' post graduation camping trip to Mount Graham

Personal Story: 

Married with two step-daughters