Utah Valley Magazine asked more than 600 doctors across Utah Valley to identify peers in the medical industry they would be most comfortable recommending to friends and family members.
As the responses came in (our fax machine got more use than it has since 2007) the results clearly identified nine doctors who’ve written the prescription for success in our community.
Meet Utah Valley’s top doctors, as nominated by their colleagues, dedicated to improving the well-being of our bodies and souls.
L. Todd Cook, MD
Clinic: Utah Valley Eye Center
Dr. Todd Cook squeezed in time for a photoshoot between early-morning surgeries. Many of our doctors had met before coming to the Utah Valley Magazine offices, but Dr. Cook and Dr. Frandsen already had a special connection as Dr. Frandsen’s mother has had two surgeries performed by Dr. Cook.
Doctor dreams: “Watching my father, Dr. Loran Cook, fix people’s eyes in Peru inspired me to become a doctor.”
Medical memories: “About five years ago on Christmas day, a young lady was in a severe auto accident resulting in her losing most of the right side of her face. She came in with her face wrapped in blood-soaked bandages. As I removed the wrap, one of her eyes barely opened and with all the pain, bleeding and damage, she managed to say, ‘Thank you for helping me.’ I’ll never forget that.”
Putting patients at ease: “My favorite way to put patients at ease is to have them spend time in the waiting room with other patients so they can hear about their experiences, learn their stories and gain some hope.”
Worth it: “The most rewarding moment of my career was when I realized that despite all the things I missed when I was studying in classes and being away at medical school, I could actually help save eyesight and even lives.”
Tracy M. Frandsen, MD
Specialty: Family Medicine
Clinic: Canyon View Family Medicine
Location: Spanish Fork
Dr. Tracy Frandsen understands that family matters most. He has served the Spanish Fork community for more than 30 years. Dr. Frandsen says his best health tip for Utah Valley Magazine readers is to read and exercise every day.
Doctor dreams: “I actually wanted be a farmer like my dad, but I had some back problems and the doctor said I shouldn’t plan on spending my life lifting. Being a doctor is actually a lot like farming, believe it or not. You’re at the mercy of nature, but you’re also in charge of your own schedule.”
Medical memories: “I had a patient who I diagnosed with cancer as he was preparing to go on a mission, which sounds like a downer. But he came back after it was all over and thanked me for changing the course for his life even though it wasn’t the course he had planned on.”
Putting patients at ease: “I usually address them by name and talk about something I remember from when we met before.”
Worth it: “Some of the most rewarding moments of my career are delivering one of the children of the children I delivered and having three generations in the room.”
Jennifer J. Tittensor, MD
Specialty: General Surgery
Clinic: Utah Surgical Associates
Dr. Jennifer Tittensor embellished our top doctors photoshoot with pink embroidery on her lab coat, speaking to both her femininity and her profession working with breast cancer and breast disease.
Medical memories: “What I like best are ‘graduation’ office visits. These are when my cancer patient comes in after all treatments are done for a final exam and a plan for breast cancer screening going forward. They are so happy and appreciative, and best of all they are cancer-free. It is such a privilege to be a part of the journey.”
Worth it: “While working with cancer patients is always rewarding on an individual level, I would have to say that the establishment of the Intermountain Breast Center of Excellence at the Utah Valley and American Fork hospitals would be one of my favorite moments. So many people worked together to make this happen and having this center means that the women in our area will all get top-notch breast cancer care.”
An apple a day: ”Do monthly self-breast exams. Get yearly mammograms starting at age 40. If you have a breast lump, call your doctor — you need an exam, a mammogram and an ultrasound for this. Let’s do better in getting the women in our lives to follow these simple guidelines. Early stage breast cancer is highly curable. Let’s find it while it’s small and fix it.”
Matthew A. Brown, MD
Specialty: Family Medicine
Clinic: North Orem Clinic
Dr. Matthew Brown and his partners did their medical residency together and continue to provide cohesive service at their clinic where Dr. Brown is starting his 15th year. “I love the challenge of not knowing what I’m going to see every day,” he says. “My field has also allowed me to have balance so I can take my kids to school every day, come home for dinner, and have time for church callings, hobbies and family time — like snowmobiling in Montana and watching my kids play sports.”
Putting patients at ease: “I really listen to what they are trying to tell me, but sometimes they don’t know how to put it in words. I start by asking, ‘Why did you come to see me and how can I help you?’”
Why family medicine: “I love getting to know family dynamics. In some situations, I might know that grandpa has dementia and dad is stressed at work and mom is wondering why she’s having headaches. Families don’t feel threatened by sharing with me when they know I just want to help.”
Waving the medical magic wand: “I wish I could help my patients see their situation six months down the road. Things get better in most cases, but sometimes people have dealt with something for so long they’ve lost hope of improvement. It’s rewarding for me to help people find the most meaning and productivity in their lives.”
Apple a day: “Get enough sleep! People are chronically sleep-deprived and then they wonder why things break down a little bit.”
Michael J. Pearce, MD
Clinic: Utah Valley Pulmonary Clinic
After finishing his undergraduate at BYU and completing medical school at the University of Utah, Dr. Michael Pearce settled in Lindon as the perfect middle-ground between American Fork Hospital and Utah Valley Hospital.
Doctor dreams: “I thought about becoming a doctor when I was about 12 years old and never really considered other career choices after that.”
Putting patients at ease: “I enjoy talking with my patients about their families and their hobbies. I ask questions to get to know what they do when they are not ill. Since I don’t vacation very much I usually have to live vicariously through my patients — through their hobbies, interests, vacation and travel.”
Waving the magical medical wand: “If I could change one thing it would be removing tobacco from the planet because smoking causes so many health problems.”
Off-the-clock: “I enjoy music. I play bass guitar in a little garage band that we’ve had for 16 years. I also like fishing, skiing and cycling.”
Jay A. Clark, MD
Specialty: Radiation Oncology
Clinic: Radiation Oncology
Upon discovering he received the top doctor nomination, Dr. Jay Clark quickly gave credit to those who surround him — to his oncology team and to his partner, Dr. Brandon M. Barney. “Dr. Barney has infused a lot of knowledge and enthusiasm into our oncology team.”
Putting patients at ease: “Given the nature of cancer, we follow patients for many years. We are able to develop close personal relationships with many of our patients and their families. We want to know about the things that are important to them and what’s happening in their lives.”
Worth it: “The most rewarding part for us is when patients and/or their families come back and tell us how much they appreciate the care that was shown them by our oncology team.”
An apple a day: “The best thing you can do is be committed to a lifetime of exercise and eating right. Among the many benefits, healthy lifestyle choices will decrease your cancer risk.”
Dad duty: “We have six kids ranging from 10 to 26, and we have a grandbaby who is a couple months old. We like to spend time with family. We attend a lot of sports events and follow our kids and their activities.”
Craig S. Cook, MD
Specialty: General Surgery
Clinic: Utah Surgical Associates
Dr. Craig Cook managed to make it to our Utah Valley Magazine offices for his photoshoot right before we locked the doors for the day. Earlier that day, his brother, Dr. L. Todd Cook, attended the first photoshoot.
Doctor dreams: “I started thinking about becoming a doctor when I was very young because my father was an ophthalmologist. I saw him practicing and helping a lot of people and loving what he did, and I thought that was pretty neat. My father-in-law is a retired general surgeon, so I was exposed to general surgery from him. I love it because there’s a huge breadth of patient-care in general surgery. We take care of kids. We take care of the oldest adults.”
Putting patients at ease: “When I’m dealing with someone who is going to have a big surgery, I take them by the hand and look them directly in their eyes and tell them that we are going to take very good care of them. When I’m in the office and the patient is awake, I tell them, ‘This won’t hurt me one bit.’ That tends to lighten the air sometimes and I think a lot of patients appreciate a bit of humor.”
An apple a day: “Wear seat belts. Wear helmets when doing dangerous activities Don’t be afraid to get childhood immunizations. Get colonoscopies if you are over the age of 50. Exercise and eat right.”
Russell J. Osguthorpe, MD
Specialty: Infectious Diseases — Pediatric
Clinic: Intermountain Rock Canyon Pediatric Specialists
We saw Dr. Russell Osguthorpe in action as he took a phone call in our lobby from one of his patients while waiting for his photoshoot. He assured the patient that everything will be alright and he told his caller to feel free to reach out to him anytime. Dr. Osguthorpe is clearly happy to help whenever and however he can.
Doctor dreams: “When I was 12, a neighbor girl developed leukemia and ended up passing away. The pain the family felt was so much greater than my own, but the idea to become a healer started shortly after her funeral. I knew if I could do anything to help people avoid that kind of pain, I would.”
Putting patients at ease: “When first entering a room, I love to engage the child by playing with him or her. We give toys to our patients for this very reason. It quickly turns a scary visit into something unexpected and puts a smile on every face in the room — including my own.”
Waving the magical medical wand: “I wish I could give people the superpower of being able to see bacteria and viruses with their own eyes so they could avoid them. I would also love to instill within everyone a desire to wash their hands.”
Howard R. Reichman, MD
Clinic: Utah Neurological Clinic
With a schedule filled to the brim, Dr. Howard Reichman was unable to make it to our top doctors photoshoot, but we still want to recognize him for the unique service he provides our community.
Doctor dreams: “I went through college anticipating a career in business, but when I saw the science and most particularly the anatomy, I became interested in health, both from a preventative standpoint and from a treatment standpoint, because it has such a direct correlation between the anatomy and the problems. I enjoy helping people and particularly solving complex brain and spinal problems.”
Putting patients at ease: “When dealing with the brain and spine, most patients and their families are worried, to say the least. Being the person who is essentially taking that patient’s life and livelihood into my hands, I like the patient to understand that I treat all my patients exactly as I would treat them if they were a member of my family. I would never recommend a surgery or a treatment that I myself would not do. That is exactly how my dad treated his patients and how I will continue to treat mine.”
Waving the magical medical wand: “If I had a magic wand, I would try to alleviate some of the complexity of medicine and the bureaucracy and add more focus on actual patient care. I would write a tailored treatment based on the patient’s needs rather than bureaucracy. Medicine has become very complex and financially devastating to a lot of families, and if I could simplify things, I think that would help everybody.”