Dr. Leona O’Keefe is a Family Medicine physician with experience in a variety of settings, all with the goal of helping those in greatest need. Some college trips to West African countries changed her heart from wanting to be a veterinarian to being a physician. She attended University of Southern California for medical school and Ventura County Medical Center for residency, choosing both for their broad and varied exposure to intense care of diseases and people of different cultural backgrounds. Soon after residency, she and her husband moved with their 5-month-old son to rural Nepal, where they served for a few years in a mission hospital. She helped care for those in the hospital, the clinic, and the community with a focus on women’s healthcare and training local resident physicians. After some unexpected changes to the country’s rules, the family landed back in the United States. She has since worked in Federally Qualified Health Centers, which focus care on those who are underinsured or uninsured, in both urban and rural areas.
She and her family moved to the Rogue Valley after seeing the beauty of its nature and its people. A few years later, Dr. O’Keefe’s desire to affect change beyond the clinic walls led her to Public Health. Public Health’s goals of preventing diseases by looking at both medical and non-medical contributors excite her, as does the focus on justice and equity. Brainstorming with others about how to find and fill gaps in the system, followed by implementing those changes, is one of her greatest passions. She is looking forward to hearing what the community would like to see change for the sake of their health and hopes to work as a supportive teammate to members of the community and the organizations that are already helping the area.
In her free time, Dr. O’Keefe enjoys time with her husband, two sons and very loud hound dog, hiking in the sun, riding her bike, and reading books.