June 7, 2023

Kristin Gunderson Hiott- PA Spotlight

Kristin Gunderson Hiott

By: Taylor Riddle

In this edition of PA Spotlight, we introduce you to Kristin Gunderson Hiott, PA-C, RDN. Kristin shares details about starting her career at Andrews Sports Medicine this year, working alongside Marc Rothermich, MD, and her new life in Trussville, AL. 

Kristin Gunderson Hiott, PA-C, RDN

Kristin has worked alongside Dr. Marc Rothermich for the past 5 months.  She earned her degree in Nutrition and Dietetics with an emphasis in Biology from Samford University. Following graduation from Samford, she completed a Dietetic Internship through the University of Houston then did an Adolescent Nutrition Traineeship at Children's Hospital of Alabama. She worked as a Registered Dietitian in Adolescent Medicine for about a year before starting PA school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). During clinical rotations at UAB, she spent 4 months of elective rotations working with Dr. Rothermich before starting with him full-time in January of 2023. 

She was born in Florida but spent most of her childhood in Birmingham. She played soccer, cheered, danced, and ran cross country. She also participated in show choir (singing and dancing). Her experience with being an injured athlete over the years has provided her with a deeper sense of empathy for her patients. She is able to relate to them as she provides care and helps them on their road to recovery. 

Kristin enjoys spending time with her husband, Chris, and their dog Reece, traveling, and hiking the trails of Trussville, AL.

What do you enjoy most about your career?

Starting my career as a Physician Assistant at Andrews Sports Medicine has been a challenging and rewarding experience. One of the favorite parts of my job is engaging in my patient’s unique story and taking the time to understand and acknowledge their history, pain, questions, and concerns. I love being able to provide education regarding their injury, surgical and non-surgical options, and guiding expectations through their recovery. I enjoy being able to follow my patients from their first visit with our team, to the operating room, and through all follow-up appointments as they heal and gain the strength needed to get back to what they love! I hope to continue to be able to invest in my patient’s journey as an advocate for their health and wellness in the clinic, operating room, and on their path to long-term recovery!

Looking ahead to your career, what do you hope to continue to bring to Andrews Sports Medicine?

As a nutrition and dietetics major with prior experience working as a Registered Dietitian I hope to integrate my knowledge, experience, and passion for nutrition with orthopedic medicine in order to provide better overall care to our patients and promote improved recovery and healing. I am grateful to work in an environment that promotes and encourages the integration of nutrition as a means for improved patient health and orthopedic outcomes and I am excited to continue pouring into our practice and our patients through my passion for nutrition!

What do you like most about working alongside Dr. Rothermich?

It is hard to have a bad day on Team Rothermich! Dr. Rothermich provides a positive, always-optimist, upbeat energy that infuses the room and the mood of the entire team. He genuinely cares for his team members as well as each and every patient that comes into our clinic. He is committed to taking time with patients in clinic and in the operating room to ensure they understand their injury, know their options, feel confident going forward with their treatment plan, and receive the best care our team can provide.

While Dr. Rothermich is a talented and accomplished surgeon, always seeking out opportunities to learn and grow as a medical provider, his career never comes before his family! He always puts family first and is a strong promoter of “work-life” balance and being present with your family and friends.

What do you like about the work culture at Andrews Sports Medicine?

Being a new Physician Assistant in a large practice can be intimidating, however, from day one at Andrews I felt welcomed with open arms by the other PAs around me. I have appreciated the constant encouragement and support from the incredible and talented PAs working throughout the practice and always feel comfortable talking to any of the providers when I have questions or need a helping hand! 

What are some challenges of working as a PA?

The role and scope of a Physician Assistant is often misunderstood by patients and providers in all areas of medicine. Physician Assistants undergo a rigorous training that sets us up to serve as an extension of the Physician we practice under. As a PA in orthopedic medicine, we are accredited and licensed to independently perform medical assessments, provide diagnoses, treatment plans, perform injections, and assist in surgical treatment. Patients should feel confident in the care we provide as all trainings and treatments are diligently reviewed and conducted in direct consultation with the providers we work under.

Where did you grow up and did you play any sports as a kid? If so, which ones?

While I was born in Florida, I spent most of my childhood living here in Birmingham! I attended Berry Middle School and Spain Park High School where I participated in many sports over the years including soccer, dance, cheerleading, and cross country. Although, my favorite “sport” was show choir (singing and dancing)! To this day, I still love a good dance session!

Through the years I have faced more than my fair share of sports-related injuries and saw providers at Andrews for my own orthopedic care! My experience as an injured athlete provides me with a deeper sense of empathy and understanding for my patients as they face the challenges of their injury and journey towards recovery.

TEll us about your family.

I recently got married to my incredible husband, Chris, and have a dog, Reece, who is my pride and joy! We are settling into our new home in Trussville where we are enjoying planting our roots in the local church and community! My parents and grandparents live in Hoover while Chris’s parents and grandparents live down the street from us. We are both blessed to have our families close to us and enjoy being able to see them and spend time together each week!

What is your favorite place to go in Birmingham?

My husband, Chris and I enjoy being outdoors and love a good weekend hike at Oak Mountain or through the trails of Trussville! We enjoy hanging out in the Trussville downtown district, meeting there with friends to catch up over dinner or watch a local band play!

Where do you and your family like to vacation?

Chris and I are always up for an adventure vacation! We love everything from hiking and skiing, to white water rafting and taking a boat out on the lake. Some of our favorite trips have been to Colorado, Arizona, and Utah – which is where we went for our honeymoon! We are looking forward to many more adventures to come and are hoping for our next stop to be Alaska!