Of all the unusual ways to choose a major in college, Kara Keuthan Beatty’s was more profound than most.
During the summer after her freshman year, Beatty was driving her car when she was hit broadside by a truck running a red light. Four days in a coma were followed by inpatient rehabilitation and eventually, outpatient rehab.
During the hospital stay, her doctor came in every day to engage her in conversation. “He’d ask if he could sit down and how my day was going, trying to get to know me as a person and not just a diagnosis,” Beatty recalls. “He listened to me and that was very powerful. I decided, ‘Hey, I want to do that.’”
When she told her mother she intended to become a doctor, tests showed that she was reading at a fourth-grade level and had post-traumatic amnesia, meaning her short term memory wasn’t being retained. But her mother encouraged her to pursue her dream and in medical school, she fell in love with psychiatry. “I knew I wanted to work with individuals with traumatic brain injuries [TBI],” she says.
Two trips to Richmond were all it took to decide that she wanted to do her residency at VCU and she could see herself living in Richmond. After briefly considering moving for a fellowship, she instead took one at a local private practice. “Although I’d always called Texas home, I grew deep roots here,” Beatty explains. “This feels like home.”
She launched her own practice, Resilience Health, in July 2018 in Midlothian, seeing general psychiatry patients as well as those who’d had TBI, strokes and neurodegenerative diseases like multiple sclerosis. “I tell people I focus on neuropsychiatry to address the depression, anxiety and grieving we feel when we lose an ability, or our sense of self,” which she understands from firsthand experience.
The past year has helped Beatty discover who she is on her journey to self-authentication. As a single mom, she feels her most important job is being a role model for her two young daughters. Next up, she’s working toward opening her space to other solo female practitioners so that they can collaborate as a team, an idea she’s long been formulating.
Beatty knows well that persistence overcomes obstacles: “Having a direction gives you hope.”