Pratt Internal Medicine Group is expanding its medical staff to five physicians, with the addition of Dr. Rachael Hauser, who will begin seeing patients in late August or early September.

An internal medicine physician provides primary care for people age 12 and older, focusing on recognizing and diagnosing disease processes and how they affect multiple organ systems, she explained. In other words, she will treat the whole person, and bring in other specialists when needed. Her special interests are preventive medicine, management of diabetes and women's health.

She received a bachelor's degree in general studies, focusing on chemistry and physics and minoring in women's studies at Wichita State University. She earned her medical degree from the University of Kansas Medical School, attending the first two years in Kansas City and completing clinical rotations at the KU Center in Wichita. She also completed a three-year internal medicine residency in Wichita.

As a student, Hauser shadowed Dr. Jennifer Jackson, formerly of the Pratt Internal Medicine Group, over a period of two years, and maintained communications with PIMG's Dr. Daniel Suiter and Susan Page, CEO and president of Pratt Regional Medical Center.

She grew up in Medicine Lodge and husband Cole is from Nashville, Kan. They both knew they wanted to return to a small town — albeit big enough for a Walmart store, she noted — and she's excited to be back to the area.

"In the time I spent here as a medical student, I was treated so well by the staff," she commented. "I knew I wanted to come back."

Pratt is a good location, she thinks. It's small enough to know patients and large enough to attract patients from surrounding area and able to support a good number of medical providers who are here full time, as well as specialists who come from Wichita.

"It's a strong, strong medical community," she said.

The Hausers are living in a metal building with an "apartment" inside, near Pratt County Veterans Memorial Lake. The goal is to build a house later, but for now, it's serving their needs and the area is very quiet — except for all the rain on the metal roof.

Hauser said in the time between finishing her medical training and getting all the paperwork in order to begin practice she's become "addicted to Pinterest," and doing a lot of crafts and exploring her interest in photography. She's also getting reacquainted with Pratt.

Cole Hauser is a locomotive engineer for Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad