Care across lifetimes
This husband-and-wife doctor duo met at MSU Denver, went to med school together and now help their rural community realize whole-person wellness.
The husband-and-wife team of Annaliese Stone, D.O., and Jie Casey, D.O., have the health of their Cascade Mountain community covered from womb to tomb.
Both are family doctors of osteopathic medicine with Kittitas Valley Healthcare in Ellensburg, a central Washington hamlet about 100 miles east-southeast of Seattle. Casey specializes in pediatrics, obstetrics and osteopathic manipulation. Stone’s focus is on geriatrics, a branch of medicine that focuses on the health and care of older adults. But both treat patients of all ages.
“As general practitioners, being able to see everyone makes us useful in a small town,” Casey said. “The idea was always to ‘train to remain’ — to stay and serve in the community we were learning in, together.”
“Together” is a common theme throughout Casey’s and Stone’s careers. The 2011 Metropolitan State University of Denver graduates met while studying what is now integrative health care. They married after graduation, and both completed their Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degrees at Rocky Vista University in Parker. When they each received a residency-placement opportunity in central Washington, they jumped at the chance to practice medicine in rural Ellensburg — together.
“Practicing together feels really natural,” Stone said. “We finished our undergraduates together and went through medical school together — and even though we might be on different sides of the office, there’s a level of understanding that comes with that.”
Doctors of osteopathic medicine regard the human body as an integrated whole rather than treating for specific symptoms only, according to the American Osteopathic Association. Stone helps elderly patients and their families through tough conversations, such as determining the best ways to decrease medication burden or dealing with end-of-life care decisions and incurable illnesses. Casey, meanwhile, cares for pregnant women and their children.
“I’ve always enjoyed working with older people,” Stone said. “They have the best stories — they’ve lived and seen so much.”
Casey vividly recalled delivering his first baby and described his work as “getting paid to go to birthday parties for a living.” While specializing in pregnancy and pediatrics, Casey treats people of all ages “using manipulation, cupping, needling and injections.”
The whole-person approach to wellness that Stone and Casey cultivate is at the center of MSU Denver’s interdepartmental Health Institute and is reflected in the newly introduced lifestyle-medicine major — the first bachelor’s degree offering of its kind in the country.
“I’ve always been focused on health care — not just disease care,” Casey said. “It’s about treating the individual, womb to tomb.”