Erik Wortman

Erik Wortman, MD

I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit Michigan and I’m grateful that my family spent time hiking and camping and, in the winter, enjoyed skiing. I first came to Alaska on a backpacking trip when I was 16 and awakened a wanderlust.

Some siren from the Rocky Mountains lured me to the Colorado College where I earned a B.A in Environmental Science and an addiction to skiing. During college I spent summers in Alaska where I found it liberating to do any and all variety of seasonal work.

Shortly after, I found a home in Wrangell, AK leading therapeutic wilderness expeditions with the Alaska Crossings program. Alaskan youth opened my eyes to the diverse cultures, unique experiences, and incredible challenges across the state. I obtained a Masters in Education from the University of Alaska Southeast and transitioned to teaching secondary sciences at the Skagway High School.

During this time, I became more active as a volunteer Firefighter/EMT and interfaced regularly with the community health system. After several years teaching in Skagway I acknowledged my passion for community health and committed to continuing my personal journey to medical school. I attended the University of Washington Medical School WWAMI program in Anchorage, AK.

I spent the last 14 years of my life teaching in Alaska, volunteering as a firefighter/EMT, and enjoying summers commercial fishing. Alaska is my home. I am indebted to the incredible communities of Alaska that have provided such rich experiences and have helped me to build relationships with people from diverse backgrounds. I appreciate the strength and power of community and recognize my purpose as a physician-activist and custodian of community wellness.

I embrace the FM physician’s responsibility to be there when it matters, communicate effectively, provide acute lifesaving interventions, and support difficult decisions. I also appreciate a FM physician’s commitments to staff the clinic after a night on call, welcome all members of the community, teach about wellness, prevention, and chronic conditions to build health literacy, and advance community health initiatives. I am overjoyed to be a part of the Alaska Family Medicine Residency and continue serving the communities of Alaska.