Piedmont HealthCare – Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
Physician Spotlight: Dr. Carl Foulks of Northlake Digestive Care
In honor of National Colorectal Awareness Month in March, Piedmont HealthCare would like to recognize their 4 gastroenterologists that have made Iredell County home. Each week, PHC will highlight a Gastroenterologist through a brief series of questions and answers, as well as provide helpful information to readers about colorectal awareness. For week four, we will learn about Dr. Carl Foulks with Northlake Digestive Care of Piedmont HealthCare.
What brought you to Iredell County?
I was raised in NC and my favorite uncle lived in Charlotte, so we visited quite a bit. I always associated those good experiences, and my love for him, with the city. I also liked the fact that there is easy access to the beach, mountains and a beautiful big lake.
So, I joined a group in Charlotte after I finished my training in the Texas Medical Center and it just wasn’t a good fit for me. In order to stay in the area, I had to find a job about 25 miles away from that job, so I pursued an opening here at Piedmont HealthCare. I was going to do my “time” here for 3 years and then head back into the city to work. Once I arrived here, between the support of my talented colleagues and the wonderful people I’m blessed to call my patients, it was a very easy decision to stay with PHC and make Iredell county home.
Why Gastroenterology and when did you realize that is what you wanted to make your medical specialty?
I’m going to give the short answer for this one. I grew up in a household where both of my parents were in healthcare. I had an opportunity to spend time in my father’s Internal Medicine practice as a child, with varying levels of responsibility based on my age and abilities. I decided to follow in his footsteps with plans to come back and work with him.
During my Internal Medicine residency, I had the chance to rotate through different medical specialties. When I was on my Gastroenterology rotation I was allowed to help the supervising physician do procedures as well as see patients with him in the office. I found Gastroenterology to be the perfect marriage of medicine and surgery. I get the chance to go into the operating room and save peoples’ lives in the middle of the night, as well as utilize my internal medicine training to play detective and work through complex medical problems in the hospital and my clinic. Another positive is that I literally get to prevent colon cancer almost every day I go to work!
Tell us a little bit about your story – what led you to the practice you have today.
When I first arrived in town, I worked alongside Dr. Kassman up until I decided to hang my own shingle within Piedmont HealthCare in 2011, now known as PHC’s Northlake Digestive Care.
I never envisioned the practice would grow from just me and a couple of support staff into the practice that I now share with Dr. Marion, employing 3 advanced care practitioners and at least 7 support staff. I don’t take any of this for granted and appreciate the contributions of all of our staff as we strive to provide the best possible care to our patient population.
What do you like most about working in Iredell County?
That one’s easy – my patients and colleagues. After being in town for as long as I have been, I get a chance to not only provide medical treatment to my patients, but an opportunity to care for people that I now see as friends. I also get to work with a wonderful and talented group of individuals in my office and at the endoscopy centers. This place is home.
What is one piece of free medical advice you’d like to give your readers right now?
Get your colonoscopy at 45, it’s not 50 anymore. Spread the word. Colon cancer doesn’t care how healthy you eat, if you exercise, or if you never get sick and don’t have a history in your family. It’s a 20-minute procedure that can mean the difference between being there for your loved ones or not.
Tell us a little bit about what you do in your free time.
I try to stay as active as possible. I love spending time with my family and friends. Biking has become a major hobby of mine over the past couple of years. Running, golfing, boating, being a foodie, and sometimes just relaxing are also things I like to do in my free time.