Providence names division chief of primary care
Dr. Trace Julsen will oversee nine clinics in Spokane CountyOctober 26th, 2023
Dr. Trace Julsen wears several different hats in the Inland Northwest’s health care field.
Most recently, the Eagle River, Alaska native was named division chief of primary care for Providence Medical Group.
In his new role, which began about a month ago, Julsen oversees and facilitates the connection between the physicians and operations of Providence’s nine primary care clinics throughout Spokane County.
“Those are family medicine and internal medicine clinics,” Julsen says. “I will be overseeing those clinics and working with our leadership to optimize our care within those clinics and working with the physicians to make our delivery of care as best as we can.”
Prior to his newest position, Julsen spent 13 years as a family medicine physician at MultiCare Rockwood Clinic, in Spokane. He specializes in family medicine and sports medicine, he says.
Julsen chose to pursue a career in family medicine because it gives him the greatest opportunity to practice the whole continuum of care for his patients, he says. It allows him to be a part of patients’ care services throughout their lives and develop relationships with them—something he says is important to him.
Sports medicine is a passion for Julsen, he says.
“I really enjoy working with athletes,” Julsen says. “They’re a unique population and they’re extremely fun, and it’s a little bit different aspect of medicine.”
In addition to his role with Providence, Julsen is the team physician for Eastern Washington University’s women’s soccer team and men’s basketball team. He has been involved with EWU athletics on a formal basis for about four years, he says.
“It’s fun to be able to work as a team together,” he says. “I get to know the staff. I get to know the athletes.”
Julsen also volunteers his time and expertise at Ferris High School and Lewis and Clark High School football games, in Spokane.
“Those athletes deserve to have somebody out there if something bad were to happen, so I make a point to be out there if I can,” he says.
EWU isn’t the only local university that Julsen is affiliated with. He is also an adjunct professor for University of Washington’s and Washington State University’s schools of medicine.
He has been working at WSU since 2017, when the medical school here first opened, he says.
“I teach their musculoskeletal curriculum for the first- and second-year students,” Julsen says. “That’s several lectures throughout the year that I give to them.”
Julsen has been involved with UW for about eight years, he says.
“I fill in roles for when they need assistance with a specific topic in primary care,” he says. “The biggest role I have is when they do their musculoskeletal curriculum, I assist in teaching those classes as well.”
Julsen plays a significant role in clinical preceptor programs for both UW and WSU, including for Providence’s family medicine residency program.
“(I) give them some of my clinical experience and help them learn and give them some didactic pointers about real life medicine and what they can expect,” he says. “It’s a connection to the residents that are about to join our workforce. The goal there is to develop those relationships.”
Despite taking on his new position at Providence, Julsen says he plans to continue his additional roles with the three universities.
“I really enjoy having that diversity in my work, and each one of those (roles) gives me a little different approach to my jobs,” he says.
Although he’s now involved in multiple facets of the health care sector, Julsen didn’t know he wanted to work in the medicine field until he was a senior in high school, he says.
“I always enjoyed science, and when I was looking for careers, I actually had no idea what I wanted to do,” he says. “One of my high school teachers recommended that I look into medicine.”
Julsen followed his teacher’s advice, and for his senior project, he did 50 hours of volunteering at a hospital.
“I actually volunteered at Providence Hospital in Anchorage, Alaska, and worked in the ER for a couple of shifts and pretty much fell in love with it,” he says.
He says seeing how compassionate the ER staff was with vulnerable, often scared patients really hit him.
“I just decided at that point, that’s what I wanted to do,” Julsen says. “I wanted to be one of those people to help others in medicine.”
Julsen went on to earn his Doctor of Medicine degree from University of Sint Eustatius School of Medicine, which is located in the Caribbean. He then completed his residency and fellowship training at University of Kentucky, before moving to Spokane with his wife in 2010.
“My wife is a physician as well, and we were both looking for specific jobs related to our individual career paths,” he says. “Spokane offered an opportunity for us where I could do outpatient, she could do inpatient with the hospitals. It was a great place for us to get started.”
His wife, Dr. Vanessa Julsen, is division chief of hospitalist medicine at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.
On top of his various health care jobs, Julsen has three children, all in their teens, and he says he makes it a priority to spend time with his family.
“I’ve become very good at time management and scheduling,” he says. “I’m at a point in my career where I have the ability to do this type of work, so I want to take advantage of it while I can.”
Julsen says that taking on all these roles and being involved in the community has been important to him and gives him different perspectives.
“I think it’s important not only to have a strong career, but to be able to connect with community, be able to connect with family,” he says. “To avoid burnout, it’s really important to have all those different dimensions in our lives so we can really have that positive outlook on things.”