New Faculty Q&A: Dr. Christine Butts

Q&A with Christine Butts, MD (she/her), professor (CHS)

Dr. Butts is a professor of emergency medicine in the Division of Emergency Ultrasound. She serves as Fellowship Director of our accredited advanced emergency medicine ultrasound fellowship program and Assistant Director for Emergency Medicine Faculty Ultrasound.

Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee

Educational background: Dr. Christine (Christy) Butts graduated from the Keck School of Medicine and completed her residency, chief residency, and ultrasound fellowship at Louisiana State University. She then became faculty of the Department of Medicine at LSU, where she served as the emergency ultrasound director and director for the emergency ultrasound fellowship program.

Do you have an area of clinical interest, and how did you get into it? Yes! When I completed residency, ultrasound was an emerging application in emergency medicine. I became interested in its potential to change patient care and to improve our understanding of what is happening with our patients in real time. I completed a point of care ultrasound (POCUS) fellowship in 2008 and took a position in academic emergency medicine. Pursuing POCUS at an early stage gave me an opportunity to be part of growing the specialty — being a part of early research in ultrasound, being part of work groups on how ultrasound is taught, and on the board that certifies new POCUS fellowships. After 15 years in academic emergency medicine and POCUS education, there remains a lot to do. I am particularly interested in the use of ultrasound in resuscitation and for underserved populations, and I plan to continue teaching and developing the specialty.

What attracted you to UW–Madison? The Madison area was of great interest to me, as I have a young son and want to raise him in a friendly, safe, and welcoming environment. When I first met the UW Emergency Medicine team, I felt very comfortable and that I would be encouraged to reach outside of my comfort zone.

What are some things you’re exciting to do/visit/try, being new to the Madison area? As a born and raised Southerner, I am excited about snow and all things winter sports. Once I have stretched my legs in the area a bit, I’m sure I will have a different answer next year!

What do you hope trainees will learn from you and your work? Don’t ever be too proud to ask for help, and always try to put yourself in your patient’s shoes.

Do you feel your work relates to the Wisconsin Idea as it relates to medicine — that our efforts should influence people’s health and well-being beyond the care they receive in our emergency departments)? Yes! Systems have a tremendous effect on health! How efficient a system is can literally be life and death if care cannot be accessed in a timely and straightforward fashion. I love the philosophy of streamlining and reducing waste – how can we get care to the people that need it in the most efficient manner?

My first job: Sandwich artist at Subway when I was 15 years old.

My most unusual job: I prepared specimens for use in a reproductive technology clinic.

My hobbies and other interests outside of work: Much less than I used to do before I had my son, but I love to read, travel, swim, and be outdoors. With it’s location on the Great Lakes, it seems like Wisconsin will be a great place to do all of these!

If you could have dinner with one person (passed, alive or fictional), who and at where would you make reservations? I think Oprah. I am inspired by how far she came from her childhood, by her strength of character and how sure she is of herself. I would hope she would have me over to her house!