Patient Care People

Q&A with pediatric otolaryngologist Kate Dunsky

photo fo Kate Dunsky with patient
Kate Dunsky, MD, has fun with a young patient at St. Louis Children's Hospital. MATT MILLER/WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology Kate Dunsky, MD, completed undergraduate degrees in cellular and molecular biology and Spanish at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor before heading to Saint Louis University for medical school. She completed a residency in otolaryngology and fellowship in pediatric otolaryngology at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. She joined the faculty at Washington University School of Medicine in 2016.

What inspired you to enter this particular field?

photo of Kate Dunsky reading with kids
Dunsky shares her love of reading through a bedtime story with Elliot and Walter.

Otolaryngology interested me because of the diversity in clinical and surgical practice. I chose pediatric ENT because kids are both challenging and fun to work with. Developmental stage and social situation are important elements to consider when evaluating a child’s medical condition.

One of the best parts of being a pediatric ENT is seeing how improving the quality of life of my patient can also dramatically improve the lives of those who are caring for, supporting, and loving them. You quickly come to realize you’re never just treating the child; you’re treating the whole family.

I advise our residents to explore all aspects of otolaryngology, but ultimately do what you love. If you enjoy working at the Children’s hospital we would love to have you as a colleague.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love to spend time with my family and friends. My kids are constantly making me laugh. Next to that, I love to read – I read every day and yet my ‘to read’ list is still pages long. If I could have made a career out of reading books, I probably would have done that. I will read anything, but I particularly enjoy fantasy and science fiction because it engages my imagination.

If somebody wrote a biography about you, what would it be titled? 

Kate against the sneaky squirrels.

photo of Kate Dunsky with kids
Dunsky gets some help in the vegetable garden from her daughter Elliot and son Walter.

Is there a special something at the top of your bucket list?

I’ve always dreamt of seeing the northern lights. It seems like such a magical phenomenon.

What is your favorite indulgence?

I have toddlers, so an afternoon nap is something I never turn down! 

What would most surprise your colleagues to learn about you?

I’m an enthusiastic vegetable gardener. This year I am growing tomatoes, eggplant, cucumber, herbs, peppers, and more. I love watching things grow. That might explain my attraction to pediatrics as well.