The two families were both visiting the popular Eastern Oregon recreational spot not long after Dr. Gingrich had set up his practice in The Dalles. That set the stage for a chance meeting between the new doctor and the 9-year-old future doctor that years later would heavily influence Dr. McAllister’s decision to return home to practice medicine in 2010.
“I was around the same age as Gary’s kids, so we grew up playing baseball and soccer together,” he remembers. “Then in high school and through college I did mentorships and internships in the operating room at Mid-Columbia Medical Center, allowing me to get to know him even better.”
Dr. McAllister left The Dalles to attend Willamette University, before entering one of the country’s most prestigious medical schools, Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. He and his high school sweetheart, and now wife, Meghan Coats McAllister, had open minds about where they would eventually pursue their careers (she began as a nurse and is now a pediatric nurse practitioner), and it was far from a forgone conclusion they would return home after Dr. McAllister finished his urology internship and residency training at Loma Linda University.
“We had been thinking that eventually it would be nice to come back closer to family,” Dr. McAllister says. “Other than that we weren’t set on anything.”
But a phone call from his old friend and mentor from The Dalles eventually set the wheels in motion for a return home.
“Gary called a couple years ago, explained that the need for urologic care in the Gorge had grown to a point where another physician was needed, and said he would love to talk to me if I was interested,” Dr. McAllister remembers. “Once Meghan and I started talking about the possibilities, we rapidly became excited about returning.”
As a urologist, Dr. McAllister is trained to prevent, diagnose and treat conditions affecting the urinary tracts of males and females, and the reproductive system of males. Common urological conditions include kidney stones, cancer, incontinence, prostate problems, urinary-tract infections, infertility and erectile dysfunction.
Dr. McAllister says he was drawn to the field because of the opportunity to provide care for a broad range of conditions and the rapid technological advances seen in the specialty. He has been trained in the latest urological techniques, including minimally invasive surgery and robotics.
“Urology is a broad field, but you can become pretty specialized,” Dr. McAllister says. “But you can’t really do that in a small region, and that’s what I like about practicing back in my home town. I am able to practice a broader spectrum of care.”
He says he started thinking about a career in medicine during high school, and had dreamed of attending Johns Hopkins, where some of the brightest minds in medicine practice and teach. “The Johns Hopkins urology training program is very well thought of across the country,” he says, “and I feel very fortunate to have been exposed to physicians who are considered the thought leaders in the field of urology.”
If you would like to make an appointment with Dr. McAllister, call Gorge Urology, 1805 E. 19th St, at 541-296-2201.