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McKenzie O'Brien ‘12 - VCHS Alumni Physicians in the Field

Updated: Jan 10

McKenzie O'Brien: Traversing An Inspiring Path

Dr. McKenzie O'Brien, a member of the VCHS Class of 2012, has traversed an inspiring path from the Vail Valley to becoming a distinguished medical professional in Haugesund, Norway. Her journey is a testament to the transformative power of education, dedication, and the support she received during her formative years.


After graduating from Wheaton College in 2016 with a Bachelor's degree in Applied Health Sciences, McKenzie's academic focus on naturopathic medicine took an unexpected turn during her junior year. An opportunity to shadow an athletic trainer with the women’s soccer and football teams at Wheaton ignited her passion for medicine. Encouraged by this experience, she set her sights beyond the United States to explore global perspectives in the medical field.


Beyond her graduation from Wheaton College, McKenzie embarked on a journey of exploration in Poland and Norway, immersing herself in different facets of medicine. During this time, she became fluent in Norwegian and eventually graduated from Poznan University of Medical Sciences in Poznań, Poland. Her rigorous training included a two-year residency program with rotations in gynecology, psychology, internal medicine, surgery and orthopedics, and family medicine.


McKenzie currently lives in Haugesund, Norway where she works together with her spouse at Haugesund hospital. Additionally, she dedicates part of her time as a family doctor at Vindafjord Legesenter, a Family Doctor Clinic.


Reflecting on her time at VCHS, McKenzie expresses deep gratitude for the teachers and coaches who shaped her journey. She specifically mentions Camille Cooper as a pivotal influence, crediting Mrs. Cooper with instilling in her a love for reading and helping her recognize her academic potential. McKenzie also acknowledges Mr. Doug Bruce for teaching her the value of discipline and hard work, emphasizing that doing things right and putting in the effort can lead to success.


In offering advice to current students, McKenzie stresses the importance of hard work over grades. She urges them to embrace exploration, reflecting on her own high school days by saying, "If you had known me back then, you wouldn't have ever imagined that I would become a doctor." Her parting words echo the sentiment that real-world experiences often surpass what can be learned from a textbook:

"Get out there and explore the world, and you will experience more than you ever would in a book!"

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