Dr. Kim Eickhorst is a Newtown mom of two and a dermatologist at Dermatology Associates of Western Connecticut. Dr. Eickhorst specializes in Mohs surgery, skin cancer treatment, and cosmetic procedures like Botox, fillers, vein treatments, and laser therapy.
Where are you originally from and how long have you lived in town?
I’m originally from Allendale, NJ, Northern Jersey. Western Connecticut called in 2009 when both my husband and I found medical jobs/training in our medical subspecialties somewhat nearby. We rented in Danbury for a short while, but were quickly lured to the New England charm and family feel of Newtown, coupled with its great public schools.
Children and Ages?
Reese (11) is in the 6th grade at Reed, and Leighton (5) just started Kindergarten this year at Middle Gate
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
I worked for a mouse, actually THE Mouse (Disney) before pursuing medicine. Disney offered me a handsome salary to do internal consulting right out college, so off to Orlando I went. I soon learned that spreadsheets and data crunching were no match for my interest in medicine, and so I applied to medical school and parted ways with Mickey.
Favorite thing to do with your kids…
I sent out a “phone-a-friend” request on this question and asked my kids for a more specific answer, because my favorite thing to do with me kids is just “BE” with them. It’s no surprise that they answered, “take pictures of us!” True. True. I am kid-photography obsessed, but only because I feel it is the only way to stop time. I’m always so afraid that I will not remember these precious moments as time leaves dust on the brain over the years. But, my favorite thing to do with my kids is be active together – – -active doing just about anything. We are an on-the-move family who loves to travel, adventure, play sports, bake, cook, and create. One of our most recent family “feats” was a cement top coffee table that my husband crafted and then allowed myself and the kids to pour. So fun because we all participated and created something we will have forever!
Favorite spot in Newtown?
My fave spot in Newtown best represents two of my loves: ice cream and countryside…Ferris Farm Creamery. It’s true. I have an ice cream addiction. But Ferris (besides my vote for the best ice cream of all time – – -and I am a connoisseur of the delicious dairy treat) embodies a rural escape from the world’s crazy where families and friends gather and partake in good old fashion yum! It’s one of my family’s favorite spots to go and celebrate just about anything.
What is your proudest mommy moment?
There are so many “proudest mommy moments” every day. So it is difficult to distill them all down into one instance. But a recent example does come to mind. I was shopping in Caraluzzis and tasked my two kids with a mission to find some parmesan cheese while I got milk in a different aisle. Before they completed the “mission” a random stranger came up to me quite urgently and sternly questioned, “Are those two your kids?” Thinking to myself, “Uh oh, what did they do?” the shopper diffused, “I just have to tell you they are the sweetest brother and sister I have ever seen together, and my high school students could learn a thing or two from their behavior.” Those “side” moments – – – when you’re not “present” and your kids step up and “represent” the way you have attempted to teach them, – – – those are the ones that bring me the greatest joy.
What is the one thing you’ve worked on that you are most proud of?
Balancing my career choice with being a mom.
Nope, I didn’t grow up thinking I wanted to be a doctor. Nope, no one in my family is in the medical field. As a matter of fact, I long struggled with the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” As a younger person, the only thing that I ever REALLY knew I wanted for my future, was that I wanted to be a mom. My “decision” to be a dermatologist came much later, and has been a “project” of perseverance and soul-seaching in the making.
Fear that I could not be both an excellent doctor AND mom, almost prohibited me from chasing a medical degree. I was told many times over by both male and female physicians alike, “that something would have to give;” I would not be able to be an A+ Mom and an A+ Doctor, simultaneously; even then, I knew accepting “less” in either department just wouldn’t work for me. I tried so very hard to “know” myself and listen carefully to my heart, but the heart whispers were so easily muted by the clanging fear of making a mistake by choosing a path I would regret.
Luckily, I pressed on and found a way to make it work, juggling my need for personal and professional fulfillment. Today, I am proud to say that I stayed the course and not only have a job I love and that I can call a career, but also a beautiful family that is my world. The fact that my head turns BOTH at the call of “Mom” and “Doctor,” is certainly a lifetime achievement in my book!
Ok so now, let’s talk dermatology…
What is the most important thing women can do to take care of their skin?
SUNSCREEN. Sunscreen usage should be use frequent, often, and early. It is the one tool in the skincare toolbox that applies to women and girls of all ages. And it pays dividends. Nothing ages our skin more than the collagen and elastin breakdown and DNA destruction caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun. So if skin cancer doesn’t scare you, then maybe wrinkles will. When searching for a sunscreen I recommend an SPF between 30-50, and a product that is higher in physical blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide versus other chemical sunscreens.
How did you end up deciding to specialize in Mohs Surgery? (Dr. Eickhorst is the staff Mohs Surgeon at Dermatology Associates)
I am a “fixer.” And this is what drew me to medicine. The human body has always fascinated me, but I thirsted to know more and have the knowledge to “fix” the body when things went awry.
I am also an artist. Creativity and the visual arts call to me. You name it. From photography, to sewing, drawing, painting, crafting, cooking, floral arranging, gardening, designing, to playing the piano, the arts are my love and my therapy. Using my hands to create and produce, has always delivered great satisfaction. I also love people and interacting and connecting with another human soul; it’s a natural high I can’t seem to get enough of.
Fortunately, with these inclinations, Mohs Surgery was a very natural choice for me in the field of dermatology. Daily I am tasked with using my medical knowledge to rid patients of non-melanoma skin cancers. I then also employ my creativity to “fix”/repair their wounds with cosmetic details and optimization in mind. And I get to do all of this, while trying to connect with my patients and make them feel comfortable and well cared for. Being a Mohs Surgeon is essentially a melting pot of my strengths and preferences, and for that reason brings me great personal and professional satisfaction.