Dr. Kyle Howell is best known as a trusted Mammoth Hospital emergency room doctor, but for the past 13 years, he has also served Mammoth Hospital and his community as a chairperson on the Mammoth Hospital Foundation Board of Directors.
Dr. Howell’s is a classic Mammoth story. He came for a couple of seasons and ended up making a life at 8,000 feet in the Sierra Nevada. “We moved here with the idea of working and playing in the mountains for a few years, before settling down in a more traditional lifestyle,” says Dr. Howell. “But we fell in love with the community, and I really enjoyed the challenges of providing high quality care in a remote setting. It didn’t take long for us to realize that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives here.” Dr. Howell says the spectacular scenery and recreation opportunities played a part, but mostly it was his new neighbors and coworkers that made the choice to stay an easy one. “The people here are incredible. I had never worked at a place where everyone was so genuinely kind and cared so much about the quality of their work.”
It wasn’t long before Dr. Howell considered how he could give back. “I wanted to help the Mammoth Hospital Foundation board understand what kind of medical needs were important for our hospital,” he said of his decision to join the Foundation Board. He didn’t know he’d spend over a decade serving as a Board member, with four years as Chair. “Being part of this Foundation gave me the opportunity to connect and give back to the community that I care about. If I am being honest, being a part of the Foundation was as much about me as it was about helping others. But anyone who has spent much time on this planet knows that these things go hand in hand.”
One of Dr. Howell’s driving forces for volunteering so much of his time, he says, is the impact the Foundation has on funding state-of-the-art technology to serve the rural communities of the Eastern Sierra. “Everything we do, whether as an administrator ensuring we are financially sound, to a nurse giving compassionate care to a patient, we all share the same goal: Making sure people in the Eastern Sierra have the best medical care possible.” – Kyle Howell, MD
This hit home for Dr. Howell in 2022, when he had to have emergency surgery at Mammoth Hospital. “The surgeon offered to transfer me to a larger hospital with more specialty care options. I will never forget my thoughts in that moment. There was no way I wanted to be transferred unless it was absolutely necessary. Being able to get care in my own community was a massive relief during a very stressful time. I have been a doctor for over 25 years, and I never realized how important this would be. It was an incredible revelation for me and one that you can only understand by experiencing it.”
After almost 14 years on the Board of Directors of the Mammoth Hospital Foundation, Dr. Howell has decided to take some time to focus on his family and will be stepping down from his Board role. However, he is as committed as ever to supporting the Foundation, especially as the organization gears up to build the new North Wing to meet new seismic compliance codes. “It is going to be expensive,” says Dr. Howell, “but we will get there. Because we have a resource much more important than money: Smart, dedicated people who care about our community.”