Dr. Sarah Vlach, Endurance Athlete
Dr. Vlach takes advantage of this area’s amazing recreational activities and is a passionate skier, climber, and biker. She took up ultrarunning in 2010 and hasn’t looked back, completing and competing in numerous trail running events.
- Undergraduate: Wesleyan University
- Medical School: Mayo Medical School
- Internship: LDS Hospital
- Residency: Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Utah
- Board Certified in Sports Medicine
- Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
- American College of Sports Medicine
- American Academy of Medical Acupuncture
- American Academy of Pain Management
- International Spinal Intervention Society
- American Association of Electrodiagnostic Medicine
- American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
I was born in Michigan and grew up on the east coast and in the midwest. I have always been athletic and was an avid competitive gymnast as a youth, transitioning to other sports such as field hockey, ultimate frisbee and rock climbing in college.
Unlike many physicians, I did not know from birth or even youth that I wanted to be a doctor. I was an English major at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, mostly because I enjoyed reading and writing. I actually took very few science classes in college and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with plans to be an English teacher.
As I explored teaching and other career opportunities, however, I was drawn to medicine. I felt called to helping people towards health and healing, and I went back to undergraduate for a couple of years to complete all of my science requirements. At that time, I also undertook a year of research in pediatric cardiology at Boston Children’s Hospital.
I was very fortunate to be accepted into the Mayo Clinic for medical school. Mayo’s reputation is, of course, unsurpassed, and my training there as a medical student taught me to always demand excellence of myself in my care for patients. I am very grateful for that foundation of training and knowledge and was even able to travel to Nepal for a semester, where I did a high-altitude research project close to Mt. Everest base camp.
Four years of training in Minnesota, however, was enough, and I chose the University of Utah in Salt Lake City for residency training. I chose the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation (physiatry) as it combined my love of neurology and orthopedics and truly focused on restoring patients to health and to their best potential. My training in Salt Lake City was particularly strong in sports medicine and I served as team physician for the University of Utah men’s ice hockey team. I was also fortunate enough to travel to Denali and serve as physician for the 14,000-foot base camp there for a climbing season.
After completion of residency, I worked in private practice for 4 years in Oregon but missed the snow and the mountain west, and so I moved to Idaho Falls in 2009 to co-found Rocky Mountain Spine & Sport.
My goal as a physician is to restore people to as close to optimum health as we can get. I have a particular passion for treating athletes of all ages and enjoy helping masters athletes continue to perform at a high level even into their later years of athletics. I am passionate about the evolving field of regenerative medicine and believe in the body’s innate capacity for healing and regeneration.
I am equally passionate about my marvelous home in southeastern Idaho and enjoy skiing, ultrarunning, and wandering through the amazing wilderness that surrounds us.