<span class='image-credits'>Ben Tierney</span>

Born and raised: Physician Natalie Kroll on returning home to practice

Natalie Kroll’s arrival in Midland was notable – she was the first one in 1979 at 12:26 am.

Kroll was delivered with the official title of New Year’s baby, or the first baby born at MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland, the flagship Medical Center of MidMichigan Health, in any given year. The title is a very special one, but it’s also an honor for the doctor delivering the baby.

Now a practicing physician with MidMichigan Physicians Group, a subsidiary of MidMichigan Health, Kroll’s story came full circle for the first time in 2019, as she was the lucky one on duty in the early hours of 2019.

Natalie Kroll is a practicing physician with MidMichigan Physicians Group, a subsidiary of MidMichigan Health.

“All deliveries are unique, but this year was really special, because I have never had the opportunity to deliver the New Year’s baby before,” says Kroll. “Being a New Year’s baby myself, it is something I have always wanted to do.”

Kroll, now a Midland-based obstetrician/gynecologist, (OB/GYN), never thought she would move back to the city she grew up in. But when her father told her about an opportunity with MidMichigan Health, she decided to give it a chance.

“When I came back with my family, I fell in love with Midland all over again,” says Kroll.

For Kroll, who lived in Midland until she left for college, the city brings back fond memories of growing up that she shares with her family. Now that she’s back with her husband and five kids, Kroll appreciates the school system and the fact that she’s able to be close to her parents.

“Compared to other places I have lived, here in Midland I have the opportunity to share a lifetime of experiences from the area I’m working in," says Kroll.

After graduating from Midland High School in 1997, Kroll attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She went on to attend medical school at Michigan State’s Lansing campus and then completed her residency at the Ascension Genesys Hospital in Grand Blanc.

But ten years ago, she made the move back to her home town and she’s here to stay.

“We love raising our family here,” says Kroll whose children range from twin five-year-olds to her oldest son who is 13.

“I think my patients really appreciate that I’m a real person to them throughout the process,” says Kroll.

These days her family spends Sundays jetting between church services, Sunday school and sporting activities around town. In the summer, the Kroll’s love heading to the baseball diamond to catch a game, and in the winter, they look forward to hockey. When not watching her kids in various sporting activities, Kroll runs races with friends, enjoys downtime with her husband and spends time with a core group of women who help keep her grounded.

“I feel very connected to the community and our health system for the long haul,” says Kroll. “Compared to other places I have lived, here in Midland I have the opportunity to share a lifetime of experiences from the area I’m working in. I truly feel fortunate to be able to share that with my patients and to learn from theirs.”

Dr. John Lieberman, one of Kroll’s colleagues, sees her connection to the community manifests in her work.

Kroll delivered her first New Year's baby in 2019.

“She’s a great addition to our group,” says Lieberman. “The fact that she grew up in the area, makes her an asset to the health system.”

Lieberman and Kroll have been working together at MidMichigan Health for almost a decade, but they go back even farther. They both were working in Grand Blanc together, though Lieberman was a few years ahead in his medical journey. When Kroll started exploring the possibility of moving back to Midland, Lieberman was part of the recruiting process. Again, things have a way of coming full circle.

Kroll’s children take full advantage of the many activities offered in the area, participating in basketball, hockey, baseball, tennis and track. But this isn’t new to her because as a child, Kroll was pretty involved in sports and school herself. She specifically loved playing tennis at the Greater Midland Tennis Center and being part of student council at Midland High School.

“One of the neat things about Midland is that even though it’s somewhat of a smaller community, our health system continues to grow and provide the best care for our patients throughout the region,” says Kroll.

“Student Council kind of opened up my world,” says Kroll who described herself as a little bit of a shy student. “It gave me the confidence to interact with people I would have never had contact with before and that has helped me in numerous ways in my career.”

While she hasn’t yet shared any of the same teachers in Midland Public Schools with her children, the kids have run into coaches that knew their mom when she was growing up.

“They kind of chuckle about it all,” says Kroll of her children’s reactions. “They like hearing stories about me from coaches or other people in high school.”

Kroll tries to pass on what she’s learned over the years to her patients whenever she can. In the world of OB/GYN, she often comes across parents who are in her age cohort and new to the community. When they have questions about what it’s like to grow up in Midland, the school system or community, she is able to offer some insight.

“When I came back with my family, I fell in love with Midland all over again,” says Kroll.

“I think my patients really appreciate that I’m a real person to them throughout the process,” says Kroll. “I’m not necessarily their lone care provider, but someone who has had similar experiences and is raising their own family here.”

While she loves that local, hometown feel that is characteristic of Midland, Kroll is also grateful for the ways in which MidMichigan Health is evolving and expanding.

“One of the neat things about Midland is that even though it’s somewhat of a smaller community, our health system continues to grow and provide the best care for our patients throughout the region,” says Kroll.

She thinks this will be her and her family’s forever home, but when asked if there is anywhere she might want to live besides Midland, she jokingly replies, “Only during the long winters or the bitter cold days do I dream of somewhere a bit warmer.”

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MidMichigan Health is a non-profit health system, headquartered in Midland, Michigan, affiliated with Michigan Medicine, the health care division of the University of Michigan. MidMichigan Health covers a 23-county region with medical centers in Midland, Alpena, Alma, Clare, Gladwin, Mt. Pleasant and West Branch. In addition to its Medical Centers, MidMichigan Health also offers both home health care and physician services, and has a strong commitment to medical education. MidMichigan Physicians Group provides urgent care and medical offices in more than 30 specialties and subspecialties including cardiology, hematology/oncology, orthopedics, vascular surgery, family medicine and more.

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