Whether she is performing surgery or empowering women through writing, Catalyst Medical Center founder Dr. Susan Mathison has one goal: to help others live their best lives. As Catalyst approaches a significant milestone this month, Dr. Mathison reflects on the center’s growth and looks toward the future.
In brief summary, what do you do?
I am a multi-passionate physician, surgeon, leader, writer, and mom with a mission to help my family, my team, my patients, and my community lead happier, healthier, more beautiful lives.
Doctor comes from the Latin word “docere,” which means teacher. I am a life-long learner, and want to share what I’ve learned through my medical training, my continuing education, and my experience with patients. My main specialty is Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery/Facial Plastic Surgery. I’m also Board Certified in Sleep Medicine and Integrative Medicine. I do otoplasty, blepharoplasty, rhinoplasty, laser surgeries, and sinus and septal surgeries. I do facial reconstruction for skin cancer defects. I also do pediatric surgeries including ear tubes, tonsillectomy, and tongue tie release.
I see patients at my Catalyst offices in Fargo, Jamestown and Detroit Lakes. I also see patients in the ER and hospital at Essentia. I do some surgeries in my office at Catalyst, but most are outpatient surgeries at The Center For Special Surgery. I also operate at Sanford and Essentia.
I’ve also had a blog, PositivelyBeautiful.com, for almost 10 years, and I wrote for The Forum for many years. This blog is morphing into an updated site called Modern Medicine Women soon. We are all healers in our own way. Stay tuned for more on that!
Why do you do what you do?
I love helping others in so many ways. I feel energized and passionate about helping others lead their best lives. I want my patients to feel empowered, vibrant, optimistic, beautiful and healthy. I feel that I have a calling. This goes beyond a job, or a clinic. My work and my life are very intertwined!
What do you love most about your work?
I love the variety of ways I can help and the variety of patients I see. I love training my staff to help deliver Catalyst Care. We are all about authenticity, natural beauty, grace, luxury, compassion, service, and trust.
What was your inspiration for starting Catalyst Medical Center?
I worked at a large local hospital system with wonderful physicians and support staff. But I wanted to offer a more personalized approach and to incorporate The Catalyst Integrative Approach to Beauty and Wellness. We have grown significantly and have the most experienced team in the region.
Catalyst Medical Center is celebrating 20 years this September! Looking back, what are you most proud of?
I think the launch of our beautiful facility was a major highlight. We built an eco-friendly clinic and medical spa filled with light and local art. I’ve heard it called a “Temple of Wellness.” We have a huge, colorful library, and a wonderful space with a Health Pros Personal Training Center. The other highlight is our team—an incredibly caring, dedicated, and brilliant group who strives to take incredible care of our patients.
Who is your hero and why?
My parents, Mark and Marge Mathison, are my heroes. We call them the M&Ms. They are down-to-earth, hard-working folks. My dad was a surgeon, and my mom a nurse and an artist. So you might say my professional calling was partly genetic! They have always been generous beyond their means. They raised a tribe of seven kids who are good people and are true to themselves. They have 15 grandkids and one more on the way.
Mother Teresa is also a hero. My favorite quote is: “Love cannot remain by itself – it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action, and that action is service.”
What does the word “Ladyboss” mean to you?
I draw on ideas from one of my online mentors, Sasha Shilcutt, MD, who wrote an awesome book called “Grit and Grace.” As a Ladyboss, I am feminine and formidable. I want all of us to have the freedom to be our best, whole, complicated selves, and to be paid what we deserve. We are bossy, caring, fearless, vulnerable, relentless, forgiving and authentic. We are Women supporting Women, not cutting them down.
What is the best career advice you have ever received? Or, what’s the best advice you have to offer?
I would say that advice is a mosaic of conversations with colleagues, coaches, and incredible friends over the years. My Artist’s Way book club and my Wonder Women and my long time Shanley friends have been a source of love and connection.
Resilience is key. Life has peaks and valleys for all of us. I have survived embezzlement, infertility, miscarriage, two hip replacements, depression and divorce. I have experienced the joys of my professional calling, adoption, service, dancing, travel, teamwork, exchange students, and new love.
What are your passions or hobbies outside of work?
I love hanging out with my son. He is so funny and talented. We love to swim. We also share a love of art. We’ve done several art projects this summer from Unglued and we also enjoy museums. I have great memories of taking his first grade class to The Plains to see the Andy Warhol exhibit. We also got to meet the famous artist Star Wallowing Bull.