Amy Delong works within and for her tribal community at the Ho-Chunk House of Wellness in Baraboo. She pursued medicine as a way to find more fulfilling work for herself and to give back to her community.
Born to teenage parents, Delong grew up in a Navy family, moving between Virginia, Connecticut, South Carolina, and Michigan. Her parents divorced when she was in fifth grade, and Delong watched her mother struggle to overcome alcoholism and to put food on the table.
In college at the University of Michigan, hoping to find a more fulfilling career for herself than her mom had, Delong took science and premed courses, just to see if she liked them. She also began working at a hospital through Youth Corps, where a young female physician took her under her wing. Delong learned to draw blood and was later hired by the hospital as a phlebotomist.
Graduating with a degree in biology, Delong worked for a pharmaceutical company in New Jersey while she applied to medical schools.
“The lab director asked me to become permanent, to stay in the lab. I let her know that I had been accepted to Medical School, but because I was enjoying my life so much at that time, I said I want to defer going for another year,” says Delong. “And she said no. She’s the one who said, ‘No, you need to go to Medical School. You need to go to school now.’”
Delong went to medical school in Duluth, Minnesota. Finishing her degree, she completed a residency in family medicine and a pediatric fellowship in adolescent health. She also earned in a Masters in Public Health.
After ten years in Minnesota pursuing her education and training, Delong returned to Wisconsin to work for her tribal community at the Ho-Chunk House of Wellness in Baraboo as a primary care physician, medical director, and public health professional.
This story was produced by Finn Ryan for We Are Healers