Moriah Heyen Tarpey, M.D., graduated from Gillespie High School in 1996, winning a $500 Partnership for Educational Excellence scholarship.
Moriah earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Louis University (SLU) where she had a double major in biology and theology. She went on to complete a medical degree at SLU School of Medicine in 2005. A residency through 2008 followed at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center Department of Pediatrics in Memphis. She now practices as a pediatrician.
“Though formal training time has passed, I still spend several hours a week reading and maintaining all the things I need to do my job on a daily basis,” she says. “I also continue to learn a lot from my patients, as well as from my own children. I’m thankful that this is an education that doesn’t come with a repayment schedule!”
Her first job after medical school was at LeBonheur Children’s Medical Center’s Emergency Department in Memphis. “There I was able to gain great experience in taking care of lots of sick little ladies and gents with sweet southern accents,” Moriah recalls.
Next she and her family moved to Grand Junction in western Colorado. “This part of my life brought experience in owning my own business as well as working with a larger private practice group. My most recent work in Grand Junction was with a non-profit organization called Marillac Clinic. I was their first pediatrician,” she says. “It was a great joy to be able to define children’s care in a loving and welcoming way for all comers, especially after having seen my patients in the past having to come and go due to reasons of finance.”
Recently Moriah and her family recently relocated to Yakima, Washington, where she is working in another non-profit organization: Yakima Pediatrics. “I am getting settled here and looking forward to becoming part of this community of need, just as in Colorado,” she says.
Moriah and her husband Jeffrey met as undergraduates at SLU, but they didn’t marry until they were halfway through their residencies in Memphis. “We had our first child when I was finishing my pediatric training, and we somehow survived without a grandma at arm’s reach!” Jeffrey, now a pediatric surgeon, had the childhood dream of living in Ouray, Colorado, which is what led them to western Colorado. When Jeffrey was 8 years old, the mayor of Ouray told him that if he became a doctor and practiced there, he could have a local building for $1. “This one interaction ... changed the rest of his childhood” and their early married life, says Moriah. “His story just speaks to how one encouraging interaction with a child can change his or her future.”
The Tarpeys are now the parents of “three healthy boys. We spend most of our free time keeping them out of trouble and keeping each other sane,” she says. “Our move to Washington came with plans for farming [chickens, sheep, bees, and hay] and learning to live off the land with the goal of showing our children that hard work and faith in God bring all the joy and satisfaction anyone could need.”
As to the long years of her medical education, Moriah says that when young people tell her they hesitate to undertake 7 to 10 years of post-graduate study, she replies: “It’s not like you’re holding your breath the whole time. You’ll get to meet amazing people, make wonderful friends, go anywhere you want to go, and ultimately have the opportunity to touch people’s lives deeply.”
For her scholarship, Moriah says: “Thank you to all those at The Partnership and congratulations on 25 years of encouraging the future of our youth.”
Moriah is the daughter of Marsha Heyen Bauer of Gillespie and the late James W. Heyen.