Episode 57: Dr. Lara Briseño Kenney (She/Her) of Leeton Medical - Leeton, MO

Direct Primary Care Doctor, Hematologist/Oncologist

Dr. Kenney is standing up.
Dr. Lara Briseño Kenney of Leeton Medical - Leeton, MO

Dr. Lara Briseño Kenney is a board certified Internal Medicine physician with additional specialty training and board certifications in Hematology, Oncology, Hospice and Palliative Care. Her practice is Leeton Medical.

Born and raised on the West Coast, she first moved to the Midwest in 1997 to attend Medical School.

After graduating from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine, she entered into active duty in the United States Army and completed her Internal Medicine training at Ft. Sam Houston. During her 7 years of Army service she deployed several times in support of the Military Police Corp.

She returned to the University of Kansas City to complete additional years of specialized medical training in Hematology Oncology and met and married her husband. In 2014 they moved back to his hometown of Clinton Missouri, to raise a family.

Patients have described her as smart, down to earth, honest, and practical. She prides herself in taking a true personal interest in caring for each and every patient.

Apart from medicine, her other interests include delicious food, family, fellowship and everything to do with horses.

Dr. Kenney shares how she is able to run a Hematology/Oncology practice driven by the DPC model. She shares how even in her small town her practice continues to be the dream practice she always envisioned!

Resources Mentioned by Dr. Kenney

Live DPC Events:

DPC Alliance Masterminds: Click HERE to register.

Use code MYDPCSTORY for $50 off registration to any of the events!


- The Official Guide to Opening Your Own Direct Primary Care Practice by Dr. Doug Farrago.

- Sparks Start Fires: A Guide for Dreamers Who Are Also Doctors by Dr. Julie Gunther

- Direct Primary Care: The Cure To Our Broken Healthcare System by Dr. Paul Thomas


- The Direct Specialty Care Alliance

- The FB Groups "Specialists for direct care" and "Direct Specialty Care Alliance




Leeton Medical in pictures

Dr. Kenney's clinic in Leeton, MO. She purchased the home (see HERE for the original Zillow listing) for around 19K in the foreclosure sale.She has done creative things with her space including turning a walk in closet into an exam room. It is a renovation she continues work on and, as mentioned in her interview, she has a beautifully painted blue door and the shutters she made one clinic day... because she can.



Welcome to the podcast,

Dr. Kenny,

I am happy to be here.

You are from the west coast originally, and then you ended up in the Midwest going to medical school.

So I definitely could relate to that journey is my journey out to the Midwest was for the same reason to go to Creighton. So can you tell us how that will happen? That you went from the west coast to the middle.

Sure. Did your family think you were crazy too? Yeah, so actually

my parents were like, there's nowhere else.

You can go. You must go to Creighton because Laura Freberg, she was one of the administrative assistants when they went out to Omaha and they checked out Creighton to see, you know, what is this Creighton business about? Why are we paying so much for her to go to school here? They were completely lost in the hallway and Laura Freberg walked up to them and she was like you look lost.

Can I help you? And so when they got a taste of that Midwestern, oh yeah. Yup. And so they were like, yep, you're going to Creighton period.

deal done. Take care of my baby. You're going to green. Yeah. Yeah. I um, I was born and raised in California and then we moved to Oregon.

And I knew from a very early age, I wanted to be a doctor. I don't really remember ever wanting to be anything else, honestly. And so when I was in high school, like many of us, I was overachiever, straight A's, all of that stuff. And I applied to a number of programs that had guaranteed and I pretty much had my heart going to write with a guarantee to Baylor.

Because similarly, when we went to visit, it was like awesome experience. And I really liked Texas And I really thought that's what I was going to do. And then my. I was on a flight to Alaska for one of his hunting, fishing trips. I don't know what, and in the back seat pocket of the airplane that he was sitting on, he found the brochure for the university of Missouri, Kansas city six year program.

And he brought it home from that trip. And he said, you know, I think you should apply to this. It's only six years. It's direct. You don't have to worry about getting into medical school. You don't have to worry about all the strings attached and everything. And gosh, if I remember it was like days before the deadline, I scratched it out.

I didn't even type it. And you know, all the other, other applications have great attention to detail and proofreading and typing my mom typed them up and all of these things that would, I just got down something on paper and got it in before it was due. And the brochure said something about only accepting 10 out of state a year.

I don't know something small. And I thought whatever. And then a couple months later I got a packet saying that they wanted to interview me. And I flew out with my mom to Kansas city. Having never been farther east than probably New Mexico, maybe. Both sides of my family are from California.

Everybody I know lives in California. So my mom and I fly into Kansas city similar experience. Everybody's super nice. They pick us up from the airport. Everybody's just salt of the earth. And we got to the interviews and everybody had their parents with them. Cause we were all, 17, 18 year old kids and my mom.

Very I'd assume, you know, my whole family knew none of us there. We're all pretty like humble working class and everybody else was from out of state as well. And they all had both parents with them and they were super assertive. And like my kid, this, my kid that my mom didn't say a word. I was just kinda like, all right, whatever.

I mean, They had like full business suits on, I think I was in a turtleneck and a pair of black jeans. If I remember correctly, totally differently. And I just, went through the thing, did my interview. I told my mom, I thought that it was a good interview, came home and I got offered the spot and none of them did.

So I guess it was meant to be. But that's how I ended up in the Midwest. I came out for medical school. There's no other reason for me to come out here and then now I live here, but that's another

it's amazing how things happen for a reason.

And, the idea of us Californians moving anywhere else. I still think about wow, like I never would have expected to leave California for any reason. And then, the heart of the Midwest is truly like I if I could choose a second place where I didn't care, if I had blood family or not, I would move to superior Nebraska or Blair Nebraska I've promised.

And I go back

to Texas, but my husband's absolutely not. And COVID, it's pretty much sealed the deal on one, for sure. For sure. I love food.

Does the medical school still offer a six-year program?

Yeah. They've restructured the curriculum a little bit.

I think so when I was in the program and they accepted about a hundred a year that, plus, or minus a dozen or so they're chartered like the way they were able to get funding for an additional medical school in the state was they really had to focus on in-state students. And they're supposed to deliver like a certain amount of primary care to rural Missouri.

So that was why they limited the out-of-state students rather severely. And the, we did our first year, our second year, and then when we were going into our third year they offered the spots for the attrition, we'd lost like a dozen people or so. And they filled some of those spots with traditional students, but usually it was like two, three, it wasn't, it really wasn't enough to change the character of the experience.

I went back there for fellowship when it had changed quite a bit. It's much more of a mix of some six year and more traditional students. They've pivoted some for whatever reason, but,

I'm glad you mentioned that though, because especially if there's somebody who knows a person that is looking to apply to medical school, to mention that as an option is really, yeah.

It was really a good thing because, had I ever heard of Creighton university? Heck no. Before, before my friend told me, Hey, they, for me, they have a post-bac program. So that's how I ended up at Now you are an internal medicine doctor by training and then did fellowship in hematology, oncology.

So I want to ask when you were in training and when you were in residency, when you did your fellowship, what was that life like for.

So part of the thing that was unique, give it up steer for program. I think there's a few other in the country that they all do their own thing at the time that I was at young Casey, the emphasis was on a heavy clinical.

So we started clinicals our first year. So we had clinicals for six years and very heavy in internal medicine. So every single year I had two months of inpatient internal medicine, and then we had a continuity clinic with a one day a week clinic with the same doctor for that whole time we had, we were set up in like small teams.

So when I graduated, I was on an army scholarship actually. And I went straight into active duty in the army. I moved to San Antonio, Texas, and that's actually where I did my internal medicine residency. I was fortunate that I had excellent internal medicine, clinical experience as a student, I would say more than many of my peers.

I was essentially already functioning as the intern by the last two years of medical school, because that's just the way the program was set up like the hierarchy. And so when I went into insurance ship, I felt quite comfortable. And then in addition it was it's the biggest hospital in the army with the highest acuity level.

So I got really stellar drain I think really second to none. I feel like I got an amazing internal medicine background, especially for inpatient, tons of procedures, lots of high-acuity, lots of critical care. Lots of autonomy, that was before some of the workout restrictions. So we were like the only people in the hospital, a fair amount of time which is priceless, honestly, when you're training.

And then on top of that the war was going on by then in Afghanistan and Iraq. So we were also getting additional training because we were, we knew we were probably going to be somewhere by ourselves having to do things that were at the edge of our scope of practice or completely outside of it.

Morning reports included like expedient just to them sessions and things that typical internal medicine programs don't have to do. So I, I feel like I got a really excellent training luckily,

again really. Points to bring up, especially like for myself, I went to an unopposed family medicine residency, where similar to your experience, definitely nothing is as intense as yours But the idea that the family medicine doctor is the only doctor to do XYZ or to see XYZ. I definitely encourage people if they're early on in their medical school training or if they're, thinking about what am I going to do after if you like Fullscope care, definitely look for an unopposed program or, talk to residents about the scope of practice that they get.

Because I remember at one hospital I was at, it was an opposed hospital where the internal medicine doctors and the family medicine doctors got the bottom of the barrel when it came to pathology, like the basic things that we would see in clinic rather than things that would actually be challenging because those went to all the specialists.

So that's really great that you had that training and that exposure to autonomy. I want to go there because. Now you're a direct care physician. And so when you were doing your internal medicine training, and then you did fellowship, did you maintain autonomy when you did fellowship?

So I finished my internal medicine residency, and then I continued on active duty for former years. I deployed twice during that time. So I was in a situation where again, I was autonomy. I mean, I was in chain of command, but I was often the only position. And so that really shaped how I practice both ways.

I think, luckily I was prepared to practice that way, because that was my background. I had been fortunate that I had all that clinical experience in medical school. And we were given a lot of autonomy as students. And then again, in, in internship and residency, and then in my professional career as an internal medicine doctor.

So I spent two and a half years of those four, essentially oversee that's a lot. Autonomy and medically, there was no one else to tell me what's the weather I was doing it right. Or whatnot. And then when I was stateside, I was staff and teaching hospital and not for me, so right. I was very comfortable with that.

I got out and I went back to the university of Missouri to do my fellowship. And I had a fair amount of her time with this fall fellowship program. The director knew me since I was a student. In fact, she was one of the first inpatient rotations I ever did. That's when I fell in love with among cology I'll all those years ago and it was coming back to it.

And I think she'd always thought pretty highly of, I think she respected names. It was weird cause I was, I was certainly learning hemo, but I'd already been in Italian internal medicine

and Laura, you mentioned that you fell in love with hematology. And so you know that when those little bits of our history leak out and we fall in love with things so hard. Like for me, it's family medicine and for you. hematology. When you said that, what did you find in your training that made you fall in love with hematology?

I mean,

I really like internal medicine to be honest. I probably could have gone into any of the subspecialties in child life and I'm perfectly happy. Typical to the stereotype, I just nerd out on that stuff.

It's so fascinating, the physiology, the pathology, but hematology, oncology, and really the oncology part of it. What spoke to me was the interpersonal skills necessary to do that? Not all hematologists oncologists have those interpersonal skills, but that was a strength of mine and something that it was part of how I was raised, talking about difficult subjects then and