DR. SONIA COMPTON &
DR. CHRIS COMPTON
AUTHOR Kathryn Vance
icture this: you and your husband are packing up the final
items from your house in Indianapolis, Ind. getting ready
to move back to Louisville, Ky. after a final fellowship year.
Movers and their trucks fill the driveway, boxes are scattered
about the house and front lawn and you’re juggling a laun-
dry list of last-minute urgencies. To top it off, you’ve got a
4-month-old baby snuggled up on your chest. Suddenly,
your husband is stat-paged to surgery. Nevertheless, you lead the
two-hour drive to your new hometown, baby gurgling along in the
back, moving trucks behind in a caravan. This is what it’s like to
move with a baby during fellowship year.
MEET THE COMPTONS
Dr. Sonia Compton considers the South her home but attended
Wayne State in Michigan for medical school. She headed back
south for residency where she completed both her medicine resi-
dency and pulmonary fellowship at the University of Alabama at
Dr. Chris Compton’s family moved around when he was a child
but has always considered Alabama his home, making UAB a natural
choice for him. That’s where he found his love for ophthalmology
– and more.
During fellowship there, Sonia taught classes for medical stu-
dents. While she was never Chris’ teacher directly, she did teach
many of his classmates, and their social circles began to overlap.
After several years as friends, the two started dating during Chris’
senior year of medical school. At that point, he was determining
where he would complete his residency, a decision that they knew
they would be making together. “That was when we finally said,
‘We’re going to do this together,’” he said. “It was pretty immediate.
Within a couple of months, we knew this was the real deal.” Chris
went on to complete his residency in ophthalmology, while Sonia
remained to teach and attend on the wards.
The two married in 2011 while living in Birmingham. Fast for-
ward to 2012. Chris had now determined he would seek a fellowship
in oculofacial plastics and orbital surgery, a very competitive spe-
cialty. The couple knew that his match could take them anywhere
across the country and were ready for the new adventure. “We had
just gotten married, and I said, ‘Wherever you match is where we
are going to go,’” Sonia said. “We didn’t really choose Louisville,
Louisville chose us.”
They visited Louisville several times to find their new home, as
well as a practice where Sonia could continue her career. The sup-
port systems that came into their lives upon moving to Louisville
would become crucial for their next few years during the fellowship.
“When I came here for my interview, it felt good here,” Chris said.
“And the preceptor, my mentor, my teacher, Dr. Bill Nunery, and
his wife Mathieu were immediately like a mom and dad. They took
us in, even rented us one of their rental homes. If there was ever an
issue, they would come over and help out.”
Sonia soon found her work home at Kentuckiana Pulmonary
Associates (KPA) and received support from the partners of that
company immediately when they moved here in June 2013. “In my
practice, one of the senior partners, their family really became like
another family,” she said. “We basically had two sets of new parents
right when we came here.” The support the Comptons would receive
from KPA over the next few years was instrumental in allowing the
two of them to grow and thrive.
Chris’ fellowship was uniquely structured; he would spend one
year in Louisville and one year in Indianapolis, working with Dr.
Nunery beginning in June 2014. During that year, Sonia commuted
back and forth weekly from Indianapolis to Louisville to continue
working with KPA. That June however, they received the ultimate
surprise. “One person we worked with in Indianapolis told us,