Mark E. Baxter, MD

Dr. Mark E. Baxter loves working with pilots — including those who fly their small airplanes as well as those who fly commercial jets around the world. And as a Senior Airman Medical Examiner certified by the Federal Aviation Administration, he sees many of them on a regular basis.

The aviation physicals conducted by Dr. Baxter are only part of his practice as a family physician at Tanner Clinic Layton, where he provides healthcare for patients of all ages.

Dr. Baxter, a native of Modesto, Calif., graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.S. in zoology, following that up with a master’s degree in aquatic ecology. As a physical scientist and chemist, he worked for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for two years, testing water in reservoirs from Flaming Gorge to Lake Powell.

Returning to school, he earned his M.D. from the University of Utah, where he received honors in family medicine and emergency medicine. He completed the Adventist Hinsdale Hospital Family Medicine Residency, Hinsdale, Ill. While there, he was named chief resident for two consecutive years.

Dr. Baxter was a physician when he joined the U.S. Air Force during the Gulf War. He was assigned to Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois and was stationed with a unit at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport. His last duty station was Hill Air Force Base. He remained in the Air Force Reserves for five more years.

Before joining Tanner Clinic in 2000, Dr. Baxter was director of urgent care at Ogden Clinic and was on the organization’s board of directors.

Dr. Baxter is married with three children. He’s a long-time volunteer in community and church activities and has worked with the Boy Scouts of America since the age of 17. He enjoys his participation in the Rotary Club, and in what spare time he has he loves to read, travel, participate in sports and play piano.

What patients are saying about Dr. Baxter

“Dr. Baxter and his nurse Abbey are amazing! Abbey always calls me back and helps work out any problems I run into.   Dr. Baxter is great at listening (hard to find these days) and always figures out  my complex issues. He is incredibly knowledgeable and has great bedside manner! I’m so glad I found him at Tanner Clinic! Thank you!” -Anonymous, in-clinic review card, February 29, 2016

“Dr. Baxter is a great man and a super doctor. We sure love him and are grateful for all he has done to help our family.”   —  Denise on Facebook, Jan. 5, 2015

“Fast and efficient. That is not usually the case when a whole family needs to be seen. Dr. Baxter will be our go-to urgent clinic doctor from now on out.”   — Anonymous, in-clinic review card, April 28, 2014

AMEs like Dr. Baxter Keep Pilots up to Snuff

Dr. Mark Baxter is among the physicians who ensure that pilots flying commercial jets are in their best shape.

As a Senior Aviation Medical Examiner, the civilian equivalent to the military’s Flight Surgeon, he is trained and certified by the Federal Aviation Agency to conduct the extensive physicals and eye tests required of pilots. Dr. Mark Kirkland and Dr. Michael Beus, also at Tanner Clinic Layton, are FAA certified as well.

AMEs like Dr. Baxter provide the annual health and eye exams for large-aircraft transport pilots, referred to as first class. He also gives the medical OK for second-class pilots, such as those who fly fire-fighting aircraft, and third-class, recreational pilots.

Dr. Baxter, who’s been an AME since 1992, says the requirements are very stringent for pilots, including heart monitoring and hearing. The physical includes a visual exam that is much more in-depth than a regular eye exam. “We test how well each eye sees, the eyes together, and at three distances,” he said.

— Tanner Clinic staff

Doctor Sees Exotic Illnesses, Thanks to Globehoppers

As a physician who specializes in travel medicine, Dr. Mark Baxter can promise he’ll never diagnose an illness as the dreaded gom-boo.

That’s because gom-boo only shows up in (fish) stories. However, he adds, “There’s plenty of stuff close to it with similar names.”

And physicians will likely see new exotic illnesses as more and more Utahns travel to tropical destinations.

As a long-time Air Force physician and FAA-certified Senior Aviation Medical Examiner who provides physicals for professional pilots, Dr. Baxter has seen many of the sometimes-painful exotic viruses and infections carried to the U.S. from Third World countries.

Dr. Baxter joined the U.S. Air Force during the first Gulf War and was assigned for two years as a physician based at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport. However, he saw more exotic bugs and viruses as a senior staff physician at Hill Air Force Base. “People are deployed all over the world, and you get a lot of strange things,” he says.

Now, he works with people who have tickets to go — on safaris or to Mexico or the Caribbean.

He offers the many varied immunizations required to access some parts of the globe, providing an international health certificate for the patient that is likely to be checked by immigration officials at the destination.

“That’s mostly what I do,” he said, “because luckily most people travel and don’t get sick.”

When they do, however, here are some of the more common illnesses that make their way back to the United States:

▸ Breakbone fever

This virus is also known as dengue fever, but breakbone is much more descriptive of what it produces: pain so intense it can be compared with a broken bone. He’s seen it especially in travelers to the Caribbean. Fortunately, he says, “It doesn’t do anything permanent. Nobody really dies of those; you just don’t feel really good.”

▸ Traveler’s diarrhea

This is what Dr. Baxter calls “gut stuff,” ailments most often caused by parasites. Dr. Baxter says he sees this malady among travelers who’ve returned from Mexico. “In Mexico, the water system is not nearly as good as ours,” he said. “In a lot of countries it’s just so hard and expensive to treat water.” His advice: Don’t drink water unless it’s in a sealed bottle.

▸ Malaria

Malaria can be a serious threat to those traveling to most parts of the developing world. Classic symptoms begin with a headache, but soon morph into high fever and body shakes, as well as abdominal pain and nausea.

Malaria is treatable using today’s sophisticated medicine. Unfortunately, malaria can wait a period of time before it makes a traveler sick. “Malaria can sometimes show up six months, a year after you’ve been exposed,” he said.

Malaria is a parasitic disease spread by mosquitoes. Because it’s so serious and widespread, travelers’ best protection is lots of bug repellant, as well as maintaining the routine of taking immunization pills before and during the trip, and for several weeks after.

▸ Viral hemorrhagic fevers

“There’s a number of pretty nasty viruses in Africa,” he said. Ebola fits into this category. But what Dr. Baxter sees are the much less serious types such as Rift Valley Fever, spread by mosquitoes. Symptoms are usually mild for this virus but can include fever, back pain and dizziness.

▸ Schistosomiasis

This long word translates in Dr. Baxter’s mind as: “Don’t swim in rivers in Third World countries.” The schistosoma parasitic worm, which lives in freshwater, attaches to skin or feet. Its symptoms include an initial rash (swimmer’s itch), as well as coughing and diarrhea.

“A lot of people swim in the Nile,” he says. But he adds with a laugh, “It’s just not a good idea.”

▸ West Nile virus

This mosquito-spread virus once thrived only in exotic locations, but since 1999 it has become common in the Western Hemisphere. Although the media alerts us when West Nile infections turn deadly, most cases go unreported and have only mild symptoms, he said. “It’s a virus that a lot of people get but don’t notice,” he said. “They just don’t feel good for two weeks.”

To put into perspective the danger of West Nile, Dr. Baxter compares it with the influenza virus, which has killed millions of people. “Influenza is much worse than West Nile virus, but we just live with it and most people do fine,” he said.

Selected Publications
  • “Health Care Reform,” article published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Practice, 1994