Jon Slezak was going to pursue a career in economics.
He enjoyed economic history and financial systems. He studied economics as an undergrad at the University of Minnesota.
A career in economics was going to be the final piece of his career puzzle, that is, until a mission trip to Peru in western South America changed his perspective and his plans.
“That really solidified that I needed to do something down the medical route,” Slezak says of his Peru trip. “We set up a clinic in one of the more impoverished neighborhoods within the city of Lima. I worked with an emergency medicine physician and we saw a lot of people with common urgent care complaints. I also worked with an ophthalmologist and helped him with some procedures.”
Slezak’s trip revealed his true passion, treating others and providing them with medical care.
“Ultimately that was more of what I was interested in doing.”
Now, he’s one of the otolaryngologists with BayCare Clinic Ear, Nose & Throat in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Slezak steered his career path toward otolaryngology. He earned a medical degree from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
Between his first and second year of medical school, Slezak shadowed ear, nose and throat doctors in his hometown, Stevens Point. That’s when his interest in otolaryngology “really kicked off,” he says.
“I really liked the diversity of the patient population, the things they were treating and the flexibility that came with it. The personalities as well fit with my own.”
Medical school was a unique experience, Slezak says. “I was married the year before medical school started.”
Slezak and his wife met in Peru while he was on his mission trip. She worked as a translator. After his mission trip, the two stayed connected, built a strong friendship and were married nearly three years later.
“Then we had our first child between our first and second year of medical school and our second child between third and fourth year. A lot of folks will wait until after medical training to have children but I was already a little older starting medical school.”
After earning his medical degree, Slezak completed his internship and residency in otolaryngology at the University of Kentucky School of Medicine. During this time, Slezak and his wife had two more children.
Wanting to be closer to family, the Slezaks moved back to Wisconsin. Slezak began practicing with BayCare Clinic in 2020.
He sees patients in Green Bay and Kaukauna. He diagnoses and treats a wide variety of otolaryngologic disorders ranging from head and neck tumors to obstructive sleep apnea and sinus conditions.
Slezak offers individualized treatment plans for his patients. Surgery is typically a last option.
“There are certain conditions that are really only addressed from a surgical standpoint. One of the beauties of ENT is that there’s a lot of things we can treat effectively just with medication alone. So, it’s trying to find that balance of not being overly aggressive with surgery and doing the right thing for the patient and if that means medication is the best option, then that’s what we go with.”
When Slezak isn’t treating patients, he spends time with his family swimming, reading, snowboarding and duck hunting.