Network Under 40
Join Network Under 40 on June 21 at AJ’s Good Time Bar, country music star Alan Jackson’s restaurant and bar, located in the heart of downtown Nashville. With
As he saunters up the steps to the leafy, serene patio of Germantown’s Steadfast Coffee, Dr. Travis Stork doesn’t put out the vibe of a jet-setting television personality. In fact, the handsome emergency physician-turned-talk show host lacks any pretention whatsoever, dressed comfortably in gym clothes and gently leading a 16-year-old fluff-ball of a dog (named Nala) toward a wrought-iron two-topper.
“In my mind, I don’t think of myself as a guy who’s on TV,” he says with a friendly shrug after settling in at the table.
But he is, in fact, a guy who’s on TV—co-host of The Doctors and former star of ABC’s prime-time dating juggernaut, The Bachelor. Chatting quietly with Nashville Lifestyles, though, he seems to be describing someone else’s life. Stork’s public career might be based in Los Angeles, but he lives here for one big reason: so he can let “that guy” go and get back to being just “Travis.”
Arriving in Nashville in 2003 to complete his residency at Vanderbilt, Stork had low expectations for the city. After his arrival, however, he quickly fell in love with what he says still felt like a small town. He was raised in small towns all over the Midwest and moved back to Colorado (where he was born) for a time following his residency, but, before long, he returned to Nashville to settle in the booming borough of Germantown—he hopes for good.
“I just missed Nashville,” he explains. “Now that it’s evolved, in a strange way—other than the traffic—I think I’ve fallen in love with it more because there are now pockets for everyone. Whatever your desires are, you can find a community.”
Community has been a life-long theme for the physician that has continued into his TV career. He and his co-hosts discuss the latest medical trends and issues, offer opinions on health-focused developments, and address the concerns of their viewers, often on a one-on-one basis. He never intended to become a doctor—or a TV star, for that matter. But after graduating from Duke University and becoming an actuarial scientist in Washington D.C.—which he describes as, “quite frankly, a pretty nerdy profession”—he realized something was missing.
His days were spent helping big businesses make important decisions, such as whether or not to insure a massive pool of customers or what level of retirement benefits to offer. While he loved the numbers and the research, he longed for face time with regular folks. In his free time, he began volunteering at a Washington free clinic, and he eventually earned his medical degree from the University of Virginia.
“I just was never meant to be someone who was sitting all day in front of a computer,” he explains. “Even though I was good at math, I feel like that [volunteer clinic] experience showed me that you can use science and also have the personal element.”
Describing himself as an adrenaline junkie, he still practices in a Nashville-area emergency room (his colleagues call him “Doc Hollywood”), but, these days, most of his energy is focused on The Doctors, which just finished filming its eighth season and has been picked up for at least two more.