In high school, many couldn’t tell the two sisters apart. Identical twins with long red hair pulled up in ponytails on a basketball or volleyball court.

When one of them made or missed a shot, the blame or credit often landed on the wrong sister. Then Carmen Quatman found a way to distinguish herself.  

The Quatman sisters posing with a basketball

She got a haircut. Her identical twin Katie kept hers long.

Even now, their different haircuts help set the sisters apart as their careers crisscross frequently on the campus of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Carmen Quatman, MD, PhD, is an orthopedic surgeon and associate professor of Orthopedics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine; her twin, Catherine “Katie” Quatman-Yates, DPT, PhD, is a physical therapist and an associate professor in the Division of Physical Therapy at the College of Medicine's School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

It's a natural link — Carmen and Katie, orthopedics and physical therapy. Injuries require both specialties. So the twins decided to do research together, studying how to prevent falls, especially among the elderly. Working with paramedics and clinicians across the country, they aim for solutions across a community to bring down the rate of falls and associated deaths among older adults.

Carmen Quatman, MD, PhD, and Katie Quatman-Yates, DPT, PhD say their work overlaps frequently on the campus of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.
The Quatman sisters’ (Carmen Quatman, MD, PhD, and Katie Quatman-Yates, DPT, PhD) work overlaps frequently on the campus of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.

Last summer, their only other sibling, Lauren Teuschler, MEd, began working at Ohio State as an education resource specialist at CATALYST, a research hub in the Ohio State College of Medicine focused on improving health care. Now she works closely with both sisters on a new statewide effort to train doctors, nurses and other medical staff to improve the quality and efficiency of care that Medicaid patients receive. Teuschler and Dr. Quatman-Yates are leading efforts to decide the curriculum for the training.

With the sisters’ jobs overlapping so much now, they’ve been dubbed “Quatman Cubed.”

“I cannot believe that I not only get to do work I love, some days it even aligns so that I get to do that work WITH my sisters,” Teuschler posted on Twitter recently. She included a picture of the trio of sisters just back from a work meeting. “Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be working with both my sisters,” Teuschler says.

The Quatman sisters with Brutus

Branching off only to merge again

If you draw a line representing Carmen’s career path and another for Katie’s, the two lines would form waves that come together, separate and go together again.

When the twins left their home in Cincinnati for college to play volleyball on scholarships, they went together. They moved into the same dormitory suite with a couple of other teammates at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, now PennWest Edinboro.

At first, both sisters were biology majors, but summer internships led them in different directions. Carmen worked at a sports medicine lab; Katie worked for their university’s athletics department helping recruit athletes. After they returned in the fall, Katie changed her major to exercise and sports management; Carmen stuck with biology. At graduation, the sisters seemed to be on different paths.

Katie began working full time at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs before returning to school for a doctorate degree in sports management at Ohio State. Meanwhile, Carmen was in medical school at the University of Toledo. It was the first time the twins had lived apart for longer than a summer break.

But their paths would converge again when Katie began a doctoral program in physical therapy at the University of Toledo, where her twin was finishing a medical degree as well as a doctorate in biomedical studies.

Carmen Quatman, MD, PhD, and her twin sister, Catherine “Katie” Quatman-Yates, DPT, PhD, earned doctorate degrees together at the University of Toledo.
Carmen Quatman, MD, PhD, and her twin sister, Catherine “Katie” Quatman-Yates, DPT, PhD, chose divergent careers but ended up earning doctorate degrees together at the University of Toledo.

Another unexpected turn in their career paths came a few years later. On the very same day, Sept. 1, 2017, the identical twins were offered contracts for different faculty positions at Ohio State. Katie became an assistant professor teaching in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Carmen was recruited as an orthopedic surgeon-scientist.

A surprise? Yes, but then again, that’s the way their career tracks have gone: together, apart, together again.

“It was a very special chance to work as teammates again, just as we had growing up,” Carmen says.

Being just a few buildings away from each other, the twins decided to pair up for a research project. They started with a study on preventing falls among people who were repeatedly calling 911. It was a litmus test: Could they work well together, not as roommates in college, nor as teammates on the volleyball court, but as colleagues? They discovered they had a few things to work out. Colleagues often expected Dr. Carmen Quatman to lead the studies because she has a medical degree.

“In meetings sometimes, I had to say, ‘Look I can lead this, too,’” Dr. Quatman-Yates says. 

Her twin obliged.

Never rivals

As children and now as adults, the twins say they can’t remember a time when they competed with each other. They credit their father for that. He was a triplet and knew the potential for multiples to be competitive. So he encouraged his daughters to celebrate each other’s wins and help each other through hurdles.

“I think this is how we were really lucky. I don’t think we ever viewed it as a race,” Dr. Quatman-Yates says. “It’s not my nature to be competitive. We can all win. It’s not a zero-sum game. I can be successful, and you can be successful, and we can cross the finish line together.”

Carmen Quatman, MD, PhD, (left) and her twin sister, Katie Quatman-Yates, DPT, PhD, at Carmen’s home in Columbus.
Carmen Quatman, MD, PhD, (left) and her sister, Lauren Teuschler, MEd, at Carmen’s home in Columbus.

As such, the twins have crossed many finish lines in their research together — about 20 studies in all. 

“The Quatman sisters are deeply passionate and motivated clinician-scientists,” says Jessica Wiseman, clinical research coordinator for the Department of Orthopaedics at Ohio State.

“They excel at thinking outside the box and at using evidence-based practices to bring about meaningful improvements to institutions, communities and nationwide.”

In their work together, the sisters have found they have similar interests, yet different fortes. Dr. Quatman contributes her expertise in treating injuries down to the level of the molecule; Dr. Quatman-Yates specializes in the business side of health care, putting together budgets and teams, empowering people to bring about system-wide improvements. And Teuschler is savvy about developing curriculum and training people.

Carmen Quatman, MD, PhD, and Katie Quatman-Yates, DPT, PhD, at the Jameson Crane Sports Medicine Institute at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.
Carmen Quatman, MD, PhD, and Katie Quatman-Yates, DPT, PhD, at the Jameson Crane Sports Medicine Institute at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.

The three sisters’ drive and generosity with their expertise has been a great benefit to Ohio State, says Ann McAlearney, ScD, MS, an associate dean for Health Services Research in the College of Medicine and executive director of CATALYST.

“All three sisters really care about making the world a better place for patients and for the entire health system,” she says. “Each sister is very self-motivated, and they’re also so nice, inclusive, generous with their time and their mentoring.”

When students seek one of the twins out as a mentor, they get a two-for-one deal. They can tap into the expertise of the other twin. Carmen teaches Katie’s students a crash course in interpreting scans; Katie helps train Carmen’s medical students on research techniques.

More in common than different

Recently, all three sisters gathered at Dr. Carmen Quatman’s downtown condo, and, sitting around the kitchen table, they talked about their synergy.

Carmen Quatman, MD, PhD, Katie Quatman-Yates, DPT, PhD, and Lauren Teuschler, MEd (from left to right).
Carmen Quatman, MD, PhD, Katie Quatman-Yates, DPT, PhD, and Lauren Teuschler, MEd (from left to right).

“For most of my life, I would not have considered me to be like you at all,” Teuschler, 37, says of her sisters, both 4 ½ years older than her.

“And yet at this moment, I’m having more things come to me about what we have in common than how we’re different.”

Besides all being tall and redheaded, they’re women of action, driven to have an impact. They like the same books about education, strategy, leadership and bringing about change in organizations.

But growing up, Teuschler wasn’t quite as much in sync with her older sisters. Right after the twins left for college, Teuschler set out to prove to people she was different from them. At the time, their age gap seemed vast.

“I just felt like fundamentally we were nothing alike,” Teuschler says smiling.

Photos of the sisters as they were growing up.

The twins were athletic and high achievers. In high school, they had the same GPA, the same SAT and ACT scores. When Teuschler had chances to take an Advanced Placement class, she’d turn it down if she thought it might carve too much time into her socializing. 

Then while in college at Bowling Green State University, she developed an interest in special education and went on to pursue a master’s degree in education at Xavier University.

“We went to different schools for the first time, so I no longer thought about if other people had expectations of me based on my sisters’ achievements,” Teuschler says.  

A loss that brings them closer

When their father was diagnosed with brain cancer in early 2020, the three sisters and their mother moved into Dr. Quatman’s condo. There, they could be closer to where he received cancer treatment at The James Cancer Hospital.

eresa and Jim Quatman, and their daughters Lauren Teuschler, MEd; Katie Quatman-Yates, DPT, PhD; and Carmen Quatman, MD, PhD
Teresa and Jim Quatman, and their daughters Lauren Teuschler, MEd; Katie Quatman-Yates, DPT, PhD; and Carmen Quatman, MD, PhD.
The sisters looking at a photo of their father.
The Quatman sisters lean on each other as they navigate the loss of their father.

    “Our dad gave the three of us the greatest honor in allowing us to be there for him,” Carmen says.

    Together with their mom, all three sisters helped care for him at Dr. Quatman’s home, where the many floor-to-ceiling windows offered them natural light even on the grayest of days.

    Through all the difficult conversations and decisions about his quickly declining health, the sisters leaned on one another. And in doing so, they discovered they could help one another move forward, even after the most enduring of losses.

    At the ocean and in the mountains

    While their jobs bring the sisters together quite often, they spend a lot of their days off together as well. They go to one another’s homes. They call at least once a day. They vacation together. This summer, they’re headed to Cape Hatteras, where Teuschler will celebrate her 10-year wedding anniversary.

    If she’s not on vacation with her sisters and their families, Dr. Quatman has found her mom to be a good travel buddy. She lives only one floor down from her.

    “We have a nice codependency,” Teuschler jokes about her family.

    With so much shared, it’s not surprising the three sisters’ professions have braided together. But all three say that synchronicity was unexpected — a gift — something their father would have been proud of.

    When you give to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, you’re helping improve lives

    We’re committed to making advancements in research, education and patient care that will have an impact throughout Ohio and the world.

    Ways to Give


    Related websites

    Subscribe. The latest from Ohio State Health & Discovery delivered right to your inbox.


    Get articles and stories about health, wellness, medicine, science and education delivered right to your inbox from the experts at Ohio State.

    Required fields

    Tell us more about yourself

    By clicking "Subscribe" you agree to our Terms of Use.
    Learn more about how we use your information by reading our Privacy Policy.