Dr. Kesler received her medical degree from the University of South Dakota. She did an Internal Medicine internship at Maine Medical Center, after which she spent three years as a U.S. Navy Officer. She subsequently completed a preventive medicine (occupational medicine) residency at the HealthPartners St. Paul Ramsey Medical Center with a corresponding MPH from the University of Minnesota. She served as faculty at the Minnesota residency program before joining the faculty of the University of New Mexico in January 1999. Dr. Kesler has the following leadership positions at UNM: Director, Center for Occupational and Environmental Health Promotion (COEHP); Program Director, Public Health and General Preventive Medicine Residency Program; Medical Director, UNMH Occupational Health Services.
Dr. Kesler is currently working on several areas of research interest within the area of preventive medicine. Occupational and environmental medicine is one area of focus. One project of interest is the occupational and environmental exposures that occurred with uranium mining in New Mexico. She oversees the Radiation Exposure Screening and Education Program which works with the community of former uranium miners. Dr. Kesler works with the New Mexico Department of Health on a project that is aimed at increasing the physician reporting of diagnosed occupational injuries and illnesses with the intent to use the data to direct prevention programs. Dr. Kesler also has interests that are educational based. She is program director of the UNM public health and general preventive medicine residency program. Associated with that responsibility, she currently has funding for the program itself and is pursuing additional funding related to providing innovative elements to the residency program. She is interested in assessing and improving the knowledge of primary care residents in preventive medicine topics such as obesity and nutrition with the intent of improving the general health of patients.