For Medical school, you attended the Tufts University School of Medicine. Tell us about why it made the top of your list:
Aside from its reputation for world-class academics and diverse clinical experiences, TUSM is located in the heart of one of my favorite cities – Boston! I had lived in Boston previously and felt a strong pull to return there. It also happens to be my father’s medical school alma mater and he likes to tell the story of how I was born during his first gross anatomy exam and was thereafter referred to as the “anatomy baby.” Perhaps I was destined to return someday.
Can we also hear more about your undergraduate degree at The Art Institute of Boston with the field of study being photography? Is this something you still are interested in?
I was interested in medicine at an early age. When I entered college at Villanova, I started to explore other interests and frankly didn’t feel ready for the commitment of a traditional path. Once transferring to the Art Institute, formal training in the arts, specifically photography, allowed me a new perspective on how humans live, function, and navigate through the complexities of their circumstances and environments. The practice of medicine requires one to look beyond the obvious, think critically and find creative solutions to a problem. For me, art school was the perfect setup for a career in medicine. Photography and art, in general, are still a big part of my life. If only there were more minutes in the day, I would spend them under the amber lights in my darkroom.
You completed your residency at the Carolinas Medical Center, please share with us how/why you end up choosing that location?
One of my childhood friends moved to Charlotte so I scheduled a student rotation at CMC mostly to spend time with her. But it didn’t take long for me to see an incredible talent and academic prowess of their residency program. Ultimately, it simply felt like it was where I was supposed to be.
Tell us more about how you came to choose the field of medicine?
I grew up with parents who served others. My father was a physician and my mother was a teacher. Medicine was that calling for me.
How did you choose Emergency Medicine as your specialty?
Emergency medicine requires one to know quite a lot about everything rather than knowing everything about one thing. The variations in pathology, as well as the public service aspect, complement the demographics; I wanted to interact with patients of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds.
Please share with us your journey of becoming a Medical Director.
Early in my career I was asked to step in as an Interim Medical Director during a hospital contract transition. I wasn’t sure how I felt about taking on a leadership role but approached it as a challenge and learned a great deal about myself in the process. After the birth of my first child, I decided to rejoin the leadership team as the Assistant Medical Director. Moving into the role of Medical Director 2 years ago, corresponding with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, provided a baptism of fire. However, it galvanized my resolve to further the aims of a department through a variety of conditions.
What do you enjoy most about your day-to-day practice?
The wide breadth of pathology and patients. I also really enjoy the camaraderie between the entire ED staff.
What led you to practice with MEMA?
MEMA was awarded the contract at NHRMC last year and the stability of the group and its leadership was important during that transition. The company’s values and mission align with those of our providers and hospital which makes for a great partnership. We are thrilled to be a part of the MEMA family.
Has there been one patient, staff member, or caregiver story that has stuck with you?
There are many. One particular patient, I recall was a gentleman who presented with life-threatening heart arrhythmia. His wishes were to die peacefully, and he requested that I not treat him at all. He was lucid and his son was present. During our conversation this rhythm occurred, he became unresponsive and his heart stopped. After a brief moment, he gasped, opened his eyes and told me “That was beautiful. It was like being on a rollercoaster and I wasn’t scared at all.” I asked if there was anything I could do to make him more comfortable. He said, “I’d love a cold beer, but I suppose you don’t have one of those.” Shortly thereafter he died while holding his son’s hand.
The EM provides the rarest, privileged glimpses into the extraordinary moments in some patients’ lives and at times allows one to intimately witness a patient’s last moments and final breaths.
What are some of the biggest challenges of your practice, for a clinician practicing in the emergency department?
What makes EM great likewise constitutes its challenges. The combination of making critical decisions, in (semi)controlled chaos, while establishing an earnest caring connection to each patient, is the art form we all seek to master.
Are you a member of any associations, societies, or organizations?
I am a member of the Academic College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and I am also a member of the Yoga Alliance.
What about Charlotte excites you?
I’m an east coaster at heart and love spending time outdoors. The weather in Charlotte is unbeatable. I’m still able to experience the beauty of all 4 seasons but enjoy the longer spring and fall that NC has to offer. Also, Charlotte is a big city with a small-town feel. The culture, entertainment, dining options are complemented by the expansive greenways and public parks. I absolutely love living in Charlotte.
Do you have any hobbies, interests, secret powers that are unique to you?
I have been a certified yoga instructor for 20 years and have taught seminars on wellness, mindfulness, and yoga incorporating my traditional medical background.