Tell us about which medical school you attended and why it made the top of your list.
I attended Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, formerly The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Osteopathic Medicine. Being from NJ, I was familiar with the school, which had a good reputation and great tuition rates for in-state students, so it was at the top of my list.

Where did you complete your residency?  How/Why did you end up choosing that location?
I completed my residency also at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine. I rotated through the EDs there as a medical student where I met the program directors and core faculty.  They treated their residents like family, which was very important to me. I also knew, eventually I wanted to practice in a community hospital setting, so this residency location and experience prepared me well for that environment.

Tell us more about how you came to choose the field of medicine?
My mother was an Emergency Medicine Physician, so I grew up around medicine and from a young age, I wanted to become the same. In fact, I can’t think of a time I ever considered another career. At age 13, I started volunteering in the ED as a candy striper, and when I turned 16, I became an EMT and volunteered on the ambulance, which gave me a lot of experience prior to going to medical school.

Could you tell us more about being a Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) and how that influences your practice?
I wanted to go to a DO school because I like the overall philosophy of treating the whole patient, rather than just the disease. I feel my training as a DO helps me to show more compassion and empathy towards my patients.

What do you enjoy most about your day-to-day practice?
Truly, I enjoy helping people and making a difference in their lives. Emergency medicine is hard, and every “thank you” sticks with me. I like to think I treat every patient the way I would like one of my own family members to be treated. In the ED, we are dealing with people when they are at their most vulnerable, and it is a privilege we have the opportunity to meet a patient and within minutes, instill enough confidence to have them trust us with their lives. That is something almost no other profession can say.

What led you to practice with MEMA?
MEMA has a great reputation, but they didn’t have a lot of available positions when I first began looking, so I took a job with VEP Rowan in Salisbury. When the VEP contract was bought by USACS, the bid for our hospital went out to multiple other groups and we were fortunate enough to have MEMA win the bid! I am very much looking forward to working as part of the MEMA ED team and continuing to provide quality care.

Please share with us your journey of becoming an Assistant Medical Director.
I never specifically planned to seek out a leadership position once I became an attending physician even though I always held leadership roles through internship and residency including chief intern and chief resident. The full responsibilities of a medical director can seem overwhelming. However, becoming an assistant director was something I became interested in  if the director was someone I could work well with.

When Dr. Hays was appointed medical director at Rowan, I was thrilled, and her leadership qualities stand out. When she approached me about becoming assistant director, I could not have been happier and gladly took the position. She is an amazing director to work with and I continue to learn from her.

As an Assistant Medical Director, tell us more about what that role entails and what do you find most gratifying about leading your team?
My role as assistant medical director is to help our medical director as much as possible.  I am involved in a lot of our quality metrics and audit all STEMI, Stroke, and Sepsis charts, to try and determine what we can change to do better. I also handle our patient grievances, attend weekly patient experience meetings, and sit on the peer review committee for the hospital, reviewing cases for appropriateness. Our team at Rowan is fantastic and I find it most gratifying to be able to show the strengths of our group to the rest of the hospital and hospital system.

Are you a member of any associations, societies, or organizations?
I am a member of the American Osteopathic Association.

Have you received any awards or been recognized from your peers?
During residency, I won the Intern of the Year Award, and at the end of residency, I was awarded the “Foxhole Award”, which was the essentially the resident of the year award. It had been named by our program directors who determined the recipient by answering the question of, “If you were stuck in a foxhole with someone, who would it be?”.

If you could share any advice for other physicians who are interested in stepping up to leadership positions, what would that be:
Always lead by example. If you show true leadership potential, the leadership positions will come to you, and you will not need to seek them out.

What about Charlotte excites you?
I absolutely love living in the Charlotte area. We live in Mooresville, on Lake Norman, and moved to this area after residency because we love it so much. Quality of life is very important, and I wanted to live somewhere we could enjoy, on the water, without having work be our entire lives. This is an amazing area to raise children with great schools, nearby hiking, and close to an international airport so we can continue to travel.

Do you have any Hobbies, interests, secret powers that are unique to you?
I absolutely love to travel, and I love scuba diving. The year before medical school I spent a year in Roatan, Honduras, volunteering in a clinic (I was an EMT at the time) and while down there, I became certified as a divemaster and worked at a dive shop on the weekends so I could dive for free since (I wasn’t making any money).

My other passion is volunteering. Pre-covid, every summer I spent a few weeks as the volunteer physician at Victory Junction, an overnight summer camp for children with serious illnesses. The goal of the camp is to let “kids be kids”, even if they are dealing with serious medical conditions, and it is one of my favorite places in the world.

Since Covid, I have been much more limited with my hobbies, and have not been able to travel or volunteer much. However, I have a 3-year-old and a 2-month-old so there is plenty to keep me busy!