Gainesville, Florida

By Liz Funk | Live & Practice | Spring 2016

 

When you think of Florida, the warm climate and alligators tend to come to mind. In Gainesville, Florida, there is great local affection for the Gators—that is, the University of Florida’s athletics program—as well as the sunny weather that makes outdoor recreation, farmers markets and biking to work possible.

“I was born in Auburndale, Florida, between Orlando and Tampa. Most folks when I was growing up were Florida State, Miami or Gators fans,” says Ryan Nall, M.D. Nall attended the University of Florida, which he says “lays the groundwork for being a huge Gators fan.” Nall also completed medical school at the University of Florida, but left the area for his residency. “I did my residency at Beth Israel in Boston. I lived there for four years.” After a stretch of time away, Nall and his wife were eager to return to Florida and put down roots.

Now, Nall is a general internist with UF Health, the University of Florida health system. He and his wife have an 18-month-old baby and enjoy their community and friends in Gainesville.

“As a medical student, you see one side of Gainesville, centered around the university. Coming back, working here now, there is a strong community here of a lot of academic folks. People have their kids play together; it’s great.”

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Fans gather at the country’s 12th largest college football stadium—Florida’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, nicknamed “The Swamp.”

Nall is quick to cite his favorite thing about Gainesville. “It’s a nice college town that offers a small-town feel with the benefit of the culture provided by the university being here.” That, and the sports.

“I love the football games. A big focus of the town in the fall is football. It’s a lot of fun. I did medical school here and returned here after my residency. I loved cheering for the Gators as a medical student, and it’s been fun moving back here.” Nall says that the spirit around the Gators contributed to his dedication to the University of Florida medical community. “The sports colored my interest, and UF certainly is a great school and program. It’s a fun place to live and work and train.”

“The quality of life here is very high. Being a college town, the amenities we have are not common for the region. If you look around, it’s a very rural area except for Gainesville. We bring in people from all over the world for the university,” says John Pricher, executive director of Visit Gainesville.

“In the county, there are 248,000 people. The majority of those people are in Gainesville proper. The schools are astounding. The high schools have a magnet program. There are two different honors programs,” says Pricher. “Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa are all within two hours. If you want to visit those places, it’s easy.” Pricher says that part of Gainesville’s allure is its affordability. “Compared to those areas [Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa], we definitely have a lower cost of living. Even with the university taking so much land off the tax rolls, it’s still really affordable to live here.”

Pricher is also a University of Florida alumnus. “I came to school here and never left. I really like the pace of life. It’s a small southern town when you get down to it. People are friendly, and everything flows like the rivers and the springs in the area. It’s a steady nice pace, and things get done when they get done. No one is in too much of a hurry.”

Of course, a career with UF Health isn’t much like a lazy river. Says Arman Razavipour, a physician recruiter for the University of Florida College of Medicine, “UF Health is the Southeast’s most comprehensive academic medical center, and the only one in the U.S. with six health colleges and eight research institutes on a single contiguous campus.”

“There are 996 licensed beds among the five Gainesville hospitals in the UF Health system,” says Razavipour. “We’re building two new hospitals in Gainesville, a $415 million project, to meet the increasing demand for care. The UF Health Heart & Vascular Hospital and the UF Health Neuromedicine Hospital will deliver concentrated care to patients with some of the most complex health conditions.”

Razavipour says that he has been actively recruiting physicians and researchers across a wide spectrum of specializations, including oncology, diabetes, genetics, cardiology, neuromedicine, orthopedics and transplantation.

Another employer of physicians in Gainesville is North Florida Regional Medical Center, operated by HCA North Florida. North Florida Regional Medical Center is an acute care center with 445 licensed beds.

Outside of work, physicians in Gainesville have plenty of entertainment options beyond the stadium. “We have such a wealth of nature-based activities, whether you want to ride horses or snorkel in one of the cold water springs,” says Pricher.

Razavipour echoes this: “Gainesville is known for its natural beauty and many springs, lakes and rivers. The climate encourages outdoor activities and residents enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, bicycling and camping.”

Nall says that commuting to work by bike is common in Gainesville and that “they are in the process of completing a big bike trail.” Since 2013, the Florida Department of Transportation has been at work on an extensive trail construction project that will both create new paths for walking and biking within the UF campus and connect these bike paths with existing ones off-campus.

Nall also enjoys the dining and arts scene in Gainesville. “There is a growing food and restaurant scene with local chefs that are creating some wonderful places to dine. There is a microbrewery group that is developing; it will be the third microbrewery in the area. There is a wonderful farmers market downtown. [On] Wednesday nights there is a farmers market/art market. It’s a great place to go and enjoy everything that’s made in the area. Gainesville is often viewed as this small college town, but there is so much more happening in terms of art and public works, making it a better place to live and work.”

Nall says that his favorite part of the job is taking care of the patients and engaging with the people of Gainesville. “Everybody is unique and brings their own story, which is what makes this job so interesting and exciting. Now that I have been here for three years, you begin to connect with people as you get to know them over time. It’s invigorating.”

 

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Fayetteville, Arkansas

By Liz Funk | Fall 2016 | Live & Practice

 

Fayetteville, Arkansas

The northwest Arkansas area has experienced a growth spurt in the past 10 years; the population has grown, as have cultural offerings and job opportunities. Still, one thing remains the same: a devotion to the Razorbacks, the University of Arkansas’ beloved sports program.

“I moved here in 1987 after my residency training. Since 1990, there are 24 net new people living in northwest Arkansas every day. There is no prediction that that’s going to slow down any,” says Stephen Goss, M.D., president of Mercy Clinic Northwest Arkansas.

Goss was born and raised in southeast Arkansas. Inspired by his upbringing on a farm, he initially planned to become a veterinarian. He attended Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, where he pivoted onto a medical science track and met his wife. “The college was in my wife’s hometown, and both of her parents were professors at the university.” Goss attended medical school at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and trained in internal medicine and pediatrics.

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Finished in 1875, Old Main is a well-known symbol of higher ed throughout Arkansas.

Goss has two adult sons, both of whom were raised in northwest Arkansas. Goss says the area was a great place to raise kids and that virtually everyone who grows up in the area is a fan of the Razorbacks. “I have season tickets to the Razorback football and basketball games. It’s hard to grow up in Arkansas and not be a Razorback fan. Win, lose or draw, we’re for Arkansas.” Goss says that the University of Arkansas is undergoing a stadium expansion, in part to accommodate the growing number of locals who want to go to games.

This population growth has been great for Mercy Clinic Northwest Arkansas. “We have robust recruitment for Mercy in NWA. We still have plans for much more over the next several years. We’re becoming a really vibrant area in the Midwest. We’re the only community where they have seen a 25 percent growth rate. The closest place to that, in terms of growth, is Austin, Texas,” says Goss. In fact, Fayetteville’s growth appears to mirror the transformation that Austin has undergone, with new housing developments, more restaurants and young professionals moving there every day.

“Our town used to have a small-town feel, but now there are lots of new restaurants, lots of biking trails and many more amenities,” says Goss.

The bike trails are hugely popular among locals, according to Kym Hughes, the executive director of Experience Fayetteville. “The city trails really inspire people to live a healthy lifestyle. Many people are avid cyclists, and they enjoy the system here.” The Experience Fayetteville office is quick to mention the many accolades that Fayetteville has earned from national media, including Best Affordable Place to Live in America and the No. 3 Best Place to Live in America according to U.S. News and World Report in 2016. The city was also ranked No. 23 on Forbes’ 2015 Best Places for Business and Careers.

Dayna Pangle, a physician recruiter for Mercy, says that northwest Arkansas is widely known for its local economic growth. This certainly applies to her organization: “We are in the process of a $250 million expansion; we’re looking at adding 100 physicians in the next five years.”

Says Pangle, “Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas is currently 220 beds. We have approximately 135 integrated physicians and 60 advanced practitioners.” Pangle says that her main recruiting focus is primary care, and she is actively looking for primary care physicians. Mercy also has 10 clinics within the health system.

“We offer the opportunity to be part of a larger health care system,” says Goss. “Being part of a larger system lets you be a part of more things than if you were a stand-alone. We’re truly an integrated group of physicians. It’s not a hospital employment model. We have the whole organization integrated. We work together between hospital and clinic. We’re often looking at how we can solve health care issues as a system. We get lots of good traction and more robust programming as a result of that.”

For example, Goss describes their hybrid lab, where surgeons are able to perform a new procedure for the replacement of aortic valves. “Another thing we’ve gotten started is what we call our heartburn treatment center. We’re doing a better job diagnosing and giving better treatment for people with heartburn,” says Goss.

Pangle has another powerful talking point to use when she is selling job candidates on Mercy Hospital: “The University of Arkansas in Fayetteville—and the beloved UA Razorback football team—is just 20 minutes away.”

Al Gordon, M.D., is a family physician at FirstCare Family Doctors-North, part of the Medical Associates of Northwest Arkansas (MANA), a multispecialty group that provides an umbrella for about 75 physicians in private practice to share common administration, marketing and billing offices. Gordon not only helped start MANA, but he also was on the first primary care team for the University of Arkansas athletic department.

Gordon’s relationship with the Razorbacks started in 1994; today he is the head team physician for the University’s Department of Athletics and medical director of the graduate program in athletic training.

“As far as University of Arkansas sports, it’s almost like everyone in the state supports them, no matter who you might be supporting otherwise,” Gordon says. “To be an integral part in that, there’s a lot to be said for that. …The relationships that are formed with these student-athletes, that’s also a big part of why I do it. I have student athletes who participated 20 years ago who are still in contact with me. That means more to me than anything.”

An Arkansas native who grew up in the eastern part of the state, Gordon headed north to Fayetteville for residency after completing medical school in Little Rock.

“In Northwest Arkansas, we’re rather spoiled,” he says. “There are so many things to do, whether you’re a music, art or sports enthusiast. It’s just one of those kinds of areas, and we’re fortunate to have that.”

Another employment option for physicians looking in northwest Arkansas in the Fayetteville Diagnostic Clinic, also part of MANA. The Fayetteville Diagnostic Clinic offers a wide spectrum of specialties at one location, including internal medicine, gastroenterology, rheumatology and sleep medicine.

Or, consider Washington Regional Medical Center, a nonprofit hospital in Fayetteville that’s part of the locally governed health system Washington Regional. The system also operates several specialty clinics in the northwest Arkansas area.

“This is an area where there is a lot of opportunity, and we are recruiting a lot,” says Goss. “A lot of people think, ‘Arkansas?’ But they owe it to themselves to do a little research and see all that we have to offer. It’s a very unique place. We have a nice regional airport, and we’re well-located geographically. We’re not that far if you want to take a drive to Dallas, St. Louis or Tulsa. We have a great public school system, all four seasons, and lots of outdoor activities. It’s a great community, it has good people, and it’s a good place to grow your life.”

Says Gordon: “I like to visit areas all around this great country, but I’m always glad to be going home.”

 

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Madison, Wisconsin

By Liz Funk | Fall 2016 | Live & Practice

 

Having a major university in town helps make Madison a thriving cultural center in the Midwest, with eclectic restaurants, a variety of arts and culture offerings and, of course, sports.

Brad Schmidt, M.D., would be the first to tell you about Madison’s full range of entertainment options. He lives in Madison with his family and is the Medical Director of Inpatient Specialties at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital – Madison. SSM Health, an integrated delivery network, operates more than 55 medical group locations and three hospitals across south central Wisconsin.

“I have always been interested in science. I enjoyed combining the biology and science of medicine with connecting with people. I had done a little bit of research, but I missed the interactions with people. Working in a hospital was a way to put it all together. I started as a hospitalist, and (back) then it was a much newer and different field than it is currently,” says Schmidt.

Brad Schmidt, M.D.

Brad Schmidt, M.D., was born and raised in Wisconsin and is happy to call Madison home. “Our experience has been great,” he says. · Photo by Ueda Photography

Schmidt has enjoyed raising a family in Madison. He and his wife have three children, and they take advantage of the full range of entertainment options in the area. “With the university here there are many sporting events and cultural events. It’s a very high quality of life with a very engaged city. We like that, even though we have so many options, it has a smaller town feel.”

Appropriately, the Schmidt family members are sports fans. “We are diehard Packers fans. We also have season basketball tickets, which has been great over the past few years.” The Badgers are the University of Wisconsin’s Big Ten NCAA men’s basketball team. Schmidt says that there is strong local devotion to the team and that virtually everyone can get tickets to see them play: “In Madison, it’s generally pretty easy to get tickets.”

SSM Health physician recruiter Christopher Kashnig says that Madison’s attractiveness piques physicians’ interest, but what seals the deal is the culture at SSM Health Dean Medical Group, which has been around since 1904. “We tend to be innovative as an employer. We try new things. We try to be state-of-the-art. We pilot a lot of projects and we try to be cutting-edge,” says Kashnig.

For example, SSM Dean Medical Group was an early adopter of the patient-centered medical home. “We received a large grant from a major philanthropic organization to pilot a patient-centered medical home. We chose six of our primary care clinics for a pilot study; we looked at how to structure staffing and workflow.”

In total, SSM Health Dean Medical Group has more than 55 locations in 18 counties across Wisconsin. “We have four big clinics in the city of Madison, five clinics in suburbs of Madison, and the rest are in small towns across Madison. In Madison, we admit to St. Mary’s Hospital.” St. Mary’s is a full-service hospital with 440 beds.

“We are competitive financially with other offers around the country and around the city. We have Madison, and Madison sells itself. Madison has culture, it has sports, it has theater. When you have a big college campus and a state capital, there is a lot to do,” says Kashnig.

Judy Frankel, director of public relations and communications at the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau, moved to Madison from Long Island, in New York. She was pleasantly surprised by the extent to which Madison is a busy and bustling area. “I’ve been here for 15 years. Madison is an amazing place to raise a family. It has great public schools, and the university is world-class. The university brings in a lot of opportunities for families whether it’s lectures or performances, music and theater.”

For those interested in potential employment opportunities in Madison, another employer of physicians in the area is UnityPoint Health System, which operates a clinic in Madison, called UnityPoint Health-Meriter. UnityPoint operates a number of clinics across Wisconsin, providing family care, urgent care and emergency medical care.

The Wisconsin Office of Rural Health, which serves as a linchpin for a number of state-wide health promotion initiatives, runs a 25-year-strong physician recruitment program to place talented physicians in jobs across Wisconsin. Their nonprofit physician placement program works with clinics, hospitals and other health care providers to recruit physicians who are a match. According to the website, “Physicians placed into these sites promote and sustain a high quality of life, especially in rural, underserved areas.”

Schmidt was born and raised in Wisconsin, and feels good about his decision to stay in the state and build a life in Madison. “Madison has a state-of-the-art performing arts theater at the Overture Center. A family donated $250 million, so we have Broadway shows come through, everything from The Lion King to Stomp. We have a great farmers market with local food products; it’s fun to have those kinds of options and know where you’re getting your milk. That’s what creates the feeling that you have many choices with regard to restaurants, theater, comedy, performing arts, and still feel connected to the local community.”

This applies when it comes to sports, too. The University of Wisconsin basketball team may have the biggest fan base, but the university’s large sports program has something for everybody. “There are ways to enjoy sports beyond the high-profile teams you read about. I can take my daughter to a volleyball meet at the University of Wisconsin. I can take my son to soccer games at the University of Wisconsin.”

Says Schmidt, “Our experience has been great. We feel like our kids get a great education. There are lots of things in Madison that we can choose to have our kids experience. Overall, we love it.”

 

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Morgantown, West Virginia

By Liz Funk | Fall 2016 | Live & Practice

 

Whether you “bleed blue and gold” or you’re more of a casual sports fan, you’ll find scores of opportunities in Morgantown to enjoy the West Virginia University athletics program. For physicians, building a career with WVU Medicine offers flexibility and room for upward growth.

“I’ve always had an affinity for college towns,” says Taylor Troischt, M.D., the medical director of a pediatric clinic operated by WVU Medicine. “I like the vibe, I like the variety of culture. You get the amenities without the stress or expense of a big city. My wife’s family lives in Hagerstown, Maryland. We knew we wanted to be closer to her family. When we were looking for jobs, we started by looking at college towns within a two- to three-hour radius of where her family lives. WVU Medicine seemed to be the best situation; we could both find a job in the same field in the same area. It’s not always that easy.”

Taylor Troischt, M.D.

“I like the vibe, I like the variety of culture. You get the amenities without the stress or expense of a big city,” says Taylor Troischt, M.D., of living in a college town. · Photo by Rebecca Devono

“WVU Medicine offers a really good blend of career opportunities and a good lifestyle,” says Troischt. “We’ve had plenty of opportunities to relocate with other jobs and other areas; the fact that we’re still here says a lot.”

Troischt and his wife, who is also a pediatrician in the same office, had a fairly specific idea of what they were looking for in a community. In Morgantown, they feel they’ve hit the jackpot.

“I love college sports and college athletics. I don’t ‘bleed blue and gold’ like a lot of people who grew up here, but it’s always fun to see the teams do well,” says Troischt. “I love football. I love basketball. We love going to the games. It’s a lot of fun being part of a major athletic conference for basically every sport. It’s great that WVU is part of the Big 12.”

“The sports scene is huge,” says Katie Webster, the visitor services specialist at the Greater Morgantown Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Football season in the fall is an awesome time. Football is the pride of the school and the state. Around the whole state, you see people wearing WVU stuff. Whether or not they went to school there, everyone is supportive of the college.”

“Our academic flagship hospital sits adjacent to the WVU Football stadium and in close proximity to our baseball, soccer, swimming and basketball venues, so sports are never far away from reach and the minds of WVU Medicine employees,” says Deveran George, director of talent management and physician recruitment for WVU Medicine.
The WVU Medicine flagship academic hospital and Level I trauma center is Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown. “However, we are also part of a system with more than 12,000 employees and nearly $2 billion in annual revenues, the WVU Medicine – West Virginia United Health System,” says George. WVU Medicine – West Virginia United Health System also operates eight other hospitals and numerous clinics throughout the Morgantown area as well as the state of West Virginia and surrounding region.

Ruby Memorial Hospital is currently 532 beds, but an upcoming expansion, a 10-story tower addition, will bring the count to 646. Other hospitals and associated clinics in the WVU Medicine – West Virginia United Health System include Potomac Valley Hospital, Camden Clark Medical Center, St. Joseph’s Hospital, WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital, the WVU Cancer Institute, and the WVU Eye Institute.

Says George, “It is a time of unprecedented growth at WVU Medicine, so we are expanding and growing our footprint throughout the state and region to meet the needs of our patients, state and surrounding region. … As a result of this growth and demand for our services, we are recruiting for every department—primary care and specialty. Some of the needs and focus include heart and vascular, orthopedics, pediatrics, neurology, oncology, rheumatology and digestive diseases, to name a few.”

For Troischt and his wife, building careers with WVU Medicine and raising their children in Morgantown is a choice they’re very happy with. “It’s a good community where people look after each other. My kids make cracks at me about this: When we’re out, they’ll see me saying hi to four or five families. When you’re a pediatrician in a small town, you’re going to get to know a lot of people.”

Webster says that the Morgantown population tends to be outdoorsy and takes advantage of local outdoor activities. “During the summer it’s especially great, because there is so much to do outdoors. We’re right on a lake and a river, so there’s boating, fishing and water rafting.”

For those interested in a day trip, the great outdoors is just beyond Morgantown.

“Morgantown is surrounded by forests and parks. Within a couple of hours you can get to so many parks, waterfalls and caves. People like to hike and bike on the trails, especially,” says Webster.

Troischt’s son and daughter are both athletes, which increases the family’s affection for where they live. “My kids love Morgantown,” says Troischt. “They have a great peer group. If you put time and effort in, you’ll be amazed what kind of opportunities there are here.”

Troischt says, “My daughter is in the ninth grade; she does track, and she does ballet. She has been busy with her dance career. She’s had amazing opportunities to train with professional dancers downtown at the Metropolitan Theatre. My son is a swimmer and participates in a swim league organized by WVU. His coach is going to the Olympic Trials, and he does lessons one-on-one.”

“It’s really amazing what opportunities a small town like Morgantown can have,” says Troischt. “There is opportunity, charm, safety. You’re not going to find all that in a lot of places.”

 

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Skokie, Illinois

By Liz Funk | Live & Practice | Winter 2017

 

Skokie, Illinois, has the best of both worlds. It’s a suburb with top-ranked schools, but its public transportation makes it easy to travel to Chicago and all the attractions and excitement of the city. Skokie sits on the northern border of Chicago and is the first North Shore suburb north of city limits. Even so, living in Skokie doesn’t require a morning commute into the Windy City. Skokie Hospital and NorthShore University HealthSystem offer ample job opportunities.

Jonathan Pomerantz, M.D., grew up five blocks from Skokie Hospital, but he says the hospital has changed since his childhood. It was acquired by NorthShore University HealthSystem, and today Pomerantz works there as an ear, nose and throat doctor. “NorthShore really improved the quality, the safety and the prestige that Skokie Hospital had,” explains Pomerantz. “They took what I saw at the Skokie Hospital growing up, what used to be just one hospital, and made it a component of a really strong health system.”

Pomerantz was attracted to his specialty early in medical school. He says, “I thought it had a little something of everything. I like that you treat patients from birth to end of life. It’s a big quality-of-life field. Every time you fix a sinus infection or improve someone’s snoring or the quality of their sleep, you’re making their life better. It’s a feel-good field.”

With the exception of his undergraduate education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Pomerantz has always lived in greater Chicago—a sure sign of his affection for the area.

For Pomerantz, his wife and their two children, Skokie has proved to be a family-centered place. “It’s excellent. The schools are top-ranked in the state. The neighborhoods are beautiful. The people are friendly and diverse,” he says.

Howard Meyer, executive director of the Skokie Chamber of Commerce and a Skokie native himself, echoes this. He says, “Skokie is a very dynamic community. …We have over 90 languages and dialects spoken in the school district.”

It’s also one of the strongest in the state, featuring more perfect ACT scores than any other Illinois school district.

Skokie’s entertainment and amenities have been created with families with kids in mind. “We have probably one of the largest park districts for any north suburban area. Our forest district is forest preserve land. We are just finishing the last leg of our bike trails.” These trails connect to Chicago bike trails and extend all the way to Green Bay.

Those interested in relocating to Skokie will find ample opportunities. The Illinois Science + Technology Park is located in the center of Skokie and employs 3,500 people. NorthShore University HealthSystem is also one of the large employers in Skokie and greater Chicago.

NorthShore University HealthSystem is an integrated system with four hospitals: Evanston, Glenbrook, Highland Park and Skokie. There are almost 800 beds across the system. NorthShore also has a 900-physician medical group with over 100 offices, a research institute, and a foundation.

NorthShore is currently most heavily recruiting for primary care, urgent care and surgical specialists.

One perk of working at Skokie Hospital is its state-of-the-art equipment, and the hospital is constantly upgrading its facilities. Pomerantz says, “We have all brand-new operating rooms. They built a brand-new surgical intensive care unit. Everything in the operating rooms is state-of-the-art. We can have video conferences with colleagues in operating rooms at other sites. Students can listen to their surgeon instructor explain what’s going on. We have state-of-the-art instrumentation and new types of surgical techniques. It’s a very exciting place to work. Sometimes I find myself strolling into the other surgical subspecialties. It’s so exciting to see what’s going on.”

“We’ve made a lot of interesting advances in sleep surgery, and we recently performed our first tongue implant for sleep apnea. It’s a new technology where you can implant an electrode into the tongue to keep from snoring. We were the first in the state to perform that procedure.”

Pomerantz says the strength of the hospital’s integrated sleep program made that procedure possible. “We have sleep medicine consultants from neurology and pulmonary medicine. We work in a nice, tight-knit center to have comprehensive care for sleep surgery patients.”

 

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Hartford, Connecticut

By Liz Funk | Live & Practice | Winter 2017

 

Connecticut is home to some of the best private schools in the country. The Hartford area also has magnet schools, charter schools and nationally ranked public schools. With two large local health systems in the area, it’s no wonder physicians relocate to raise their families in Hartford.

Although she was born and raised in Pennsylvania and did her medical training up and down the East Coast, Lisa Gronski, D.O., feels right at home in Connecticut. She chose to move to Hartford after observing the area and the workplace while in training.

Lisa Gronski, D.O.,

Sports medicine physician Lisa Gronski, D.O., returned to Connecticut after fellowship in Florida. The Hartford school system was a big draw for her family. · Photo by Jane Shauck

Gronski explains, “I rotated through the different hospitals and health care systems during my time there. And so I spent a lot of time at Hartford Hospital and in the outpatient offices with Hartford HealthCare.” Today, she practices sports medicine with Hartford HealthCare.

Hartford’s family friendliness attracted her back to the area. She says, “That was another reason why we wanted to move back up to Connecticut. Where we live is a very safe area. There are a lot of activities for families to do together.”

Gronski and her family love the area’s outdoor offerings. She has a 4.5-year-old son and a 7-month-old daughter. “We like to be outside as much as we can, whether it’s ice skating, hiking, biking or fishing. We also like to take our son to various events throughout the state. There are lots of festivals and carnivals. There are beautiful parks to walk through. There is Elizabeth Park, which has a rose garden that has a pond where you can feed ducks, which my son loves.”

It’s not surprising Gronski loves being active outdoors. She was an athlete in high school and college, and these experiences influenced her career path.

She chose the University of Connecticut for her residency, and she later became chief resident. She completed a fellowship in sports medicine in Florida and moved back to Hartford for a job with Hartford HealthCare right after.

Hartford HealthCare operates five hospitals in the area, including Hartford Hospital, a teaching hospital in partnership with the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. The hospital has 867 beds and a Level I trauma center. Hartford HealthCare Medical Group operates 56 outpatient locations, employing 196 physicians and 84 advanced practitioners, who perform primary care, urgent care, specialty medicine and outpatient surgery.

“Working in this area is nice because I can access all the specialists in the tertiary care center to refer our patients,” says Gronski.

Another major employer of physicians in the Hartford area is Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center. Director of Physician Recruitment Christine Bourbeau says, “Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center has 617 beds. The Saint Francis Emergency Department works out of a new state-of-the-art, 70-bed Level II trauma and tertiary referral center with 85,000 visits. Hartford is the capital of Connecticut, and we’re a Catholic hospital, so we do take care of the uninsured. That’s our mission statement—that we care for everyone.” Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center is part of Trinity Health, which operates 93 hospitals, five of which are in New England.

Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center operates nearly 60 outpatient clinics, some of which are on site at Saint Francis. Bourbeau says, “When you come in to Saint Francis Hospital, part of it is a whole medical office building. We have various clinics within our hospital setting.”

Bourbeau is currently recruiting for psychiatry, internal medicine, maternal-fetal medicine, neurology, occupational medicine and OB-GYN. “The list goes on and on and on,” says Bourbeau. “It’s usually because we’re building. We’re continually adding new talent. As big of a hospital as it is, when doctors come and visit us, they see that it’s not so big you get lost in the system. It’s not intimidating for physicians. It’s a warm, embracing place where there’s a collegial atmosphere.” Perhaps this atmosphere is why Bourbeau herself has been an employee of Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center for 20 years.

When Bourbeau is recruiting physicians with families, Connecticut has a major selling point: education. “Connecticut has the best, best private schools. That’s what Connecticut is known for,” she raves. Some of the top private schools in Connecticut are Choate Rosemary Hall, the Hotchkiss School, Miss Porter’s School and the Taft School.

Connecticut’s public education also has locals singing its praises. Chip McCabe, director of marketing for the Hartford Business Improvement District, says, “The Capital Region Education Council (CREC) runs a lot of great of high schools in the Hartford region. Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts is world-renowned for arts disciplines. They have everything from creative writing to dance to music. There is a sports sciences high school and an aerospace and engineering high school,” says McCabe.

The schools were also a factor for drawing Gronski back to Connecticut. “The schools are top-notch and high-ranked throughout the country. That’s important because our son will be going into kindergarten soon.”

 

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Charleston, South Carolina

By Liz Funk | Live & Practice | Winter 2017

 

It’s likely you’ve spotted Charleston lately on top 10 lists of “Best Cities for Millennials,” “Fastest Growing Cities” or “Best Places for Freelancers.” Charleston has experienced a recent publicity boom and an influx of new residents. They’re drawn to the area by its fusion of southern hospitality and local urban flavor. Charleston is known for its great food, vibrant arts scene and colorful architecture.

“Boy, we’re getting a lot of people moving in and a lot of new docs,” says John Rowe, M.D., a family physician with Roper St. Francis Hospital System in Charleston, South Carolina. “The city is coming into its own. It has a good feel to it with all these new people coming in. New doctors and people find friends very quickly and get to be part of the community.”

Charleston is known nationally for its friendliness, and it’s also a popular place for parents to raise families.

“For families, people like the depth and variety it has to offer,” says Rowe. “We’ve got the beach and the water. We have a great parks system. We do get a little bit of winter, and it may last six to eight weeks. By May, the beaches are great.”

Rowe comes from a long line of physicians, and he felt drawn to family medicine. “My personality has always been to know a little bit about everything, and my personality likes a diverse group of patients and people. So family medicine was really the job description written for me.”

John Rowe, M.D.,

“New doctors and people find friends very quickly and get to be part of the community,” says John Rowe, M.D., of living in Charleston, South Carolina. Rowe attended medical school in Charleston and has practiced at Roper St. Francis for 15 years. · Photo by Richard Bell Photography

Rowe has practiced at Roper St. Francis for the past 15 years. Roper St. Francis operates three hospitals: two in Charleston and one in nearby Mount Pleasant. The system’s namesake, Roper Hospital, has 368 beds. Founded in 1829, it was the first community hospital in South Carolina. Roper St. Francis also operates more than 90 outpatient clinics and primary care practices in the area.

Rowe attended medical school in Charleston at the Medical University of South Carolina. “We have a great medical community in Charleston because of the history of these two organizations [Roper and the Medical University]. They’re separate, but they’re right across the street from each other. That adds a little interesting dynamic to it.”

Rowe says his alma mater does more than educate physicians. It also instills an affection for Charleston in medical residents. “It does help having that residency program here. They fall in love. Physician retention at Roper is pretty amazing. For a lot of docs who come out of residency, they want to stay. They park it. They’re happy, and they don’t leave. There are a lot of doctors in our community that have been here a long time.”

MUSC is working to grow its reach outside the hospital. Its primary care network has 13 primary care sites in Charleston and is expanding to include specialists within that network.

Misty Daniels, director of physician recruitment there, is a native Kentuckian who is new to Charleston. “You have the natural beauty: the beaches, the weather, the marshes,” she says. “You have the man-made beauty: the beautiful architecture, the gorgeous bridges. It’s a really pretty city. Then there is a lot of inner beauty in terms of the personalities of the people you meet and who you work with. I never have a problem pulling into traffic. People are always willing to let you cut in. It was one of the things that I didn’t think about in making the move, but it’s been a really nice thing to discover about Charleston.”

Patrick Cawley, M.D., is CEO for MUSC Health. He’s a native Pennsylvanian who has been on what he calls a “25 year Southward trend”: Scranton to D.C. to Durham and, eventually, Charleston.

“I’ve worked here at MUSC for almost 15 years,” Cawley says. “We have a great viewpoint when it comes to physician work. We’re pretty flexible when it comes to alternative hours or reduced hours if you need that. We have a lot of part-time physicians. At the same time, if you’re working full time, just about every department from my perspective balances that out pretty well. That’s the culture at MUSC and in Charleston—to make sure physicians enjoy life.”

Cawley also credits the area’s medical community with helping make Charleston a great place for physicians to live and practice.

“This medical community as a group is always trying to make care better,” he says. “That’s just a great environment to live in.”

Forty-six new people move to Charleston every day. “That number comes to us from the Realtors association of Charleston,” says Daniel Blumenstock, chairman of the Charleston Area Convention Center & Visitors Bureau. “My family and I can’t go out to dinner without running into someone we know. So if you have a physician moving into town, if they don’t have a network already, they can easily grow a network of people they’ve met that have similar likes. One person connects to another person. That synergy is a positive thing.”

“I absolutely love this area for raising my family,” says Rowe, who has three school-aged children. “It’s a great environment. I think every city or area has its benefits, but I wouldn’t have my kids anywhere else. There are definitely parts that are super family-friendly and young-family-focused. Mount Pleasant is an area that has affordable housing and an incredible elementary school and high school. Summerville is another one of those areas. Our community planners have really seen, as we grow our community, that we need to couple new housing with excellent education.”

Blumenstock says Charleston has a variety of top-notch educational options for children. “We have a lot of charter schools and magnet schools. We have charter schools that have a specialized focus, like the arts or technology. We have magnet schools that students test into. And we have an excellent public school system.” Blumenstock has three children, ages 17, 14 and 12. He says, “I’m living proof that it’s great to raise a family in the Charleston area.”

 

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