Hometown: La Grange, KY
Family: Chris, Teddy, Raleigh, Rosie, Tank
Hobbies: Crossfit, Reading
Education: Loudoun County High School in Leesburg, VA, B.S. from Virginia Tech in 1992, MPH from Johns Hopkins University in 1999, MD from Eastern Virginia Medical School in 2003
Why did you become a doctor?
My family physician, Dr. Stephen Napolitano, inspired me to become a family physician. Several life events, including the terminal illness of my uncle, and my natural affinity toward helping other people also figured prominently in my decision.
Why did you choose this particular specialty?
I chose family medicine because I enjoy continuity of care and forming relationships with people. Primary care is also the most challenging and broad of all specialties, so I knew I would never get bored. I chose addiction medicine out of necessity when I realized the extent of the opioid epidemic in Kentucky. I am a problem solver.
Is it different than what you thought? How?
What I do now is exactly what I thought I would be doing. However, my first 12 years of practice (including residency) were disappointing. Within the traditional healthcare system, I did not get to spend much time with patients, and I spent most of my time entering data, charting, and complying with various requirements from the government and insurance companies.
What is the biggest misconception about your field?
That we become doctors for the money. There are so many easier ways to make money.
What is the one thing you wish patients knew and/or understood about doctors?
That we are human.
What is your opinion of managed care and how will this affect you and your practice?
Managed care does not save money nor is it good for patient care, which is why I switched to Direct Primary Care.
What’s one thing your colleagues would be surprised to learn about you?
I mourned for 30 days when Prince died by listening only to Prince in my car.
What’s the best advice you ever received? Who gave it to you?
My husband advised me to become certified to prescribe buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid addiction.
What is your motto?
My motto is “be the change you want to see in the world”
If you weren’t a doctor, what would you be?
Who are your heroes in healthcare?
My heroes are all of my colleagues in the Direct Primary Care movement, who are taking a stand and trying something better in order to preserve the patient-physician relationship, particularly Dr. Josh Umbehr, owner of AtlasMD, who consulted for me at no cost when I was starting Bluegrass Family Wellness.
Who are your heroes in real life?
My heroes in life are my husband, who has been in law enforcement since 2002, and my patients, who are in recovery from addiction.
What’s the last good book you read?
Unbroken Brain by Maia Szalavitz
Favorite daytime beverage?
Water, unless I’m on vacation…then beer.
How do you go the Extra Mile, above and beyond your daily tasks to improve patient care, community health or hospital operations?
As president of the Kentucky Chapter of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and Secretary of the Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians, I am working to educate physicians about Direct Primary Care and Addiction. I am a Board Member of the Unbridled Project, a nonprofit established to advocate and educate around MAT and other evidence based solutions for the opioid epidemic. I am a member of the Healthy Oldham County Coalition and was instrumental in helping us secure a Drug Free Communities grant.
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