I am originally from “upstate” NY (for New Yorkers, this is anywhere in NY other than NY City or Long Island). I absolutely loved growing up in a country, small town environment, spending most of my free time as a child being very active – tennis, golf, baseball, skiing, and traveling. Though I am the first physician in my family for as long as anyone can remember, my father is a retired chiropractor, which always intrigued me and, through his networking, kept me exposed to the medical community in our area throughout my childhood.
As I moved into my later high school years, I discovered a very natural love for the sciences, especially physics. Gaining a comprehensive understanding of how everything around us works has always been a source of immense joy and excitement for me. This drive to learn the “how and why” of everything matured into a specific interest in the human body while I attended college at the College of the Holy Cross, graduating in 1998 with a BA (Holy Cross didn’t offer BS degrees, as it is a liberal arts school) in Physics/Pre-med.
After completing my undergraduate degree, I spent the next year doing full time volunteer work with a wonderful group known as the Missionary Cenacle Volunteers. During that year, I worked in a soup kitchen, My Brother’s Table, in Lynn, Massachusetts, fulfilling many responsibilities. Most notably, several nights per week, I was responsible for coordinating up to 25 volunteer workers, who worked as a team to prepare and serve a meal to between 80 and 220 needy people. I found this job to be quite challenging, but over the course of that year, I saw a significant improvement in my ability to lead others and delegate responsibility in an efficient and effective manner. Developing this skill was an added bonus to the feeling of deep reward I got from helping so many less privileged individuals. I also lived in a rectory with 5 priests during that tenure. I largely credit that experience for deepening and strengthening my faith, while also broadening my appreciation of priests’ role in my life.
After that 1 year, I finally moved away from the northeast to begin Osteopathic Medical School at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine. I received my DO degree in June of 2003. While attending CCOM, I had many wonderful experiences as a member and worship leader of the Christian Medical and Dental Association. There, I formed many cherished friendships with other Christian physicians, and had countless challenging but productive apologetic debates with other members. Most notably, however, I fully embraced the idea that I must, and would, always treat patients primarily according to ethical and moral standards. I understood that, although treatment options for certain conditions may be available, and even be legal, they could not be part of my treatment repertoire if they violated what I believed to be morally right.
Another critical experience in my development as a physician occurred while at CCOM. The full story of this experience would take too long to publish, but if any are interested, I would be happy to share it with you in person when you come for an office visit (just ask me). Suffice it to say that while searching, somewhat despairingly, for a group of mentoring family doctors who agreed with my moral standards in medicine and also offered obstetrical care, a series of inspired events led me to the group “Homefirst”, right here in the Chicago area. Many of you may be familiar with the group, known for providing physician-attended homebirth to thousands of families from the 1970s until approximately 2010. I was very blessed to spend 2 separate months on rotation with this group of wonderful, ethical doctors in the spring and fall of 2002. While I was not even aware that homebirth was an option, through my time at Homefirst, I fell in love with the idea, and though I am unable to offer it as part of my own practice, I still strongly support it for women who are appropriate candidates.
As I was fortunate to be the recipient of a US Air Force scholarship while in osteopathic medical school, my postgraduate medical training experience was quite unorthodox. Upon completing my DO degree in June 2003, I moved to a suburb of Los Angeles for 1 year to complete a transitional internship at Doctor’s Hospital of Montclair. I was not afforded the opportunity to complete an entire residency in family medicine at that time, and in 2004 began a 3-year active duty assignment at Vance AFB, Oklahoma.
This duty required me to become a “flight surgeon” (a doctor who specializes in caring for pilots and other aircrew), which took me through an extra 2 months of training in San Antonio, Texas. My term at the Air Force base gave me a very unique exposure to many medical conditions which are “reserved” for aircrew as well as an appreciation for how simple afflictions for “non-flyers” can become a serious detriment when one flies for a living. Though this would not have been my first choice of assignments, it did offer me a very uncommon experience that most docs will never have. I still find myself applying knowledge I learned as a flight doc to help civilian patients I see today.
Upon fulfillment of this obligation, I embarked upon residency training in family medicine. From July 2007 until June 2010 I completed residency at St. John’s Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, MO. I felt blessed to train in the company of outstanding colleagues and mentors throughout this period. I was well supported in my ethical stance on many issues and also given the opportunity to learn in a cooperative environment with specialists from all fields in medicine.
You may recall my mention of “Homefirst”, which I’d discovered in 2002. After finishing residency and attaining board certification in family medicine, my intention was to move back to Chicago and join this group. Unfortunately, just a few months prior to my residency’s end, Homefirst stopped performing obstetrical care. While they were still happy to welcome me, I was still interested in offering homebirth services at that time, so they were not an option. One of my mentors from that group knew Dr. Bill White, who was still offering homebirth in the Chicago area. He suggested I contact him about being trained to do it myself. I remember the first time we spoke on the phone, being shocked to learn that we had both attended undergraduate college at Holy Cross! Dr. White was so kind and welcoming to me as a potential homebirth fellow. Thus, I left St. Louis, closing an 8 year “circle” and settled back in the Chicago suburbs in February 2011. At that time, I started shadowing Dr. White and working an immediate care job concurrently. Initially, my intent was to slowly build a homebirth practice, and as it grew, to phase out my other position.
For many personal reasons, I decided to not pursue obstetrical care as part of my career any longer, but have still kept in touch with Dr. White periodically since 2011. I had intended to start a family practice, without obstetrics, eventually, but an experience I had in the summer of 2015 drastically changed how I desired to approach it.
While on vacation, visiting my wife’s family in Wichita, KS, I stumbled upon a YouTube video on the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) channel. The video was a talk given by Josh Umbehr, MD, the founder of Atlas MD. Atlas MD is a direct primary care practice in Wichita, KS, that is so successful, it has inspired hundreds of other family doctors to convert or start their own practices using the direct pay (no insurance) model. Mind you, I just happened to BE in Wichita when I discovered this video (coincidence?). I contacted Dr. Josh after being so inspired by his YouTube talk and he was thrilled to have me meet him and 2 other docs at the Atlas office only a few days later. We spent a whole afternoon talking about the advantages of the direct pay model. After having spent my whole career up to that point working in insurance-based settings, the direct pay model was a huge breath of fresh air. I was convinced, after that meeting, that this was the only way to go, both for myself and the patients I would serve in the future.
While preparing to start my own family practice, using the direct pay model, in the fall of 2017, I was contacted by Dr. William White with the news that he and Dr. Joseph White had decided to retire at the end of December. He graciously asked if I would be interested in assuming the care of their patients in 2018 and continuing the practice at 2821 Rose St. Certainly, I was interested, especially knowing that these 2 doctors had established practices full of patients who embraced the type of values that the three of us shared. Needless to say, there were several practical aspects that have had to be worked out, but thus far, things are progressing well, and I fully expect to be up and running in January 2018.
In my 7 years as an attending physician, I have spent most of my time working in immediate care centers. I found this work to have significant benefits and drawbacks. While it was convenient to perform “shift-work”, with no responsibilities after-hours, I missed the continuity of care that I had always envisioned having with my patients. Furthermore, I was exposed, in an unfortunate manner, to the less than savory business end of healthcare. Being in the role of an employee, rather than a practice owner, I often felt pressure from the “higher ups” to require unnecessary testing, treatment, and follow-up appointments of patients so that we could bill more of them and their insurance companies. I found this environment very uncomfortable and highly stressful, thus I chose to leave in the fall of 2016.
In the most recent 15 months, I have been working for MBS Envision and Quantum Anesthesia. MBS Envision is an outstanding company, which provides modified barium swallow studies to patients in (primarily) skilled nursing facilities. I travel with a team comprised of myself, a speech language pathologist, and a radiology technician, bringing a mobile fluoroscopy machine to SNFs all over the Chicagoland area. This experience has made me privy to an experience that most other physicians never will be, and has deeply enriched my understanding of dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). Though it is unconventional, I am very grateful for having had this position, as I am sure it will pay dividends throughout my career. With Quantum Anesthesia, I accompany a Certified Resident Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) to multiple dental offices all over greater Chicago providing varying levels of anesthesia for patients receiving dental implants and other types of office based dental surgeries. Both of these opportunities have been a wonderful break from the “rat-race” experience of the immediate care centers, as well as a chance to broaden my skills, knowledge, and experience as a physician.
By now, you certainly appreciate the many chapters that are bound in the book of my medical career. However, I believe the most exciting and rewarding chapter is about to be written. I am truly elated to be running my own medical practice, free of insurance headaches, and with the ultimate goal of providing extremely ethical, high quality primary health care to a group of outstanding patients for years to come.
I thank you for your tremendous patience, sticking with me as I’ve shared my story with you. I hope that knowing more about my history has made you comfortable and confident in deciding to join my practice. I can’t wait to take care of you and your family. Please review the remainder of the website to understand the specifics of how exactly the billing and services of the DPC practice will work, and don’t hesitate to email me (address is on the contact page) if you have any questions. I am happy to clarify anything about which you have questions. I want you to feel 100% comfortable and clear about how the model works before committing to it. God Bless You and I hope to be meeting you soon.