Three local doctors are making their mark in Pennsylvania.
Dr. Katie Warren, Dr. Andra Fee-Mulhearn and Dr. Nick Mulhearn of Meadville Medical Center were each recognized on the Pennsylvania Medical Society's 2019 Top Physicians Under 40 list.
The Pennsylvania Medical Society, a nonprofit created to advocate for physicians around the state and provide continuing educational opportunities and resources to navigate the medical field, honored 42 young physicians from 19 cities. Nominated by colleagues, the winners were chosen by a state-wide committee of society members.
"I think I was a little shocked at first but proud as well," Mulhearn said.
Mulhearn and his wife didn't realize they had received the honor until congratulations began trickling in. Warren had folks rushing in to give cheers, but she had "30 seconds to think about it" before seeing other patients.
The three are no strangers to each other; Fee-Mulhearn and Mulhearn are friends with Warren and her husband.
"Where I met Dr. Fee and Dr. Mulhearn was on the golf course," Warren said. "We signed up for couples league. We were assigned to each other."
Warren, a neurologist, works with patients experiencing a wide variety of conditions, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, migraines, epilepsy, ALS, neuropathy, tremors and seizures. Thanks to her extra training in treating epilepsy, she also reads outputs from EEGs, which measure electrical activity in the brain. Warren also has many patients that rely on her for Botox treatments for migraines.
The Under 40 list said Warren also advocates for physician wellness, which she characterized as promoting work-life balance, something many medical professionals find a challenge.
"When I came and was relatively newly married with two young children, that is equally my priority, if not more," Warren said. "I want to be home in time for soccer games and dance classes and dinner on the table. I’m involved with several committees in the hospital that focus on making things more efficient in the office, so that we’re more likely to get home on time and see our families."
Fee-Mulhearn, a native of Franklin, co-chairs the physician task force with Warren, which aims to increase efficiency in practices throughout the hospital. A pulmonologist, she cares for patients in the intensive care unit and anyone with lung conditions when on call. She also has an outpatient practice where she treats breathing conditions such as asthma and chairs a committee to increase positive outcomes for patients experiencing sepsis.
"I think a lot of the small-town communities that have a thriving health system give you that very valuable physician-patient interaction that you might not get anywhere else," Fee-Mulhearn said. "Health care is still very rewarding for us despite the insurance issues that are ever present. It’s all about that physician-patient relationship in a community like this that seems to be very strong."
Warren stated similarly that she found, while Meadville Medical Center may be a smaller hospital, it provided the freedom for her to prioritize patient interactions and involving them in care decisions. She also noted wait times to a neurologist can be months long, so she put transparency and educating patients as prime focuses.
"One of the things I’m very passionate about is rural health care and the disparity in rural health care compared to academic or urban settings," Warren said. "I think that there’s a lot of extra time and personalization and customization of care here that we can provide."
The list highlighted Mulhearn, a pediatrician, and his outreach to promote wellness in children. Both he and Fee-Mulhearn volunteer as coaches in their off hours.
"Through our group practice, we attempt to try to maximize the health of each child," Mulhearn said. "That comes in things like obesity management, managing nutrition."
All three were modest about their accomplishments during their burgeoning careers. Mulhearn emphasized the duality of the recognition — one side, appreciating the honor, and on the other side, helping patients lead healthy lives — is part of the job description.
Likewise, Warren said being on the list wouldn't impact how she practices medicine, but she hoped it would "instill more confidence from the community."
Fee-Mulhearn and Mulhearn met while studying at Philadelphia School of Osteopathic Medicine and saw a small community like Meadville as a draw after moving around from Charleston, West Virginia, to Columbus, Ohio.
"We know a few other people on (the list)," Fee-Mulhearn said. "They were former classmates, and I think it shows that Pennsylvania is really a good place for health care, to be on the list with people we know around the state."
Tyler Dague can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.