I grew up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, in Salisbury, which is great if you love soybean and/or chicken farms, of which there are many. It is also great if you like the beach, and fortunately I do. I spent a lot of time at the beach growing up, though I seem to have lost my luxurious tan, and since med school have settled into a skin tone more reminiscent of the albino from The Da Vinci Code.
In high school, I wanted to be a writer and decided to major in English when I went to King College in Bristol, TN. During my senior year, I went on a mission trip to Honduras and began to feel that I wanted to do something more practical and helpful with my life. I became interested in occupational therapy, and went back to Salisbury to take prerequisite classes for a year. Then I moved down to Chapel Hill, and earned my master’s degree in Occupational Science at UNC. My first, and what turned out to be my only job as an OT was at UVA; one of my brothers was a medicine resident here at the time, and one of my sisters was working for one of the University publications, so it made sense to come to Charlottesville.
Why did you decide to become a doctor?
After working at UVA for a year or two and becoming good friends with many of the residents, I decided that I wanted to be more involved in my patients’ care, so I started taking night classes to get into med school.
How did you meet your spouse?
Around the time that I started becoming interested in medicine, I trained an OT named Billy Jones, who was married to an Infectious Disease fellow named Amy Mathers. Amy was working a lot with the ID pharmacist, Heather Cox. Billy and Amy got to talking, and decided that they should introduce Heather and me. That turned out to be a good idea; we were pretty much inseparable from the start. On August 2nd, 2009, we got married at a winery about 30 minutes south of Charlottesville. Then, one week later, I moved to Richmond to start medical school at VCU.
What opportunities do you have at UVA that made you choose us?
Even though the obvious advantage of coming back to UVA for residency was to be in the same place as my wife, I still would have wanted to be at UVA even if Heather did not work here. While I loved my time at VCU, after the four years that I spent at UVA as a therapist, it just felt like home to me. A huge part of that is the people.
What do you like about the Charlottesville area?
Even though I grew up near the beach, I’ve come to love the mountains. Heather and I live in Crozet, and although it is a little bit of a drive (though nothing like the drive between Richmond and Charlottesville), it is amazing to drive home with the mountains on the horizon. We love hiking in the many parks in the area and also the incredible restaurants (Mas and Duners are probably our favorites), wineries and breweries.
Favorite vacation or recreational activity spot?
My favorite vacation spot is actually in Canada. Heather is from New Brunswick, and her parents own a cabin on a lake called Magaguadavic (pronounced “Mack-a-davic,” of course). We have been going there every summer since we met (except the year we got married). It is, as her parents say, like slipping through the veil, to a place where you can relax and just enjoy nature and the people you love.
Most admired person, and why?
I will never stop looking up to both of my parents. My dad was a carpenter and built one or two houses a year, doing most of the work himself (he even got his electrician’s license so that he could do all the wiring). My mom worked tirelessly to raise my 3 sisters, 2 brothers and me. When we were old enough, all of us worked with Dad on different aspects of most of the houses he built: framing, trim work, finishing sheetrock and painting. Each house he built was fairly simple, yet made with such an unwavering commitment to quality. I am extremely grateful for that opportunity, to have worked with my dad and learned from him for so many years.