There’s No Place Like Home!

Why Charlotte?

I have spent most of my life and professional career in other cities, and most of that time in Atlanta with some of my closest childhood friends nearby. I left Atlanta and a thriving private practice there 4½ years ago to take a leap of faith, however. I accepted a unique opportunity to move to an entirely different part of the country and work in a multidisciplinary concussion clinic that served a diverse client population regardless of their ability to pay for care. I was grateful for that opportunity and the presumed stability of organizational employment, and I figured that if it didn’t work out, I could always move back!

 

Realities of 21st Century Healthcare

It was indeed a great opportunity. My skills and scope of practice expanded, and I established wonderful personal and professional relationships during my time in central Iowa. My daughter eventually joined me there after the global pandemic abruptly ended her junior year abroad. She transferred to Iowa State University where she completed her undergraduate degree and is now enrolled in graduate school. 

 

However, the hospital system that recruited me determined post-COVID pandemic that it was no longer an efficacious long-term business model to continue to employ (sports neuro)psychology, and my position was eliminated. At that time I was the only psychologist/neuropsychologist employed by the system’s outpatient clinic division. I was also the only sports neuropsychologist in the state, and the only board-certified behavioral sleep medicine provider in the state. There was – is – no neuropsychologist in that hospital’s stroke center, or seeing pediatric or adult oncology patients, or in neurology. There are no psychologists (or psychotherapists) in any of the major healthcare organizations in central Iowa working with pediatric or adult patients with chronic pain or in hospice care That’s a sobering reality of mental health and medicine in that part of the country in 2024.

 

So What Next?

I resumed private practice in the Des Moines region while I planned my next steps. I was fortunate to establish collegial relationships with related providers in the community – sports medicine, pediatrics, physical and occupational therapy, psychotherapy, sleep medicine, and psychology. I had wonderful neighbors and my daughter close by for the short term. But it wasn’t enough. Besides missing sunshine and beaches and remaining inept at winter-weather driving, I missed community.  

 

Not Just Fried Green Tomatoes and Bagels

I missed home. I missed my Southern, Jewish soul food. I missed urban amenities, bulbs blooming in February, cultural diversity, and my community. While I didn’t see it at the time, I know now how fortunate and privileged I was to spend the first 17 years of my life in one place, in this Charlotte community. It was many years later, during my mother’s extended illness, that I realized how much my synagogue, community center, and Country Day extended families were still a part of my life. Reconnecting with childhood friends, classmates, and family friends over the last couple of decades in particular has been such a gift to me, and I feel so fortunate to have had the means and opportunity to be able to come full circle and return home.

 

What’s Old is New Again

While the street names are familiar, nothing looks quite the same! Charlotte has grown up, as have I. The kindness and hospitality, and the warmth of friends, family, and strangers are still here, however, and that’s a wonderful thing. I have enjoyed networking and establishing professional relationships here, and I know I’m just getting started. Working with life-long friends in a professional capacity as my gifted colleagues is just the icing on the proverbial cake!

 

North Carolinians benefit from proximity to not just beaches and mountains, but also top-notch medical centers and healthcare. There is an abundance of specialty providers offering gold-standard care in traditional and non-traditional medicine and mental health care. Charlotteans are fortunate to have choices, too – to be able to determine goodness-of-fit with their provider, not just schedule with the first or only provider they can get in to see.

 

My Practice Model

I will continue to see established and new Iowa and Nebraska clients for the foreseeable future, as long as there is a need for the services I provide. Most of that work will be via telehealth, with some trips for (limited) in-person evaluations. As I continue to travel to Atlanta monthly or bimonthly to volunteer with Camp Sunshine, I will re-establish a hub there for in-person testing coinciding with Camp Sunshine volunteer weekends. 

 

Most of my in-person work – brief and comprehensive evaluations – will be in Charlotte, however, in collaboration with seasoned educational professionals and other related providers. As our practice grows I plan to recruit other neuropsychologists, too, so that no one ever needs to wait more than a few months for testing. While long wait lists can offer some peace of mind to self-employed providers, it’s hard on our clients to have to wait so long to get their questions answered, and we never want to sacrifice quality care for expediency.

 

I will also continue to provide telehealth services – for sleep-related interventions, consultations, some concussion work, and testing intakes and feedback sessions for residents of Georgia, Iowa, Nebraska, and North Carolina, and more. By relocating to North Carolina, I am now able to offer telehealth services to residents of 40+ states under PSYPACT, an interstate “compact” that allows psychologists unlimited telehealth and limited in-person services to residents of other PSYPACT states.

 

It is an exciting time for me personally and professionally. Coming home is sweet, indeed, and I am looking forward to becoming reacquainted with my hometown. I cannot wait to get started!

Fun fact about my Charlotte roots: 


  • If you saw this recent movie, then you got to see the sight of all of my childhood parties, too – the party scene was filmed in the house in which I grew up! 

 

  • Football coach from whom I’ve learned the most? Hands-down my favorite swim coach, too, and my first boss as a summer lifeguard, Coach Jim Oddo from Charlotte Catholic High School.

 

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