Island’s newest doctor settles into Jamestown life
Jamestown Family Practice welcomed a new doctor to the practice recently. Carla Vaccaro joins Dr. Joseph England in providing medical services to the people of Jamestown as well as visitors to the island.
“I’m thrilled to have Dr. Carla Vaccaro here,” England said. “She’s a great addition and it’s a great pleasure. She’s a wonderful physician.”
Vaccaro grew up in Beverly, Mass. She attended the public schools there before going on to Princeton University where she earned her undergraduate degree. After college Vaccaro worked for a year in Tokyo where she utilized the education that she had received in chemistry. She also studied the Japanese language while at Princeton. Following her year in the Far East, Vaccaro returned to the United States to study medicine at the University of Massachusetts.
Vaccaro did a three-year family medicine residency at the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center in Lawrence, Mass. Following her residency she did a two-year maternal child health fellowship at Pawtucket Memorial Hospital. She then took her first and only job before coming to Jamestown, working in a family practice in Tewksbury, Mass.
“It was a full-spectrum family medicine practice in the community,” Vaccaro said. “I did obstetrics, prenatal care and child health. I was at that job for nine years and then we decided to move to Rhode Island.”
The decision to move to the Ocean State was based, in part, on the fact that Vaccaro’s husband is from Warwick and has family there. Vaccaro said the couple has three young children and wanted to be in a community that had lots of family ties and strong education. When they learned from local friends that Jamestown Family Practice needed another doctor, it got the ball rolling for their move to Jamestown. Vaccaro started her new job here in August of last year.
Jamestown Family Practice is staffed by England and Vaccaro and there is a nurse practitioner who works one day a week. Vaccaro has office hours 3.5 days a week.
“It’s a wonderful place to work. The staff is excellent,” Vaccaro said. “Joe is a wonderful partner and I’m learning from him about the practice and the town as time goes on. It’s kind of a small enough place that you get to know people pretty quickly. I can’t believe it’s already been six months.”
While most of Vaccaro’s personal time is taken up by her husband and three small children, ages 7, 6 and 2, she still finds time to enjoy Jamestown. “It’s very different from where we came from,” Vaccaro said. “We were living in Lowell, Mass., an urban, innercity area. This is a quiet, close community. We’re enjoying a lot of aspects of that.”
Vaccaro said that she likes nature and Jamestown is a perfect place to go on hikes or bicycle rides. “I’m looking forward to spending a whole summer here this year.”
Vaccaro has specific goals with regard to her work. She said that with England being a geriatrician, the practice has a stable adult population. She’s hoping to draw in a younger crowd. “I’m hoping to attract some younger families, young adults and children, to compliment the practice,” she said. “It would be nice for me to be a community provider, to really take care of the whole community. I’m hoping people are aware that as family practice physicians, that’s what we do – take care of all ages.”
Vaccaro said that when she started here last summer she saw a lot of summer residents at her office. That struck her as another major difference from where she came from. “That’s part of Jamestown that makes it special,” she said. “You meet a group of people for three months and then you see them next year.”
The incidence of Lyme disease is of course of particular interest to any physician who practices in Jamestown. Vaccaro is no exception. She says that she has already seen a lot of cases of Lyme and suspected Lyme. “It seems like it’s epidemic and almost every patient I’ve met has said that they have had Lyme disease in the past, which is incredible.”
According to Vaccaro there are a number of other tick-related diseases that she and England have been checking for because people come in with certain symptoms but they don’t respond to Lyme.
Vaccaro has also been troubled by the lack of health insurance that she’s seen during her time here, which is surprising to her as someone who came from Massachusetts, where health care is mandated by the state.
“It’s incredulous that people don’t have health insurance,” Vaccaro said. “I don’t know if I favor universal coverage, but if I did it would be some kind of universal coverage that’s affordable, because it’s really the price of health insurance that people can’t afford, especially working families.”
According to Michael Delmonico, director of physician practices for NHCC Medical Associates, a part of Newport Hospital, “Dr. Vaccaro is not only a great addition to that practice, she is a great addition to the community. She lives in Jamestown and it’s just great to have her there. She and Dr. England will continue to have a great partnership in that office location.”
The Jamestown Family Practice has been providing comprehensive medical care since 1984. It is affi liated with Newport Hospital, which is a partner of Lifespan Systems.