Provider Spotlight: Julia Crouch, C-P.N.P.

Julia Crouch C-P.N.P.I’m so excited to be joining the team at LSPG this summer!

I’m a Kansas City Native, born and raised in Overland Park, Kansas. In my free time I enjoy watching the Chiefs play, reading, and spending time with loved ones including my golden retriever, Rooney. I am passionate about pediatric medicine because I love the challenge of learning something new every day and because children are resilient, sweet, and hilarious! I look forward to getting to know the patients and families here at LSPG!

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

If I won the lottery, the first thing I would do is travel! I would take my family, who are my favorite travel buddies. My family is always fun to travel with! We enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and biking but also love a nice relaxing day laying on a beach. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to see some amazing places including Switzerland, Hawaii, Greece, Italy, and France.

When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time?

If I have 30 minutes of free-time, I enjoy reading. Some of my favorite books include: To Kill a Mockingbird, Educated, and most any good mystery.  I also enjoy spending time with my golden retriever, Rooney. Whether we go for a short walk or play in the backyard, it’s always fun to pass the time with her!

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

I would love to learn how to play a musical instrument. When I was younger, I took piano lessons but did not stick with it and I’m kicking myself for that! I always envy people that know how to read music and play an instrument. I would love to be able to play the guitar or relearn to play the piano.

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?

If I wasn’t a nurse practitioner today, I think I would enjoy a career in investigative journalism. I have always liked reading and writing as well as interacting with people.  Researching, interviewing, and putting together a story in journalism seems similar to gathering a history, completing a physical exam and diagnosing a patient in medicine.

What is your favorite thing about working at LSPG?

I love the atmosphere here at LSPG. We have an open work space that allows providers to have open discussions, bounce ideas off each other, and offer help when needed.  Particularly being new, this is so important to me. Everyone has been so welcoming and patient! It is truly a team environment here.

Provider Spotlight: Holly Prather, PNP

Holly PratherHolly Prather, a Kansas City native, is a board certified pediatric nurse practitioner. She earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from Avila University in 2013 and her Master’s of Science in Nursing from Saint Louis University in 2018.

Holly previously worked at The University of Kansas Hospital in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unity (NICU) before joining Lee’s Summit Physicians Group in 2014 as a pediatric registered nurse. In 2019, she transitioned to the provider role, and started working as a certified pediatric nurse practitioner.

Holly chose pediatric medicine because she adores children and their resilience despite illness. She enjoys interacting with children and adolescents and hopes to empower parents to play an integral part in the diagnosis and treatment of their children. Keeping her patients physically and emotionally healthy, as they grow, learn, and achieve is very rewarding to Holly. She is honored that parents trust her with their most prized possessions—their children—and feels privileged to be a part of her patients’ families.

Outside of work, Holly enjoys traveling with her husband, spending time with family and friends, and staying active. She is a busy-body so to-do lists are a must.  Though she prefers warm weather, she loves anything pumpkin flavored because it makes her think of fall. She and her husband, Cole, are overjoyed to welcome Baby Prather in December 2019!

Learn more about Holly with the Q&A we had recently:

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

Cook like a pro. I’m serious: I want Gordon Ramsay’s skills but not his temper. I’ve always enjoyed trying new dishes and finding hidden-gem restaurants, but I’ve never taken the time to actually learn to cook.  Now that I’m not in school, I’m confident I have the time to Google-search and YouTube my way to becoming a ninja in the kitchen.

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

Make it rain. My passion is medicine and helping children so I would donate to a deserving organization. I’d also enjoy traveling and seeing where and how else I could put the money to good use. Traveling gives me so much perspective, I feel it’s fitting to do more of that and make a difference in other people’s lives along the way.

What’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity?

I’m currently trying to master the activity called relaxing. As former student athletes, my husband and I thrive on on-the-go schedules. I can think of at least three vacations when we’ve made a conscious effort to slow down—it lasted only 15 minutes before we headed off to do the exact opposite. We enjoy snorkeling, hiking, kayaking, and holding up traffic while scootering around small islands.

What is your favorite thing about working at Lee’s Summit Physicians Group?

Serving my community. As a Lee’s Summit resident, I’m proud to do my part by ensuring that my community is a healthy place for children. My role allows me to have a direct impact in my community by engaging in meaningful programs, opportunities, and partnerships that improve the lives of my patients and their families.

What is one thing that the rest of the staff at Lee’s Summit Physicians Group doesn’t know about you?

My colleagues likely know that I played college volleyball. It’s possible that they know that I married my high-school sweetheart. They might even know that I’m slightly obsessed with my niece and nephew. However, it’s unlikely that they know my husband and I will be welcoming our first baby in December. We feel so incredibly lucky and cannot wait for this next adventure!

Provider Spotlight: Rebecca Coppage, PNP

By Matthew Hornung, Director of Information Technology for Lee’s Summit Physicians Group

Every month, we’re doing a provider or employee spotlight to help you get to know our staff. This month, we chose to do a provider spotlight on Rebecca Coppage, PNP. Rebecca is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) with Lee’s Summit Physicians Group and we’re so glad to have her on our team.

I asked her a few questions in a recent interview:

Rebecca CoppageIf you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

I would love to learn how to play the guitar! I have always wanted to learn but have never made the time to take lessons. When I watch someone else play the guitar, I am so jealous of their awesome ability. It is on my bucket list though, so one of these days I am going to learn how to play the guitar!

When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time?

I love to read. I try to grab any few minutes that are free to catch up on the most recent book I’m reading. I love all types of books including mysteries, adventure, biographies, chic lit, etc. I am in 2 different book clubs which has kept me up-to-date on the best books that have been released. My favorite book right now is probably “All the Light We Cannot See”. It is fabulous.

What was the last experience that made you a stronger person?

The most recent experience that has made me a stronger person is having spine surgery at the end of February. I have had a lot of spine and pain issues for the past several years, and this was my second surgery. It makes me more thankful for good health, excellent healthcare providers, and my amazing, supportive family. I would never want to go through it again, but it has also made me a more understanding and empathetic healthcare provider.

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?

If I wasn’t a nurse practitioner, I would love to open a coffee shop! I love coffee and I love spending time reading or doing work at a coffee shop. It would be so fun to design and decorate a coffee shop, pick all the amazing treats that you can offer with coffee like muffins, cookies, and sandwiches. There are so many different people coming in and out and I would love to have my own coffee shop.

What is one thing that the rest of the staff at LSPG doesn’t know about you?

The summer before I went to nursing school, I spent the summer living in Quito, Ecuador. I have taken Spanish classes my whole life and I wanted to finally become very comfortably fluent. Ecuador is a beautiful country with extremely kind people. I lived with a sweet woman, Lucia, and there was another person from Japan who lived with us as well. We went to the coast, the equator, went salsa dancing, and ate a lot of really delicious food. It was one of best experiences of my life.

Provider Spotlight – Doctor Emily Robb, Internal Medicine

By Emily Robb, M.D., Lee’s Summit Physicians Group Internal Medicine

Emily Robb, M.D.I graduated from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 2000 and joined Lee’s Summit Internal Medicine in 2006. I enjoy all aspects of Internal Medicine, but I’m especially interested in adolescent medicine and women’s health. I completed residencies in both Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. Adolescents are often an age group which is lost between pediatrics and adult medicine, and providing them care is a passion of mine.

When I’m not at the office you will either find me hanging out on my porch or if the weather is nice, camping.

I grew up camping and I’m so glad to be able to share that activity with my kids now.

I love taking my pop-top camper all over the Midwest and just chilling out under the stars next to a campfire. It really is my favorite way to relax. We try to camp several weekends locally over the summer and then take one long trip that is farther away. This summer we have a long camping trip planned for Yellowstone that we are all very excited about!

Being outdoors is so good for your health both mentally and physically. I really try to spend as much time outside as possible.

I also enjoy being a board member of Education First Shawnee Mission.

I live in the Shawnee Mission school district. Three years ago, I  joined a group of parents that wanted to be active in improving our school district. Our goal was to help elect representatives in Kansas and for our school board that were going to support public education and our schools. Our group has been active in recruiting new school board members to our district and communicating with our district administrators.

We also spend time talking to our representatives in Topeka about the importance of public school funding. I believe strong public schools are the foundation to a great community.

Click here to learn more about Education First Shawnee Mission.

Q&A Time!

What’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity? Camping.
At what age did you become an adult? Still waiting.
What three traits define you? Laughter, curiosity , educator.
What is your favorite thing about working at LSPG? We have so much fun! And there is no drama!
What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this? Epidemiologist or perhaps a life coach for rich people!
What is your least favorite food? And your favorite? Egg nog-yuck! Warm apple pie with ice cream- yum!
What chore do you absolutely hate doing?
Cleaning the shower. I gave that chore to my husband years ago thankfully!!!

Reflecting on Star Wars and Lightsabers in examination rooms.

By Dr. Gershon and Dr. Yannette

Thoughts on Star Wars from Dr. Gershon

Daniel Gershon, D.O.Dr. Yannette likes to tell his parents that his Star Wars rooms are better than mine. It’s a fun competition between us, but ultimately something that entertains our patients, their parents, and both pediatricians. Some days I hear the sounds of lightsabers being turned on inside the rooms, and sometimes I get to hear my patients tell me the name of every character or spaceship on the walls. Star Wars is still (amazingly) a part of so many peoples lives.

For me, Star Wars was and remains my escape from reality.

When I was little, I would spend hours recreating scenes from the movies. I would carve out Styrofoam or cut and tape cardboard pieces to create new scenes for my action figures and ships. My Mom would take me to Dolgins, Children’s Palace, and Venture to see what new Star Wars toys were available. I used to send in my proof-of-purchases to get the “not available in stores” action figures and bring my toys over to other kids houses to “battle.”

Return of the Jedi came out in 1983.

I was in 3rd grade. There were new toys over the next few years, and eventually some ‘special edition’ releases to get excited about. But I was getting older and Star Wars became a poster on my wall and fond memories. Then word of the prequels came out. I was a kid all over again. I remember downloading (on a zip drive!) the teaser trailer for The Phantom Menace. I convinced a medical school professor to allow me to play it for the entire class before the lecture. The lights dimmed, I played the trailer, and the class went wild!

Dr. Gerhon - Star Wars BlogA Star Wars Marathon

The next few years were spent collecting lightsabers (now displayed in exam rooms), debating what was good and bad about the new movies, and even incorporating Star Wars into my wedding! I’ve spent hours in line for tickets to the premiers and even made if to a Star Wars convention before Revenge of the Sith. I even did a Star Wars marathon with my brother before The Force Awakens… We didn’t run 26 miles in costume, but rather watched Episodes I through VII in one theater with other crazy fans like myself.

Important Themes

Luke Skywalker always defeated Darth Vader. Han Solo always escaped. Princess Leia and Luke always fell in love (until I realized they were brother and sister!)  Good always triumphed over evil. One person can change the fate of a galaxy. Hope is all you need. These themes were and remain a large part of who I am and how I operate. They’re also a large part of pediatrics.

When I examine a newborn, I see potential. I see the look in parents eyes that their new child may live a life of meaning, do something to improve their community or even the world. Infants, toddlers, kids, teens all fight to get better. They make amazing recoveries from set backs, infections, cancers, chronic diseases and disabilities. It is the one consistently optimistic field of medicine and I’m proud to be a part of it.

Thoughts on Star Wars from Dr. Yannette

Jeffrey Yannette, M.D.May 26, 1977. That was the day after Star Wars Episode 4 – A New Hope debuted in the United States. I could tell it was a special day because my father was actually excited about going to see a movie with his three boys. Previous to this, it was mostly cartoon type movies from Disney that he was subjected to. In any event, it is one of my earliest memories involving my brothers and my father.

Back then, of course, there was no going online to reserve you desired date, time and seat.

I can remember going to the theater two hours before showtime, waiting in what seemed like an eternal line, and wondering if we were going to get tickets at all. My oldest brother even counted the number of people in front of us.  He assured me, this 5-year-old boy, that we were going to get tickets. I was still doubtful.

In the end, it worked out just fine. As we waited in our seats, I can remember that the popcorn never smelled or tasted so good and there was an electric vibe in the air. Then… the lights dimmed, and the ever iconic Star Wars theme played with the movie’s narrative being set by words scrolling from the bottom of the screen towards the top. It was a magical moment for me and my family which would prove to have a lifelong effect on us all. Over the next 40 years, we would continue to discuss the movies and debate the meaning of, well, everything Star Wars.

For those that do not know me well, I have passion for two things – North Carolina Basketball and Star Wars.

They are so meaningful to me that I had no choice but to decorate some of the Raintree Office rooms with these two themes. Room #1 is, of course, the North Carolina Room because – yep, you guessed it, UNC is #1 (sorry to all you KU and MU fans). Star Wars deserved two rooms – decorated with vintage memorabilia and replica lightsabers – so if you’re ever in the area, stop in and see Rooms #3 and #22 – I think you will enjoy them.

I know that most people have a “Star Wars Moment” that they remember. If you do, I would love to hear it! Comment away by responding to this post and as always – May The Force Be With You!

Three LSPG Providers that Sing in their Church Choir

By Matthew Hornung, Director of Information Technology for Lee’s Summit Physicians Group

SingingLee’s Summit Physicians Group has three doctors whose backgrounds include singing in their church choir. They’ve been singing for many years, almost as long as they’ve practiced medicine! We recently interviewed them about their choir history.

  • When did you start singing?
  • What part do you sing in your choir?
  • Where do you sing?

Dr. Trites

Barbara S. Trites, M.D.I’ve been singing as long as I can remember… and I’m not telling how many years that is! I sing alto (and occasionally help with the tenor part) at Lutheran Church of the Resurrection. Our choir is typically just 10-12 people. We’re a small group, but have a great time.

I have also sung with my high school alma mater (Shawnee Mission South) on those occasions when someone organizes a reunion choir. The most exciting time was when we were able to perform at Carnegie Hall with our former director conducting us. That was in November of 2001, so it was the aftermath of the attacks on 9/11. It was a sobering, but also uplifting and unforgettable experience. It has been my great joy to watch all three of my children sing in choir for decades now. All three have had the opportunity to sing at Carnegie Hall; two have sung at the Vatican; one sang at the White House and met Michelle and Barak. We love the Ella Fitzgerald quote, “The only thing better than singing is more singing.”

Dr. Veenstra

Sallie L. Veenstra, M.D.I started singing in church choirs as a child and was fortunate enough to sing in High School Choir. I sing soprano.

Our high school was outside of Washington, D.C. and our choir got to sing at the National Cathedral in a Bach Festival. There’s nothing like classical music sung in a resounding space like a cathedral. After my schooling was finished, I sang in the Johnson County Community Chorus, and then in my church choir. We’ve had the opportunity to travel to Europe and sing in some incredible cathedrals there. Our church was just redesigned to improve the acoustics and we have a new magnificent pipe organ to sing with. I am fortunate to sing with the choir every Sunday and in concerts several times a year.

Dr. Lewandowski

Molly Lewandowski, M.D.I started singing in my church choir in 2009 when I became an empty nester. I sing soprano in my church choir in Leawood, Kansas, and each summer in the Lee’s Summit Summer Singers group directed by Dr William Baker.

Provider Spotlight: Dr. Andrew Huss

Interview of Dr. Huss by Matthew Hornung, Director of Information Technology for Lee’s Summit Physicians Group

Dr. HussDr. Huss is a board certified pediatrician who joined our practice in 2015. He graduated from University of Nebraska College of Medicine in 2012, and completed his pediatric residency training at Children’s Mercy Hospital in 2015. Dr. Huss chose pediatrics as it combines the science of medicine with the opportunity to educate and have fun, rewarding interactions with families. Outside of work he enjoys soccer, travel, and home improvement projects.

The following is a Q&A session we had with Dr. Huss.

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
It would be cool to learn to fly a helicopter or land a passenger plane.

What’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity?
I love hiking, whether ‘hiking’ around town or real hiking at state/national parks!

What is your favorite thing about working at LSPG?
I love coming in to work every day. Seeing kids learn new things and grow and develop is a joy, and it’s also great seeing parents grow and learn to deal with all of the curve balls their little ones learn how to throw.

What drew you to LSPG originally? And how has LSPG changed since?
I was drawn to LSPG because I loved the great attitude of the group and the staff – when I saw the clinic in action I knew I wanted to be a part of it. Although some small things have changed in the 3 years since I arrived (such as new evening hours) the overall atmosphere remains the same.

What is your least favorite food? And your favorite?
Least favorite? Gummy bears.
Favorite? Dark chocolate.

We are so glad to have Dr. Huss on our team!

Best of luck to Nurse Angie and Nurse Tina!

By Jody C. Brown, Director for Lee’s Summit Physicians Group

When we hire new providers, we may take out an advertisement in the local paper. We may also have a poster sized picture put in our waiting room announcing their arrival. But when one of our own chooses to take a leap of faith and step out into the unknown to pursue a dream or an adventure, we just quietly send them on their way. Not today.

Today we are forced to say goodbye to two of our nearest and dearest nurses, and given all their years of service and sacrifice, we can’t let them go quietly! If your child has been a patient of ours any amount of time at all, you will likely know both of these ladies. Nurse Tina has been with LSPG for 15 years, and Nurse Angie has been with us for 11 years. While both are leaving us to pursue new adventures, some known, some unknown, I know that I speak for this entire staff when I say that these two ladies will be dearly missed.

LSPG: Nurse Angie

Nurse Angie

Nurse Angie

I will forever think of Nurse Angie when I hear someone doing an eye chart test on one of our patients. No higher praise has ever been given than when a patient performed well while standing on those stickered feet in the middle of the hallway, closing one eye with their hand and trying their hardest figure out what shape or letter was being pointed at!

Nurse Tina

Nurse Tina is our go to gal and she has the ability to calm the most frazzled of nerves with her soft voice and even keel. During her last couple of years with us, Nurse Tina has had the task of keeping the nurse’s station flowing, taking care of the many calls that come in on our non-urgent message line and not stopping until she has taken care of the needs of the person or person she is trying to help. Dedication is a word that will always be synonymous with her.

LSPG: Nurse Tina

Nurse Tina

If there is one thing you can count on if you have the pleasure of having either of these two ladies as one of your nurses during one of your visits to our office, is that you will be greeted with a smile and a very warm welcome. These nurses have a way of making you feel like you are the most important patient of the day. They are always a ray of sunshine in the nurse’s station, even on the most hectic of days. They strive to do their best to anticipate the needs of the doctor they are working for, which in turn makes the job of that doctor so much easier, and the experience of the patient and their parent the best that it can be.

We could go on and on about what we will miss, but by far it will be the smile that we are greeted with every single day. Tina and Angie, we wish you the best of luck in your new endeavors and we are so thankful for the years that you have invested in the lives of our patients and their parents. You are now and forever will be a part of our LSPG family!

Provider Spotlight: Valerie Monroy

Valerie Monroy, C-P.N.P.One of the things we plan to share with you every month is a provider or employee spotlight. This month, we asked provider Valerie Monroy some questions that hopefully give you a little more insight into what makes Valerie tick.

What was the last experience that made you a stronger person?

Becoming a mother has been an amazing experience. My husband and I welcomed Anna into our family three years ago, and she has made me a better person and a better provider. Being a parent has been challenging, humbling and the most rewarding experience thus far. We welcomed our second child, a son, a year ago. Since becoming a parent, I am able to better understand parent’s concerns about my patients and my own experiences provide me with better understanding outside the medical realm.

What’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity?

Indoor; I love to cook and try new things in the kitchen. Outdoor; I love to travel and learn new cultures.

I guess I was bitten by the travel bug early in life. During college I was fortunate enough to study abroad for a semester in Sevilla, Spain. While there, I took the opportunity to visit neighboring countries. I have traveled to most of the continents but one of my favorite trips was to South America to meet my husband’s family. We hope to return and take our whole family soon. In the meantime, we practice Spanish at home and are raising our children bilingual so they will be familiar with this part of their heritage and be able to communicate with all of their family members.

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?

I would have my own food truck! That way I can travel and cook.

How do you define success?

Success for me starts at home. No professional or personal achievements can compensate for a lack of meaningful relationships in my life. If I am able to succeed as a wife and mother the rest seems to fall into place.

What is your favorite thing about working at Lee’s Summit Physicians Group?

Lee’s Summit Physicians Group is very family oriented. We provide great care and I am always proud to tell people about where I work.

What drew you to LSPG originally? And how has LSPG changed since?

LSPG has an outstanding reputation in the community. As a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurse at Children’s Mercy for over 6 years, I always knew I wanted to continue my career in a clinic that was well regarded and known for the good care provided to their patients. That is how I found LSPG. Many things have changed and will change in the future, but I believe our reputation will remain the same; a welcoming office that provides outstanding care to all.

What is your role at LSPG. What does that really mean you do on a daily basis?

As a Nurse Practitioner I see patients in the urgent care or in clinic during scheduled appointments. One of my favorite things about this job is being able to see my patients grow and watching families grow over the years. It is always exciting to see the newest member of the family.

What is one thing that the rest of the staff at LSPG doesn’t know about you?

I played the saxophone for many years and I plan to join a jazz band when I retire. (Well, only the first part is true!)

Provider Spotlight: Kailey Wilson

By Kailey Wilson, D.O. with Lee’s Summit Physicians Group

Kailey Wilson, D.O.I knew I loved science growing up, so I chose biology for my major in college. I didn’t know what to do with it until I went on a medical mission trip with my church to Peru my junior year of college. We set up shop in a community orphanage and I knew this was where my gifts and passions collided. It’s an awesome feeling to get to do what you love on a daily basis, and I feel so blessed and fortunate to get to do just that.

Family

My husband and I got married right before I started medical school, and he has supported me all the way through. I couldn’t have made it without his love and support! We had our first child Tucker during my intern year of residency – it was a little crazy, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way! He is a joy to our family. After starting with Lee’s Summit Physicians Group last fall, we welcomed our daughter Eeva just before Christmas. She loves watching her big brother and he loves to make her laugh! I love that having kids gives me insight and experience that can hopefully help make me a better pediatrician!

Fun

One of our favorite things to do as a family is go on walks. We love to be outside together. We also like to go to the lake and enjoy water skiing and swimming. And, we love to cook food for our family and friends. We lived away from our families during my residency, so we’re thrilled to be back closer to them and we enjoy getting to see them often.

Advice for Aspiring Medical Students

Advice I would give anyone who is thinking of pursuing medicine: be 100% sure that is what you want to do. It’s a long road and it takes all of your commitment. But if you are sure, the discipline will follow and when you reach your goal, you will be in such a rewarding place every day. There are hard days, especially with balancing a family and a career, but I cherish my role as both a mom and a pediatrician. I feel so lucky to get to be both!

It’s truly an honor that other parents would entrust their children’s health to me. I understand the weight of that gift as a parent. I pray that I will always have that perspective… of what a privilege it is to care for their precious little ones. I think that perspective will make me a better pediatrician!

Kailey and Family