Nikoletta D. Antczak, PA-C

Physician assistant fulfills her dream as a healthcare provider

“I want my patients to live a healthy life so that they can continue doing what they enjoy most.”

Nikoletta was always more excited for science class than any other subject. Anatomy and physiology especially sparked her interest. That, coupled with her desire to help others, was the start of her career in medicine. “I discovered the physician assistant career in college, shadowed a PA in a hospital NICU, and I knew immediately that was what I wanted to do,” she says.

She found her passion in family medicine, pediatrics, and women’s health, but she couldn’t choose between the three. Luckily with Vanguard Medical Group, she didn’t have to. “I love that I get to do it all at Vanguard,” she says.

Patients say that Nikoletta is personable and approachable. She takes the time to educate patients about their health and encourages them to ask questions. “We’re trained with all this medical knowledge and now it’s my job to be able to explain what that means in lay terms to my patients. I want them to fully understand their options, and the risks and benefits of treatment.”

She stresses the importance of preventive care and regular wellness checkups. “A lot of patients actually ask why they have to come yearly,” she says. “That’s the time when we evaluate their health from head to toe. We want to make sure that we’re not just looking at one aspect of the patient, such as during an urgent care visit. We’re looking at the big picture.”

“My mother brought us over from Poland for a better life,” adds Nikoletta. “Now that I’m a healthcare provider, I feel as if I’m fulfilling her dream—and mine.”

When she’s not working, Nikoletta loves watching movies, cooking new recipes, and spending time with family.

She has two rescue dogs, Maui and Athena, and a cat, Raven.

Igor Grosman, PA-C

Physician Assistant Offers Personalized Approach to Primary Care

What motivates me is seeing my patients do really well when they take an active role in their own health care.”

With his appreciation for the sciences – biology, physiology and anatomy – and his nurturing nature, Igor Grosman seems tailor-made for the physician assistant role. It’s one that he has embraced wholeheartedly.

“I shadowed at a hospital, I volunteered in the emergency department, and I volunteered in a rehab center for seniors before I started my formal studies,” he said. “All of those experiences validated my desire to go into the medical field.” He pursued undergraduate work in biology as well as psychology because of the strong connection between the two. “I’m a really big proponent of physical health linked to mental health,” he said.

Igor joined Vanguard because it’s a practice known for collaboration among providers. “It’s essential to have that team environment to do the very best job for your patients,” he said. Igor strives to practice medicine and treat patients fairly and without discrimination regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or beliefs.

Igor’s patients like that he’s a good listener and that he takes the time to educate them on their health. “It’s sometimes scary to deal with health concerns, and I try to create as comfortable an environment as possible,” he explained. “I work with patients to help them take a more proactive role in their own health. We focus on wellness and prevention. It’s a very personalized approach based on their lifestyle. A patient with a busy schedule and four children has different needs than a retired senior does, even if they present with similar health concerns. What I tell one patient might not work for another.”

He also taps into his background in clinical research. “It’s really important to understand the medications we take,” he said. “I’ve always been interested in clinical research, and I stay up to date with new medications and treatments.”

When he’s not working, Igor enjoys traveling and photography.

Jessica Wolkun, PA-C

Physician Assistant Enjoys Seeing Patients’ Progress Toward Good Health

“It’s the relationships that we form with our patients and the ability to help them live longer, healthier lives that motivate me every day.”

From a young age, Jessica Wolkun had thought about a career in healthcare. But it wasn’t until a trip to the emergency room that she found her true calling. “I took my friend to the ER, and that’s when I met a physician assistant for the first time,” she said. “I could clearly see myself in that role.”

Until then, she had been following a behavioral health track in college, with the goal of working with autistic children. She changed from psychology to biology, and soon found herself in the clinical setting. “The fit was perfect because I wanted to be part of a patient’s overall health rather than just the small part that is behavioral.”

Now she brings her hospital experience, including work in gastrointestinal disorders and infectious disease, to a primary care practice. She chose Vanguard because of its focus on wellness and its genuine care and concern for its patients. Being a physician assistant at Vanguard is everything she envisioned. “I love medicine, and I enjoyed working in a hospital, but now I have the opportunity to get to know my patients and follow their health for the long term.

“My patients like that I’m thorough and that I listen to them,” she said. “I help them stay on top of their health, and I sometimes gently push a little to ensure that they get the test that they need or make the lifestyle change that will make the difference.” Jessica notes that sometimes patients put off a necessary test because of fear. “We can address the fear and help patients feel more comfortable,” she said. “That’s much easier than addressing what could happen if the test is not done.”

Being able to follow her patients’ progress is a great reward of the job, according to Jessica. “If I can help them lose weight, lower their blood pressure, and get off medication, for example, then I’ve helped them toward a longer, healthier life.”

When she’s not working, Jessica enjoys gardening, decorating her home, and taking hikes and walks on the weekends.

Debora Geller, MD

Allergist Takes a Preventive Approach to Seasonal and Food Allergies, Skin Conditions and Asthma

“Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. and the most common health issue affecting children; as allergists, there is a lot we can do.”

Dr. Debora Geller has managed the challenges patients face caused by environmental allergies, asthma, atopic dermatitis or eczema, hives and other skin allergies, food allergies, medication allergies and more. “Allergies can severely impact one’s ability to function” she said. “Yet there is a lot we can do to relieve those symptoms—and even prevent them in the future.” Trained in pediatric and adult allergy, asthma and immunology, Dr. Geller has helped countless patients with focused, personalized approaches to manage their allergy symptoms on a daily basis.

Helping others is a calling for Dr. Geller, and has been since she was very young. At just six years of age, she aspired to follow in the footsteps of her pediatrician, a woman who formed a strong connection with her. After medical school, she completed a residency in general pediatrics, then a fellowship in pediatric and adult allergy, asthma and immunology.

Dr. Geller traditionally sees patients who require more intensive allergy care than what is available over-the-counter or by their primary care physicians.  “These may be patients with moderate or severe cases that need a higher level of treatment,” she said. “My goal is to keep them healthy and functioning.”

Dr. Geller chose to work at Vanguard for its preventative and collaborative care approach. She noted, “It makes for better patient care, when the medical team works together with a similar focus.” Dr. Geller’s caring and personalized medical approach has earned her such awards as NJ Monthly Top Doctor, Castle Connolly Top Doctor and the Top Doctor for Children.

When she’s not working, Dr. Geller enjoys traveling and learning about different cultures. She is an athlete and enjoys cycling and skiing. She stays active with her husband, also a physician, and three kids. She has a rescue Shih-Tzu named Sandy.

Wistreich, Sarah, DO

Dr. Sarah Wistreich Asks the Pivotal Questions to Help Patients on Their Journey to Health

“When you have a personal relationship with your patient, you are most able to give that patient effective preventive care.”

Dr. Sarah Wistreich was just 12 years old when she realized her life’s calling to become a doctor. She was inspired by the medical team that saved the life of her younger brother. “Watching the physicians who took care of him as a team really stood out to me,” she says. “It had a big impact on my personal decision.”

She chose family care so that she could treat the full range of ailments. She also enjoys a focus on women’s health. In both cases, Dr. Wistreich works to form meaningful relationships with her patients. “Continuity of care is so important,” she says. “When you know the person, you’re able to meet his or her needs more completely.”

Importantly, Dr. Wistreich asks the pivotal questions. “Are you up to date on your PAP smear? What are you using for birth control? Let’s talk about your weight. What’s going on at home? What is your stress level like?” She emphasizes preventive care, saying to patients, “Let’s talk about taking care of you when you’re well.” Patients enjoy the fact that Dr. Wistreich takes the time to actively listen and understand their concerns. Many women tell her that they enjoy seeing a female physician who can provide PAP smears, breast exams, birth control management, endometrial biopsies and other women’s health services.

Dr. Wistreich chose Vanguard because of its unique approach. “I like that Vanguard really puts the patient first,” she says. “It’s rare that you have a physician group that is owned by its own physicians and not a hospital or network. It’s still a business, but it’s one where the physicians care for the patients first and foremost.”

When she’s not working, Dr. Wistreich enjoys cooking nutritious meals. “Nutrition has become a passion of mine, not only with my patients, but with my family.”

Giangrante, Matthew, M.D.

Dr. Matthew Giangrante Builds Trust and Camaraderie with Patients

“I enjoy listening to my patients, and seeing how I can help them on a daily basis.”

Dr. Matthew Giangrante always loved science. That, and his passion for connecting with others, drove his decision to become a physician. He chose family medicine so that he had a chance to treat the full spectrum of patients and ailments.

He joined Vanguard Medical Group in 2013, a primary care practice that he says is “poised for growth without losing its focus on what’s important.” “We may be getting bigger, but quality patient care is still number one,” he says. “Patients may not even realize the depth and breadth of the practice because they still receive the kind of personalized attention that they did when we started.”

However, having access to an ever-increasing scope of services is important. Notes Dr. Giangrante, “We’re a very busy society, and when patients can get everything accomplished at one practice, from vaccines to phlebotomy, that makes it easier for them. Patients also have a level of trust when they’re getting these services done by their own doctor’s office.”

Dr. Giangrante practices the full scope of family medicine at Vanguard and has special interests in sports medicine and minor dermatologic procedures. He also has a focus on preventive care. “We handle everything from physicals to bloodwork, nutrition, weight loss strategies, vaccines for children and adults, and strategies for healthier lifestyles. When there are underlying medical issues, we help patients reduce their risk, using evidence-based research to support our recommendations.”

His easy-going, gentle nature and unique sense of humor help his patients, friends and colleagues feel comfortable around him. His patients frequently tell him that he is easy to talk to, addresses their concerns and makes them feel comfortable. Recently, Dr. Giangrante took home “New Jersey’s Favorite Kids’ Docs” honors, being listed in New Jersey Family magazine as one of the best in the business.

When he’s not working, Dr. Giangrante is an active volunteer and enjoys spending his free time with his wife and three children in his hometown of Union. He also enjoys golfing, boating and spending time at the Shore.