Swetal Patel, PA-C

Primary Care PA Guides Patients Toward Better Health

“Primary care is the gatekeeper for healthy living.”

With a passion for science and a penchant for helping others, Physician Assistant Swetal Patel guides her patients to make the healthy choices that help them live their best lives.

It’s a lifelong pursuit inspired by her own childhood injury and a trip to the hospital. “The physician who took care of me was incredibly caring,” she says. “It made me want to pursue a career in healthcare so that I could do the same for others.” Swetal followed a science and math track, and ultimately found the physician assistant role in primary care to be a perfect fit.

Swetal brings diverse and extensive clinical experience to Vanguard, including work in a primary care practice as well as in outpatient and emergency settings. In the primary care setting, she is able to advocate for good nutrition, regular exercise, and staying ahead of potential disease through preventive screenings. “Armed with all of the information, patients can take control of their health,” she says.

Swetal values her relationships with her patients and is there for the long term. “I like to see the impact of our visits over time, such as the care plan that we follow and the lifestyle changes that the patient makes,” she says. Patients appreciate her thoroughness and like that she uses plain language when explaining medical terms. She ensures that they have the resources that they need to make healthy changes.

When she’s not working, Swetal enjoys nature photography and spending time in the great outdoors.

Krystal A. Green, M.D.

“Good communication between a provider and a patient is the key to getting the best health outcomes.”

When Krystal Green became a primary care physician, she fulfilled a long-standing dream that began when she was just three years old. At the time, she was offering comfort to her mother on the stillbirth of Krystal’s younger brother. “I told her that I wanted to be a doctor so that people don’t lose their family members ever again.”

During the summer following college, she shadowed her childhood pediatrician, a female practitioner, who was among her mentors. She continued on to medical school, where she discovered family medicine during her rotations. “I originally was going to pursue OB/GYN,” said Krystal, “but I realized that in family medicine, I could do so much more, including pediatric and adults. It was the perfect specialty for me.”

She often goes above and beyond for her patients in an effort to listen and communicate, especially in the area of preventive care. “I let them lead the conversation and then offer medical and healthy lifestyle recommendations,” said Krystal. “I lay out the options, risks, and benefits and ask, ‘What do you think about this one or that one?’ They seem to really appreciate that.”

“The job is living up to my initial childhood dream,” she said. “There are days when I feel so fulfilled. I know that I’ve really made a difference.”

When she’s not working, Krystal enjoys reading, writing, and exploring new places with her husband and family.

Breanna D. Mesa, PA-C

“There is a trust factor when a patient knows you. That’s why building relationships is so important.”

Physician assistant Breanna Mesa loves to talk about healthy food choices and exercise. That’s because she knows the power of a healthy lifestyle. “When I was growing up, my grandmother had a lot of chronic conditions,” explained Breanna. “I would go with her to doctors’ appointments, and I learned that chronic diseases are caused in part by lifestyle choices. That inspired me to become a medical provider, to educate patients about preventive care and to help patients stay healthy and active.”

Breanna takes a three-step approach to disease prevention. The first step is educating patients about vaccines and screenings. The second step is ordering blood work or other tests when patients are showing symptoms, then suggesting lifestyle changes as needed. The third step would be to prescribe medication because a patient’s disease has progressed. The medication is  in addition to the suggested lifestyle changes to help mitigate symptoms. “The more we can nip things in the bud before a patient gets sick, the better,” said Breanna.

Importantly, Breanna takes the time to ensure that her patients fully understand their health status. “If you talk to people in medical terms, sometimes they’ll nod and pretend to understand. Perhaps they think they’ll research their problem later on their computer. I make sure to explain things fully so that they leave knowing where things stand and what to do.”

She credits her countless volunteer experiences, including one at a mobile clinic in Peru, that helped to hone her communications skills. “You travel to underprivileged countries and visit villages where English is not the first language,” she said. “Yet you need to teach basic hygiene or give antibiotics to sick people. It was an amazing experience and one that helps remind me every day how fortunate we are to have access to good medical care in our country.”

When she’s not working, Breanna enjoys spending time with her Cavachon puppy named Ryleigh. She is an avid traveler and recently spent time in Spain, France, Greece and Italy.

Mravcak, Sally, MD

Dr. Sally Mravcak Focuses on Family, Lifestyle and Relationships for Wellness and Prevention

“You’re not just looking at disease, but at family and social interactions and lifestyle. We ask the pivotal questions. Who’s cooking at home? How is the stress level? How much exercise are you getting? Do you have social relationships? All of these contribute to a patient’s well-being.”

When your mother is a registered nurse, you get an early glimpse into what it’s like to help others. That’s what happened with Dr. Sally Mravcak. “Growing up, we always had people in the neighborhood coming to the house, asking for my mom’s help or advice,” she says. “That was my inspiration for going into health care.

She chose family medicine because she enjoyed every rotation during medical training, from pediatrics to women’s health to geriatrics. “I didn’t want to give any of it up,” she says. “I like being able to treat an entire family, from the children to their parents, grandparents and great grandparents.”

Dr. Mravcak began her career working in a federally qualified health center, spending eight years caring for uninsured and underinsured people in New Jersey. “I like to advocate for my patients,” she says. “Every patient deserves excellent care offered with dignity and respect.” Prior to joining Vanguard, Dr. Mravcak also practiced full time in a women’s health center, providing comprehensive primary care, office gynecology and acupuncture. In addition to family medicine, she is board-certified in integrative medicine and medical acupuncture, and believes in evidence-based, whole-person care that takes into account the role of body, mind and science in creating wellness. She offers medical acupuncture in the Jersey City office of Vanguard. These treatments may be done alone or in concert with traditional medical practices to prevent and treat medical problems and promote emotional and physical wellness.

“Vanguard is always on the cutting edge of family medicine, as our name suggests,” notes Dr. Mravcak. “We’re pushing the ball forward in medicine, and in technology, as far as it can go. We’re also very open and accepting of patients of all backgrounds. We see patients of all ages, ethnicities, sexual orientations and gender identities, and they each feel comfortable here.”

When she’s not in the office in Jersey City, you might find Dr. Mravcak on a biking trail, taking in some live music or spending the day at the beach with her spouse and two daughters.