Rachael Romer, MSPAS, PA-C

Physician Assistant Cultivates Provider-Patient Relationships

“I look at the whole person and not just the diagnosis in front of me.”

Rachael Romer grew up around medicine. As a child, she watched her grandmother go in and out of the hospital. She loved seeing how the providers made her grandmother feel and the relationships they formed with her. It was the inspiration for her career as a physician assistant in primary care.

She chose family medicine so she could treat a range of conditions and help patients over the long term. “Continuity of care is very important to me,” she said. “It’s not just one specific diagnosis but a chance to get to know your patients over time and help them stay healthy.”

Rachael’s patients say she is extremely outgoing and personable. She takes the time to get to know them. “If you get to know the person and not just the patient, you can better understand how to help them. You will understand their diets, their exercise routines, their stress levels, and the challenges they face in staying healthy.”

In addition to her role at Vanguard, Rachael is inspiring the next generation of physician assistants. She is an assistant professor of PA studies at her alma mater, Saint Elizabeth University.

When she’s not working, Rachael enjoys spending time with family and friends; playing tennis, softball, and golf; and walking her rescue dog, Emmett.

Van Wyck, Kelly, DNP

Kelly Van Wyck Invests Time in Her Patients’ Well-being

“When we encourage ourselves to pursue wellness instead of only responding to illness, we lead healthier, more peaceful, more fulfilling lives.”

It was an experience volunteering in Haiti that revealed Kelly’s true calling. “I was working as a teacher in the village school,” she says. “People assumed that, as an American, I had access to healthcare and they started bringing me their sick children. I had no training and couldn’t help. One evening, a friend showed up on our doorstep with his infant son, near death. My mother, a nurse, happened to be visiting. She intervened, and saved the baby’s life.” Inspired and determined, Kelly enrolled in a nursing program as soon as she returned home.

Kelly has since made annual trips to Haiti, where she has served as a nurse and translator with teams of medical, dental, and nursing personnel. “I’m inspired by the Haitian people and their incredible bravery despite difficult circumstances. It recalibrates me every time I go down there.”

Back in New Jersey, she worked for several years as an emergency room nurse; however, she quickly realized that she wanted to further her education. She earned her doctorate in 2017, and joined Vanguard shortly thereafter.

“I hope to inspire my patients to pursue wellness in body and mind,” she says. “I find that people often visit their healthcare provider reactively, because of illness. If I can help people to be proactive, and to pursue a healthier lifestyle, they may discover a more peaceful, more joyful, and ultimately more fulfilling life.”

When she’s not working, Kelly enjoys reading and spending time with her husband and two young children. She also enjoys hiking, photography, and traveling.

Alan Furst, MD

From Urgent Care to Primary Care: Dr. Alan Furst Puts Patients First 

My goal is to have every patient who walks out of my office feel a little bit better about at least one thing.”

Before urgent care was a reality, Dr. Alan Furst envisioned it. As the director of an emergency room physician group, Dr. Furst knew that a walk-in clinic that was open after office hours would be an attractive alternative to a hospital ER. He took that concept and opened the very first urgent care clinic in a rural area of New Jersey.

It took some time to build a following, but eventually the center was so successful that Dr. Furst and a partner opened two others. The early urgent cares operated differently than the clinics do today, establishing relationships with companies to perform corporate physicals and drug screenings as well as handling urgent care needs.

Over the years, urgent care transitioned into primary care for Dr. Furst, who enjoys the provider-patient relationships and the variety in family medicine. “I saw the advantages of working with a first-class primary care group run by physicians,” he said of his move to Vanguard.

“I have a very loyal patient base of people who have followed me from place to place, from Chester to Parsippany to Denville,” he said, crediting this to his unique approach. “I have a pretty informal style with my patients. I’m very open. We talk person to person, not doctor to patient. I’m just as interested in where they’re going on their next vacation as in their medical needs.” But his focus is to keep them healthy. “I’d rather encourage my patient to make a lifestyle change that will prevent plaque from building up in his or her arteries than treat buildup with medication or surgery.”

True to his urgent care background, Dr. Furst will continue to welcome walk-ins at the Randolph office.

When he’s not working, Dr. Furst enjoys racing and breeding thoroughbred racehorses. He served as president of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, helping to find homes and alternate careers for retired racehorses. He also likes to remain active, skiing, golfing, playing softball and doing his own landscaping. In addition, he is a self-professed dog lover, and once considered becoming a veterinarian.

He lives with his wife, Amy, and dog, Lydia, in Morris County, and is most proud of his daughter, Morgan, and son-in-law, Dan, who live and work in San Francisco.