Roger DiRuggiero, MD

Physician Brings Depth and Breadth of Experience in Internal Medicine and Urgent Care

“Compassionate and excellent patient care starts with the connection between the provider and the patient.”

Long before Roger DiRuggiero ever donned a white coat or picked up a stethoscope, he was a kid captivated by a family physician. His Uncle Nick was the consummate family doctor of the 1970s, delivering babies and performing surgery. “He was my hero and one of the reasons I chose a career in medicine,” said Dr. DiRuggiero. He also found inspiration from his dad, a pharmacist who always went the extra mile for his customers.

He chose to study medicine in Italy at the University of Padova. Not only was it one of the oldest and most demanding medical schools in the world, but it was near family. He reconnected with his great aunts and uncles during his time there.

Returning to the states for his internal medicine residency, Dr. DiRuggiero worked concurrently at the hospital and an urgent care center. “In urgent care, you treat the full spectrum of ages,” he said. “I really enjoyed acute care and also liked the surgical aspect including being able to delve into orthopedics.” Ultimately, it was his inspiration to open a hybrid practice, incorporating both internal medicine and urgent care, 7 days a week.

Dr. DiRuggiero is excited to be joining Vanguard Medical Group, which follows his core philosophy of family medicine that puts the patient first. Now he looks forward to getting to know a new group of patients.

“I think the most enjoyable thing about my relationships with patients is our social connection,” he said. “It doesn’t make any difference whether it’s the Super Bowl or golf, children or grandchildren, hobbies, or interests. I search for that connection, and we have a continuous dialogue from visit to visit. It makes the office visit more personal, human to human. That helps build trust and ultimately compliance.”

Dr. DiRuggiero finds fulfillment in helping his patients on their health journey. “It’s knowing that I have a broad breadth of knowledge and skill set to treat anybody who comes to our office. They can leave knowing that they have an action plan that keeps them feeling their best.”

When he’s not working, Dr. DiRuggiero enjoys traveling, including to his beloved Italy and to St. Barts. He is an avid golfer and also is teaching himself guitar. He is passionate about staying fit and healthy and starts his daily routine with a gym workout that keeps him feeling his best.

Alana Young, MS, PA-C

Physician Assistant Brings Lifelong Passion for Care

“I absolutely love seeing the outcomes of each visit. I think it makes you a better provider.”

A friend’s childhood seizure was the reason that Alana Young chose healthcare as a career. It happened at a sleepover and understandably, young Alana was frightened. Yet she was fully prepared years later in high school when that same friend had a seizure in the back seat of a car. “After that first experience, I set out to learn all about seizures,” she says. “So, I was able to calm the people around me, and help my friend through it. That was the moment I knew I wanted to go into healthcare. This is what I was meant to be doing.”

While pursuing a science track in college, she learned about the Physician Assistant career from a family friend. He arranged for her to shadow a group of PAs, which confirmed her career choice. Upon graduation, she went to work in neurology, because of her early interest in epilepsy.

“I realized pretty quickly that I wanted more of a relationship with my patients than I could have in specialty care,” says Alana. “I wanted to be there for their lifelong healthcare needs.” That’s when she pivoted to primary care. “I love the aspect of seeing everyone in the family and really getting to know your patients and partnering with them on their care.”

Patients appreciate that Alana takes the time to listen. “I strive to be that person who listens and who is calm and empathetic, because 90% of what we do is taking a good history and understanding it. That way, we can make the most informed decision on what test to order or what follow-up is needed.”

She joined Vanguard because of its patient-first focus and its collaborative care approach. A Randolph resident, Alana adds, “I’m excited to contribute to the community in which I live.”

When she’s not working, Alana enjoys traveling and hiking. She is an avid reader and loves exploring bookstores. She is a new mom and is enjoying introducing her son to these experiences.

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.”

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.