McCarrick, Thomas, MD

Helping People Is Dr. McCarrick’s Primary Motivation

“Sometimes, we use our expertise as primary care physicians to reassure patients. Sometimes, we cure their ailments or ease their pain. Sometimes, we connect them with the resources they need that make a real difference in their quality of life.”

Long before Dr. Thomas McCarrick ever held a stethoscope or peered into the depths of a sore throat, he was a kid in the Bronx who was impressed by a family doctor. It’s what motivated him to go into medicine and, specifically, primary care. “I wanted to be him. I liked science and I liked helping people. I wanted to be able to make a difference, and I saw medicine as the way to do it.”

Today, Dr. McCarrick gets a lot of satisfaction from helping his patients feel better and enjoy a better quality of life. As a family physician, he enjoys the warm feeling he gets taking care of a grandchild and then the grandparents, and maybe the parents too. He also likes the insight into their family health history. It helps him identify health risks.

As he’s gotten older, he’s also completed an additional certification in geriatrics so that he can better understand treatment of older adults. “There are patients whom I’ve cared for, for more than three decades now. I want to continue to keep them as healthy as they can be.” As a result, Dr. McCarrick is a constant presence at area nursing homes. He also spearheaded the nonprofit association Care at Home to bring medical care and other resources to homebound seniors and their caregivers.

On the other end of the spectrum, he’s the school physician for Cedar Grove Public Schools, a responsibility that he shares with Vanguard’s Dr. Robert Gorman. As a result, he’s a regular presence at Cedar Grove High School football games.

Preventive care remains top of mind, even when Dr. McCarrick is treating a patient for a cold or another illness or injury. “There’s a tendency to put it off, or address it once a year in a physical. We just try to keep it top of mind by reminding patients about important screenings or getting that flu shot. People get their air conditioners serviced every year; they get their gutters cleaned. You need to be their partner in health care, and this includes reminding them to get the preventive care they need too.”

One of the founding physicians at Vanguard Medical Group, Dr. McCarrick also serves as chief medical officer and chief informatics officer (view his full biography here). His longstanding interest in the use of information technology and computers in medicine led him to pursue a master’s degree in biomedical informatics. He’s also on the forefront of the new field of clinical informatics, having earned one of the earliest certifications.

When he’s not working, Dr. McCarrick is a self-professed fitness buff. He’s been working out with the same trainer for the past 12 years. He also enjoys ballroom dancing with his wife and spending time with family.

Dr. McCarrick is responsible for founding Care at Home New Jersey, a nonprofit organization that provides resources to support the homebound and their families and caregivers. To learn more about this organization, please visit the Connections at Home website

Mazzella, Carmine, DO

Dr. Mazzella Inspired by Family Doctors

“As an osteopath (DO), I focus on the musculoskeletal system, which makes up about 70 percent of our body. When functioning properly, it helps keep you in optimum health.”

It seemed that Dr. Carmine Mazzella was destined to become a family doctor. He entered the world delivered by a family member who was a doctor. His godfather also was a physician. “Growing up, I had these incredible role models,” he says. “My godfather in particular was instrumental in my decision to become a physician. He was delighted by my career choice.”

Dr. Mazzella joined Vanguard soon after his graduation from medical school. He had worked weekends at the practice during his final year. “Vanguard was a very good fit for me. I liked the scope of services and the patient-centered approach. Since I had trained in Verona, I already had relationships with the specialists in the area for patient consultations as needed.”  

He has a growing patient base that is primarily referred by “word of mouth.” “Patients usually develop a relationship with a lead provider,” notes Dr. Mazzella, “and have an entire team available for emergent needs like sick visits.” He has developed relationships with multiple family members, cultivating a deeper knowledge of family histories that help inform health care decisions.

Dr. Mazzella helps patients with chronic disease, including managing diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol. He also focuses on the need for preventive care screenings. Because of his osteopathic training, he looks at disease a little differently – in how it relates to the musculoskeletal system. In that regard, he sometimes incorporates spinal manipulation, massage, exercise and physical therapy into patient treatment plans. The goal is to reduce pressure on joints and reduce inflammation.

When he’s not working, Dr. Mazzella enjoys photography, a hobby that he pursues with his wife. They also like to go camping and hiking.

Mathew, Julie, PA-C

Julie Mathew Strives to Be a Good Listener

“One of the most important jobs of a primary care professional is to stop and listen.”

Julie Mathew chose the health care field because she can make a difference in a life. “What attracted me to being a primary care physician assistant, and what keeps me going, is that I’m helping my patients strive to have a healthy life,” says Julie. “My day is filled with seeing patients, ordering labs and diagnosing patients with conditions ranging from a simple cold to diabetes, stroke or chest pains. I pay attention to everything they say, which helps me gauge how they are doing or what they need. It is so satisfying when a patient’s health improves because they listened and followed my guidance.”

Julie was attracted specifically to family medicine because every day provides something different. “There are days when my patients run the gamut from pediatrics to geriatrics, and their needs range from a wellness visit to relieving a common cold to managing hypertension or diabetes. I thrive on the variety family medicine offers, the opportunity to build strong relationships and the fulfillment I get from helping improve the health of another person.”

She joined Vanguard in 2011 as a physician assistant and, under the guidance of a medical doctor, provides a variety of services to patients, including annual physicals, wellness checkups, diagnoses, medication management, blood pressure screenings, inoculations and vaccinations. Prior to Vanguard, Julie worked in neurosurgery at UMDNJ.

Julie is fluent in Malayalam, a South Indian dialect, which has been helpful in the office, especially when communicating with elderly patients who speak English as a second language. “In any language, people want to be understood and we need to listen.” When she is not seeing patients, she keeps herself busy as a mother of two children and, in her spare time, loves to travel.

Kothari, Lara, PA-C

Lara Kothari Values Offering Small Steps to Better Health

“Being part of a patient-centered health care team that includes physicians and physician assistants gives our patients options and flexibility. It also gives our care team depth and breadth.”

Lara Kothari credits her nurturing personality – and all the “medical talk” by the physicians in her family while growing up – for her decision to become a physician assistant in a family medicine practice. She also loved science and people, so it seemed a natural fit.

Family medicine was Lara’s first choice, because she got to work in all the areas every day: OB/GYN, babies and children, women’s and men’s health, and geriatrics. She enjoys seeing the children she once treated now going off to college, and treating them when they come back home.

“It’s wonderful to see continuity of care work at its best,” says Lara, who notes the importance of patient-provider relationships. “You don’t get that in an ER or hospital setting. But as a primary physician, you often get to know the whole family and you develop those relationships that increase comfort levels in sharing important information that can improve patient outcomes.”

She often hears from patients that Vanguard is comprehensive and well organized. “A lot of patients like the patient portal,” she says, “because it gives them 24/7 access. They also like the fact that Vanguard has all the services under one roof, from X-ray to nutrition to behavioral health and home care.”

With Vanguard Medical Group since 1999, Lara can’t imagine being anywhere else. “Selfishly, it completes me,” she says. “I enjoy it. I like making a difference and helping people in whatever small way that I can. It’s part of who I am.”

When she’s not working, Lara enjoys exercising and socializing with friends and family.

Gorman, Robert, MD

Dr. Robert Gorman Sees Primary Care as a Personal and Long-Term Journey

“Patients may see a series of specialists, from an orthopedist for a replaced knee to a cardiologist for the stent in their heart. But if you ask who their doctor is, they will name their family physician.”

When Dr. Robert Gorman was in high school, he heard about the shortage of family doctors. The American Academy of Family Physicians had recently been established as a specialty to encourage more primary care physicians. He was intrigued; he was interested in the career and knew he had the scholastic aptitude. “It was a goal that I thought I could reach, and I really never looked back,” he says.

Dr. Gorman currently serves as the chair of the board of the New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians, the state chapter of the national organization that inspired this journey. As a school physician for the Cedar Grove Public Schools, he’s a constant presence in the local community. A founding member of Vanguard Medical Group, he’s also the family doctor for generations of families.

“It’s the personal relationships that we have with our patients and the longitudinal care that we provide that distinguish family medicine,” says Dr. Gorman. “Those relationships are also what I enjoy most about my job.”

Patients tell Dr. Gorman that they appreciate his thorough, comprehensive and detail-oriented approach. “They like that I listen, which is perhaps the most important of all,” he notes. “They also like that I’m friendly and that I conduct office visits with good humor, when appropriate.”

Wellness is a constant focus in those conversations. “I try to encourage my patients to schedule a wellness visit annually,” he says. “But during every encounter, I’ll touch on some parts of wellness. That means if you come in for a sore throat, I’ll check to make sure your screenings and immunizations are up to date, or talk to you about smoking if need be. Preventive care is always top of mind.”

When Dr. Gorman is not working, he enjoys skiing, camping, water sports and the Jersey Shore. A former marathoner, he now prefers running after his grandchildren.