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.

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.

Emily Childers, PA-C

Primary Care Physician Assistant Values Patient Relationships

Primary care is the foundation of patient health and wellbeing.”

Physician Assistant Emily Childers got her first glimpse of her future career in high school. She was part of a health science program that visited different hospitals and facilities. As someone who loved helping people, a healthcare career resonated with her. Her experience with her own provider, a physician assistant, solidified the choice.

“She was empathetic and thorough,” said Emily. “I always felt heard when I saw her. She built that relationship with me. I ended up shadowing her and ultimately working for her later on as a medical assistant.”

Now as a physician assistant in primary care, Emily enjoys helping patients of all ages stay healthy. Emily’s patients say she is genuine and empathetic. They like that she takes the time to listen to them. She strives to help them fully understand their health. She focuses on preventative care, and encourages healthy habits, screenings, and proactive steps that patients can take.

“I’m looking forward to following my patients for the long-term, and I want them to know that they’re a valued partner in their health care journey,” says Emily. “I want them to feel comfortable coming to me with their concerns, big or small, so that we can address them together.”

When she’s not working, Emily enjoys baking, yoga, and taking her dog to parks. Originally from Dallas, she also likes exploring the area and discovering new favorite destinations.

Adoracion Chao, FNP-C

Telehealth nurse practitioner takes thorough approach to patient care

“You really want to be in-depth with your assessment in case a patient forgets to tell you something, because that will help you to identify any issues.”

Adora Chao knows the importance of connecting with her patients. This primary care family nurse practitioner once did an assessment for a deaf patient completely in American Sign Language. She’s spoken to patients in English, Tagalog, and some limited Spanish, too. “You want to be very thorough in everything you do,” she says, “and that means you need to effectively communicate.”

Passionate about helping her patients, Adora gets her inspiration from family. Her mother passed away from cervical cancer, inspiring Adora to pursue a career in nursing to help others. She became a Family Nurse Practitioner in order to do even more for her patients. Adora has worked in a variety of settings from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and telemetry units in the hospital to urgent care clinics and pediatrics. An early adopter of telehealth, Adora was also a virtual provider during the pandemic.

She joined the Vanguard eCare telemedicine team to continue this important work. “Telehealth is different from a regular inpatient visit,” says Adora. “It’s more complex because you’re not there to physically examine a patient, listen to their lungs, and so on. You depend upon a patient’s self-assessment but you also guide them, for example in palpitating their glands or pressing on their abdomen and asking them to describe how they feel. Before I talk with my patients, I also review their charts so I’m aware of their preexisting conditions and medications they are taking.”

Adora’s patients like that she’s thorough, and that she takes the time to educate them and help them find the resources they need. They also appreciate her sense of humor. “It’s all a matter of making them feel comfortable so that they can talk to you about their health concerns,” says Adora.

A lifelong learner, Adora is near completion of her second Master’s, as a Psychology and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. She looks forward to integrating this new skill in helping her patients.

When she’s not busy working, Adora enjoys traveling, especially out of the country. She also likes to garden during warm weather. She is a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.

Jill Magioncalda, FNP

Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Creates Virtual Connections via Telehealth

I want my patients to ask questions so they learn and understand their health needs.”

Jill Magioncalda knows the importance of understanding a medical diagnosis. Her son, now grown and healthy, was born with a birth defect and had three surgeries before he was a year old. “I wanted to empower myself with knowledge so I would know the questions to ask,” she said. That inspired her to become a nurse, and to pursue the advanced education and training of a family medicine nurse practitioner. Today, she helps patients at Vanguard via telehealth, also called telemedicine.

Jill began her career as a nursing instructor at ECPI University, inspiring the next generation of nurses. In that role, she worked to implement and coordinate efforts with the South Carolina State Board of Nursing to adopt the first LPN program for the university. At the same time, she volunteered and then worked at a free medical clinic, serving those in greatest need. Jill continued her career in a variety of medical settings. She has worked in long-term care and rehabilitation, in a Healthy House Calls program, in hospice, and was one of the pioneering practitioners in telemedicine.

When COVID-19 hit, Jill was on the front lines, offering her expertise at one of New Jersey’s mega sites. “I found again that people needed to understand what is going on, and needed good solid evidence-based medicine,” she said. She helped to educate those patients about COVID.

Jill joined Vanguard because of its patient-first focus and its robust telemedicine program. “When I wake up in the morning, I’m excited to go to work,” she said. “I get an opportunity to connect with my patients and form relationships from the very first encounter.” Patients like Jill’s easygoing manner and openness. She encourages them to ask questions and to take the helm of their own healthcare, partnering with her for healthy outcomes. She also works closely with the Vanguard team. “I really enjoy the collaboration,” she said.

When she’s not busy working, Jill enjoys helping with events for her town. She and her husband are active in planning Olde Freehold Day and Freehold’s Halloween Extravaganza.

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.

Sheila Mellody, MD

Family Physician Values Patient Relationships

“By counseling patients on good nutrition, healthy choices, and preventative care, we can help them live their best lives.”

Inspired by her patients and driven by her passion for helping others, Dr. Sheila Mellody brings a caring and compassionate approach to primary care at Vanguard Medical Group’s Farmingdale office. It’s a dream role for this family physician who values the relationships that she has made over the years.

“I chose family medicine for the one-on-one continuity of care,” she said. “Getting to know my patients, seeing their kids grow, and helping them on a journey toward good health is truly gratifying.”

Dr. Mellody began her career in Denver, Colorado, in a women’s health practice, and brings that experience and special interest to Vanguard. She also spent time working in primary care in Virginia Beach. She returned to her home state of New Jersey to be close to family.

Patients say they like Dr. Mellody’s ability to explain things clearly. “I’m very thorough and very organized,” she said. “I make sure that my patients fully understand any diagnoses or treatments so that we are able to work together toward optimum health.” She also emphasizes the importance of preventative care and healthy lifestyle choices. “Regular screenings, good nutrition, and healthy choices really do make a difference,” she said. “I often tell my patients that good nutrition is the backbone of any treatment.”

When she’s not working, Dr. Mellody enjoys running, camping, cooking, and spending time with her husband and children.

Joseph W. Schauer, III, MD

Family Physician Offers Personalized Healthcare

“Quality, cost-effective health care is a right, not a privilege.”

Whether he’s reassuring an anxious patient, offering clinical expertise on the latest treatment, or checking on a homebound senior, Dr. Joseph Schauer brings a warmth and compassion to primary care that come from over 35 years of learning and of advocating for his patients. He continues a legacy begun by his father and uncle, who paved the way for patient-centered care at the very same Farmingdale practice, once known as Schauer Family Medical Group.

Dr. Schauer’s own journey in medicine began in high school. He knew he wanted to help others, and he took a summer job as a hospital orderly, solidifying his career path. When it came time to choose a focus in medical school, he selected family medicine. “I liked the idea of taking care of generations of families,” he said, “and of treating the whole person—body, mind and soul. You can do that in primary care, whereas you cannot in subspecialties.”

He returned home to Monmouth County to practice family medicine with his father, Joseph Schauer Jr., MD and his uncle, Edward A. Schauer, MD. They have since retired, and Dr. Schauer remains at the helm, joining with like-minded independent physicians at Vanguard Medical Group.

“What distinguishes our practice is the personal touch, the willingness to sit down and explain things to our patients,” he said. “Our patients love that they can get that individualized attention along with high-tech diagnosis and treatment.”

Over the years, Dr. Schauer has received countless accolades from his patients. “The outcome is not always good, because people sometimes have diseases that unfortunately progress, but there is always an element of gratitude,” he noted. “We will receive notes from families saying thank you for taking care of Dad or Grandpa. Those are incredibly meaningful to us.”

Dr. Schauer’s influence reaches far beyond the Farmingdale location. He is a past president of the New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians. He chaired the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Primary Care Initiative, working with a major New Jersey healthcare insurer to develop and implement primary care initiatives built around the PCMH concept in New Jersey.

When he’s not working, Dr. Schauer enjoys traveling with his wife, gardening, golfing and pursuing that ever-elusive hole-in-one.

Jessica Timmerman, FNP, APN

Nurse Practitioner Advocates for Her Patients

“Mental health plays an important role in physical health, and both have to work together for optimum health.”

With a background in psychology and expertise honed by years of working in trauma, emergency medicine and the ICU, Jessica Timmerman is well prepared for the breadth and depth of family medicine. “I get to do all the things I’m good at and feel a calling to do,” she said, “and at the same time form meaningful relationships with my patients as we work together toward better health.”

As a nurse practitioner, Jessica can diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, and prescribe medications. She is wound care certified and has a special interest in mental health and addiction. With her appreciation for the sciences and the connection between physical and mental health, she treats the full range of ailments and conditions in a family practice setting.

“Patients like that I listen,” she said. “I’m very good at physical assessments. In my first six years in urgent care, we only had access to minimal diagnostics. I learned how to pay attention to every detail.”

Jessica follows the science but also values holistic care, counseling patients on lifestyle changes that support good health. She helps them take charge of their health through preventive care. Jessica advocates for her patients and connects them with community resources for additional support as needed, from fighting cancer to battling drug addiction. “There’s a great sense of community in our practice, built upon generations of families whom we have served,” she said.

When she’s not working, Jessica enjoys the great outdoors, fishing with her husband and son, and trail riding on four-wheelers. Having once considered a career as a veterinarian, Jessica is the proud owner of a rescue dog and two cats.

Mandy Sacher, DO

Family Physician Partners with Patients on Their Health Journey

“Every single feature of someone’s life plays into their health. Understanding that is the first step on the journey with patients toward better health.”

It wasn’t just an academic interest in the inner workings of the human body and mind that led Dr. Mandy Sacher to family medicine. It was her passion for connecting with people and harnessing that connection to help them achieve optimal health. “People come to their family doctor to address their physical health. But that interaction allows for explorations of the other aspects of their life that are likely affecting their current health and the attainment of improved health. I love having the opportunity to work with my patients in that process.”

Dr. Sacher enjoys the variety and challenge of family medicine. “In a given day, I can see all members of a multigenerational family, from newborn to geriatric; perform in-office procedures; and have a routine gynecologic visit — all while addressing physical, emotional and psychosocial issues.” Patients appreciate her easygoing manner, her openness to different perspectives and her straightforward way of explaining medical concepts.

When she’s not working, Dr. Sacher enjoys spending time in nature with her family, traveling, reading and trying her best to stay in the moment.

“Wherever the art of Medicine is loved, there is also a love of Humanity.” —Hippocrates