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.

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

Nadira Khan, PA-C

Physician Assistant Encourages Self-Care

“Good things happen when we take care of ourselves. We have to learn to prioritize ourselves and our health.

As the oldest of four girls, Nadira Khan was the natural caretaker for her sisters. From a young age, she knew that caring for others would factor into her career choice. She found the ideal role during a hospital volunteer experience while she was in high school. “That’s when I learned about physician assistants,” Nadira said. “I loved everything about the PA profession, from its schooling to its flexibility to its variety.” She chose family medicine because it offered the most varied experience. “It’s something new every single day, and I never tire of it,” she said.

Nadira’s patients appreciate her thoroughness and the time she spends with them. “I’m a very good listener, and I really take the time to understand my patients’ point of view. I want to know how they’re feeling and why they’re feeling that way. My goal is to have the kind of rapport where they can talk to me about anything.”

“I treat all my patients as if they were my family members,” added Nadira. “I want them to thrive no matter what challenges they may face.” That’s why she encourages them to practice self-care. Toward that end, she advocates preventive care, making sure patients are up to date on vaccinations and screenings, and following healthy lifestyles. “At the end of the day, we should learn to give ourselves compassion, time, and attention to focus on our own needs, desires and goals,” she said. “This way we can better support ourselves and our loved ones with a healthy rejuvenated mind/body.”

When she’s not working, Nadira likes to spend time with family and friends back in Brooklyn. She also enjoys working out and practicing her own self-care regimen.

Igor Grosman, PA-C

Physician Assistant Offers Personalized Approach to Primary Care

What motivates me is seeing my patients do really well when they take an active role in their own health care.”

With his appreciation for the sciences – biology, physiology and anatomy – and his nurturing nature, Igor Grosman seems tailor-made for the physician assistant role. It’s one that he has embraced wholeheartedly.

“I shadowed at a hospital, I volunteered in the emergency department, and I volunteered in a rehab center for seniors before I started my formal studies,” he said. “All of those experiences validated my desire to go into the medical field.” He pursued undergraduate work in biology as well as psychology because of the strong connection between the two. “I’m a really big proponent of physical health linked to mental health,” he said.

Igor joined Vanguard because it’s a practice known for collaboration among providers. “It’s essential to have that team environment to do the very best job for your patients,” he said. Igor strives to practice medicine and treat patients fairly and without discrimination regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or beliefs.

Igor’s patients like that he’s a good listener and that he takes the time to educate them on their health. “It’s sometimes scary to deal with health concerns, and I try to create as comfortable an environment as possible,” he explained. “I work with patients to help them take a more proactive role in their own health. We focus on wellness and prevention. It’s a very personalized approach based on their lifestyle. A patient with a busy schedule and four children has different needs than a retired senior does, even if they present with similar health concerns. What I tell one patient might not work for another.”

He also taps into his background in clinical research. “It’s really important to understand the medications we take,” he said. “I’ve always been interested in clinical research, and I stay up to date with new medications and treatments.”

When he’s not working, Igor enjoys traveling and photography.

Krystal Green, MD

“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.

Andrew Seise, PA-C

Physician Assistant Brings Clinical Experience with Navy to Family Medicine

“The connections that I make with my patients are my reason to come to work every day.”

As a former Navy corpsman, Andrew Seise (pronounced “cease”) has treated patients of all ranks and statuses. But it’s the connections he makes every day as a physician assistant in primary care that are the most meaningful to him.

“I love the patient interaction,” Andrew said, calling it the highlight of his day. “I enjoy getting to know my patients so that I can better help them stay healthy.”

Andrew’s career choice was initially inspired by an incredible high school science teacher who taught him the fundamentals of anatomy, physiology, and biology. When he enlisted in the Navy, Andrew continued on that track as a hospital corpsman, dispensing first aid and care to the sick and wounded on ship and shore. After completing his enlistment, he decided to continue his education in a physician assistant program. “The more that they described it to me, the more it sounded like what I was doing in the Navy,” he said.

Family medicine was the perfect place for this veteran, father of two, and former youth sports coach. He enjoys helping everyone from children to seniors stay healthy. His patients say he’s a good communicator and easy to talk to. His military service gives him a special connection to his patients who are veterans.

In addition to treating illness and disease, Andrew educates his patients on options for treatment and preventive care. “Education is essential so that patients can be advocates for their own health,” he said.

When he’s not working, Andrew enjoys hiking, kayaking, camping, and outdoor activities with his family.

Alexandra Citro, PA-C

Telemedicine Physician Assistant Enjoys Practicing Family Medicine

“I see patients through a family practice lens. I look at all facets of their mental and physical health to help them feel their best.”

Alexandra Citro discovered her future career while she was hospitalized at age 20 for a heart problem. “The physician assistant (PA) was amazing,” she said. “She took the time to talk with me and ease my fears during a scary situation.” Alexandra already had her eye on a career in healthcare, but at that moment she set out to learn more about physician assistants. “It was the perfect blend of everything I wanted,” Alexandra said, “with a large focus on patient care.”

She went on to work initially in hematology oncology with cancer patients, then in family medicine and urgent care. “I really love the continuity of care in family medicine,” she said. “I enjoy getting to know my patients and being able to help them not only when they have an immediate need, but with their overall health.”

As a telemedicine provider, Alexandra starts by reviewing a patient’s medical history before she sees him or her on video chat. “I like to get a picture of my patients first because that may affect the treatment I recommend.” She goes on to make sure patients have a medical home and addresses their overall mental and physical health during a virtual visit. “My focus is on the whole person, including preventive care. Therefore, I might recommend diet, exercise, meditation or other lifestyle changes that will help them feel good.”

Alexandra joined Vanguard for its focus on the whole patient. “I like that Vanguard isn’t linked to a huge hospital and is independent. It has a family feel to it where both providers and patients are part of that family.”

When she’s not working, Alexandra enjoys cooking and baking for her kids.  She also loves to read. She and her husband, John, have three young children and enjoy spending time together. When her schedule allows, Alexandra also volunteers. She has cut hair for Locks of Love and packed lunches for Feed the Need, furnishing meals to children in Africa through her church.

Margaret Kelly, PA-C

Physician Assistant Prioritizes Patient Relationships in Family Medicine

“Taking the time to listen and creating a dialogue with my patients helps me deliver care that’s uniquely suited to their needs. ”

As the oldest of four, Margaret Kelly grew up caring for her siblings. That was the inspiration for a career of helping others and making a difference. Margaret chose the competitive dual-degree physician assistant program at Seton Hall University, where she earned an undergraduate degree in biology and a master’s degree as a physician assistant. Today, she’s putting those credentials to work at Vanguard.

“My patients have told me I’m a very good listener,” she said. “I also take the time to fully explain their treatment plans and the thought process behind them. My patients seem to truly appreciate that.”

At Vanguard, Margaret has had the chance to treat multiple generations of the same family. “One of my favorite aspects of family medicine is being able to see somebody’s kids and also their parents,” she said. “It means a lot when a patient recommends me to a family member. When you have that trust, it helps immensely with patients wanting to follow my recommendations. That makes a difference in the care that I’m able to provide.”

“Vanguard truly is just as its name implies — ahead of the curve,” she said. “Patients tell me all the time that they appreciate the patient-focused approach that we provide. I also appreciate the supportive team behind me that allows me to work independently but also to consult with them whenever needed.”

Originally from Saratoga Springs in upstate New York, Margaret is getting to know the Jersey shore and very much enjoying the beach in the summer. She also loves to ski in the winter. When she’s not working, she most enjoys spending time with friends and family.