by Len Lear
Dr. Linda Good has been a Mt. Airy icon, as visible and hardy as Lincoln Drive (but much more compassionate) since she became a partner in the Mt. Airy Family Practice, 760 Carpenter Lane, in 1989. Dr. Good, 67, graduated with high honors from every school she ever attended since being the valedictorian of her class at Mt. Pleasant High School in Wilmington, DE, in 1966.
But Dr. Good, who is regarded as an angel of mercy by thousands of patients (currently about 10,000 active patients) at the Mt. Airy Family Practice because of her kind, caring manner and her refusal to allow a corporate takeover, recently announced that she would be leaving the practice in early July. She is not retiring from the practice of medicine, however, as she expects to do volunteer work, possibly on behalf of the large homeless population in the city.
I hate to use cliches, so I won’t say that her successor has big shoes to fill (I don’t even know what size Dr. Good’s shoes are), but it is definitely a tough act to follow. (Sorry; that cliché just slipped out.)
Lauren Kummer, MD, 28, who will be joining the group on Independence Day (no political significance there, though), is a graduate of Temple University School of Medicine. She completed her residency in Family Medicine at Chestnut Hill Hospital. Dr. Kummer sees patients of all ages and has a special interest in women’s health, preventative medicine, minor office procedures and sports medicine.
“I felt strongly about staying in the community in which I have been practicing for the last three years,” Dr. Kummer said last week. “I was specifically drawn to Mt. Airy Family Practice’s unique commitment to patient-centered care.
“After meeting with the providers and staff, it was clear to me that they work efficiently as a team to coordinate care and that they are very accessible to patients.”
Dr. Kummer grew up in Southampton, Bucks County but now lives in the Chestnut Hill area. She went to Mount St. Joseph High School and the University of Notre Dame before Temple Medical School.
“The first two years of medical school,” she said, “were essentially all classroom-based study. The abrupt transition from the classroom to the world of clinical medicine in my third year was difficult but very rewarding. The concepts I had learned began to truly sink in when I had the opportunity to apply them to patients I met in person.”
Dr. Kummer admits the thought that she may have made the wrong career choice briefly crossed her mind during a few long overnight shifts in the hospital as a resident, but she is now very confident in her career choice.
One major issue these days is how much Obamacare has changed family practice, if at all. “Primary care offices have seen an influx of patients who had previously been uninsured,” replied Dr. Kummer, “and then obtained coverage through the Obamacare marketplace.
“In recent years, there has been a policy shift from emphasis on volume of patients seen to quality of care provided. This has allowed practices to make an investment in improving overall patient care and inviting patients to become more engaged in their health care process…
“I have had the opportunity to work with primary care physicians who knew their patients so well that they could just feel when things were awry with their health. I knew that I wanted this continuity of care in my career in medicine, with the cornerstone being on the ongoing, patient-physician relationship.”
We have all seen medical dramas on TV. What do they usually get right, and what do they usually get wrong about the real-life practice of medicine?
“Medical dramas often tell high-adrenaline stories of patients with the rarest of conditions, some of which may never be encountered in an average physician’s career. Underlying the wacky story lines, there are some grains of truth. Medicine is very team-based, physicians deal with ethical issues on a regular basis, and residency is really hard work.”
Who are Dr. Kummer’s favorite writers? “One of my favorite writers is Atul Gawande. He is a surgeon who has written several books about medicine and public health based on his personal experiences. His writing is much less dry than medical textbooks.”
What was the hardest thing the young doctor ever had to do? “The hardest thing I ever had to do was say goodbye to my grandmother, who was a very important part of my life.
“She was suffering from advanced colon cancer as I was leaving to go away to college. Knowing that I would not be back in the area for two months, our final goodbye was quite a challenge. This provided me with an introduction to the struggles of the end-of-life process, even before I had decided on a career in medicine.”
What is the best advice Dr. Kummer ever received? “Listening is very different from hearing. I learned early on in medical school that what you say matters less than what people hear and understand.”
In her spare time the Chestnut Hill resident, who is able to keep calm in high-pressure situations, enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, skiing, playing basketball and attending sporting events.
More information at 215-848-6880 or www.mtairyfamilypractice.com.