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A Clinician’s Perspective: Living and Working in the Northeast

We recently spoke with Dr. Frank Lee, TeamHealth residency education outreach consultant, and former regional medical director (RMD) in the Northeast, about working with TeamHealth and the community he lives in and serves.

TeamHealth: Tell us about the facilities you formerly oversaw?

Dr. Lee: As the RMD, I was part of TeamHealth Northeast, which covered western New York (Buffalo), parts of the southern tier and central New York.

TeamHealth: What did you enjoy most about your position as an RMD at TeamHealth?

Dr. Lee: I had such a fantastic time as the RMD! The best part of the position was getting to know every member of the team. There was a strong sense of camaraderie. I really had the opportunity to get to know everyone on a professional and personal level. We had a monthly directors meeting where all the directors would meet and we would go over business, but afterwards, we went out and did something fun together. Sometimes we would go out to lunch or play golf together. Some of the physicians came from as far as four hours away but we always had such great turnout, which is a testament to the bond and friendship we developed.

There were parts that were challenging about the job like working on the financials and metrics, but that paled in comparison to the benefits of getting to work with and know everyone on a personal level. I’m still friends with everyone to this day. It’s such a great group of people.

TeamHealth: Tell us about the community you serve. What do you love most about it?

Dr. Lee: Speaking specifically about Buffalo, the “City of good neighbors”, I can tell you that this moniker is definitely true. People here will go out of their way to help you if they can and are genuinely kind people. That is something you don’t find everywhere. It really is a fantastic place to live and raise a family.

What is nice about this area is that we have a lot of big city amenities without the big city problems. We have several professional sport teams, theaters and tons of opportunity for outdoor recreational activities. We don’t have any traffic issues and to get anywhere in Buffalo takes about 15 to 20 minutes. In addition, we have an international airport and Toronto is only an hour and a half away.

TeamHealth: Tell us about your training, educational background and professional interests.

Dr. Lee: I’ve been in Buffalo for the majority of my life now. I am a residency trained, board certified emergency physician. I am proud to say that I received my training at the University of Buffalo, which is an outstanding program. During my career, I have always had a passion for teaching and trying to impart any wisdom I’ve gained as a director and clinician.

This is one of the reasons I spend a majority of the year giving lectures to residency programs. I lecture on topics I believe are important for the residents to know but get little exposure to during their training, like the business side of medicine, work-life balance and negotiation tactics. I also teach at our TeamHealth LEAD and Leadership Fundamentals course, two programs that help physicians take the next step towards leadership. In addition, I am also faculty for ACEP and teach at EDDA Phase II, Emergency Department Directors Academy.

TeamHealth has given me this opportunity to pursue my passion. Honestly, I don’t know of many organizations that would invest the amount of time or resources to help physicians, like myself, improve upon our practice, professionally and personally.

TeamHealth: Tell us about the team culture and dynamic at TeamHealth.

Dr. Lee: I think the people who got to know me understood that I always tried to bring a culture of “do right by the clinician” first and everything else will work out. When you make a clinician feel valued, it will reflect in everything they do. This is the culture and dynamic that is promoted at Teamhealth.
All of the facilities that I had contact with, had a very close, family-like atmosphere. Anytime anyone needed help with a shift or an issue, multiple people jumped in to assist. We treat each other like family and that culture is encouraged. It is a very special feeling to be part of this great team.

TeamHealth: What kinds of opportunities can a physician expect to find at TeamHealth?

Dr. Lee: There are always opportunities for someone who has the desire and the talent. If someone wants to work in different types of departments, we have a wide variety from the inner city, suburbs and rural setting. For those who have a desire to ascend the administrative ladder, there are always opportunities. We always say that whether you are a young attending or a veteran, if you are a good person with a strong foundation, we will find a position for you. It is easy to find a person to “fill a position” but it is not easy to “find the right” person and we never want to lose someone special. TeamHealth also believes in promoting from within and puts forward resources to get people the right training to take on a leadership role, classes like the LEAD course, Leadership Fundamental course and Coaching Development Academy.

When I first started out, I didn’t have these courses or mentors available to me and made plenty of rookie mistakes. The courses and the people behind them that Teamhealth provides give our clinicians the tools to succeed very early on. I believe this helps distinguish us from many other groups.

TeamHealth: When you are not teaching, what’s your favorite activity in Buffalo?

Dr. Lee: I love spending time with my family, and hopefully making a positive impact in their lives. Any free time outside of that I like to spend on the golf course, playing a little guitar and catching up with friends. I am also big into exercise and health.

Because Buffalo is New Yorks second largest city, we get many “touring” Broadway shows. My wife and I love to go see shows and we recently saw Waitress and Cats. It’s nice, because you don’t have to travel to New York City to go see some of these big musicals or plays. My kids like going to concerts and Ariana Grande is coming next month! We have several professional sports teams and if you like the outdoor scene, we have great state parks here like Letchworth State Park. Letchworth offers breathtaking scenes when the leaves change in the fall. If you like to ski, we have several great ski resorts within 30 minutes of the city.

We’re also known for Niagara Falls, which is roughly twenty minutes away and truly needs to be seen at least once in your lifetime. What’s great about Buffalo is that everything is relatively close by and you can get almost anywhere in the city within 15-20 minutes. We have a very safe community, and the school systems are tops in the state. Buffalo now ranks as one of the best places to live and visit. I can’t say enough good things about this city.

TeamHealth has open opportunities across the northeast! Join a team that supports you and recognizes your impact in providing excellent patient care.

Dr. Frank Lee and his family at Niagara Falls