The soon-to-be doctor duo fell in love over a cadaver in gross anatomy class during their first year of medical school at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM). They were assigned to be lab partners, a union which would merge their professional pursuits within osteopathic medicine with their eventual connection outside the classroom.
“We really got to spend a lot of time getting to know each other as friends with a common goal before we found that we were becoming much more to each other,” says Harry Myers, DO, who for 15 years shared a thriving family medicine practice in Butler, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Dina Myers, DO.
A foundation of compatibility
Dr. Harry Myers says that the transition to working together was a natural extension of the bond they’d developed in medical school, and furthered during their residency together at St. Francis Central Hospital in Pittsburgh. “We have always helped each other out, consulting with each other, covering each other on call, and by simply knowing what the other has been through.”
The couple, who both specialize in family medicine, sold their private practice to Allegheny Health Network in Wexford, Pennsylvania, becoming a part of their larger health care network.
But there was one condition to the buyout. “We insisted that we stay together in practice because we really enjoyed working together. Dr. Dina is my best friend, the very best work partner, and someone I am always happy to see when I show up at work.”
Tiffany Sizemore-Ruiz, DO, met her husband Camilo Ruiz, DO, during their internal medicine residency at Palmetto General Hospital in Hialeah, Florida. “I was an intern and he was a senior resident,” Dr. Sizemore-Ruiz says of her initial meeting with her future husband who would go on to become chief resident. “We were both learning how to be colleagues as well as [how to] carry [on] a good relationship,” she says. Dr. Sizemore-Ruiz is board-certified in cardiology, internal medicine, echocardiography and nuclear cardiology. Dr. Ruiz is a dual board-certified internist and sleep specialist.
Choice Physicians, the couple’s practice in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, offers cardiology, internal, sleep and concierge medicine. One of the greatest benefits of working together, Dr. Sizemore-Ruiz says, is having her husband there. “There is always someone in my corner. Not with just medical questions, but also when it comes to dealing with difficult situations, helping with the business side of things and covering when the other person gets busy.”
The ability to designate specific tasks based on individual strengths helps their overall efficiency, Dr. Sizemore-Ruiz says. “For the most part, I run the business side of the practice, making sure the office is running smoothly from a financial standpoint.”
While Dr. Sizemore-Ruiz focuses on the business side, her husband, Dr. Ruiz, “definitely spends more time on the patient care side. He rounds at three hospitals and has office time.”
The same holds true for Dr. Myers and his wife regarding complementary work styles and focus areas. Dr. Myers says that his wife is more detail-oriented than he is, by far. “This is a must in practice management,” he says. “I handle chaos and unexpected change slightly better.” Together, he says, they share similar practice styles but they also recognize and respect individual differences.
Roles and romance
Tom Moorcroft, DO, and his wife, Jill Moorcroft, DO, own Origins of Health, a private practice in Berlin, Connecticut, that specializes in osteopathic manipulation, integrative medicine and holistic wellness. “Some couples may be compatible in marriage but not in business,” Dr. Jill Moorcoft says. “If you have complementary traits, it can be rewarding.”
The Moorcrofts met in medical school at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine. They completed a fellowship together in osteopathic manipulative medicine, followed by a residency together in family medicine at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown, Connecticut.
Dr. Tom Moorcroft says he’s the visionary while his wife is the follow-through vehicle for their practice. “I see all the possibilities and Jill keeps us grounded to make sure what needs to be done, gets done. We have different personalities but shared values.”
Within their practice, those core values are the glue that holds them together during personal or professional challenges. “We can talk about any disagreement because we revert back to our professional and personal mission statements. We come back to our love for osteopathic medicine, our love for each other and that brings us back to a common ground.”
Dr. Harry Myers says that it’s natural to have disagreements and knowing how to handle them is what makes the difference. “It’s OK to disagree. [But] never let disagreements about business become personal. We do not let issues come home with us or take things like that personally,” Dr. Myers says. “Communicate issues frequently and without judgment.”
The family factor
The Myers make their marriage a priority despite the demands of their side-by-side schedules. “Always take time to be husband and wife, and parents,” Dr. Myers says.
Dr. Sizemore-Ruiz and her husband would stay at the office until all their work was done until the birth of their son, now four. “Now, we try our hardest to be home by 5 p.m. or 6 p.m.”
The Moorcrofts’ 8-year-old daughter makes them value their marriage even more, along with the benefits of seeing each other throughout the day. Dr. Tom Moorcroft says, “You can have a difficult day, a challenging day and you see someone who knows you … it can change the outlook of your entire day. It’s awesome.”