Long before she decided to go into the field of medicine, Angela Debo, DO, had a wonderful example of what a family doctor should be.
Bayhealth Family Medicine Physician Joseph Parise, DO, provided personable primary care to keep the whole Genoese family healthy – Angela, her sister and her parents – and he also served as a mentor. Now the two are physician colleagues, reconnected through their work in Bayhealth’s Family Medicine Residency program.
“Dr. Parise always made coming to the doctor an exciting thing, and he was so invested in our lives. It wasn’t just him – everyone who worked in his office cared about his patients so much,” said Debo. “Dr. Parise was the first person to show me how impactful a family medicine doctor could be.”
Parise describes himself as an “old school family doctor” who tends to talk a lot with his patients. “I like to find out what’s going on in the family and what’s important to them – not just pertaining to their medical care, but in their individual lives. And I always took a soft approach with kids and enjoyed trying to get a laugh from them so they wouldn’t be so frightened coming to the doctor’s office,” he said.
Parise fondly recalls the years he spent getting to know and interact with Debo and her family during their patient visits. “When Angela shared with me her desire to be a physician, I really encouraged her to go for it,” said Parise.
The influence of Parise stuck with Debo, and their paths soon crossed again. During her third year at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, she had the opportunity to complete a month-long family medicine rotation in Parise’s practice.
“It was a really great learning experience, and Dr. Parise made sure I got to see a variety of different things. He still had paper charts, which was fun,” Debo said. "Every day he would give me an interesting case or article or sometimes an X-ray that he had kept for me to review. After that rotation, he would always check in to see how I was doing when he saw my mom.”
In Parise’s long medical career, being able to share his wisdom and experience with the next generation of doctors, particularly in how to maintain the personal touch and strong communication in patient care, has been a highlight and continues to fuel him. He said it was a very pleasant surprise to reunite with his former patient once again – this time after learning that Angela Genoese was now Dr. Debo and had just joined Bayhealth.
"It’s fabulous to be able to teach medical students and young doctors going into primary care as we have such a shortage in Delaware,” he said. “Angela is a perfect example of someone who has fulfilled her dream and then came back to serve her community – I love to see home-grown physicians.”
It’s not a coincidence that Debo shares the same passion for family medicine and for teaching new physicians. She and her former mentor now get to work together through their roles in Bayhealth’s Graduate Medical Education program. While Parise still has medical students come work with him in his practice, he also will be involved in training the same resident physicians that Debo works with daily as a GME program faculty member and physician with Bayhealth Family Medicine, Dover.
“Dr. Parise created a culture of patient care that really set a high standard for me,” Debo said. “It is very surreal to be at this stage of my journey and to work alongside someone I looked up to and respect greatly. Dr. Parise has a very positive outlook and really values this community. He has a lot of experience and a lot to teach, so it’s great to still be able to learn from him.”
Bayhealth Family Medicine, Dover, is currently accepting new patients of all ages. To learn more go to Bayhealth.org/Family-Medicine-Dover.