Doctor, Physician Assistant Set Up Practice at ThedaCare Clinic
As Abigail Puglisi, DO, finished her rural residency training program in Baraboo, she had two main qualifications for a place to launch her medical practice: she wanted to live in a small town and be near her family in Neenah. She found both at ThedaCare Physicians-Berlin.
There happened to be a third benefit: her husband, Michael, a physician assistant, found a job at the clinic, too.
Dr. Puglisi began working at the Berlin clinic last summer and jumped into her family medicine practice. “I value the opportunity to be someone’s doctor in multiple settings: in the clinic, in the hospital, and even delivering babies,” she said. “The ability to provide care in each of these settings has become less and less common in a larger area, and it is this chance to care for a whole person, a whole family, wherever they are, that drew me to medicine in the first place.”
Last fall, Michael Puglisi joined his wife at the clinic where he sees patients at the walk-in clinic. “We met at Marquette University in a study group. I was a year ahead of her in school and we both knew we wanted medical careers,” he said.
Michael Puglisi earned his master’s degree in the physician assistant program at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse while Dr. Puglisi attended Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine. She completed her residency through the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health participating in the Baraboo-based rural residency program. While she was in residency, Michael Puglisi worked in a Madison health clinic.
Now settled in the Berlin area, the couple, along with their 16-month-old daughter Millie, carve out each Wednesday for their time together. “Before I started, I chose Wednesday as my day off. We work four days in the clinic and I sometimes have weekend coverage at the hospital,” Dr. Puglisi said.
When Michael Puglisi joined ThedaCare, he too negotiated to have Wednesdays off. “It’s nice to have that day together, to recharge our batteries,” he said. “We have the weekends together as well, but those can get busy.”
Dr. Puglisi is a native of Neenah while her husband grew up in Waukesha, so they can easily visit family members from their new home in Green Lake. “We love the Green Lake, Berlin and Ripon area. They each have their own personalities, but there is an overlap between them,” he said. “After I was hired and my photo was in the paper, I had people say something to me about it in the coffee shop. It’s that kind of place, which is great.”
Michael Puglisi added that patients in the walk-in clinic sometimes ask if he’s related to the clinic’s new doctor. “It’s not a common name,” he laughed.
The same comment can go the other way. “I’ve had patients come in and say to me, ‘I saw your husband at the walk-in,’” Dr. Puglisi said.
While her husband works with patients looking for immediate care, Dr. Puglisi enjoys the relationships she forms with long-time patients. “In a single day, I can go from seeing a 2-week-old for a weight check, to a 93-year-old for her blood pressure, to delivering a baby for a 27-year-old,” she said. “It is this variety that keeps me interested. I cherish the opportunity to be the doctor for the whole family, not just one person. It is these long-lasting relationships that bring value to my job.”
For more than 100 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast Wisconsin. The organization serves over 200,000 patients annually and employs more than 6,800 healthcare professionals throughout the region. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 31 clinics in nine counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.