A few minutes with Nadia Duvilaire, M.D. '90 is all it takes to know that her primary characteristics are kindness, intelligence, warmth and compassion, and she still holds Union close to her heart.
“I think the world of Union College in terms of my preparation for my career. I took some great classes and read textbooks that were also used during my first two years in medical school. And, aside from the academics at Union, I gained independence, the know-how for networking and a confidence that helped propel me forward in my career.”
A family practitioner based at Wood River Medical Services in Hope Valley, R.I., Nadia must be as dear to her patients as they are to her. "I really enjoy serving my patients, whether it’s a 45-year old who has gotten his blood pressure under control, a 75-year old who is walking better after a procedure or a teenager who has found her way after a bout with depression. I want all of my patients to experience improved health and to feel better about themselves.”
At Wood River, where she has also served as medical director, Nadia focuses her practice on "providing health care to a varied population, including those with the least access to health care services. Originally, I felt that I was going to be a specialist, but what brought me into primary care was community. I have a love of community service. I trained during my residency in areas where people of color needed access, and I stayed. In fact, for more than 18 years, I served in low-income areas of New York City where access to medical care was a major challenge."
Since 1996, Nadia has also traveled around the world to bring health care services to those most in need. She noted, "I developed a love of travel through my experiences at Union and have been able to combine that with medical missions in Africa and in the Caribbean. To me, these trips are the highlight of my career. It’s refreshing to be able to serve without having to ask, ‘What insurance do you have?’ It is also very rewarding to meet people from all over the world and to observe how other medical professionals deliver health care.”
“While I was at Union, I had the opportunity to participate in a term abroad focused on socialized medicine. Led by Peter Tobiessen, who was chair of biology at the time, the experience allowed us as students to compare our healthcare system in the United States with those of England, Sweden and Hungary. The eight-week program really helped me understand health care delivery and became instrumental to how I have practiced over the years in the U.S.”
Nadia believes Union should keep doing what it’s been doing. “I want to thank the Union faculty and staff, both former and current, for providing an environment where as a student you truly have the world as your oyster. You can experience so many things, driving you to be a better person and a curious person who is well-rounded. As a result of my time at Union, I became a person with confidence – able to be analytical in this world that I’ve traveled.”