Keeping It Real
Joseph Pazona MD
Urologist at Pazona MD
Hometown: Suffern, New York
College: Northwestern University
Medical School: Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Residency: Northwestern University
Practicing medicine: 12 years
Lived in Nashville: Since May 2019
How did you get started in Medicine?
There are no other doctors in my family, I am the first. I was always interested in science and math but knew that I wanted to help people. I volunteered at a local hospital ER in high school and loved it. Being able to address someone’s concerns and make them feel better was exhilarating. I applied to a 7-year medical program right out of high school and was accepted. I have never looked back.
How do your life experiences make you a better physician?
Like most people, I’ve had difficult situations in my life. I have experienced my share of fear, anxiety, stress and pain. However, I’m grateful for these experiences as they have never failed to deepen my capacity for empathy. Some of our best opportunities for growth can come from our deepest stress.
As a physician, I seek to care for the whole patient. I believe a physician’s capacity for sincere empathy is his most important asset. When patients come to see me regarding embarrassing or painful urologic issues, I want them to find a caregiver who is sensitive to their pain and open to hearing their concerns. I consistently draw on my own personal experiences to put myself in a patient’s shoes so that I can provide them the best care possible.
What makes your business/practice unique in our community?
Our focus is on customer service. Why should going to see your physician be such a tedious experience? We strive to change that narrative and improve every aspect of the patient experience.
We offer same day consultations whenever possible. We employ virtual medical assistants who answer phones, scribe medical notes, and call insurance companies so that when patients arrive in our office, they will find our staff completely focused on their needs in a calm and serene environment. We have also eliminated all paper forms from our practice. Patients simply fill out their medical history forms online before their visit.
What are your goals for your patients and practice?
My goal is to get people the care they deserve. We focus on quality-of-life issues such as improving sexual function, bladder health, kidney health, and hormone optimization. It’s our goal to address these issues with expertise in a compassionate and positive manner.
What keeps you engaged when things get hard in your practice?
Two things. The first is my family. My soon-to-be wife, Catherine, is my biggest cheerleader. She is constantly encouraging and reminding me of all we have accomplished in a short period of time. Even my three children are interested and excited about Dad’s new practice.
The other is self-care. I want to illustrate health for my patients. I sleep 8-9 hours a night, meditate, exercise and eat well (except for one cheat day a week). These routines keep me performing at a high level.
What is the culture of this practice?
Positive, transparent, and patient-centric. We want every patient to leave our office feeling that they were heard and that their concerns were addressed. We have an excellent team in place and we have fun at the office. I believe in having honest conversations with our team and everyone is encouraged to give feedback. We like to keep things light and laughter is always encouraged.
How do you try and maintain a balanced life outside of work?
Opening a new medical practice during COVID has been challenging. I’ll again reference my self-care routines. They keep me balanced.
Catherine and I try to have a date night once a week where we don’t discuss the practice. My rule, not hers. My daughter and I love cooking together. I welcome any opportunity to throw a baseball with my eldest son. It’s hard not to smile watching my youngest run around. He’s a funny kid and there’s nothing better than laughing with a child.
What motivates you?
I know it must sound truly cliché but I really love being a physician. I receive so much joy from caring for my patients. I’m very achievement oriented so when patients take time to acknowledge the care they received at our office it brings me a great sense of pride.
I came from a humble background and want to provide for my family. I want them to have every opportunity to enjoy the same success that I’ve had in life.
What methods do you employ to keep improving your knowledge and experience?
Networking. I wish I had appreciated the power of collaboration when I was younger. Nashville has a vibrant and brilliant medical community. I have met incredible colleagues who have provided me with mentorship and motivation. I am excited to continue to deepen my ties to this community.
Who are some of your medical “heroes”?
There are too many to mention. But they all have one thing in common . . . a love for practicing medicine and caring for patients. There are a lot of egos in medicine as we all know. When you meet a physician who’s a genuinely good person who cares, you’ve met one of my heroes.
GETTING TO KNOW THE DOC
Tell us about your family-
I have 3 children. Grady (13), Amelie (11) and Reed (5). Grady and Amelie attend Brentwood Middle School. Reed is in pre-K at Primrose. I’m engaged to Catherine Williams who is a brilliant, hilarious writer but, more importantly, she is the kindest and sweetest soul that I know.
What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of work?
Exercise, hiking, reading, cooking and travel. I’ve also started a telemedicine company (VirtuCare) that delivers urology care to the comfort of your home.
What amazing adventures have you been on?
Hiking in Costa Rica, Hawaii, Banff and coastal California.
Favorite Restaurants in Nashville?
I love food! The kids and I love the Korean Fried Chicken at Umami in Lenox Village. Catherine and I are big fans of The Optimist and Yolan.
What is one thing about you that surprises people?
Pazona, although it sounds Italian, is actually a Polish last name. Originally it was Pszona but I joke we “bought a vowel” when my great grandfather came to America in the early 1900’s from Poland. My mother, however, is 100% Italian.
Among your friends, what are you best known for?
Probably talking with candor. I’m one of the few guys you’ll meet who actually enjoys talking on the phone. But I don’t like small talk. We’re going to cover some interesting and/or deep topics. Be ready!