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“When I see patients or their family members years later, and they tell me how I made a difference, it makes it all worthwhile.”
From pediatrics to geriatrics, and everything in between, Dr. Elaine Douglas has done it all. As a solo practitioner for many years before joining Vanguard, she handled all aspects of family medicine—following in the groundbreaking footsteps of her very talented father.
Dr. Fred Douglas, MD, was a charter fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the first African American to become a full attending physician at Mountainside Hospital, now Mountainside Medical Center. Elaine’s mother, Daisy Douglas, was one of the first black teachers hired at Montclair Public Schools, and inspired Elaine’s first career. Elaine earned a bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s degree in education.
“In 1978, I was visiting my father in the hospital with a childhood friend after my father’s cardiac bypass surgery,” Elaine said. “My friend asked Dad if he was ready to retire. The way he spoke about medicine, with that twinkle in his eye, showed that he truly loved it. That’s when I decided to go back to school, because I knew I would love it, too.”
Elaine was able to complete her training in time to work alongside her father for several years before he retired. She continued in a solo practice before joining Vanguard. She was ready to share the administrative responsibilities of her practice so that she could spend more time with her patients.
“We share the same philosophy of patient care,” she said, speaking of the move to Vanguard. “We are family doctors who are empathetic, knowledgeable, and available. My patients have my full attention; they’re not rushed. It’s a very personalized approach. I get to know them so that I can provide the best possible care. Patients get called back in a timely manner so they can get their questions answered, and take action if needed.”
Dr. Elaine Douglas couldn’t be happier practicing medicine. She works with both adults and adolescents. “I really love what I do,” she said. “If I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d still come to work, because I enjoy it that much.”
When she’s not working, Dr. Douglas enjoys spending time with family and going to the gym. Once she is relieved of the administrative hassles of medicine, she looks forward to playing the flute again, reading for pleasure, and doing needlepoint. She also is going to become more involved with the Howard University Alumni Club of New Jersey’s Fred and Daisy Douglas Scholarship Fund, named in her parents’ memory.