The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life for everyone, but—aside from coronavirus patients and their families—no one more so than healthcare professionals.
These brave men and women are not only putting their own lives at risk, but they are also providing comfort and care to those affected by this virus that has thrown the world into a state of fear and doubt.
Our Coastal Virginia Magazine Healthcare Heroes were selected by a public nomination process and reviewed by our editorial committee. Coastal Virginia Magazine and Visit Williamsburg would like to introduce you to a few of these brave people from throughout the Coastal Virginia region that are making a difference and putting their own lives on the line to heal those that need it most.
It is due to the continued selflessness and skill of members of the healthcare community like this that we have been able to meet this crisis with the determination to prevail. Because of what they do every day to help and heal others, often at great risk to themselves and while sacrificing the comforts of home and time with loved ones, we are all in a better place and looking towards a brighter future.
Naval Medical Center Portsmouth
After a decade of flying as a pilot for the U.S. Navy, Stephen Bronaugh went back to medical school and transitioned to a career in medicine. He now works as an anesthesiologist at the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth and balances his time there diagnosing and administering appropriate interventions during surgeries.
When he is not working, he enjoys building Legos with his kids, drinking wine with his wife and riding bikes as a family. Stephen is married to a wonderful woman, has two inquisitive and adventurous boys and a dog that sheds a lot.
Riverside Regional Medical Center
At a young age, Alexis Fogg had a dream of saving lives; more importantly of connecting with her patients in their moment of need. In 2003, immediately after high school, she followed her dream and began her career in EMS as a volunteer EMT with the City of Virginia Beach. Her dedication led her to the emergency room where she found her home as a registered nurse. Her training and love for helping those in need fosters a new level of hope for ER patients. Alexis has three beautiful children that further fuel her passion and duty to save every patient, caring for them as she would for any mother’s child.
Wanting to protect her immunocompromised family, her children have been staying with her mother throughout the pandemic. This has been a difficult but necessary move to ensure the safety of her patients, friends and family. Alexis feels the best part of being an ER nurse is that every day brings new risks, challenges and opportunities to learn and grow in the science and art of nursing. COVID-19 is no exception, and the pandemic brings this bittersweet benefit to the forefront. She saves without fear of illness or loss of well-being; the only reward being the spark in a recovering patient’s eye.
Bellevue Hospital/Bosley/CHKD Urgent Care
Cecil Gandia is a physician assistant who has been practicing in our area for over 17 years. The daughter of a Navy veteran, and a recently retired 40-year Sentara ER nurse, she is a true Virginia Beach native who grew up knowing she wanted to be a PA at a very young age. After completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia, she returned to the area and earned her MPA at Eastern Virginia Medical School. She is very passionate about improving the patient experience and promoting the PA profession.
Cecil answered the call during the COVID-19 crisis to help at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. She was there for over a month at the height of the pandemic, working the front lines in the ICU directly with patients that had contracted the virus.
She loves how her profession allowed her to transition from performing surgery every day to treating patients with COVID-19 in the ICU with relative ease. Her most important role, however, is being a mother to her two children, Mason and Lulu (Lucia), and wife to her high school sweetheart, Mario. She enjoys spending time with her family and loves to dance!
Chesapeake Emergency Physicians
Helen Hsu has practiced medicine for 23 years and chose the specialty of emergency medicine out of the desire to help people in times of critical health need, regardless of their situation.
After immigrating from Taiwan at age 3 with family, Helen grew up in central Ohio, attended medical school at Northeast Ohio Medical University and then went on to complete an emergency medicine residency at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Drawn to the coast and open friendliness of the area, Helen feels privileged to have now worked for Chesapeake Emergency Physicians the last 18 years, at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center.
During her free time, Helen enjoys gardening and going to the beach with her husband, daughter and two sons.
Multiple Sentara and Bon Secours locations
Cameron has been a nurse for six years. She moved from Connecticut to attend college at Old Dominion University. Cameron fell in love with the beach and decided to stay in Virginia after completing nursing school. What Cameron finds most rewarding with her career is helping patients through their difficult hospital journey by providing education and compassionate care. She joined the Nurse Corps Program and worked in a critical shortage area for three years helping those who are most vulnerable and have limited access to care.
She now works closer to home in Virginia Beach where she can spend her free time playing golf and walking her dog on the beach.
Bayview Physicians Group
Catherine Tillery, MSN, AGACNP-BC is a native of Hampton Roads and has been providing compassionate patient care since receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Old Dominion University in 2003.
After 11 years of nursing experience, her passion for caring for the critically ill led her to advance her nursing degree with a Master of Science in nursing-acute care adult gerontology nurse practitioner degree. Catherine specializes in critical care medicine, where she finds professional and personal fulfillment in helping patients and families who often rely on her to help make life’s most difficult decisions.
In her free time, Catherine enjoys spending time with family, petting all the dogs and eating all the cheese.
Bon Secours Mercy Health/Davita Dialysis
Cecelia, better known to her family, friends and patients as “CeCe,” is a Hampton Roads native practicing, compassionately, as a licensed professional registered nurse for 27 years.
Cecelia contracted COVID-19 while caring for patients. While in recovery, her one goal was to return to the community and her colleagues to continue to provide healthcare needs in her areas of expertise. After a clean bill of health, she has done just that, and finds much joy in being able to help those in need of care.
Cecelia is a graduate of Hampton University. She is a dedicated single parent of a beautiful daughter, Carrington, who resides at St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children. When she is not at work, she is spending time with her daughter, whom she loves so dearly.
Infusion Care Services
Jean Clerveau has been a nurse for 19 years, and a Registered Nurse for 16 after serving in the US military. He graduated from MCI with his RN in 2006 and subsequently got into vascular access.
Jean provides lifelines to patients whose health would worsen or otherwise might die without his help. He carries the weight of people’s lives on his shoulders and he does it with all of the dignity and respect anyone could possibly possess.
A man raised by his grandmother, Jean especially enjoys serving the elderly population of the Tidewater area.
Riverside Lifelong Health & Aging Services
Dr. Gregg Shivers attended Rutgers Medical School and completed his residency at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is board-certified in internal medicine. He began his career in the Northern Neck at Rappahannock General Hospital where he worked as a hospitalist. He later moved to New Zealand where he practiced in a unit managing symptoms of late-stage illnesses.
He returned to the Northern Neck in 2010 and began his career at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital as a hospitalist and served as regional service line chief for four years. He was appointed medical director of Riverside Walter Reed Hospice in January 2014. At the beginning of 2015, he transitioned from his duties as a hospitalist to become medical director of Sanders, Riverside Saluda, and Riverside Mathews Convalescent Centers.
He now serves as the Riverside associate director of patient safety and service line chief for Riverside Lifelong Health Division.
Riverside Pulmonary Specialists—Shore
Dr. Jones earned his medical degree from the University of Virginia. He completed an internal medicine residency followed by a pulmonary and critical care medicine fellowship at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Dr. Jones is board certified in Internal Medicine, pulmonary disease and critical care medicine.
He currently practices pulmonary and critical care at Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital on the Eastern Shore of Virginia treating patients both in the hospital and outpatient setting. He is the chief medical officer for Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital and also serves as the chairman of the Riverside Medical Group board of directors. He continues to enjoy teaching medical students as well, holding an appointment at the University of Virginia as Assistant Professor of Medicine, instructional faculty.
Dr. Jones has been instrumental in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic on the Eastern Shore, treating patients in the hospital as well as coordinating care for Eastern Shore patients throughout the entire Riverside Health System during times of outbreak and surges. In these challenging times, he notes that he has been impressed and inspired by his co-team member’s incredible commitment to care for their patients in often difficult situations.