Drs. Theodore Nyame and Sandy Charles are the quintessentials medical providers of the modern era. Putting patients’ needs and concerns at the forefront, this power couple has been providing care every since they graduated from Harvard and Princeton.
Dr. Theodore “Theo” Nyame is a Harvard educated and Harvard trained board certified plastic surgeon specializing in aesthetic and reconstructive surgery. After graduating from Harvard Medical School, he was one of three selected out of hundreds of applicants to train in plastic surgery at the Harvard Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Program. He also attended Cornell University for his undergraduate studies where he majored in Chemistry and Chemical Biology.
Dr. Sandy Charles is a board-certified cardiologist and medical director of the new Novant Health Women’s Heart & Vascular Center. She attended Princeton University for college where she majored in Molecular Biology. She then attended medical school at Columbia University.
One of her goals is to improve cardiovascular health in women by delivering personalized care that addresses women’s unique needs through the various stages of their lives. She’s also a medical contributor with multiple guest appearances on the CW news, WBTV, and Spectrum news.
The New York natives reside in North Carolina where they continue their medical practice. The two doctors took a moment to discuss their careers, hobbies and how they manage their time during COVID-19 and their schedule.
AF. What inspired you both to pursue medical careers
TN & SC: Medicine has been a lifelong passion for both of us. I (Dr. Nyame) grew up in a small village in West Africa with no running water and little access to medical care. When I came to the US as a child I felt as though I could become anything that I wanted to be. I immediately fell in love with the idea of helping and healing those in need through medicine.
Growing up in Brooklyn, I (Dr. Sandy Charles) had the opportunity to watch my mom who was a nurse take care of the elderly and the sick for years as a nurse. This inspired me to enter the field of medicine in order to improve the lives of those in my community.
AF: What’s the greatest lesson you learned while attending medical school?
TN & SC: There are so many things medical school teaches you over the years. You learn so much about yourself and your ability to persevere and overcome challenges. One of the greatest lessons we both learned in medical school is to treat our patients the same way we would treat our own family members.
AF: If you could offer any advice to younger physicians, what would it be?
TN & SC: Look beyond medicine and think about how you can leave a legacy that’s going to help others. If you do a medical mission and you do one procedure at a time, you come back and you’ve helped a few people. If you set a legacy that goes and teaches others, then you set a legacy that will continue well beyond.
AF: With the world’s coronavirus pandemic, what are some of the steps you have taken to remain safe?
TN & SC: This global pandemic has shaken our world and, in many ways, made us stronger. During our social distancing period we have grown stronger as a family. In order to stay safe, we wear a mask whenever outdoors. Because we are essential worker and need to see patients we take precautions as if everyone we meet or treat could potentially be a carrier of COVID-19.
AF: How are you able to manage family time?
TN & SC: Allotting enough time for each other is the key to maintaining a strong family unit. We try to keep this time sacred by being fully engaged with our children from the time they get home from school until they go to sleep. We then prioritize time for each other after. Being highly efficient during our work hours is the key to maximizing how much time we have as a family.
AF: What are your hobbies outside of work?
TN & SC: My wife and I have demanding careers and balance is something we are always working hard to maintain. We maintain a balance first and foremost by prioritizing each other. We then prioritize our families and our careers. At the end of the day, there’s this tendency often times to try to do too much and do them all poorly. In order to find balance, we take on only challenges that we know we can do well and are not afraid to say no if we genuinely cannot do it. Outside of work, I enjoy photography, reading and diving. I also love picking up new hobbies. Currently I’m learning Spanish with my three year old daughter.
AF: What’s next for your careers?
TN & SC: We have been blessed in so many ways because of our career choices. Moving forward we hope to be able to serve as role models for our community.