Julia Fiorentino, MD

Julia Fiorentino, MD
Physician, Internal Medicine
primary care medical group
North Canton, OH

As an Internist in a primary care medical group, Dr. Julia Fiorentino says that “COVID-19 has dramatically changed how we are practicing medicine. Over the last 8 weeks we have had to rapidly adapt to keep our patients and staff safe and convert almost all of our patients to tele-medicine. I care for a primarily older adult population and it has been impressive and inspiring to watch them work through the technology and other challenges of this process with us.” Initially, this process was decreased the number of patients that Dr. Fiorentino could see using tele-health, but after weeks of “learning and tweaking the technology in virtual meetings and in staying up-to-date on the rapidly changing data and literature” she is now seeing roughly 85% of her typical volume and “we have touched base, in one way or another, with most of our patients. There are still many sleepless nights worrying about my patients and my family though.”

“As our community begins to re-open over the next few weeks, we will be seeing more and more patients back in the office while still doing our best to protect everyone, especially our elderly, immuno-compromised and higher risk population. I was quite averse to tele-medicine initially as I was trained to lay hands on my patients but there has been beauty to be found in this format as well. I have slowed down, I have become a better listener and I have felt honored to be welcomed "into" my patients' homes, to be given the opportunity to see inside their worlds and to get to know them just a little differently. I also feel deeply honored by my patients' respect for the process, privileged in their trust in my guidance and blessed by their gratitude for this different kind of care that I am providing.”

Training for her return to the Tahoe 200 race this fall has helped keep Dr. Fiorentino grounded in spite of canceled races. “I am primarily a solitary runner and have continued to run and train for the Tahoe 200 in September. Last year I completed 171 miles there before we made the choice to end my race due to a freak blizzard. It was the most amazing adventure but my story in those incredible mountains is not over and I so hope we are able to return this year. In running I find my solace, my respite and my calm. I find beauty in the ordinary. I find strength and security. I find a safe place where I can both feel in control and also where I can let go of some of that control. I find balance. Despite the canceling of my spring and summer preparatory races, my miles are actually a bit higher than usual for this phase of my training. I have had to find innovative ways to incorporate climbing in Ohio since I have been forced to cancel my hiking trips to Colorado this spring and summer. We have the William McKinley Monument locally with a total of 168 steps and I have been going there at least weekly for a few months and lately 2-3 times weekly to accumulate 5-10 MILES of repeats and thousands of feet of elevation at a time on those steps. I do miss my local YMCA for swimming that was my primary cross-training.”

Her plan for what to do when things settle down? “As much of an introvert as I am, I can't wait to sit at my local independent brewery or bar for a beer again.”