Drs Stephen and Stephanie Milone
Local Heroes: When you call the Highlands Health Network clinic in Orangeville to schedule an appointment with Dr. Milone, you never know who you’ll get.
Drs Stephen and Stephanie Milone: Two of our 2011 Local Heroes
MARVELS OF MODERN MEDICINE
When you call the Highlands Health Network clinic in Orangeville to schedule an appointment with Dr. Milone, you never know who you’ll get.
That’s because this husband-and-wife duo, teachers, leaders in their profession, role models for active living, and proud advocates of medicine in Headwaters, share more than just a marriage. They also share a family practice.
Stephanie and Stephen met on their first day of medical school at the University of Toronto, brought together by an ice-breaker card game. During the summer after their second year, they took an elective to train at the hospital in Walkerton. On the commute from their home in Mississauga they passed through Orangeville. Stephen says, “We saw the hospital was new and the community looked nice, and we thought, ‘This could work.’”
The following year the physician recruitment committee for Greater Dufferin hosted a booth at a U of T recruitment drive, and the Milones signed up for an eight-week elective at Headwaters Health Care Centre. Stephanie says, “It gave us a chance to get to know the community.”
What they found was a perfect fit. Stephanie cites a long list of advantages to working here. “We can practise the way we want and still have time to enjoy what the community has to offer. We can be on call from home, and it’s a five-minute commute. And the big thing is our colleagues – the family doctors and the specialists are all very close. We’ve made friends. We didn’t come here for the money, but for the type of life we were looking for.”
Since opening their practice in 2006, Stephanie and Stephen have shared the full patient load of a single family doctor. Both also work at the hospital in their own specialties: emergency medicine for her and anesthesia for him. Despite a heavy workload, and three kids under the age of eight, they’ve established themselves as leaders both locally and in the wider medical community.
In May this year, the Milones ran the half-marathon distance (21.1 km) in the Mississauga Marathon. The training regimen was brutal – up to two hours a day, five days a week, for 17 weeks, but Stephen says, “We’re always promoting a healthy lifestyle to our patients, so we thought ‘no excuses.’” Turning the whole thing into a fundraiser for the hospital equipment fund, the Milones raised over $5,200.
The couple has twice been recognized for their efforts teaching new doctors. The Ontario College of Family Physicians named them jointly Community Teacher of the Year in 2008, and last year they were awarded Preceptor of the Year by the Rural Ontario Medical Program. (A preceptor is a skilled practitioner who supervises students in a clinical setting.)
The latter win was particularly gratifying because the nomination came from medical residents under their guidance. Stephanie is the first to say they’re proud of these accomplishments, but she adds, “We don’t do it to get awards, but because we love to teach.” Training programs at Headwaters Health Care Centre benefit us locals too. Five family doctors have come to practise in Headwaters after training here.
At the top of the list of the Milones’ priorities are sons Ben, 7, Daniel, 4, and daughter Grace, a year and a half. Stephanie says, “We get by with very minimal outside childcare.” And Stephen explains, “Each of us takes one workday a week off to be home with the kids. They’re involved in all the town offers.” The kids are no strangers to the medical world either. They accompany their parents to the clinic and even on hospital rounds.
Who knows, with parents like these, maybe someday there will be even more Drs. Milone when you call for that appointment.
Our fourth annual celebration of extraordinary people, meet our other heroes
- Brandy Robinson initiated the Human Library
- Drs Stephen and Stephanie Milone teach new doctors at Headwaters
- Ken Weber is a best-selling author and speaker on Canadian history
- Jordan and Jeremy Grant restored The Alton Mill: A showcase for the arts
- Herb Campbell Public School holds gold certification in the Eco Schools Program
- The Coalition of Concerned Citizens fought to perserve our rural landscape
- David Nairn and Sheryl Chandler are building dreams together
- Dianne Acheson is a whiz at both retail and fundraising
- Anne Harland has become a champion of accessibility for the disabled