Dr. Amy Maley of Graham Medical Clinic in Newville goes above and beyond for her patients and the community.
Her hard work has led her to be recognized by the Pennsylvania Medical Society on its “Top Physicians Under 40” list.
Office Manager Jess Chestnut nominated Maley for the honor.
“I was really surprised, to be honest,” Maley said of earning the distinction. “I was very flattered that she would think of me and this practice.”
“I put her name in because I feel she does a lot for the community,” Chestnut said. “She has a passion for the opioid epidemic, hospice and palliative care. She does a lot more than family care, and I thought she was very well deserving. She goes above and beyond. She’s wonderful, hard-working and really cares for her patients!”
Maley, 37, is the daughter of Ann and Pat Midgley. She grew up in Carlisle and knew she wanted to pursue a career in the medical field at a young age. She first wanted to become a veterinarian, but learned later she wanted to work in medicine.
“I always liked science,” she said. “I wanted to be a veterinarian at first, but I learned that I liked working with people and helping people.”
A Carlisle High School graduate, Maley earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Ursinus College. She attended medical school at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, and she completed her family practice residency at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in South Jersey (now called Rowan College of Osteopathic Medicine) in 2012. She then went on to complete a fellowship in hospice and palliative medicine at Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown.
Maley’s passion for family medicine grew when she worked with an OB/GYN in Pottstown, Dr. Lee Zelley.
“I wanted to be an OB/GYN for awhile, but I learned that I didn’t really like surgery. I worked with a cardiologist, and I liked that. I liked everything, so I felt family medicine was the way to go. Every day is different. You can be treating an infant in one appointment, and a 100-year-old in the next appointment. I like the mix of things. I can be treating asthma one minute, and the next, something pertaining to the heart.”
Her father, Pat, said, “She’s been very competitive her whole life. If people tell her she can’t do something, she will prove them wrong. She’s always been very determined to succeed. She’s been a pleasure her whole life. It doesn’t surprise me that she’s winning an award. She’s very well liked by all of her patients, and I’m very proud of her.”
Her mother, Ann, added: “We’re thrilled about it! She’s been a hard worker since she was a little girl.”
Ann said she and Pat were happy for Maley when she decided to study medicine.
“We thought she’d be a great doctor,” she said. “She’s a very compassionate and warm woman. The whole family loves her, and we are glad to share her with her patients.”
Working at Graham Medical
Maley did rotations at Graham Medical when she was a medical student.
“This was one of my favorite rotations. Coming to a private practice was such a change in scenery. Dr. Townsend and Dr. Robison were also here when I started. I consider them, Dr. Joseph Pion and Dr. Jeffrey Harris my mentors. They really introduced me to private practice, and that small-town, community feel. Our staff is like a small family.”
Maley will celebrate six years at Graham Medical Clinic in August. She, Pion and Harris are also partners in the practice.
She is board certified in Family Medicine, Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment and Hospice and Palliative Care.
Her professional special interests include complex chronic disease management, end-of-life care, geriatrics, women’s health and addiction medicine.
Maley said she sees about 15 to 20 patients a day. In addition to caring for her regular patients, Maley has since started running an opiate use disorder clinic each week, and is the medical director for local hospice, which includes educating nurses and home visits.
Maley said she saw the need to start the opioid use clinic with the rising abuse of opioids in the area.
She said she partners with the RASE Project, a nonprofit organization formed to help the recovery community. The RASE Project volunteers will set up appointments at Graham Medical for their clients who suffer from opiate use disorder, and Maley’s focus is to help them with Medication Assisted Treatment.
“I’m very happy to announce that Cumberland County is doing really well. I say that with reservation because there is still a huge problem, but it seems like our overdose death rate is going down, and the number of scripts doctors are issuing for opiates is down. There is a huge collaborative effort in this area between UPMC Pinnacle, Holy Spirit Geisinger, the Partnership for Better Health and the Cumberland-Perry Drug & Alcohol Commission to help increase awareness and get patients the treatment they need. This area should really applaud itself for the strides made to help chip away at this problem. Pennsylvania as a whole is doing really well. The epidemic is by no means at an end, but we really can see an impact.”
Maley said there are some great programs that have been started, such as Project ECHO, at Penn State that helps to educate physicians on new things, including treating addiction as the medical disease that it is.
Maley said it can definitely be challenging to be a family care physician nowadays, especially with the onset of different diseases. She also said it can be frustrating when she can’t figure out what’s wrong with a patient, or if a patient doesn’t have access to affordable healthcare options.
“More and more research is being done, and medicine is becoming more and more specialized,” she said. “It’s definitely exciting. Genetics is booming right now. We have to stay as up-to-date as best as we can, and to stay board certified, we have to keep up with our education. We attend conferences, and the American Academy of Family Practice releases a monthly magazine that is targeted toward family medicine.”
She added she leans heavily on her colleagues if a patient’s case stumps her, and they also have access to a network of local consultants to help point patients in the right direction.
“We have a plethora of wonderful specialists that our patients have access to,” she noted.
She said socioeconomic barriers are also a challenge when treating some patients.
However, Graham Medical has a Chronic Care Management program, a benefit offered through Medicare, that can help with some of the more complicated cases.
Maley said one of their nurses, Chrissy, runs the program.
“That program has been taking off,” she said. “We have about 100 patients enrolled in it now. I think that’s going to be huge to help figure out some of these complicated cases.”
She said she is happy that Graham Medical has grown in the last six years, and is excited to welcome Physician Assistant Lydia George, a Big Spring graduate, in September.
Pion said Maley deserves the recognition.
“She works really hard,” he said. “I think she brings compassionate care to Graham Medical Clinic. She’s easy to work with, and she also has done a fellowship in palliative care, so she definitely brings that to Graham. She has decided to add something to the practice where she treats opioid addicts. All of that adds to the comprehensive care that we offer here.”
In her free time, Maley enjoys spending time with her husband, Matt, their 6-year-old twins and her family. She also enjoys jogging and traveling to the Jersey Shore.
Maley said she would like to thank several people in her life who make practicing medicine possible for her.
“My husband, Matt, who actually started dating me while I was in medical school despite having no time off working crazy hours, who takes care of everything at home so that when I am at work, I know I can focus on work and don’t have to worry about anything else. My amazing medical assistant Sylvia Madden who has been with me since I started day one at Graham, who is diligent and passionate about what she does and takes amazing care of our patients. I absolutely could not do my job without her. And all the rest of the staff - we literally have the greatest staff. Office Manager Jess Chestnut who keeps everything running. Both Sylvia and Jess have been critical in creating the Medication Assisted Treatment program at Graham, and put a tremendous amount of work into the program. My mentors -- Jeff Harris and Joe Pion -- who have been great role models and still answer my never-ending questions. And, of course, my family -- my parents, Ann and Pat Midgley for helping me to become a doctor, and my sister, Allison and brother, Patrick.”