Dr. Tyeese L. Gaines’s resume reads like it’s for two — or three– people. Not only is she the owner and CEO of NOWmed Walk-In Urgent Care in Jersey City, but this board-certified emergency medicine physician is also a journalist.
Gaines, who graduated from Northeastern University in Boston before going to medical school at Nova Southeastern University in South Florida, was honored with a Top 40 under 40 award from the National Medical Association in 2011. In 2014, she became a fellow in the American College of Emergency Physicians. In addition to her medical training, Gaines earned a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.
Before opening NOWmed, Dr. Gaines previously served as medical director and chairman of the Emergency Department at Landmark Medical Center in Rhode Island; medical director of UltraMed Urgent Care in Skokie, Illinois; and assistant medical director of the Emergency Department at Raritan Bay Medical Center.
There’s more: Gaines also has a master’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University. And, over the last 18 years, Dr. Ty (as she likes to be called) has appeared as an on-air medical expert for local, online and national news shows and has written for various online, magazine and newspaper outlets.
Gaines tells TNJ.com how she juggles it all while promoting good in the community and dealing with the challenges of being a female entrepreneur in the medical field.
TNJ.com: What led you to found NOWmed Walk-In Urgent Care?
Dr. Tyeese L. Gaines: I decided to start NOWmed Walk-In Urgent Care because I saw a need in my hometown. There are limited healthcare options in the West Side, Bergen Lafayette, Hackensack Waterfront, and Greenville sections of Jersey City — and certainly from an urgent care, open every day, late hours standpoint. NOWmed has become a great way for me to take the skills and training I’ve spent the last 20 years honing and serve the community that raised me. At the same time, amidst my own growing frustrations within our current healthcare system as I ascended into positions of leadership and management, I wanted a chance to provide quality care for patients, especially disenfranchised patients, on my own terms, with a strong team who believes in the same vision.
TNJ.com: What makes NOWmed Walk-In Urgent Care different from other health facilities?
Dr. Tyeese L. Gaines: All of the providers at NOWmed are former Emergency Department providers, so we can handle anything at any time. Plus, being homegrown in this neighborhood that my mom still lives in, I have a good understanding of the unique community we serve. We truly aim to provide high-quality care, in a beautiful 3,700 square foot facade to a very diverse, inner-city population. We have also worked hard to have staff and providers who reflect the wide diversity in that area of Jersey City. We take almost all commercial insurances, plus Medicare, Medicaid, and military insurances. So far, our patients seem to be very appreciative of us being on the West Side of Jersey City; our late, weekend, and holiday hours; and the care they receive.
TNJ.com: When and why did you launch Doctor Ty Media, LLC?
Dr. Tyeese L. Gaines: I initially founded Doctor Ty Media in 2013, with smaller freelance projects. But I expanded it in 2015 to include webinars, and taking on both physician, med student, and medical practice clients. What I found as both a physician and a journalist was the huge disconnect between the experts who have a ton of medical knowledge and the outlets disseminating the information. I also saw how valuable it was for me to have a medical background while working in some of the newsrooms I interned or worked in. I felt that more of those with the information needed to share that accurate information with the public. There is so much hogwash going around!
However, historically, by nature of our training, physicians can have a tough time discussing medical knowledge to the lay public and in an entertaining way — that’s where Doctor Ty Media comes in. We do everything from teaching physicians how to brand themselves and use social media effectively; we ghostwrite posts for some practices and do workshops for physician organizations related to all media topics, including how to further an organization’s message.
TNJ.com: What’s the key to juggling everything?
Dr. Tyeese L. Gaines: There is not just one key to juggling everything. As much as I can grind and go for long stretches, I have learned that I do better scheduling in a few hours or a full day of just doing nothing, or doing something fun that I enjoy. If I leave it up to chance, it doesn’t happen. I literally have to block out that time on my calendar, just for me. Another thing is to stay organized. When you’re not using your time efficiently, the work will spill over into your planned “free time.”
Learn to delegate, and assemble a solid team that you can depend on so you don’t have to carry the load yourself. And use a digital calendar! I use Google calendar without fail…I have calendars for every aspect of life, and they overlay onto the same calendar grid.
Lastly, you have to have a good support system. Even if it’s only 1 or 2 people… have good people that are rooting for you in your corner who will talk you off of the ledge and remind you of the bigger purpose, even when you can’t see it.
TNJ.com: What do you like about the media industry?
Dr. Tyeese L. Gaines: I like the media industry because I can educate a larger group of people about health and medical issues, compared to one patient at a time in the urgent care, or the emergency room. With the on-air segments I have done in the past, as well as online news pieces, I get to bring attention to issues pertinent to the patients I serve. I enjoy that, and I enjoy being creative. I also enjoyed my days working in a live newsroom. It’s the true definition of teamwork and how if one piece falters, the whole thing falls apart. And when there’s breaking news, there’s adrenaline pumping. I actually drew this parallel between my newsroom days and my ER days in my personal statement for residency.
TNJ.com: What drew you to medicine?
Dr. Tyeese L. Gaines: Well for one, I get paid to meet different people every day. That’s pretty cool. Second, the body fascinates me, and always has since I was a small child. So, I like the mix of science, service, educating, and detective work as you try to figure out what’s wrong with a patient. That’s also what drove me to emergency medicine. Every day is different. Every patient complaint is different. Keeps you on your toes.
TNJ.com: What has been the most surprising thing you have learned about being an entrepreneur in the medical field?
Dr. Tyeese L. Gaines: The most surprising thing about being an entrepreneur in the medical field is how much more I use my MBA (master’s of business administration) from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School than my actual medical training. I have also been surprised and disappointed at how –not all, but some — companies in this industry have lost sight of the reason why we are all here… to serve patients with dignity and respect, and return them to a state of wellness as soon as possible.
TNJ.com: What are three tips you would give to other entrepreneurs?
Dr. Tyeese L. Gaines: Oh, there are so many! If I have to narrow it down… one, self-care is critical. As an entrepreneur, if you go down, your team falls with you.
Two, trust no one, so get everything in writing — either a legal agreement or at the very least, confirm phone discussions with email that both parties respond to. It will save and protect you in the end.
And three, take the leap. Yes, you must prepare, but you will never feel as ready as you want to. Entrepreneurship by design is risky. So, learn as much as you can, prepare as much as you can, network as much as you can. But at some point, you just have to close your eyes and leap.
TNJ.com: Have there been any challenges to being a female entrepreneur in the medical field?
Dr. Tyeese L. Gaines: Absolutely. Unfortunately, both men and women treat women leaders differently. Sometimes it’s a positive, but a lot of times it’s a challenge. Folks just talk to men differently. I have seen the same vendors pick up the pace or be more deliberate in completing a job when they speak to a male involved with the project than when they speak to me, the CEO who writes the checks.
As a woman leader, you’re expected to be warm and nurturing, yet never show emotion — huh? Men can yell and scream and they may say, he is a jerk, but they do what he says, but if a woman boss does it, she is overreacting, or she’s advised to “tone it down” or “kill people with kindness.” As a society, we still have a long way to go. Managing staff can also be challenging because they naturally feel more comfortable talking about their personal issues with women bosses than they would ever share with a male boss. Sometimes, that can lead to a better work environment, but sometimes it’s an attempt to manipulate the female boss. I long for the day that these differences don’t exist.
TNJ.com: Your goals for 2019?
Dr. Tyeese L. Gaines: My first goal is, of course, to continue on our trek to meet our sales goals. We are also ramping up our free community events in the second half of the year, including getting involved with local health initiatives. And as usual, to keep improving the care we provide and pivoting to meet the additional needs of the community we’re in as we uncover them.