Rounds: Competing Couples

A new addition to this year’s event — couples! Drs. Michael and Sue Nussbaum will take on engaged newcomers Kaitlin Porcaro and Ajay Vellore.


Meet the Nussbaums!

Name: Michael S. Nussbaum, MD
Specialty/Practice Area: Surgery
Hospital/Office: University of Florida College of Medicine — Jacksonville/Shands Jacksonville
Hometown: Cleveland, OH
Years in Jax: 3
Years in Practice: 25
Spouse/Kids: Dr. Sue Nussbaum, 2 kids: Jackie, 23 and Rachel, 21
College: Northwestern University, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Hobbies: Running
Best thing about your job: Taking care of patients with surgical problems and working with medical students and residents

Name: Sue Weinstein Nussbaum, MD, MBA
Specialty/Practice Area: Physician Executive
Hospital/Office: We Care Jacksonville
Hometown: Cincinati, OH
Years in Jax: 3
Years in Practice: 25
Spouse/Kids: Dr. Michael Nussbaum, 2 kids: Jackie, 23 and Rachel, 21
College: Northwestern University – BA, University of Pennsylvania-Wharton School – MBA, University of Cincinnati – MD
Hobbies: Walking, sustainable environment, comedy shows
Best thing about your job: Helping someone get treatment for cancer, fractures, or other serious health problems whenthey are uninsured with no access to care.

What drew you both to the medical field?

Michael:I have had a fascination with surgery and the ability to help people in a very active way since I was 14 years old. I worked as an Operating Room Tech throughout high school, college and medical school and knew that I had a true passion for the surgical sciences.

Sue: My father, aunt, uncle and first cousin became physicians and I watched them feel great satisfaction with their careers. I loved science and put this together with learning to take care of patients as my goal.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Michael: The most rewarding part of my job as an academic surgeon has been to teach medical students and residents and to watch them go on to careers as successful surgeons.

Sue: Giving people hope. The most rewarding part is helping someone who is suffering from illness find access to needed medical care. For example, we have women who have been waiting 3 months since being diagnosed with breast cancer finally get to a treating physician, surgeon and oncologist.

How did you two meet? Tell us the story.

We met at the age of 17 in 1974 on our first day of college at Northwestern University. We had many things in common, we were both from Ohio (Sue from Cincinnati and Michael from Cleveland), we were both pre-med, we lived in the same dorm, and had many common interests. We were close friends and kept in touch over the years. We were reunited in Philadelphia in 1979 when Sue came to Philadelphia to attend Wharton and Michael was in Medical School at Penn. Sue then followed Michael to Cincinnati in 1982 where he was a surgical resident and she attended medical school at the University of Cincinnati. We were married in Cincinnati in 1983 and have two wonderful daughters: Jackie (23) is studying Graphic Design at Parsons in New York and Rachel (21) is a senior at the University of Colorado.

What spurred you to get involved with Rounds at the Grounds?

Michael: I love baseball and couldn’t think of a better way to combine great fun and a great cause.

Sue: Michael had a great time last year so we went out and I played catch with him and I could still throw and catch so I said “sign me up!”

Dr. Nussbaum – What was your favorite part about playing in Rounds last year?

Being coached by Eugene Monroe and playing ball on the Suns field.

Dr. Nussbaum – What are you most looking forward to (or least!) of playing for the first time this year?

Playing with and against such talented teamates!

What’s your favorite part/aspect of the Jacksonville community?

Both – We have been here for only 3 years and have been touched by how welcoming, friendly and caring our Jacksonville community is. We are thrilled to be a part of such a sprited city and working with many wonderful people in the medical community.

How can we, as individuals in a shared community, work to improve the health status of NE Florida?

We both have a shared commitment to improve access to health care in our community. This is a critical way to improve health status, particularly if health disparities are conquered!

Dr. Nussbaum – do you have any tips or words of wisdom for your wife concerning the BIG GAME coming up on Sept. 4?


Meet Ajay Vellore and Kaitlin Porcaro!

Name: Kaitlin Porcaro, MD
Specialty/Practice Area: Pediatric Resident
Hospital/Office: Wolfson/UF Shands
Hometown: Pelham, NY
Years in Jax: 2 months
Years in Practice: 2 months
Spouse/Kids: Engaged to Ajay Vellore, no kids
College: Yale
Hobbies: Golf, soccer, ice hockey, snowboarding, running, baking
Best thing about your job: The patients!

Name: Ajay Vellore, MD
Specialty/Practice Area: Anesthesia Resident 
Hospital/Office: Mayo Clinic
Hometown: Germantown, MD
Years in Jax: 2 months
Years in Practice: 2 months
Spouse/Kids: Engaged to Kaitlin Porcaro, no kids
College: University of Maryland
Hobbies: Golf, soccer, snowboarding
Best thing about your job: Making a patient smile!

What drew you both to the field of medicine?

Kaitlin: The opportunity to help a child that is sick, educate parents and contribute positively to the community — what an amazing opportunity!

Ajay: The ability to go to work and influence many other people’s lives.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Kaitlin: The patients! The innocence and positive outlook on life that children have is so refreshing and inspiring! also, helping to make a worried mom feel at ease is an incredible feeling.

Ajay: Having someone thank you from the bottom of their heart for helping them and seeing a smile on their face.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story:

[Ajay deferred to Kaitlin on this question]

Kaitlin: In med school Ajay and I were friends long before we started dating. Hanging out in the library, making each other laugh, playing on soccer and basketball teams together….one day we just started looking at each other differently. Before we knew it we were head over heels in love! Our wedding will be June 16th, 2012 and we couldn’t be more excited!

What spurred you to get involved in Rounds at the Grounds?

Kaitlin: We will never turn down an opportunity to get involved in our community. The fact that Rounds at the Grounds will allow us to play a sport AND support such a great cause in pediatric medicine was just too good to pass up!

Ajay: The combination of participating in a cause to help a problem that is more of an issue than is perceived, and being able to play a sport while doing it!

What are you most (or least) looking forward to about playing in this year’s tournament for the first time?

Kaitlin: Most: looking forward to meeting new people! Least: looking forward to the realization that softball never was my best sport….i still throw like a girl…

Ajay: Meeting new people, and swinging and whiffing.

Of the two of you, who’s the better athlete? Baseball player?

Kaitlin: Ajay is by far a better baseball player! the better athlete….that’s always up for debate with both of us!

Ajay: Well you were a college athlete so I will have to say you are. But considering you can’t throw, I will say I am the better baseball player.

You both are relatively new to Jacksonville. So far, what is your favorite part/aspect of the Jacksonville community?

Kaitlin: We love the beach! Also, everyone has been SO friendly! We are really excited to explore more of this city’s many niche’s!

Ajay: The laid-back atmosphere, the openness of the people in our community, and of course, the golf courses and the beach!

How can we, as individuals in a shared community, work to improve the health status of NE Florida?

Kaitlin: I think we all need to be more pro-active in creating change. No matter how small the change is, we need to take on the responsibility and ownership that our health and community deserve.

Ajay: We need to press our lawmakers. If the banks and carmakers can get billions of dollars in bailout money, there is no reason that healthcare shouldn’t get some piece of the pie.

What is your #1 piece of health advice?

Kaitlin: Have a support system! Eating healthy, exercising, staying on top our health needs can be more enjoyable and productive if you have a teammate/friend/family to make those changes with you! You are not alone!

Ajay: To remember that the health choices we make today have a profound affect down the road. Eat healthy, stay active, and be safe! It’ll pay off 20 years from now!