Physician Profile: S. Lynn Mishra, M.D., of CPC-North Augusta

When you first meet Seema Lynn Mishra, she will tell you her life is not the least bit interesting. After only a few minutes with her, however, you will realize her claim is anything but true. Seemas vibrant personality and upbeat perspective on lifes parade of events will both put you at ease and keep you entertained.

 The story of her adventures along the road to North Augusta begins in her parents native land, New Delhi, India, where Seema was born. When she only two years old, she and her father, an engineer, and her mother, a pediatrician, relocated to Pennsylvania, a world away in both distance and culture. For nearly seven years, young Seema had no idea what her mother did every day at work. At the time, I thought women were nurses and men were doctors, Seema admits. When she finally found out her mother was a physician, she was pleasantly surprised and realized for the first time that she would also like a career in medicine.

 Taking advantage of her mothers connections at the local hospital, Seemas first job as a teenager was washing dishes. She laughingly admits to having broken four trays of glasses her first day but remembers it fondly for the experiences and friendships she developed there.

With her goal of attending medical school as a driving force, she graduated a year early from high school and migrated South to attend the University of South Carolina in Columbia. Continuing on the educational fast track, she graduated in three years with a major in biology, spending her scarce free time as a top salesperson at the local Express, holding office at the Honors College, and dancing in the USC production of Cabaret. Despite Seemas enduring desire to attend medical school, her father was very much against it. He wanted me to do anything but medicine, she recalls. He thought it was difficult; trying to manage a family and be a physician while finding enough time to give to both was near impossible. Instead, he strongly advocated her going into law, and even sent her applications for the LSAT, the law school entrance exam, in the hopes she would become a lawyer instead. Despite his disapproval, Seema applied to medical school at age 19, and was soon accepted at USC. Her first two years of medical school fell well short of her expectations. They were misery, Seema recounts. It was just obscure facts that had nothing to do with actual people. Disheartened by her initial experience, she took a year off and taught anatomy and physiology for the nursing program at a nearby college. Finally, Seema decided to give medical school another try, and was pleased to find the second half of her medical education profoundly different. The last two years were phenomenal for me, she recounts. Her clinical experiences during these years made her return worthwhile and rekindled her love for medicine.

 Dr. Mishra spent her residency at Flower Hospital, a small community health center in Ohio. It was absolutely an incredible experience. If something happened in surgery, you handled it. If something happened in cardiology, you handled it. You were it! This intensive, hands-on experience gave her the opportunity to further develop her skills caring for patients. In terms of preparing her for whatever challenges lay ahead, she states, it was unbeatable.

Soon, a job offer came from a rural health center in Wilson, North Carolina. Intrigued by the prospect of living in the South again, Seema moved to Wilson with her three young children, twins Noah and Alex and daughter Natalie. After two years of treating patients for everything from the flu to life-threatening farming accidents, she decided to open her own practice to see how she would do working independently, where she would have more control over how she practiced. I believe I took better care of my patients [while in private practice], she explains. I saw fewer people and made house calls, which really made a difference. When the challenges of balancing private practice and single parenthood began to take its toll, Dr. Mishra decided to move one last time. It was her father, now working at Savannah River Site, who mentioned the opportunity available at the Center for Primary Care. After receiving a warm response from the physicians and staff, Dr. Mishra knew CPC was the right place for her. I met 11 out of 13 doctors, which really impressed me, she recalls. It made me feel as though all the physicians really cared about who was going to be there. Having her parents and extended family nearby was another plus for returning to South Carolina. My sons know that being near grandma and grandpa means food, and that is always a good thing, she jokes. Seema and her family now make their home in North Augusta.

As a family physician, Dr. Mishra focuses on patient well-being. She advocates to her patients that they can improve how they feel on a daily basis reducing exhaustion and headaches, for example by taking greater personal responsibility for proper diet, exercise, and stress management. If you can feel good on a day-to-day basis, you can learn how to handle those bad days as well. Almost everyone can live a healthy and happy life. When she isnt hard at work, Dr. Mishra enjoys attending live theater and art shows and also doing crafts. Her No. 1 priority, however, is and always has been spending time with her children. She truly is a Renaissance woman, armed with the knowledge and compassion only experience can provide. She brings yet another dimension to the Center for Primary Care, contributing not only to CPCs diversity but also to its energy and personality.