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About Dr. Faisel Syed

Dr. Lauralee Yalden is a Family Medicine physician currently residing in Englewood, NJ. She received her Bachelor’s of Science with General Academic Honors from the University of Miami and her Doctor of Medicine from the Ross University School of Medicine, Dominica, West Indies. Dr. Yalden pursued a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Vascular Surgery, and finished her Residency program at UHS/Wilson Regional Medical Center, Department of Family Medicine.

Besides her solid training in both vascular surgery and family medicine, Dr. Yalden has been advocating for the benefits of telehealth for several years now, with numerous lectures, presentations, and publications on this subject. Outside the clinic, Dr. Yalden is very fond of teaching and has been part of numerous higher-learning institutions, such as the State University of New York and Ross University School of Medicine.

In her free time, she enjoys being a working mom, traveling and wandering around in new and old places, hiking in the national parks, gardening, cooking and baking gourmet meals for family and friends, reading, writing, and sketching in her journal.

Dr. Yalden’s Journey into Medicine

Looking back towards her first memories surrounding the medicine field, Dr. Yalden shares some powerful, emotional details from her childhood. Her mother and father were diagnosed with cancer, which left an understandable mark on Dr. Yalden’s childhood and teenage years.

From such a fragile age, taking care of her parents within her limits became an everyday reality, a reality that shaped both her future career and vision towards patient care. “It’s helped me a lot in all the work that I’ve had to do and given me a greater understanding of what patients and families go through, having gone through something like that at such a young age. I think it’s made me a better doctor.” She shares with Top Doctor Magazine.

From Vascular Surgery to Family Medicine

Throughout her medical training, Dr. Yalden showed an enthusiastic interest in operational surgery. With solid training in vascular surgery at Yale, she had the chance to work with the best in the field and immerse herself even more in her specialty field during training programs abroad.

However, the Fates were sewing a different path for Dr. Yalden. As a woman who always intended to put family first, she decided to take a more suitable approach to her desired way of life, which is why she decided to devote herself to family medicine. “As a woman who wanted to be married and have kids I didn’t think that surgery would be a good fit for me for the future, as much as I loved it, so I switched to family medicine.” Dr. Yalden shares with Top Doctor Magazine.

Finding a Balance between Work and Family Life

If there’s any analogic trait that would best describe Dr. Yalden’s professional life, by far, it would be her bee-like hardworking nature. While she resided in FL, Dr. Yalden took care of patients in her family medicine practice and community hospital, made house calls for hospice patients, taught classes and mentored medical students at a local university in the hospital her office, and worked within the Miami Veteran Affairs (VA) ER system. Not without immense joy she remembers her time spent with retired military personnel, learning all about their medical history and, most exciting, learning about their entire history in the military.

However, as Dr. Yalden confesses, “After you have kids, it’s hard to make a commitment to do all of these things.” She decided to cut back her hours, considering her sincere desire to take care of the children’s upbringing and education. However, in her quest, Dr. Yalden managed to find the right balance between work and family life, leaving her with enough time to raise her five and three-year-olds while continuing to practice family medicine.

Going Over One’s Strength to Help a Patient

Finding the perfect story patient seems to be difficult for Dr. Yalden; after all, innumerable patients have sought and received help from her. However, all of her stories have one common denominator, the drive to give her best when treating a patient, and no other story speaks more to this virtue (one of Dr. Yalden’s many) than the story of a young man training for an endurance competition. After noticing some drops of blood in the young man’s urine, Dr. Yalden thought it wise to investigate this further and get to the root of the matter. She was both thunderstruck at the sight of analysis results indicating cancer and happy to know that it could be cured, which is what eventually happened.

Dr. Yalden remembers this story as if it were yesterday, bringing to light a beautiful example of thanksgiving from the patient’s family: “I remember the day that he came in with his wife and his kids and everybody gave me a big kiss and hug, in tears and thankful for what I did to take care of their father. It was very overwhelming for me.”

For such stories and the opportunity to get to know numerous generations of the same family, Dr. Yalden appreciates her mission: “One of my great joys in my practice of family medicine: getting to know the whole family, parents, children, the grandparents, and everybody over time.”

Balancing Work and Family with Telehealth

While many of us would believe that telehealth is a more recent construct, dating since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Yalden surprises us with the following statement: “I’ve been seeing patients online by telehealth for about nine years now.” And Dr. Yalden doesn’t hesitate to praise telehealth, which allowed her to start her own family, breastfeed her children, and spend real time with them.

Aside from such familial advantages, Dr. Yalden points out more valuable advantages to caring for patients from afar. Aside from limiting the patient’s exposure to COVID-19, telehealth represents a viable and safe guarantee to future consultations: “Patients are more compliant now than ever before because of the ease of the follow-up plan…patients can connect anytime from anywhere.” With physicians available for follow-up consultations in a safe environment, there’s no wonder why a growing number of patients have opted for telemedicine since the start of the pandemic.

Over the course of years, telehealth went through several metamorphoses, finding more efficient ways of consulting patients over the screen. However, this development was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which turned telehealth into a more versatile approach to medicine: “We do some exams with some of the Tyto products, otoscopes, stethoscopes, and derma scopes that you can plug into your smartphone and do an exam of heart lungs and ear, skin, everything…. there’s so much that you can do.” After seeing and studying its benefits, Dr. Yalden believes that telehealth has become a major player in the field of medicine, a player that will shape its future for generations to come: “I definitely think it’s here to stay. I don’t think anybody’s going back to the way it was, without using a lot of telehealth.”

Looking towards the Future through Dr. Yalden’s Lens

We’ve had a pandemic that turned the world upside down, brought both the best and the worst from us, and made us look towards the future with skepticism. But what does Dr. Yalden think of the future? Aside from educating people on the subject of vaccination, she turns our attention towards more endemic issues plaguing our society, the racial issues: “I think probably in the United States, one of the issues that’s concerning me the most is racial inequality.” While no flick of a wand could bring an end to racial tensions in the U.S., Dr. Yalden sees empathy as the key component of this putative solution: “I don’t know what the answer is, but I think racially, we need to do a better job of taking care of everybody no matter your race, background or affiliations, we all need to just to do our best to take care of the world. The world needs a lot of TLC (tender loving care).”

In such troubled times, Dr. Yalden has found peace in her work and family, which she sees as her little blessings: “I feel like I’m pretty blessed. I’m pretty happy in my career right now as a working mom; I love my job. I really enjoy practicing online. I genuinely like the doctors, support staff and people that I work with, especially the patients and families I have the privilege of caring for. I love spending time with my kids. I’ve always been very happy in my practice; it really didn’t matter what I was doing, but especially now as a physician practicing family medicine online from home I have the best of both worlds.” As such, we at Top Doctor Magazine support her kind words and invite our readers to take the race of life a little bit slower, enjoying what lies in front of us and thinking less about what lies ahead.

Brianna Connors
Brianna Connors