Mayo Trained Surgeon Chooses Northern Indiana Practice Over Larger Markets

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Mack H. Sullivan, Jr., M.D., has been named the third plastic surgeon for The Centre, P.C., Comprehensive Plastic Surgery Practice located in Elkhart, Indiana. Alongside distinguished plastic surgeons Ronald K. Downs, M.D., F.A.C.S., and Patrick J. Viscardi, M.D., Sullivan will accentuate The Centre’s ability to offer the latest in advanced cosmetic and reconstructive surgery procedures to patients across Northern Indiana and the Midwest.

Mack H. Sullivan, Jr., M.D., has been named the third plastic surgeon for The Centre, P.C., Comprehensive Plastic Surgery Practice located in Elkhart, Indiana. Alongside distinguished plastic surgeons Ronald K. Downs, M.D., F.A.C.S., and Patrick J. Viscardi, M.D., Sullivan will accentuate The Centre’s ability to offer the latest in advanced cosmetic and reconstructive surgery procedures to patients across Northern Indiana and the Midwest.

Dr. Sullivan is an active member of the American Board of Plastic Surgery. After receiving his pre-med undergraduate degree at Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama, Dr. Sullivan completed his Doctor of Medicine degree from The Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Georgia. He then completed his five-year general surgery residency at the Howard University Hospital in Washington D.C. He then accepted a plastic surgery fellowship with the Mayo Clinic Department of Plastic Surgery in Rochester, Minnesota.

Fellowship Provided an Unrivaled Breadth of Experience

Dr. Sullivan believes the comprehensive training and experience he received in his two-year fellowship in Rochester was a hands-on, clinical experience like no other. “There is a lot of hype associated with the high quality of healthcare provided by the Mayo Clinic. I interviewed first with them during my residency in Washington, D.C., back in 1994. When I visited, I immediately saw that it was not hype, but a reality.”

Dr. Sullivan went on to explain that because of the reputation of the Mayo Clinic, the cases presented to him as a resident were from all over the globe. This resulted in an unmatched breadth of surgical experience. To handle the volume and complexity of patients presenting from all over the world, the Mayo program accepts, and graduates, only four residents in plastic surgery into its two-year program each year, making it one of the largest, most competitive and robust programs in the country.

He explained that being immersed in a clinical environment where one is constantly challenged with the most difficult and complex cases provided him with the professional challenges to which he has always aspired.

“The fellowship program at Mayo really embodies exactly what one wants in a comprehensive plastic surgery training program. What attracted me to plastic surgery in the first place was the diversity of procedures one must understand. From head to toe, literally, people don’t realize that the plastic surgeon must be the ultimate student of anatomy. I knew this was the right field of surgery for me because it would guarantee me a lifetime of scholarship,” he said.

“The variety and diversity of cases we encountered at Mayo were just incredible. You have to understand that Mayo is the tertiary care center for communities of hospitals and medical facilities all around the world. The scope of plastic surgeries we were exposed to and performed was second to none. What I quickly recognized is that this is a place that embodies the reasons I went into plastic surgery in the first place.”

He explained the three factors that guided him to the Mayo Clinic were also the factors that guided his decision to come to The Centre, P.C., over the offers he was tendered from the larger more glamorous markets of Manhattan, Atlanta, San Francisco, Beverly Hills, and Washington D.C. These reasons were the diversity of procedures and cases presented, the autonomy a comprehensive plastic surgery practice offers a physician, and a lifestyle that suited his vision of the ultimate medical practice.

The autonomy Dr. Sullivan experienced during his time at Mayo was also a very important factor in his view of the practice of medicine, and of his decision to move to a mid-size, more hands-on market such as the one serviced by The Centre’s comprehensive practice.

“I think autonomy is also important. Given autonomy, the confidence that you acquire in a setting like Mayo is somewhat overwhelming initially, but a world-class facility fosters self-confidence and allows you to develop. My first rotation, my first week there, I started with a physician that trained at Johns Hopkins—one of the six guys responsible for training eight residents. This first week I was there I was involved in a major gynecological reconstruction.”

Dr. Sullivan went on to explain, “The day before the procedure, he introduced me to the patient and asked me if I had reviewed the specifics of the procedure. I told him I had, and he said, ‘Great, I’ll see you tomorrow,’ The next day I was prepared and completely involved in the procedure. That’s the kind of autonomous setting I thrive in.”

Diversity, Autonomy and Lifestyle in Northern Indiana

Dr. Sullivan explained that his choice to relocate here, at The Centre, P.C., in Elkhart, Indiana, over larger, more prestigious markets, was based on these same principals of diversity, autonomy, and lifestyle.

“As I said to our founding surgeon, Dr. Ronald Downs, when we first met, I don’t think there’s a case that I would be uncomfortable with tackling, particularly on the reconstructive surgery side, because of the extensive training I was fortunate enough to have and the state-of-the-art facilities and competent staff available at The Centre. With the broad manufacturing base we have here in Elkhart County, and the surrounding area here in the Midwest, I’m confident I’ll be constantly challenged helping those who have been involved in industrial and vocational accidents. There is a real need for me and a comprehensive plastic surgery facility here,” he stated. “Between the reconstructive and cosmetic side of this world-class practice, I’ll have the diversity I need.”

When it comes to autonomy, Dr. Sullivan went on to explain that he liked that The Centre, P.C., hires only well-educated and board-certified plastic surgeons, and then requires them to practice at their highest level in a true comprehensive setting. “I finished at Mayo in 1998 and went on to private practice in Jacksonville, Florida, for seven years. It’s important for people to understand that plastic surgery is a very specialized field. You need a plastic surgeon who can react when Mother Nature intervenes and throws a curve ball. You need an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon for these procedures -- be it cosmetic or reconstructive.”

“A lot of people purport that they do many procedures, but if they can’t correct a complication when things go wrong, they have no business doing the surgery in the first place. They may be board certified in ear, nose, and throat, ophthalmology, dermatology, or OB-GYN and market themselves as cosmetic surgeons. People need to select a true board-certified plastic surgeon,” he said.

Sullivan went on to explain what board certification means in the field of plastic surgery: “When you are reviewed for board certification, they don’t look at your successes; they look at your failures. And you are queried as to how you handled those failures. Board certification means that when something goes wrong, and something will go wrong, the surgeon must be ready to handle that complication.”

The autonomy provided Dr. Sullivan at Mayo, his private practice in St. Mary’s and Jacksonville, Florida, where he held privileges at four hospitals, has now lead him to the more comprehensive and centralized clinical setting of The Centre, P.C., where the decision to move was partially based on his third motivating factor -- lifestyle.

“After being in private practice for seven and a half years down in Georgia, I went out to follow up on some of the opportunities I turned down after my fellowship. I then selected five locations to interview: Manhattan, Atlanta, San Francisco, Beverly Hills, and Scottsdale, Arizona.”

After several interviews in New York and San Francisco, a medical recruiting agent mentioned enthusiastically that there was an opening in a first class practice, The Centre, P.C., in Elkhart, Indiana. “My grandmother always said, ‘Son, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.’ But practicing at The Centre sounded like a fantastic opportunity, so I decided to fly up to check it out.” He explained he was presently surprised. “I was immediately impressed with the professionalism, the state-of-the-art setting, and the sincerity and competency of the staff of The Centre.”

Dr. Sullivan then looked at the negatives of the larger urban settings in juxtaposition to the Midwest. “I reflected as to where I was in this part of my life and I saw that this would be a better fit for me. This included not having a commute, the rat race, or the high cost of living. Plus, when I left Washington, D.C., and first went up to Rochester, I realized a sense of security in the Midwest, compared to being in an urban setting and always going home at night and fearing for loved ones or friends. Security is something that has become important to me. I weighed all the options and chose Elkhart and Northern Indiana.”

“When people ask me, ‘where is Elkhart?’, I tell them Elkhart is everywhere—because plastic surgery is international. If you have a complete practice like this, a product that people really want, it doesn’t matter where you are, that product will be dispensed,” he said.

The Centre, P.C., is a complete plastic surgery practice that delivers professional care to patients in Northern Indiana and beyond. With world-class specialists in the fields of reconstructive surgery, cosmetic procedures, skin care, hand surgery and therapy, The Centre, P.C., also offers a variant of cosmetic and reconstructive service options that include an injury prevention program and the area’s only complete medical spa.

“I’m excited to continue my profession at The Centre, P.C. I am very keen on the idea that the overall serenity that I feel in a setting like this is to my family’s advantage,” Dr. Sullivan concluded.

For more information on The Centre, P.C., contact The Centre, P.C., 500 Arcade Avenue, Suite 300, Elkhart, Indiana, 46514; call 574-269-9100; or visit their website at http://www.thecentrepc.com

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