Pediatrician Stephanie Sisler opened the practice on April 1 at 607 Oakland Ave., Oakland.
“Lovelight means ‘radiant compassion,’” she said. “We want patients to see us as caregivers for their child’s health, but we also want to be an inspiration and a support for families. We want to encourage parents to be positive role models, and we want to encourage children, no matter their age, to make a positive difference in their environment.”
Sisler explained that she grew up with her sister and two brothers on her family’s farm in Terra Alta, West Virginia.
“In high school, I fell in love with science and my path naturally went towards the medical field,” she said. “I knew that I wanted to return to my hometown or the surrounding area to live and to practice, so primary care was the only area that I considered.”
She explained that primary care includes family medicine, pediatrics and obstetrics/gynecology.
“OB/gyn was too surgical for my personality, so that was quickly ruled out,” she said. “When I did my family medicine rotation, I was quickly bored with the never-ending visits for hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol. The moment that I started my pediatric rotation, I knew that it was where I belonged.”
In this area, Sisler said she appreciates the variety that the age span provides.
“I love being a parent coach and encourager, and I love interacting with children!” she said. “I always say that if I hadn’t gone into medicine, I would have probably been an elementary school teacher or a stay-at-home mom.”
Before opening her own practice, Sisler worked for Wellspring Family Medicine for more than three years. She found it to be a “wonderful opportunity to learn, to get my clinical confidence and to work with providers who had years of experience.”
Now, she looks forward to working alongside them in serving the community now and into the future.
“I have loved building relationships with other physicians here in Garrett County,” Sisler said. “During my time at Wellspring, I obtained admitting privileges and cared for newborns and pediatric patients at GRMC. While I will maintain my admitting and consulting privileges, we are still working out the details of what my future role will look like in regard to hospital care. We have wonderful referring relationships with the local surgeons and specialists, and are extremely happy to network locally in appropriate cases.”
Lovelight is a pediatric practice open to patients age birth through 21. After completing medical school, Sisler spent three years learning specifically about children. She worked with specialists in pediatric gastroenterology, cardiology, pulmonology and many other specialties for extended time periods.
“I recently did a career fair at a local elementary school, and I asked each group of students that came through if they knew what a pediatrician was,” she said. “Not a single child knew. One child thought that it meant veterinarian. I would like people to understand what pediatricians are, and that we have specialized training that can truly benefit their children.”
Sisler has invested many years to learning about children, their development and their health problems.
“I truly believe that we have very much to offer in a community that has been without a pediatrician for so long,” she said.
Sisler reported that the practice has been met with an “extremely positive” response from the community, with steady numbers of patients.
Lovelight continues to accept new patients. The transfer process can be discussed by calling 301-533-7060.
“Unfortunately, as the case usually is, insurances are not always as eager to process applications as we are to submit them,” she said.
Currently, Lovelight can accept most private insurances. Maryland Physician’s Care, which is common with most local families, is set to be accepted beginning June 1.
The office manager and current receptionist is Tiffany Bowman, whom Sisler describes as “a jack-of-all-trades.” She is a certified phlebotomist and pharmacy technician, and is currently completing a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, as well as a Certified Medical Office Manager course through the Practice Management Institute.
“She has been working in the medical field for over 10 years, and is a huge asset to our office,” Sisler said. “She is the first face that you see when you arrive, and she is usually the one answering phone calls. Her positivity is infectious, and I am so grateful that she decided to join our team. Tiffany has a true heart for working with children, and it has been a privilege to see her working in this capacity.”
She grew up in Terra Alta and graduated from Preston High School.
Medical assistant Amy Sharpless, is a certified nursing assistant who has worked in the medical field for the past 10 years.
“Amy had her first child last year, and it has been amazing to watch her flourish as a mother and a caregiver,” Sisler said. “She loves interacting with patients and parents, and she is a truly wonderful person.”
She grew up in Garrett County and graduated from Southern High School.
Sisler and her husband Adam were married in 2008. He is from Friendsville and is a fourth-generation logger.
“We have two biological children, Delaney and Darci,” Sisler said. “We have been foster parents since 2016, and have been blessed by the opportunity to love on local children (and their families) who have come and gone from our home during that time.”
Although she grew up nearby, Sisler said Oakland was a huge part of her upbringing.
“I honestly cannot imagine practicing anywhere else,” she said. “My father was a teacher at Southern High School for over 20 years, and I was born at Garrett Hospital. I love that I can take care of the children of my childhood friends. I love that I can see a patient in clinic and then catch up with them at Walmart over the weekend. I am a small-town girl at heart, and longed to be back home during my 10 years of training in Morgantown, West Virginia. I couldn’t be happier living and practicing here, and serving the children and families of our community.”