Dr. Jill Laureano-Surber, 38: Family Medicine of Northern New York

 

Dr. Jill Laureano-Surber didn’t start her professional life as a family physician. After college she made her way to California where she sold real estate websites as an executive sales manager. Yet the California dream didn’t thrill her. Her true dream was to start a career in medicine, but she admits debilitating beliefs stopped her from going into it.

“I tried to talk myself out of it for many years, which is why I started a little late,” she said. “I used to think I couldn’t have a family and be a doctor, yet here I am with four children. It’s clear to me now we can do whatever we want once we decide we really want it.”

Her decision to continue her education in medicine came with the help of many mentors over the years, most especially
her former boss in San Diego, Ronda Anderson. Ms. Anderson started several different companies of her own and was able to provide guidance for Dr. Laureano-Surber both personally and professionally.

“She passed away recently, but her advice will always stay with me. She was a special lady,” she said.

With four young children each younger than 6, the good doctor stays on her toes. And while her passion for her patients is the reason she gets out of bed everyday, her two-year old is usually the loudest part of it.

“Simon wakes me by yelling from his bedroom,” she said with a laugh. “But when it’s not my children it’s most definitely my patients. I think about them when I go to sleep at night and again when I wake up.”

Her patients inspire her. Her children inspire her. And her staff inspires her. For Dr. Laureano-Surber, her inspired work doesn’t feel like work at all.

“I don’t consider myself as having a job,” she said. “I take care of people for a living, but it doesn’t feel like work and that makes it exciting.”

Dr. Laureano-Surber is very involved in fundraising for the community. Her efforts include raising money for the Heart Walk, the Run for Alex, and the Mike Cerroni Memorial 5k. In her Heart Walk participation, she encouraged her patients and staff to get involved. Being involved in community was something she and her husband wanted when they decided to move to the north country from California. Upon finishing her residency at Samaritan Medical Center, it became clear to her that the north country was more than just a series of small towns, it was a goldmine, filled with opportunity for the next generation.

We talked about how we could make a difference and set an example for young people that they can indeed be successful in a small town,” she said. “We want to be a part of what happens here in the next 10 to 20 years.”

That involvement includes becoming a voice for millennials.

“We need to reach out to high school kids that are ready to make decisions about college and let them know they matter and we want them here,” she said. “There are professional options that weren’t here before. We need to make them aware of those options.”

As a mother of four, a physician for dozens, and a wife and community leader, Dr. Laureano-Surber had to give up certain things to make her family practice work.

“I sacrifice time with my children,” she said. “If I could trade places with someone for a day, it would be my nanny, just so I could spend more time with them.”

Despite her sacrifices she recognizes her gains, which include her family practice and being back in the north country where family is instrumental in helping her raise her children.

“It sounds cliché, but there is much truth to the old phrase, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’” she said.

At the end of the day, Dr. Laureano-Surber knows she can count on the one thing that has made her aware of making the right decisions, balancing her life and giving herself to the people of the north country; her inner guidance.

“I’ve learned that I have a very good intuition and when I don’t follow it, I’ve not regretted it.”

— Joleene Moody

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The Dr. Jill Laureano-Surber File

Hometown: Carthage

Professional position: Family Practice Physician / owner

Family: Husband, Anthony; children, Julian, 6, Annika, 3, Simon, 2, and Thea, 13 months; mother, Julie; puppy, Augie, 8-weeks

Education: Doctor of osteopathic medicine, University of New England; bachelor’s in theology, Boston College

Community involvement: Heart Walk; Run for Alex; Mike Cerroni Memorial 5k; Sackett’s Harbor 18.12 Half Marathon; Aids Walk

Last book read: “I Love You Stinky Face” by Lisa McCourt