A passion for emergency care

By Sarah Bello

As a young adult, Regina Mysliwiec (mish-LIV-yets), MD, thought she would never leave the ambulance — working in one, that is. She had to be “dragged off the ambulance to go to medical school,” but here in Astoria, she’s come full circle.

Dr. Mysliwiec became an emergency medicine technician (EMT) during her second year at Georgetown University and loved it, even spending three semesters teaching the school’s emergency medical services (EMS) course to undergraduates. After graduating, she returned home to New York City and worked as a basic EMT with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. “It was a fabulous old ambulance service,” she says. “It was just a blast.”

Emergency physician at Columbia Memorial Hospital, in Astoria Oregon

Dr. Regina Mysliwiec

Changing her path

Dr. Mysliwiec loved working in prehospital care and planned to become a paramedic, but family members urged her to go to medical school. When she was accepted into New York University School of Medicine, it was a given that she would pursue emergency medicine. 

After four years of medical school and a four-year residency, she went back to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital to complete a two-year fellowship in geriatric emergency medicine, while earning a master’s degree in clinical epidemiology and health services research. “[Those two years] combined all of my major interests — emergency medicine, geriatrics and prehospital care,” Dr. Mysliwiec says.

Finding her niche

Dr. Mysliwiec found common research interests with members of OHSU’s emergency medicine faculty, so she came to Oregon to speak with them. With what she says was great timing, she and her wife moved to Oregon in 2015. Dr. Mysliwiec took a position in the CMH Emergency Department as part of a collaboration with OHSU to bring board-certified emergency medicine physicians to Astoria.

Dr. Mysliwiec glows with pride in being a citizen of the Lower Columbia coast region. “Astoria is a close-knit community, with a strong history and cultural traditions almost totally unfamiliar to me as a born-and-bred New Yorker,” she says. “But when I got here, my colleagues in the ER, the friends I made while out and about exploring the town, my patients — everyone welcomed me with a smile, with an infectious optimism about what this place is capable of. I couldn’t help but get caught up in that enthusiasm.”

Embracing the community

In the nearly three years that she’s been here, she has become deeply involved in the community and in different aspects of prehospital care and emergency medicine, even on her days off. 

“Dr. Mysliwiec became the medical director for Medix over one year ago, and she has done an outstanding job improving the clinical practice of the prehospital teams,” says Anthony Ferroggiaro, MD, Medical Director of the CMH Emergency Department. She is a very dedicated physician for the community.

“Not only is she the EMS medical director, she also participates in teaching at OHSU School of Medicine and often travels to Portland to teach in the OHSU Department of Emergency Medicine and resident physician education,” he says. “She also guest lectures for the EMT/AEMT course at Clatsop Community College. And she’s on the Columbia Memorial Hospital Foundation Board of Directors.”

To be so involved “seems like a natural progression to me,” Dr. Mysliwiec says. “To go from being someone who had to be dragged off the ambulance to go to medical school, to be given an opportunity to get back on the ambulance, essentially, or at least to work really closely with the people who are out there responding to emergencies in our community — I can’t imagine not wanting to be involved in that.

“I have the skill and the expertise, I certainly have the desire to be working with these crews. I can’t imagine wanting to stop now that I’ve started.”

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