Before settling into practicing at the Valley Medical Group in 1994, Michele M. Howe, D.O., chalked up a number of varied medical experiences. A board-certified family practitioner, Dr. Howe worked in a North Camden, N.J., clinic that served the poor and indigent; a large Woodbury, N.J., practice; a 30-bed hospital in the rural western Catskills, N.Y.; and an adult medicine practice in Claremont, Calif. Her medical skills were put to work covering the gamut of medicine - from providing gynecologic and medical care to single teenage mothers in North Camden to practicing urgent care in New Jersey and California to covering the emergency room in the dairy country of Walton, N.Y.
Today, the East Hanover resident is Medical Director of Valley Medical Group in Riverdale, which provides primary and preventive care services to patients of all ages. She enjoys the continuity of care and providing treatments that integrate patients' physical, emotional, and psychosocial needs.
Dr. Howe's yearn for medicine and a career as an osteopathic physician started serendipitously when she contracted hepatitis A in high school. Her family doctor at the time was an osteopathic physician, a medical doctor who was trained in the relationship between the organs of the body and the musculoskeletal system, as well as the typical medical education.
"I liked the doctors who treated me in the hospital and knew I wanted to do something in the sciences," she recalls while a senior at Holy Family Academy in Bayonne. While attending pre-med classes at St. Peter's College in Jersey City, she worked in the science building to pay for her education. When it came time to apply to medical schools, she only applied to osteopathic medical schools. She graduated from the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Missouri and did an internship at Detroit Osteopathic Hospital.
After her internship, she worked in the North Camden clinic for three years as a provision of scholarships she received from the National Public Health Service Corps.
"I was the family practitioner, who replaced a pediatrician," she says. "Therefore, we saw lots of kids. We shared a waiting room with the Camden Diocese Prenatal Clinic, which had a team of religious sisters, social workers, nurses, and dietitians. Babies born at the nearby Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center would come to us for follow-up and well baby care. We did a lot of birth control and counseling. We helped a lot of people in an old building with no air conditioning, many of whom just needed someone to talk to."
After North Camden, she practiced at the Woodbury group for four years, the Catskills hospital for two years, and a competitive specialty practice in California for one year. But she missed the East Coast and her sisters here. She wanted to return to urgent and primary care and found a home at Valley Medical Group.
"I enjoy talking to patients about preventive measures they can take to avoid major illnesses," she says. "My goal is to do well for all the people we serve in our area."
Valley Medical Group in Riverdale is located at 72 Hamburg Turnpike. The practice provides comprehensive primary, preventive, urgent, travel, and occupational health services. Board-certified family practitioners and internists provide physical examinations; immunizations; care for chronic illnesses, including diabetes, asthma, and heart disease; assistance with smoking cessation; cardiovascular risk assessments; cancer screenings; and gynecological well care. The doctors also treat sports injuries; urgent illnesses including ear ache, sore throats, the flu, eye problems, and infections; and minor medical emergencies, including cuts, burns, fractures, strains, and sprains. Businesses may also contract for a package of comprehensive occupational health services, including physical examinations, worker's compensation injury care, drug screenings, and alcohol breath tests.
Laboratory tests that can be performed on site at Valley Medical Group include urinalysis, hemoccult, complete blood count, urine pregnancy test, finger stick glucose, rapid strep test, breath alcohol tests, and urine drug screen collection. X-rays and electrocardiograms (EKGs) are also performed on site.
Valley Medical Group in Riverdale is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday and holidays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information or to make an appointment, call 973-835-7290 or click on Request an Appointment.