Meet Drs. Karla Goodman and Emily Viggiano, two of the dedicated providers who make up our team at Neighborhood Health Center.
Dr. Goodman is a naturopathic doctor and Viggiano, a pediatrician. In honor of National Doctors Day, we asked what led them each to pursue a career in healthcare, what brought them to NHC — and to share a bit about what makes this place special.
What led you to pursue a career in healthcare?
Dr. Karla Goodman: I have wanted to be a doctor since I was a child. I have always loved science, the challenges of doing detective work and enjoy helping people to feel better. Medicine involves all those things. It’s funny because my mom has a school journal entry from third grade where I wrote about wanting to be a pediatrician so I could save money on taking my own kids to the doctor!
My family is a big inspiration. Most of my family are in service jobs. My grandpa and dad are firefighters, my sisters are a nurse and a teacher, my brother and uncle are in the Air Force. We were all raised to work hard and help others.
Dr. Emily Viggiano: I came to medicine after studying how culture and health intersect around the world in college. I learned how many health disparities are preventable with changes to our systems, and I wanted to be a part of that work. Yet I also loved working one on one with individuals and families, and being a primary care doctor allowed me to do that.
I chose the field of pediatrics because at its core, it is about helping families create the healthy environments their children need to grow up strong, healthy, and resilient. I found that children can often inspire their parents to improve their health. In pediatric visits, whole families can be motivated to make healthy changes at home.
What’s the best — or most rewarding — part of your job?
Dr. Goodman: Simply being able to see that I can relieve somebody’s suffering and the appreciation of people when you are able to really help them in their life.
Dr. Viggiano: In my patient visits, I love seeing parents’ love for their children shine through. Whether they are comforting their child after getting immunizations, taking time to read with their child at home, or sharing with pride the new skills their child has learned, I can see how their love and attention helps their children learn, grow, and be ready to confront whatever life brings them.
One of my favorite parts of well child checks is our Reach out and Read program, in which we give children up to age 5 years old books to take home. I love seeing a child’s eyes light up when I hand her a book, and hearing her tell me about what she thinks is happening in the story.
What brought you to NHC? What keeps you here?
Dr. Goodman: Life is difficult for everybody in one way or another but tends to be more so for the financially strained. The trials of having limited resources to survive is hard enough without worrying your health may not hold up to keep living.
NHC’s mission is aligned with my own, in helping to alleviate this for our fellow people by being a community resource for all. I haven’t met anybody in this organization that doesn’t share this mission and that goes a long way in being resourceful and overcoming challenges we encounter.
The collaboration of providers from social work and mental health to physicians and nurses gives a whole, patient-centered approach and creates great patient care.
Dr. Viggiano: I came to NHC as a scholar with the National Health Service Corps. As a part of this program, I am committed to providing primary care among the most underserved populations in the US. NHC shares my personal mission to care for all children, regardless of where they come from or their ability to pay.
Every day I work with families who are experiencing the hardships of poverty, and my goal is always to do my best to support them. It is exciting to work in an organization that is committed to thinking about health broadly, including all the different social factors that affect children’s health.