Stephanie Kopey, DO, PT, who practices at Mercy Health – Howland Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, has been serving patients within our ministry for 12 years.
“I started at St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital as a volunteer in high school and have been here in some capacity or other since then,” she shares. “I did not know what I wanted to do with my life and a member of my church let me come volunteer with her.”
Being a physician was not always part of Dr. Kopey’s plan. After beginning her physical therapist career and having mentors who were physicians within her specialty — including Dr. Lynn Mikolich and Dr. Joseph Cerimele – she knew she wanted to further her education.
“The most rewarding aspect of work is connecting with patients, no matter where that may be, and working toward a common goal established by the patient to help them achieve a better quality of life and recognize their success,” Dr. Kopey says.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, being able to care for patients virtually was a learning curve. However, Dr. Kopey and her team members quickly adjusted and have been able to provide exceptional care through this option.
“I am proud of the medical profession because we keep putting our patients first despite all of the hoops we have to jump through,” she shares. “Being a doctor is hard. Dealing with everything else that comes with it is even harder. We deal with a lot of headaches like insurance prerequisites, time away from friends and family due to long hours and many others. Despite all of this, we keep showing up and we keep taking care of our patients. We put the patient first.”
Her team members have had an admirable impact on Dr. Kopey’s time with our ministry. She shares that her colleagues are “professionals who are caring, smart, dedicated, available and competent!”
Dr. Kopey recalls a specific example of the outstanding support her colleagues provide.
“For instance, once when I unknowingly called one of our neurosurgeons while he was on vacation, he graciously took care of the issue with no complaint. That is amazing and not too many professions have that level of commitment.”
Many physicians have influenced Dr. Kopey’s career, so she feels it would be unfair to single out just one person.
“I feel blessed to have had so many people take an interest in my professional success,” she shares.
Within her specialty, Dr. Kopey frequently gets to celebrate with patients on their successful treatment plan.
“Sometimes, these successes seem small and other times they are astronomical,” she says. “Providing a stroke patient with medication, like Botox, to relax their hand muscles so they are able to clean can make all the difference to them.”
She continues, “other times, it is something as big as seeing an amputee try out a new prosthesis for the first time. I love when patients come back for a follow-up appointment and tell me how well they have done because something we implemented made a huge difference in their life.”
In celebrating National Doctors’ Day, Dr. Kopey shares what her profession means to her:
“National Doctors’ Day brings to light all that doctors do for our community. It is an opportunity for all of us to thank our mentors and colleagues for their sacrifices and expertise. And finally, it is a time to remember the pioneers in medicine so many years ago and all the accomplishments and advances that have been made in medicine over the years. There is a saying in physical medicine and rehabilitation stating that we don’t add years to your life, we add life to your years.”
Help us celebrate National Doctors’ Day by sharing a heartfelt message of appreciation for your Mercy Health provider! Please visit mercy.com/doctorsday before March 30 to submit your message of thanks.