In June of 2020, Addabbo’s Chief Medical Officer, Veronica Wiltshire, MD, was featured in the St. Francis College “In The Spotlight”. She was also the featured guest speaker in the College’s Career Spotlight discussion series on June 25th. Her road to success was anything but easy, and she spoke of her journey beginning as an undocumented immigrant from Guyana to overseeing all of the physicians at the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center, Inc.
As her high school’s valedictorian, she was offered a full scholarship at St. Francis College as an international student. Dr. Wiltshire was unable to attend medical school right after college graduation, but she was determined to attain her goal of becoming a physician serving in underserved communities. In 2011, she became a pediatrician at Addabbo. In 2019, she became the Director of Pediatrics and shortly thereafter, she accepted the position of Chief Medical Officer at Addabbo – shortly before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As part of my CMO position, appropriate protocols must be put in place for doctors to follow,” said Dr. Wiltshire. “Every day at the height of the pandemic, recommendations were changing from the CDC, from the city, so every day it seemed like we were starting from scratch.”
Among the challenges she faced in her medical leadership role was at the time New York went on lockdown. Addabbo remained open to see its patients even though the community had one of the highest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city. It never closed down. “Addabbo patients are the essential workers,” explained Dr. Wiltshire. “They’re the ones who are working in the kitchens, in the hospitals, the bus drivers. They’re not able to work from home.”
Besides being an excellent college student, Dr. Wiltshire cited important life lessons she learned from her college years at St. Francis College: confidence, how to deal with failures and the value of learning to embrace setbacks and roadblocks and use them to move forward. She often credits the education she received at St. Francis College with her achievements in both her professional and personal life.
The Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center congratulates Dr. Veronica Wiltshire on this recent honor and for a job well-done!