“Parting is such sweet sorrow…” – Juliet, William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”
Saying farewell to those in our lives who are important to us, who impact our lives, is hard. The South Sound community felt this as they said goodbye earlier this month to Olympia Orthopaedic Associates sports medicine physician Dr. Leyen Vu. Dr. Vu was a key player in establishing the dedicated Sports Medicine Clinic in 2012 and has helped shape the future of this needed, and well-used, Oly Ortho clinic.
A multi-sport varsity athlete at Capital High School, Dr. Vu is truly a local. He attended the University of Washington and Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine before returning to Olympia and Providence St. Peter Hospital to complete his residency, and he continued to partner with the hospital after joining Oly Ortho in 2012 to mentor new residents.
Chief Resident at St. Peter Family Medicine Residency, Dr. Jordan Abel, says, “The family medicine residents at Providence St. Peter Hospital would like to thank Leyen. His knowledge, leadership and passion make him a great teacher and mentor. He will be missed greatly, but we wish him the best as he moves forward in his career.”
“Leyen has been a great teacher for our residents and a wonderful friend to me,” noted Dr. Devin Sawyer, the program director at St. Peter Family Medicine and Residency Program Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington. “He is a dedicated, dynamic, intelligent individual who is a credit to his community. What’s more, he is a skilled and compassionate family physician.”
Dr. Vu recalls where he began more than three years ago. “When I joined Oly Ortho, they had a vision for a Sports Medicine Center with rapid access for orthopaedic injuries in a clinic setting. These were two of the things I was interested in after completing my sports medicine fellowship, so it was a perfect fit.”
Over the last three years, a strong relationship has grown between Oly Ortho’s physicians and local high schools and colleges. Dr. Tracy Hamblin joined Dr. Vu last fall and the two have teamed with Saint Martin’s University and The Evergreen State College as well as high schools to care for student athletes. “It is one of the most fun and rewarding parts of my job,” Dr. Vu shares. “I like the energy the kids bring — their motivation to get well.”
Dr. Hamblin says Dr. Vu has a true passion for working with the schools. “I worked closely with North Thurston High School last year and will expand to more local high schools this fall,” she shares. A key element to relationships built by Dr. Hamblin came from her attendance at sporting events. “I could establish a rapport with the coaches and trainers at the games. It’s a real team approach allowing us all to be on the same page for an athlete’s care.” Spending time on the field also fosters trust between the team and physicians so when injuries occur, they are comfortable seeking the Oly Ortho sports medicine team’s advice.
Health, Fitness and Athletic Programs Director for the Olympia School District, Jeff Carpenter, explains the importance of the relationship with Oly Ortho’s sports medicine team and Dr. Vu. “Over the years, Leyen has been a great asset and support to all Olympia School District athletic programs. His personal efforts to provide care for injured athletes combined with training of coaches and work at our Free Sports Physicals has not only helped students but our entire program. He will be missed.”
Dr. Vu’s new adventure takes him to Washington State University as a primary care physician. In addition, he shares, “I will be one of four physicians in the athletic department working with the WSU sports teams,” He can hardly contain his smile.
“I am happy for Dr. Vu’s exciting new opportunity and I feel very fortunate to have had the chance to work with such a great clinician and person over the past several years,” says Dr. Kelly Golob, owner of Tumwater Chiropractic Center. I wish Dr. Vu great success with his new job over in Pullman, and I wish that he could find a way to clone himself so he can come back here and still practice in Olympia.”
While Dr. Vu can’t be cloned, Oly Ortho is excited to welcome another UW Husky to the Sports Medicine Clinic: Dr. Dominic Femiano. With a comprehensive sports medicine fellowship at UW under his belt, Dr. Femiano will join Dr. Hamblin in serving South Sound patients with sports-related injuries.
This will be familiar ground for Dr. Femiano. He has served as a Seattle Storm (WNBA) team physician, University of Washington Athletics team physician, Seattle Marathon assistant medical director, and Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon medical captain. He also brings expertise in the areas of sudden cardiac arrest in young athletes and concussion management.
Dr. Vu will be missed by past patients and community partners such as South Sound Physical and Hand Therapy’s Regional Business Manager, Kim Stamp. “I have had the opportunity to work with Dr. Vu in a few medical tents over the past couple of years, and it has been a joy,” she shares. “There is much to be said for his professional skills, but I am even more impressed with who he is as a person. Seeing the way he engages with both patients and colleagues has been impressive to watch. Thanks for all you’ve done in this community, Leyen, and thank you for sharing yourself with so many.”
South Sound residents can rest assured that Drs. Hamblin and Femiano are ready to take the torch lit so brightly three years ago by Dr. Vu and continue to serve student athletes and families throughout our area. “Dr. Vu helped Oly Ortho build this clinic and we will keep it growing,” promises Dr. Hamblin.
Dr. Hamblin and Dr. Femiano are ready to launch the next chapter of the Olympia Orthopaedic Associates Sports Medicine Clinic and look forward to creating new relationships with patients, athletes and the community.