Scuderis balance professional, personal lives
Married couple are UF Health faculty members in Jacksonville
Colleagues. Best friends. Confidants.
Those are some of the ways to describe the dynamic relationship between Christopher and Gaelyn Scuderi. The married couple are both faculty members at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville. Chris Scuderi, DO, is an assistant professor of community health and family medicine. Gaelyn Scuderi, MD, is an assistant professor of radiology.
Chris Scuderi works at UF Health Family Medicine and Pediatrics – New Berlin, located on Jacksonville’s rapidly growing Northside. He’s been the center’s medical director since it opened in 2009. Gaelyn Scuderi is a former UF radiology resident and women’s imaging fellow who now performs breast imaging and intervention on the UF Health Jacksonville campus. She became a faculty member in 2013.
The couple’s journey to this point is one of timing, planning and teamwork.
A Staten Island, N.Y., native, Chris Scuderi met his future wife in 1999 while the two attended Officer Indoctrination School in Newport, R.I. At the time, it was a six-week training school for certain Navy officers such as physicians, pharmacists and nurses.
Gaelyn Scuderi, a Yorktown, Va., native, first became friends with Chris Scuderi’s roommate at Officer Indoctrination School. She and the roommate shared a love for famed singer Jimmy Buffet. From there, she and Chris Scuderi became friends and eventually started dating.
The couple, who married in 2002, decided to complete their one-year transitional internships at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Va., with Chris Scuderi finishing in 2003 and Gaelyn Scuderi in 2004. They were both later stationed at Naval Station Mayport in Mayport, Fla., to work as general medical officers for the ships of Destroyer Squadron 14. Chris Scuderi was there for three years, while Gaelyn Scuderi served four years. In that time, they provided medical services to about 6,000 sailors at Mayport.
Their offices were right across the hall from each other. They say that arrangement was a blessing for the marriage because it helped them strengthen their communication skills while also maintaining the utmost professionalism in the workplace.
It’s that type of professional-personal balance that largely shapes their interactions today.
“There was more of a spotlight on us because we needed to walk a tight line,” Chris Scuderi said, recalling their time in the Navy. “It was hard at first, but I think we earned their trust as a couple by doing a good job.”
Chris Scuderi left the Navy in 2007 and Gaelyn Scuderi left the following year. Though they enjoyed the Navy, the couple desired to work in civilian life, which would give them more flexibility with living options. They ultimately decided to remain in Jacksonville.
Chris Scuderi began his residency in family medicine at St. Vincent’s Medical Center. At the time, Gaelyn explored the idea of specializing in radiology, eventually looking into the diagnostic radiology residency program at the UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville.
On a fateful Friday in 2007, she learned she had been accepted into the residency program. The next day, she found out she was pregnant with the couple’s first child. She gave birth to their daughter about three months before she began her residency in September 2008.
“That moment forever changed our lives,” Gaelyn Scuderi said about the pregnancy.
In July 2009, Chris Scuderi became director of UF Health Family Medicine and Pediatrics – New Berlin, which has grown to now include five providers. Between himself and his wife, Chris Scuderi is the more extroverted of the two, so the constant patient interaction that comes with family medicine suits him well.
“It’s been great watching it grow,” he said about his practice. “I’ve got an incredible staff.”
Gaelyn Scuderi interprets screening and diagnostic mammography, breast ultrasound and breast MRI at the UF Health Breast Center – Jacksonville, as well as performs various types of breast biopsies. She also interprets body and chest imaging studies on the UF Health Jacksonville campus. She likes the intellectual challenge of radiology, as it requires an extensive and expert knowledge base.
She said the transition from resident to radiologist and breast imager has been great.
“I hope I bring some perspective of a recent graduate,” she said.
A balancing act
The Scuderis, now with two children, juggle professional and household responsibilities on a daily basis. If one has to work late, the other will do his or her best to cover. Through planning and great communication, for instance, they say their daughter and son are read a bedtime story each night.
The Scuderis enjoy “simple living,” which includes weekly church service and plenty of physical fitness in the forms of running, yoga and weight training. They approach those activities as companions and best friends.
From a professional standpoint, they say there’s a great understanding of the other person’s job demands and responsibilities, given that each works as a health care provider. There’s also the convenience of having someone right there to bounce ideas off.
“It’s always nice to have another medical professional to run something by,” Chris Scuderi said. “She has my best interest at heart. It’s made me a better leader and a better physician.”
Gaelyn Scuderi says having a teammate as such helps minimize stress and makes work more fulfilling.
“We’re both in the trenches,” she said. “Trying to give our patients our best every day.”