Drs. Andrea Kudel, left, and Kelly Rose Nichols are on staff and accepting new patients at Le Roy Medical Associates. The primary care practice opens today at its new location at 127 W. Main St., Le Roy.
When it was time to recruit doctors for its primary care practice in Le Roy, the University of Rochester Medical Center didn’t have to look far.
Kelly Rose Nichols, D.O., grew up in Le Roy as a member of the Stein farming family. She went to medical school in Philadelphia, but never felt comfortable in a big city.
“I grew up on a farm,” Nichols said. “I couldn’t figure out how to lock and unlock the house!
“It was about six weeks before the novelty of being able to walk everyplace wore off. I said, ‘This isn’t for me, I need to go home.’ ”
Now, she and Andrea Kudel, D.O., have joined longtime practitioner Vladimir Gaspar, M.D., in a relocated and much-expanded Le Roy Medical Associates.
The practice was formerly located on Lake Street Road. It reopens today in its new location in Le Roy Village Plaza at 127 W. Main St.
Hometown medical practice is familiar territory for Nichols, who picked her profession early in life.
“When I was 3, I had the Fisher-Price doctor kit,” she said. “I literally had no other career plan.”
When she was in high school, Nichols thought she should get some hands-on experience. As it happens, she worked for Dr. Lorne Campbell, whose Genesee Family Practice at 8745 Lake Street Road eventually became Le Roy Medical Associates.
“I would come in after school, file charts, and invite myself to exciting stuff that Dr. Campbell was doing,” Nichols said.
Nichols went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Biology at the University of Rochester, and then her doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Kudel, meanwhile, was following a similar career path.
She grew up in Williamsville, and had decided on a medical career by second grade. (“I commit to things, and that’s it,” she said.) She earned a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences from the nearby University at Buffalo, then a doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine in Nassau County, Long Island.
Their paths crossed during their residencies in family medicine at Sisters of Charity Hospital in Buffalo, where Kudel was chief resident.
They also formed a friendship. So earlier this year when URMC was recruiting a doctor to practice Le Roy — well, Nichols happened to know a great candidate in Buffalo.
Le Roy is a small town, but it’s minutes away from URMC and everything else Rochester offers. Kudel calls family practice here, “the best of both worlds.”
“I like getting to know people better,” said Kudel, 30, who lives with her husband in the Town of Sweden. “You know where they’re coming from; you get to understand them in a more comprehensive way.”
Nichols, 30, lives in the Village of Le Roy with her husband, Ben Nichols, and their two daughters.
“This is truly family practice,” Nichols said. “And you feel like you’re more a part of the community.”
The Le Roy primary care practice was formerly part of Lakeside Health System of Brockport. It was one of the properties sold after Lakeside closed in 2013, and renamed URMC’s Strong West.
Its growth reflects URMC’s commitment to to the region, said Dr. Wally Johnson, who directs UR Medicine Primary Care.
“These are appealing places to work, and it’s where the need is,” he said.
Johnson said Batavia has a “thriving” hospital in United Memorial Medical Center, which just this summer completed an affiliation with Rochester General Health System.
“But we know there are people in the area who want to have University of Rochester doctors as their primary care practitioners,” Johnson said. “So we think it makes very good business sense to expand our presence in the area.”
Down the road, UR may recruit another physician assistant or nurse practitioner as required in Le Roy, Johnson said.
Both Nichols and Kudel are happy with the new location, which is on one floor — and thus more handicap-accessible — and at least three times bigger than the Lake Street Road site. A new medical laboratory is on site, too.
Nichols said Dr. Gaspar has always focused on customer service. But additional exam rooms will accommodate more patients, and cut down on wait times.
“This is going to be a nice change,” Nichols said.
Le Roy Medical Associates is planning an open house for 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 20. Meanwhile, both Nichols and Kudel are accepting new patients. For information call (585) 768-2620.