ALAMOSA – Jonathan Roylance, MD, FACP is a provider specializing in primary care and internal medicine at San Luis Valley Health. But part of where his extraordinary empathy comes from has been his own health journey.
It all began when Dr. Roylance was five years old and his provider found a heart murmur. Then, when he was 19, he had a stroke, caused by an infection from a dental procedure. He had to have open-heart surgery.
Though a terrifying time for someone so young, Dr. Roylance became interested in studying medicine and combining science with helping people.
Dr. Roylance first attended Brigham Young University to study medicine and received his MD from the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, Mexico. Things were going well until his residency at Yale University at Bridgeport Hospital.
Dr. Roylance got an echocardiogram and found he had a thoracic aneurysm, connected to the heart murmur they found when he was five. In his mid-30s, he had his aorta replaced.
Just a few years ago, Dr. Roylance was also diagnosed with diabetes.
Fortunately, Dr. Roylance maintains the mantra that his health journey can help him be a better provider for his patients.
“As a doctor, we are often very separated or outside our patients. But this taught me that we really need to be involved and understand what they’re going through and help them get through the system,” he says.
June is National Men’s Health Month and there are several statistics illustrating how men how are much less likely than women to make appointments with their provider or seek treatment when they’re ill. When asked about how his experience informs the way he tackles men’s health, Dr. Roylance says it’s important providers don’t beat someone up for their decisions.
“It’s nice to be the person that teaches someone and explains that men’s health is really important. We can prevent diseases and it doesn’t mean you’re a weak person. We can help you and understand your goals for health.”
One of the things Dr. Roylance wishes everyone knew is the importance of preventative medicine and the ways people can use medicine before something more serious comes up.
“A good doctor will teach you. The root word for doctor is Latin for teacher. The job of the doctor is to teach someone how to get through their health problems and make their life better. It’s worth it.”