Who is Good Works DPC?
I am Mike Lesniak, MD, MPH. I am a board certified Family Medicine physician, and I am Good Works DPC. However, I am not your typical physician. Of course I attended college and did very well as is the requirement to obtain admission into medical school. I attended a very good medical school at Penn State Hershey. However, my background well before college has always served as an inspiration to both be better, and to help whenever and wherever I can while making sure to remain humble and grounded. Essentially, to do "Good Works." We are best described by our actions rather than our words.
Early life was far from ideal with some of it spent homeless and hungry. I have eaten from garbage cans, stolen oranges from orange groves, slept in cars, lived in homeless shelters, and in run down motels, or bug infested slums. I have lived in neighborhoods and attended schools where I have had guns pulled on me by gang members, and been attacked simply for who I was. I have seen first hand what drug and alcohol abuse can do to good people and their loved ones. These experiences become a part of you, and you can either let them define you, or teach you. I chose to learn and to rise above these traumas and trying situations. What I also learned, was that there were other good people caught up in these places that I wanted to help, but was not yet equipped.
The first step in satisfying my calling to make a difference, to help people, and to better myself was joining the US Coast Guard in Aug 1994, right after high school. My first station was aboard a ship, called a Cutter in the Coast Guard, as part of Deck Force. On Deck Force, I helped maintain the Cutter, manned the helm, painted, launched and retrieved small boats, launched and retrieved the helicopter, conducted fisheries patrols, and search and rescue operations. It was a lot of hard grunt work, but I had a job with purpose and a place to live with meals included. If you ever watched Deadliest Catch, those were some of the seas and conditions I was patrolling. It was not for the weak of stomach, or those scared of drowning.
My goal in joining xthe USCG was always to become an Avionics Technician and to crew helicopters. A little over a year after joining, I was sent to my technical school and subsequently stationed at USCG Air Station San Francisco on HH-65 Dolphin helicopters. In total, I did 6 years in the USCG and crewed a helicopter for more than 3000 hrs. I was part of several search and rescue missions, high risk activities and had 5 almost crashes. It was pretty amazing. I loved it and miss that job still today. Unfortunately, it was not meant to last as a medical condition forced my grounding and pushed me to seek another way to be a benefit to society.
I left the USCG in 2000 and started College. Given my history mentioned above, I looked at this as a great opportunity to learn and understand how and why people act the way they do. As such, it was only natural that I pursued a degree in Psychology. My plan from day one was to go to medical school, but I wanted more than just the usual Biology or Chemistry degrees. Pre-Med already provided for the need for high level science course, which I loved, so I just added my Psychology courses to all of that. I loved college and flourished there.
After college I was fortunate to earn a spot at The Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, PA. The very same town where the famous chocolate company was established. It was a great place, and a great fit for me due to the diverse population, the ethos of Penn State COM, and the people that I was privileged to work with, learn from, and to call "Classmate."
After completing my MD studies at Penn State in 2009, I decided to take a year off to add a Master of Public Health degree to my list of scholastic accomplishments. The Master of Public Health (MPH) is a great foundation for understanding population medicine, and how to best protect and treat diseases, outbreaks, and natural disasters. My particular focus within this field of study was actually Disaster Management and Mitigation. This again followed with my life theme of wanting to help as many people as possible, particularly whenever they are experiencing significant adversity. I nearly completed my MPH in 1 year, which is half of the time it is supposed to take, but with 3 classes left to complete, it was time to start residency. The last 3 classes took a while to complete due to the rigors and time demands of residency, but in 2016, 3 years after residency, I did complete my last class and graduated with honors.
I started residency July 2010 at The Washington Hospital in Washington, PA. Given my love for all things medical, and my distaste for doing the same tasks over and over, I chose and fell in love with Family Medicine. I chose The Washington Hospital for the people, and the fact the it is what we call "unopposed". Unopposed means that there were no other residency programs in the hospital, our residency did everything; Emergency Room, Hospital floor, Labor and Delivery, Pediatrics, Mental Health, Intensive Care Unit, and so on. It allowed for an amazingly rich learning experience. Family Medicine is a perfect match for me as I get to be an advocate for my patients, get to know them, work with them, follow them throughout their life, celebrate their successes, and work with them on their struggles. The drive to start Good Works was just the need to further my goal of making the most out of my abilities as a Family Medicine physician in my community.
After a few years into medical practice, I was drawn towards a major problem I was seeing affecting my patients, the opiate epidemic. With the insight garnered from my Psychology BA, my MPH, and my MD, I decided that learning about and prescribing Suboxone (Buprenorphine) was another way I could help out with this deadly epidemic which is one of the worst public health crises in our countries history. This is something that I wish to do with Good Works, but I will be limited in the number of patients that I can take due to legal restrictions. If you or someone you love is struggling with opiate or other addiction, please consider me a resource and reach out. If I can't help directly, I will try to find who can. You are never alone. Repeat that to yourself when you feel that you are.
Another public health crisis I chose to engage is that of obesity and its health related issues. In 2021, I furthered my education on the subject by attending the Columbia University's Obesity Medicine Course. I wish to be very clear, "obesity" as a word used in medicine is a diagnostic term with specific criteria and indicates significant, known risks for disease and risk of early death. I am against disease and early death, and I hope all of my patients are as well. The term "obesity" is not a judgment of character, or intellect, and it is not a judgment of attractiveness or value. Many people have experienced poor care from physicians directly or indirectly related to their weight. This is never OK. There is no "fat shaming", or any kind of shaming at my clinic. We are a team. I will find out what you want out of our health care partnership and advise you on the best course of action while supporting you on your health journey. We are all beautiful, and we are all imperfect. This cannot be stated enough, and is a core concept for me. Addressing any medical issue starts with kindness and compassion, and obesity and its related medical issues are no different.
I am also an ally of the LBGTQ+ community. You should never be made to feel less than because of who you are. My office is a judgment free zone. I welcome people of all types from all walks of life and would love to work with you on being the healthiest and happiest you that you can be.
As you can see, a lot about "Me" is being a Family Physician. It is who I am to the core. Though, I do have other interests, of course. I absolutely adore my family. My wife, April, is my biggest fan and cheerleader. She is smart, so she knows how to talk to me when self doubt starts to creep in. Yup, even Dr. Positivity here has self doubt at times, we are all human and I believe being humble is a good trait. There is a good chance that April will be working with me in the clinic from time to time as she is an RN, BSN and almost done with her MBA. Currently, April stays home to care for our twin toddler boys which are a delight, but an understandable handful. My oldest son is 9yo and likes reading, legos, and playing with his neighbor friends. Our oldest child is our foster daughter who is 23yo and is currently living in MA and still undecided what she wants to be when she grows up. Its a good place to be in life. We feel fortunate to call this area home, and I can't wait to see the young ones grow up here, make connections, and thrive as we continue to become part of the community.
When I'm not being a physician, a husband, or a Dad, you will often find me wrenching on old cars, motorcycles, or tinkering with all manner of electronic of mechanical things in my home shop. When I am not doing that, I like to play guitar and bass, or ride my bike on the local bike paths.
I understand that this was a lot to read. When you come to see me, we will have time, and I will take time, to get to know you. A proper doctor-patient relationship is an intimate relationship built on trust. I will see you on your best and worst days. I will see your ups and downs. I think it only fair that you get to know me as well, and that I be as transparent as I can be so that I can earn your trust rather than just expecting it because I have the right letters behind my name. If you see me out and about, please say "Hi" and feel free to ask me questions about Good Works DPC.
1994-2000 USCG Ships crew, Avionics Technician/Search and Rescue/Helicopter Crew Chief
2001-2005 San Diego State University, Magna Cum Laude Psychology
2005-2009 Penn State College of Medicine, Doctor of Medicine
2009-2016 Benedictine University, Master of Public health
2010- 2013 The Washington Hospital, Washington, PA, Family Medicine Residency
2013 - Certified DOT Medical Examiner
2016 - Certified Suboxone/Buprenorphine prescriber for Opiate Abuse Disorder treatment
2021 - Attended Columbia University's Institute of Human Nutrition Obesity Medicine course