TPMG Expands Primary Care Through Summer 2019

Local medical group, Tidewater Physicians Multispecialty Group (TPMG), a network of over 200 physicians and advanced practice clinicians in over 75 offices across the Tidewater area, is expanding primary care services this summer with the addition of multiple family medicine physicians. Three family medicine physicians will join on the Southside as well as two family medicine physicians in Newport News and Williamsburg. 

Caroline Han, MD, Matthew Backens, MD, and David Zelinskas, DO, MPH, join established primary care offices in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake. Sinclair B. McCracken, MD, who brings established private practice of nearly 20 years, and Matthew Fenlason, DO, will be joining in Newport News and Williamsburg, respectively. 

“We are proud to expand our family of primary care provider offices to deliver patient-friendly, compassionate medical care. As our organization continues to grow we’re excited to welcome these physicians to the group,” said TPMG Chief Medical Officer Steven Leblang, MD.” Read more

Happy Family

When Should You Get an Eye Exam?

By: Meg Irish

Ever wonder how often you should get an eye exam, just for general good health?  According to TPMG board certified ophthalmologist Anthony DeRosa, MD, the guidelines vary dependent on age.

Eye Care during Childhood and Adolescence

For children, the recommended age for visits to an eye doctor include at birth, between six and twelve months, at three years of age, before the child is ready to enter school, and then again in their early teens.

Parents should place just as much importance on pediatric eye care as they do on routine vaccinations and pediatric development visits. Generally, infants need to have their first office eye exam at six months of age. During an exam, the eye doctor will check for a family history of eye disease, observe the child’s eye movements, and examine the child’s eyes to look for any discharge or signs of infection.

“Eye conditions can be corrected if caught early,” said DeRosa. “A few signs that your child should get an eye exam immediately include the child’s eyes do not move together, they have difficulty focusing on objects close up, or are exhibiting poor visual tracking,” said Dr. DeRosa. Read more

wrist pain

Are You at Risk for de Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?

wrist painBy: Meg Irish

Many of us do not expect to have aches and pains in our hands, but one condition, de Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, commonly affects women more often than men. At times called “mommy’s wrist” as the condition frequently occurs in moms with newborns. However, this condition has been described widely across all genders and ages.

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a condition of the wrist where the tendons to the thumb, which cross the wrist, become inflamed and the soft tissue tunnel thickens. Initial signs of discomfort include radial sided, or thumb-sided, wrist pain, popping when moving the thumb, and numbness or swelling of the thumb. The pain often increases when gripping or rotating the wrist. Read more

teenager looking tired and stressed

The Importance of Adequate Sleep in Your Teen’s Health

By: Meg Irish

Ever wonder why your teenager is habitually grouchy when they come home from school? Rather than just a bad day, it could be a lack of sleep. Most teenagers are not getting an adequate amount of sleep each night, which can lead to many health and behavior problems.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends teenagers 13 to 18 years of age sleep eight to ten hours a night during this critical stage of growth and development. We know that there can be long-term impacts associated with poor sleep, which include a higher risk for obesity, diabetes, enlarged tonsils, injuries, poor mental health, and problems with attention and behavior. Read more

man sitting on ground holding foot

Common Foot and Ankle Injuries in Athletes

By: Meg Irish

Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a weekend warrior, there’s no doubt you are more susceptible to injury, particularly foot and ankle injuries. This can be a hard pill to swallow for athletes limiting their ability to run, jump, and even walk.

When our feet aren’t able to effectively pick up the load, other structures and tissues are bound to compensate, which sets the stage for injury. Our feet serve as the foundation for the rest of our body. Ensuring they are functioning properly plays a vital role in performance and health. Often athletes unwittingly sacrifice their feet, setting themselves up for injury. Here are a few of the most common foot and ankle problems to watch for and preventative measures to keep you in the game.

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury and is linked to athletes who perform sports with repetitive action or abrupt motion, such as tennis, soccer, or dance. This causes intense strain on the tendon and will result in inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Treatment for this condition varies depending on severity. For moderate injuries, Sara E. Zelinskas, DPM of TPMG Foot and Ankle in Virginia Beach recommends the following treatments: heel lift, night splint, and physical therapy to help reduce inflammation and strengthen the affected area. Read more

Local Hand Surgeon Joins TPMG Orthopedics Division

Newport News, VA, May 29, 2019 – TPMG is pleased to welcome local hand surgeon Nicholas A. Smerlis, MD, FAAOS, CAQSH, to their Orthopedics division as of June 3, 2019.

Dr. Nicholas Smerlis, Hand  Surgeon

Nicholas A. Smerlis, MD, FAAOS, CAQSH

Dr. Smerlis is widely recognized as the premier hand surgeon in our area, and we are thrilled to have his expertise joining the TPMG family.

“As TPMG continues to grow we’re excited to welcome Dr. Smerlis to our team to meet the demands of our community,“ said Scott J. Banning, MD, President of TPMG. 

“This is an exciting time for TPMG and TPMG Orthopedics. Shane McGowan, MD will also be joining the practice in September as a fellowship trained spine surgeon,” said David Warren, CEO of TPMG. 
These two exceptional surgeons will join a robust practice of talented physicians and help to create a comprehensive Orthopedic practice offering the best care in Southeastern Virginia. 
Dr. Smerlis is a board certified orthopedic hand surgeon specializing in the surgical and non-surgical treatment of the hand, wrist, and elbow. He is board certified in both General Orthopaedics and Hand Subspecialty by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons. Read more


What Parents Need to Know During a Measles Outbreak

As the number of measles cases hits a record high this year, surpassing previous annual totals this century, parents are raising concerns. The disease, which was once eliminated in the United States, has resurfaced and spread across 23 states with an estimated 764 cases in May 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What is the measles?

A highly contagious airborne virus, the measles is transmitted by direct contact and infectious droplets. The virus can live on surfaces for up to two hours and can be spread days before visible symptoms are present or after recovery. Initial symptoms include fever, runny nose, watery eyes, followed by a rash starting from the head and spreading to the rest of the body. In some cases, measles can cause severe health complications including pneumonia and encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain. Read more

TPMG and Virginia Oncology Associates Presenting Men’s Health Seminar in Newport News

TPMG is proud to partner with Virginia Oncology Associates and Anthem HealthKeepers to present a Men’s Health Seminar

Newport News, VA – Tidewater Physicians Multispecialty Group (TPMG) is proud to partner with Virginia Oncology Associates (VOA) to present the “Man Up” Men’s Health Seminar on Saturday, June 8th from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The seminar features physicians from a variety of medical specialties and includes topics ranging from prostate cancer to genetic testing for cancer. This is a great opportunity for men across Hampton Roads to learn more about specific topics related to their health and speak to professionals who specialize in the field.  Read more

What is the difference between an Ophthalmologist and an Optometrist?

The difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist is not common knowledge but choosing an eye care provider is an important healthcare decision.


An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor specializing in eye and vision care who receives twelve or more years of training and education. Ophthalmologists are licensed to practice medicine and surgery and this advanced training gives them the ability to diagnose and treat a wider degree of conditions than optometrists. Since ophthalmologists are medical doctors, they often can be the first one to recognize signs of hypertension, cholesterol, diabetes, thyroid disease, tumors, autoimmune disease, and more.

“In the eyes, you actually have an unobstructed view of microcirculation when you’re looking at the blood vessels in the retina.  There is nowhere else in the body that you have this direct view, other than surgically, so it’s important for individuals with issues of circulation, like hypertension and diabetes, to have their eyes examined.  This gives the physician a unique window into the disease process,” said TPMG Ophthalmologist Anthony DeRosa, MD.


Alternatively, an optometrist is not a medical doctor and is not trained in systemic diseases. An optometrist receives a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree and provides vision care ranging from vision testing and correction to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of vision changes. Optometrists in the United States are licensed to prescribe medications to treat certain eye problems and diseases, and the scope of care is determined by state law. Read more

Sun Protection is More than Just Simple SPF  

We all think an hour or two in the sun won’t hurt us, a little vitamin D is good for you, right? According to the American Academy of Dermatology, at least 5 million cases of skin cancer happen each year. In fact, it’s the most common cancer in the U.S. with 1 in 5 Americans developing skin cancer in their lifetime.   

How to protect your skin  

Protecting your skin against the sun’s harmful UV rays plays an important role in reducing your risk of developing skin cancer. Preventative measures include using a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, avoiding prolonged sun exposure between peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., wearing a broad-brimmed hat, wearing protective clothing, and reapplying sunscreen.  

Wear sunscreen every day regardless of if it’s sunny or not; remember the sun’s out every single day and the UV rays do penetrate through the clouds, says TPMG board certified dermatologist Valerie Harvey, MD, MPH, FAAD. 

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