GREENFIELD — Julia Godfrey has joined the staff of Baystate Medical Practices, Greenfield Urology, as a physician’s assistant, working with urologist Dr. Alejandro Miranda-Sousa.
A graduate of Brown University with a bachelor’s degreen in Visual Art, Godfrey was equally drawn to both art and medicine, and chose to pursue art first. Upon graduation from Brown, she spent two years in the Peace Corps, serving in Mali, West Africa as a health and agriculture volunteer, working in baby-weighing programs, literacy training, well digging and irrigation projects, agricultural support, and medical needs assessment. She established women’s clinics to improve nutritional practices, and helped develop tree nurseries and mud ovens to foster sustainable forestry.
“It was while I was in West Africa that I developed an appreciation for woodworking, after seeing the amazing woodwork created by the people in the villages where I volunteered,” she said. When she returned to the U.S., she attended the College of the Redwoods Fine Woodworking Program in Fort Bragg, Calif., and eventually established herself as a furniture maker, specializing in marquetry. A recognized expert in the field, Godfrey has been a teacher, magazine consultant, and lecturer on marquetry across North America for 20 years.
“But medicine was still in my blood,” Godfrey said. “I always knew I would eventually follow my original dream and go into medicine. As my children grew older and were all in school, I realized that the time was right for me to go back to school, too.”
In 2007, Godfrey enrolled in Greenfield Community College’s emergency medical technician program, earning an EMT-B certification. She worked for Baystate Heath Ambulance in Greenfield prior to returning to school full-time in the physician assistant program. She received her master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies from Springfield College in May.
While doing her surgery rotation at Baystate Franklin Medical Center, Godfrey worked with Miranda-Sousa for two weeks out of her six-week rotation. “I had an interest in urology because one of my children has chronic kidney disease and deals with many urology issues, so I have become very familiar with urology and nephrology over the past 14 years of his life,” Godfrey explained.
She feels that her experience caring for her son gives her a special connection with her patients. “I really understand what they’re going through, and can empathize with them and offer them encouragement based on my own experience.”
Godfrey handles office-based aspects of the practice — routine procedures, pre-op, and follow-up visits with patients. She is presently observing Miranda-Sousa’s surgeries to give her a more in-depth knowledge of the specialty.
“I love working in this field and in this office; it’s a very positive, happy environment with a strong team of people doing more than their share to give our patients the best care possible,” Godfrey said.
For more information on Greenfield Urology, contact Baystate Health Link at (800) 377-4325. To inquire about making an appointment at Greenfield Urology, call (413) 773-2680.