Michael Merz, MD, has joined the rapidly growing medical team of Northern Family Medicine, a practice of Northern Regional Hospital. A board-certified Family Medicine specialist, Dr. Merz previously worked as an Attending Physician in a Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Urgent Care for three years.
“I am excited about meeting and treating new patients at Northern Family Medicine,” says Dr. Merz. “I look forward to interacting and forming trusting relationships with my patients so we can develop treatment plans that meet their healthcare needs. For me, patient care is a team sport – in which my patients and I work together to achieve optimal outcomes.
“It’s a privilege to be part of Northern Regional Hospital, a nationally recognized five-star healthcare provider,” continued Dr. Merz. “When I visited the Hospital and its Family Medicine practice, I was impressed with the vision and energy of the senior leadership team, the friendliness of the clinical and support staff, and the state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic tools and technologies available on-site.”
“We are truly excited to welcome Dr. Merz to our dedicated clinical team,” said Dr. Danal Snyder, Medical Director of Northern Family Medicine. “His demonstrated clinical knowledge and skills, collaborative approach to patient care, and focused attention to quality standards fit the culture of care that is the hallmark of Northern Family Medicine.”
Dr. Merz’s earliest years were spent in Ohio – where he was born (in Cleveland) and raised (in Columbus). “My parents told me that I started telling them I wanted to be a doctor when I was 11 years old,” he recalls. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry degrees cum laude from Wittenberg University in 2011, he moved to Washington, DC to continue his studies by earning a Master of Science degree in Physiology and Biophysics from Georgetown University. He then sought to fulfill his childhood dream by entering the University of Massachusetts Medical School – where, four
years later, he earned a Doctorate of Medicine degree in 2016.
Dr. Merz’s familiarity with Mount Airy occurred during his postgraduate studies – which included a three-year residency program in Family Medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center as well as an intensive one-year Primary Care Sports Medicine fellowship program there. “Two months after moving to this area to start my residency, I met my wife – Brittany Simpson, a native of Mount Airy who, after graduating from North Surry High and then earning two master’s degrees, established her own mental health counseling practice,” he said proudly.
During Dr. Merz’s four years of advanced specialty training, he also served as the team physician, co-team physician, or assistant team physician for the collegiate teams Wake Forest University and Winston-Salem State University and the minor-league sports team, the Carolina Thunderbirds. He also performed physicals for the Greensboro Cobras and provided medical event coverage for the 2019 USA Gymnastics Elite trampoline and tumbling event. An avid sports enthusiast – especially football – Dr. Merz admits to being a Cleveland Browns fan … “but my wife has been steadily pushing me towards the Carolina Panthers,” he laughed.
Dr. Merz’s extensive clinical background in the key specialty areas of family medicine, sports medicine, and urgent care have positioned him well to deal effectively with the rich variety of patients and clinical conditions he will be treating at Northern Family Medicine. “One of the most rewarding things for me is to educate patients about their condition and the recommended therapies to treat it. I like to give printed handouts to patients and use pictures – anything that helps patients better understand our agreed-upon approach to achieving their goal or goals.
“Often,” he added, “I end up caring for multiple members of the same family – which sometimes makes it easier for patients to make and maintain changes in their habits and lifestyles. For example, dietary, exercise and smoking-cessation challenges are sometimes made easier when more than one member of a family is working on making the same change.”
Dr. Merz also took part in a research project that looked at the care of patients with intellectual disabilities. “As a result of our study, my research colleagues and I were able to recommend a standardized template of questions that should be asked of direct caregivers and other collateral sources in order to create the best treatment plan possible for that patient population,” he explained.
Dr. Merz has earned national academic awards and honors; and is a member of several key professional societies, including the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine. He is Provider Certified in US SafeSport Training.
When not attending to patients, the 34-year-old doctor enjoys spending time with wife Brittany and their two young daughters: Violet and Lucy. The family enjoys outdoor activities, but especially loves going to the beach. “We love taking the girls there and just getting outside and enjoying nature,” he said. He and Brittany are “big into watching sports. Right now, it is March Madness!” he said.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Michael Merz, call the Northern Family Medicine Office at 336-786-4133 or visit Northern Family Medicine online at ChooseNorthern.org/FamilyMedicine.