Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

Mt. Pleasant Urgent Care & Family Practice Story


Where everybody knows your name

by Sheryl Williams

 Dr. Lyubov Shur-Allen and Dr. Charles Marks

Dr. Lyubov Shur-Allen and Dr. Charles Marks

If asked to name an upbeat place where visitors are always made to feel welcome, some might think of the well-known Boston bar depicted on the television show Cheers. Unless, of course, the person asked is a patient at Mt. Pleasant Urgent Care & Family Practice in Chesapeake. Mike Zimmerman has been seeing Dr. Charles Marks, one of the physicians at Mt. Pleasant, for 20 years, and he says he wouldn’t go to anybody else.“Whenever I visit the office, they treat me very well,” he says enthusiastically, “and everybody knows my name.”

Open since 2010, Mt. Pleasant Urgent Care is personable and efficient, with two doctors available and usually no more than a 10-minute wait. Patients are in and out in about an hour and can get written prescriptions there or have them emailed to the pharmacy.  X-rays are offered on site, and there is a triage area where minor surgery can be performed.

“Whenever I visit the office,
they treat me very well,
and everybody knows my name.”

—Mike Zimmerman, patient

While their primary mission is to treat patients effectively, the quality that clearly sets them apart—and keeps patients returning year after year—is the caring atmosphere found here. Most of the staff members have worked together for years and have formed a dedicated team of professionals closely resembling a family. One patient even brings them fresh doughnuts!

The first thing one notices when meeting Dr. Marks is his full white beard—perfectly groomed—framing a cheerful grin. Originally from Bremerton, Washington, he grew up in Las Vegas and, as a child, medicine was the last vocation he would have chosen. When he was four, he tried to feed a horse and the animal bit the ends off several of his fingers, resulting in lengthy treatments to save what was left. “I used to hate going to the hospital,” he remembers.

But the doctor who treated him—Dr. Hardy, a jolly fellow who could have been comic Oliver Hardy’s twin—made an unpleasant experience less so and, as the years passed, Dr. Marks was drawn toward a medical career. He began in nursing, just to see if he’d like it - and like it he did. He completed medical school at the University of the East, then internship and residency in New York City. 

After serving in the U.S. Navy, he and a friend who was also a doctor came to this area and began practicing in the area of urgent care. After years of working long, exhausting hours, Dr. Marks had just begun to consider retirement when a car accident resulting in an eye injury made the decision for him. While he recuperated, word spread that he had retired. “Some people thought I had died,” he adds, laughing.

When the call came asking if he’d like to join the team at the soon-to-be-opened Mt. Pleasant facility, the voice was familiar; he had worked with both the new owner and the current doctor, Lyubov Shur-Allen, previously. A small group with more time for individual attention appealed to him, so he agreed. Many of his former patients returned, and today about 90 percent of the people he sees consider him their primary care physician. 

Dr. Charles Marks is one of Santa’s helpers

Dr. Charles Marks is one of Santa’s helpers

Without the grueling hours, these days Dr. Marks is able to have some fun. An avid bowler, he and his family belong to a league competing once a week, and he enjoys keeping his golf game sharp. And once a year around Memorial Day weekend, he starts growing the beard. “My wife doesn’t care for it,” he notes with a laugh,“so I don’t keep it all year. When I’m bearded, she introduces me as her father-in-law!”

But the children—and his patients—love it, and through the years he has brought the joy of Santa to hospitals, Christmas parties, and holiday breakfasts. Sitting atop a file cabinet in his office is a photograph of him wearing the familiar red fur hat, eyes twinkling. Nearby stands a small Santa figurine that emits a joyful “Ho, ho, ho!” each time one passes by. And one is reminded that kindness goes full circle: just as Dr. Hardy’s caring and humor eased a child’s pain after a terrible accident so many years ago, today that little boy continues to spread joy to people who are hurting.

“It’s a very interesting mix
of people and medical diagnostics.
One must know a little about everything
—it encourages one
to keep their skills sharp.”

—Dr. Lyubov Shur-Allen

Dr. Lyubov Shur-Allen was born in Russia and is from the city of Yaroslavl. She received her medical training in her native country, then came to the United States with her parents as a young woman. She completed her residency at Eastern Virginia Medical School and has been working in the area of urgent care since 2002.  Like Dr. Marks, she has been at Mt. Pleasant Urgent Care since it opened, and many of her former patients also followed her here.

While she loves being part of a family practice, she enjoys seeing new patients who just walk in. Some may be visiting the area; some are locals who don’t have a primary care physician; many are farmers. But all of them have one thing in common:  the unknown. Since the doctor never knows what’s coming, she must be able to treat chronic situations and emergencies. “So it’s a very interesting mix of people and medical diagnostics,” she notes. “One must know a little about everything—it encourages one to keep their skills sharp.”

When asked what influenced her to go into medicine, she answers without hesitation: “My mother.  She and my brother are both physicians and my grandmother was a dentist. So I am continuing the family tradition.” 

In addition to the physicians, the practice is fortunate to have a wonderful group of physician assistants and nurse practitioners—Rachell Bregant PA-C, Matthew Warren PA-C, Jennifer Kalb PA-C, Kathleen Nelson FNP-C and Tricia Marshall FNP-C.

Tricia is the newest provider at the facility. Originally from Wisconsin, she came to the area as a Navy nurse, serving at Portsmouth Naval Hospital. She loves it here—especially the beach. When asked about Mt. Pleasant Urgent Care, she sums up the way many people feel: “I love this practice because we are all family-oriented, we care about our patients, and we support each other.”

And everybody knows your name.

Mt. Pleasant Urgent Care and Family Practice

1464 Mt. Pleasant Road
Chesapeake, VA 23322