Nancy Bell, MD, Joins Community Health Associates
BY KAAREN VALENTA
Dr Nancy Bell knew when she was in medical school that she wanted to be a
family practitioner. At the time, it wasn't a very popular decision. In the
1980s, students at top schools like Johns Hopkins in Baltimore were encouraged
to become specialists.
"I was the only one in my class of 120 that went into family practice," she
recalled. "It was looked down upon at that time -- there was no rotation
through primary care."
Now, she said, the times have changed.
"I was always interested in integrating the whole family and taking more of a
holistic view of practicing medicine," she said. "I think it is important to
look at the whole person -- to treat their emotional needs and their
nutritional needs, not just focus on traditional medical problems."
She found a medical practice in Newtown that shared her views. This week, Dr
Bell joined Dr Jeffrey Friedman and Dr Theresa Piotrowski on the staff of
Community Health Associates, at 54 South Main Street, a multidisciplinary
medical facility which also includes a chiropractor, Dr Richard Coopersmith, a
nutritionist and a massage therapist.
A board-certified family practitioner, Dr Bell will focus on the areas of
pediatrics, adolescent medicine, sports medicine, and women's health.
"I'm excited to be here," she said. "[Community Health Associates] has a very
different philosophy than most traditional medical practices which are unable
to provide all of these services."
Community Health Associates also saw the importance of her role as a mother,
agreeing to give her the flexibility of working part-time to enable her to
spend important hours with her six-month-old daughter, Lauren.
Born and raised in Massachusetts, the only daughter in a family that included
three sons, Nancy Bell went to college in Maine, where she earned
undergraduate degrees in math and chemistry, then was accepted at the Johns
Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. She did her residency at
the University of Vermont medical center hospital, where she served as chief
After completing her residency in 1992, she stayed at the university for the
next year to teach in the department of family practice. Then she joined a
private practice in Maine.
It was then that she met her husband, Jim Teplan, who is a professional
firefighter and paramedic in Waterbury. After they were married and moved to
Bridgewater, Dr Bell joined a medical practice in New Milford, where she
stayed for four years.
As part of her practice, she was a physician for the New Milford public school
system, performing school physicals and sports physicals, and attending the
high school football games as a team physician.
Modest and soft-spoken, Nancy Bell has a quiet determination that is reflected
in both her choice of career and her hobbies. She enjoys running, mountain
biking and rollerblading, and used to run in marathons. In 1984 she ran in the
Olympic trials for the women's marathon, finishing 17th in a field of 100.
"Only the top three were chosen, but it was a thrill to compete," she said.
Dr Bell will have hours at Community Health Associates on Mondays from 3 to 7
pm; Tuesday, 10 to 2; Thursday, 11 to 4; Friday, noon to 5, and every other
Saturday. For appointments or additional information, call 270-1077.