Helping people to be comfortable in their skin.
It’s in the handshake. The handshake given by Dr. Valerie Harvey communicates that you are valued, you are a priority, and you and the doctor are in this together. This is the handshake one receives as her patient.
Dr. Harvey is division director for the Hampton Roads Center for Dermatology, Tidewater Physician Multispecialty Group, (TPMG). TPMG has more than 200 primary care, specialty physicians and advanced practice clinicians practicing at 50-plus locations throughout Hampton Roads. She is the first and currently the only dermatologist.
She opened her TPMG practice in 2017 after serving as vice-chair of the Department of Dermatology at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS). Says Harvey, “I was at EVMS for 12 years and wanted to try something new. I like being here and hope that my practice is helpful to the group and to the community as a whole.”
Harvey enjoys her new location and the people with whom she works. As a seasoned professional, it is evident that providing a comfortable environment with the highest quality of care is the mode of operation.
“We focus on really being outstanding in how we take care of our patients,” Harvey says. “Everyone from the front desk to the medical assistants makes sure we take care of our patients like we take care of our families.”
While there was no pivotal moment she attributes to her decision to pursue a medical career, she says, “My mom’s a nurse so I’ve always had some exposure to medicine. I also find scientific questions intriguing, so medicine was a natural fit.” Harvey is a graduate of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, MPH, (2012) and University of Virginia School of Medicine, MD, (1999).
Harvey decided to concentrate on dermatology because it covers a wide range of medical issues affecting children and adults, including acne; blistering diseases; eczema; hair, scalp and nail disorders; lymphoma of the skin; mole and skin tag removal; pigmentary disorders such as hyperpigmentation, melasma, vitiligo psoriasis, rashes, rosacea; and skin biopsies, cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Harvey’s passion for her work extends beyond her practice to Hampton University, (HU), where she is an adjunct faculty member and is co-director of the HU Skin of Color Research Institute. With the voice of a highly respected and seasoned doctor, she has presented multiple lectures and has been published in many academic papers, journals, books and bibliographies.
With the utmost time and attention she provides at work, she is constantly on the move. “I’m a very energetic person and I love to be busy,” she says. As a wife and mother of three daughters—one in high school, one in middle school and one in elementary school—she chuckles when asked what she enjoys during her free time. She likes high-intensity workouts at the gym and has a personal trainer. She also enjoys reading. One of her favorite places to travel with her family is Los Cabos, Mexico.
When asked what today’s Valerie Harvey would say to her younger self, she is thoughtful as she reflects, “I’d tell her that the only person who can advocate for you is you. Don’t rely on anyone to make things happen. These are things you will learn with time.”
To her younger self as a new physician, she would say, “Appreciate more the art of medicine and be patient with your patients. As someone who has been on the patient side of the table, I now understand that perspective.”
So, maybe that’s the reason for the message within the handshake—the handshake that says, “You are valued, you are a priority and, we’re in this together.”