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Jul 1, 2022

2022 Meet the Doctors

Celebrate Hilton Head Magazine

Photography By

M.KAT Photography
Nina Paletta, MD MUSC Health – Primary Care – May River 1 Burnt Church Road Bluffton, SC 29910 (843) 985-1950 MUSChealth.org/PrimaryCare What is your specialty? My specialty is internal medicine. I trained in a rigorous, well-rounded residency program at a level 1 trauma center and major transfer hub for the entire southwest of Georgia and […]

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Nina Paletta, MD
MUSC Health – Primary Care – May River
1 Burnt Church Road
Bluffton, SC 29910
(843) 985-1950
MUSChealth.org/PrimaryCare

What is your specialty?
My specialty is internal medicine. I trained in a rigorous, well-rounded residency program at a level 1 trauma center and major transfer hub for the entire southwest of Georgia and beyond.

What is one aspect of the job that you find rewarding?
One of the best parts about medicine for me is the lasting relationships I can build with my patients. I love celebrating the successes, encouraging through the challenges, and comforting through any situation my patients may face throughout their healthcare journey.

Are there any challenges in the profession? What are they and how do you overcome them?
One of the most frustrating things for me is the difficulties for patients in getting medications or treatments approved by their insurance companies. After training in an area where the population has limited resources, I have become very adept at finding medications and treatment plans that people can afford.

What drew you to medicine?
I grew up watching my dad go through medical school and residency. As I got older, I began working with him in his plastic surgery office. I saw the impact that he had on his patients’ lives and the relationships he would build over time, and I couldn’t imagine a more perfect career. I thought I wanted to go into surgery as well; however, my internal medicine rotation completely threw me for a loop. After only a week, I completely changed my career focus and shifted towards internal medicine. I saw that there was a niche where I could not only build those relationships with people, but I could also help people understand their conditions and excite and encourage them to live the best, healthiest lives they could. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else!

What are your hobbies and interests outside medicine?
I was a competitive dancer for over 19 years. I still love taking dance classes and hope to one day start teaching dance classes again. I also enjoy learning the Italian language so I can speak with my extended family and reading any mystery or true crime novels I can get my hands on.

If you were not a doctor, what would you be?
I would be a teacher. One of the things I love about medicine is making sure that my patients and their families truly understand their medical conditions and treatment plans. If I were a teacher, I could still use those skills in a different environment to teach kids.

What are you watching on Netflix these days?
My husband and I look forward to unwinding with some smart comedy at the end of a stressful workday. We currently are working our way through Brooklyn Nine-Nine and love laughing our way through each season.

What skill or craft would you like to master?
My mother and I recently started learning how to quilt. It is a pastime we can enjoy together, and I love learning new, intricate patterns.


Donna Roberts, M.D.
MUSC Health – Primary Care – May River

What is your specialty?
I am board certified in family medicine, primary care treatment for individuals of all ages. After obtaining a BS in pharmacy at UGA and practicing in retail and hospital settings, I desired more involvement in patient care. I completed medical school at the Medical College of Georgia and my family practice residency at University of Alabama, Birmingham in the department of medicine.

What is one aspect of the job that you find rewarding?
I enjoy forming professional and personal relationships with thousands of people from all walks of life and being able to make a difference in their health and well-being.

Are there any challenges in the profession? What are they and how do you overcome them?
Balancing personal life with the demands of a busy medical practice is always a challenge. I rise early and spend time with my family every day in the evenings.

What drew you to medicine?
My father died suddenly of a massive MI when I was 20 years old, after being misdiagnosed and discharged from the hospital with chest pain. I didn’t want this to happen to anyone else.

What are your hobbies and interests outside medicine?
I love the outdoors, wildlife, and the water, boating, sailing, and sports, especially SEC football.

If you were not a doctor, what would you be?
An astronaut—my unanswered dream.

What are you watching on Netflix these days?
I recently finished Yellowstone, a saga about a Western family’s love for their land and the sacrifices they must make to keep it.

What skill or craft would you like to master?
I would like to learn to play golf, bridge, and take art lessons, all things I started in childhood but never fully developed.

1 Burnt Church Road
Bluffton, SC 29910
(843) 985-1950
MUSChealth.org/PrimaryCare

Thomas P. Lenns, M.D.
The Concierge Choice

What is your specialty?
Internal medicine. I am board certified in this specialty seeing adults starting at age 18.

What is one aspect of the job that you find rewarding?
A very rewarding moment for me is when I can tell a sickly patient who fears the worst is about to happen that they are going to be okay, that they will get well, and that they will live to see many, many more days.

What drew you to medicine?
True story: I started telling my family when I was nine years old that I wanted to be a doctor. I was fascinated with my family doctor in my hometown of Taylor, Pennsylvania who was able to transform me (and others) from being ill to being well and feeling great. I never wavered from that desire—all the way through high school and college.

Are there challenges in the profession?
There have been many in my career, but the one that has always been there is the frequent conflict between the patients and their health insurance payer. Granted, the health insurance payer has the daunting task of keeping the high cost of health care under control. I am often caught in the middle…and often advocate for my patients for my proposed treatment that should save the insurer higher costs later.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of medicine?
I’ve been a lifetime golfer. My father was quite a good player, so I started young. I got hooked when I got my first hole-in-one at age 14. And, I must say, I’ve had five more since. Now, my newest hobby with my wife of 39 years, Carol, is spending time with our two granddaughters who live on Hilton Head Island, and next with our soon to arrive grandson in Atlanta.

If you were not a physician, what would you be?
I would be a play-by-play sports broadcaster or a DJ on a smooth jazz radio station…all my fans tell me I’ve got the voice!

What are you watching on Netflix?
Sad to say, I guess, the first thing I need to do is get the manual that explains how to get Netflix on my TV! So, I’ll get back to you on that one.

89 Main Street
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
(843) 681-5305
www.drlenns.com

Thomas Kandl, M.D.
Georgia Eye Institute

What is your specialty?
Ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Why did you become a physician?
Growing up, I had an early introduction to health care through my dad, who was a dentist in the Air Force. As I went through school, I found myself drawn to the sciences, but what truly led me to my profession was people. I enjoy interacting with people, and medicine allows me to draw on a subject matter I’m interested in and use my knowledge and skill set to help those people.

What inspires you in your practice?
Everyone I treat has their own story that is unique to them, and my job allows me to become part of their story in a positive way.

What do you do to achieve work/life balance?
I have a wonderful wife, a new daughter, and two giant puppies who keep me grounded and allow me to be present at all times, whether that’s at work or at home.

What is exciting about your field right now?
There continue to be new techniques to solve problems that have always existed. We have good solutions to most problems we encounter, but there is always a drive to improve.

What do you do outside of work?
Anything that involves spending time with my family—outdoor adventures, beach trips, boating, sports, and traveling.

What advice would you give someone who just started their career?
Find something you are passionate about and follow it.

What is a memory from your career that you will always look back on fondly?
I’ll always remember the day I graduated from my sub-specialty training. I spent almost a decade working towards that goal, and that diploma allows me to work in a field I’m truly passionate about.

When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time?
Thirty minutes of free time are spent playing with my daughter. If she’s asleep, then reading about or watching sports.

What skill or craft would you like to master?
I like to experiment in the kitchen, so I’d say cooking.

Favorite vacation spot?
We try to go explore someplace new every vacation. There’s so much to experience, but hands to the fire, I’d say New Zealand.

109 Persimmon St.
Bluffton, SC 29910
(843) 757-4400
gaeyeinstitute.com

Tara Grahovac, M.D.
Beaufort Memorial Breast Care & Surgery Program

What is your specialty?
My specialty is breast surgical oncology. This means I am a board-certified surgeon that has expertise and specialty training in breast cancer. I also care for patients that are at high risk of developing breast cancer and those who have non-cancerous breast disease.

What is one aspect of the job that you find particularly rewarding?
This is a two-part answer for me. As a breast cancer specialist, I am able to walk women through an uncertain time in their lives and see them through to survivorship. This generates uniquely close and long-lasting relationships between my patients and me that I cherish. As a surgeon, I am passionate about operating with an oncoplastic approach, using techniques that focus on removing breast tumors while optimizing the cosmetic outcome postoperatively. Many women expect to look a lot different after surgery, so when I can see them cancer-free while still feeling like themselves, I am very rewarded.

Are there any challenges in the profession? What are they and how do you overcome them?
Patients and their families come to me in a particularly fragile state. For most, hearing that they have breast cancer is one of the worst days of their lives. It can be a challenge to explain the complexities of the disease and their treatment options when they are still processing the immensity of a cancer diagnosis. Breast cancer is unfortunately common, and many patients expect their journey to be similar to others they know. In reality, treatments are unique for every new diagnosis and can be quite complicated. I spend a lot of time with patients, talking with them in a comfortable space with visual aids, and make myself very accessible for follow up questions later.

What drew you to medicine?
The scope of medicine and its constant evolution. Each day may present a new science that benefits our patients. This is most apparent in my field where outcomes are excellent thanks to the incredible advances we’ve made over the years.

What are your hobbies and interests outside medicine?
Spending time with my husband and two daughters is my main focus outside of work. We love anything outdoors and are excited to explore as a family all that the Lowcountry has to offer.

If you were not a doctor, what would you be?
This is tough because I pursued medicine without hesitation and have never wanted to consider a different path. But I am an HGTV enthusiast, so possibly a designer or house flipper.

What skill or craft would you like to master?
I would love to master food and wine pairing. Sommeliers have such a unique and fun skill.

Beaufort Memorial Breast Care
& Surgery Program
122 Okatie Center Blvd., Suite 150
Okatie, SC 29909
(843) 707-8085
BeaufortMemorial.org/TaraGrahovacMD

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