As Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center prepares to celebrate its Sapphire Anniversary, a local Pediatrician looks back at his 50 years of service to the hospital and community

SNVMC Dr. Puglise celebrates serving the community for 50 years

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Dr. Puglise: Serving the community for 50 years

As the hospital has evolved over the years - many things have changed and doctors have come and gone, but pediatrician Dr. Joseph Puglise has been here from the start.

Originally from Brooklyn, Dr. Puglise came to the region to attend the School of Medicine at Georgetown University. It’s here he met his wife and the couple decided to stay in the area. He was still in residency when he and two classmates started their practice in Woodbridge.

“There were no office buildings, so we bought a house that had been a daycare and converted it into an office,” remembers Dr. Puglise smiling.

The pediatricians set up shop in the spring 1972. Potomac Hospital opened its doors in the late fall.

“The community knew they needed something here, individuals knew this was the thing to have, not that they wanted their own, but they just needed something if they were sick because it was a long trip,” he explains.

In addition to their own practice, the doctors would work at the hospital on rotation. Dr. Puglise remembers in the beginning things were hectic as the hospital became established in the community, “Before neonatologists, you had a baby in the nursery and you got a call come quick and I was the closest – I lived about four miles from the hospital, so you had to come quick! So those (days) were tough.” 

But, as the hospital grew, so did its reach. One of the things Puglise is most proud of is the hospital’s early partnership on the Pediatric Primary Care Project. The project aided uninsured children of the working poor, “Our docs, did it pro bono, so if you want to say, ‘What’s different about this community?’ We’re in for the welfare of the patient.”

This summer, after serving the community for 50 years, Dr. Puglise retired. But, he’s not leaving medicine behind completely, this new chapter has left him open to teach and volunteer with area non-profits. He says he’s taking it one day at time, but looks forward to spending more time with his wife, four children and ten grandchildren.

As the hospital near its Sapphire Anniversary, Dr. Puglise can’t help but think back with nothing but pride, “It was always people helping each other. That was the most important thing, it was very friendly, if you needed help, you received it.”

To find a Pediatrician in our area, please call 1-800-SENTARA or search for a provider on Sentara.com.