Marriage and Medicine

Physician assistant couple shares how they manage work-life balance.

By: Natalie Spindle

It comes as no surprise that juggling marriage, children and a career in medicine is a tough task. Jennifer and Michael Diana celebrated 16 years of marriage in 2018, and 17 years as physician assistants with UF Health. Through it all, they say teamwork has helped them thrive together.

Jennifer Diana, PA-C, a physician assistant at UF Health Family Medicine – Normandy, has always found joy in caring for others. While attending Barry University for physician assistant school, she met her husband, Michael Diana, PA-C, a physician assistant at UF Health Family Medicine – Merrill Road, who shares the same passion.

Jennifer’s strong desire to have a family and a structured schedule made physician studies a perfect fit. Michael also looked forward to raising a family while maintaining a rewarding career.

“I have always wanted a big family and it has been a foremost priority for us,” Jennifer said. “We came back to the Jacksonville area to set down roots close to home.”

In addition to staying with the same primary care practices for all these years, the two have also worked under the same medical directors since the beginning. The couple credits their nearly two decades with UF Health Jacksonville to the organization’s stability and their comfortable practice schedule.

The consistent hours allow for a balance between work and their family of three boys, even on the most hectic of days.

Professionally, Jennifer and Michael value patient relationships above all else. Through the years, these trusted bonds have formed with time and patience.

“As physician assistants, we get to spend quality time with patients and really focus on relationship building,” Jennifer said. “I place a strong emphasis on patient education and work a lot on preventive care.”

Jennifer has cared for entire families and watched children grow into adults during her time in family medicine. Michael sees adults and seniors in his practice setting.

“I enjoy working with a diverse population,” Michael said. “I take pride in being a resource for my patients and helping with diabetes management, especially.”

When it comes to helping patients better their health, the couple takes a similar approach.

“We work during each appointment to remind patients about the small changes they need to make to meet their health goals,” Michael said. “It is so rewarding when you can tell a patient their lab test results have improved and see the genuine happiness on their face.”

Although they sometimes discuss medicine and talk through patient management issues, they try to keep work and home life separate.

Michael notes Jennifer’s ability as a master organizer has helped them to stay on top of their many calendars at home. From their own busy work schedules to the kids’ school and extracurricular activities, they are committed as a team to make it all happen.

“We are able to plan ahead to take time off for school trips and family vacations,” Jennifer said. “We feel very fortunate to lead a balanced life.”