Full Text:

Nancy Bell, MD, Joins Community Health Associates

(with photo)


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.