Each day Dr. Robert Wolyn has been checking the weather in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on his iPhone. It’s already raining and the temperatures are dropping rapidly. Then he looks around at the weather in Flagstaff where it is sunny with mild temperatures and he smiles.
Wolyn is glad to be in Flagstaff. He is the new cardiologist at Mountain Heart. He arrived in late September from Michigan where the winters are so long that people plan vacations to sunny climes a couple of times a year.
Wolyn said he is looking forward to the comparatively mild winters and the year-around sports opportunities available in Northern Arizona.
“I love to ski and mountain bike. I love hiking,” he said.
He said he also likes windsurfing and playing tennis and is a little disappointed there is no place indoors to play tennis during the winter in Flagstaff.
A native of Poland, he came to the United States with wife Anna in 1991, just after the fall of the Berlin Wall and communism.
He had finished medical school in Poland. He came first to the Detroit area and then moved to Grand Rapids, where he established his practice.
Wolyn said he was happy in Michigan until he began talking to Dr. Kent Winkler at medical conferences who slowly, but surely began to recruit him for Mountain Heart.
“I really liked him and we had similar practices. He said why don’t you come to visit. We came the first week in March. I probably don’t have to explain how Michigan looks the first week of March. There is no spring in sight,” he said.
“When we came over (to Flagstaff) it was beautiful, sunny with a little snow on the ground, blue skies, everyone kind of smiling. We went back to Michigan and said,” Now we are in trouble. We fell in love with the town,” he said “We seriously began considering coming over.”
This had been their first trip to Arizona.
“My wife and I always wanted to explore the west and of course the weather played a role,” he said.
It took them quite a few months to decide to make the move.
“We said it’s now or never. If we are going to do it, we are doing it now, so we pulled the trigger,” he said.
Also to be considered were their children Katherine 11, and Adam, 12.
As it turns out, they enrolled their children in Basis, Flagstaff’s new charter school.
“They love it. We kind of got lucky because since the school was brand new everyone was new and looking for new friends,” he said.
Anna is also a physician and while she did her training in pediatrics, she will soon open an integrated practice combining traditional medicine with alternative medicine.
Dr. Kent Winkler, who is responsible for recruiting Wolyn said he had been running into him at cardiology conferences over the past 10 years or so and that he was drawn to Wolyn.
“We had been talking about what we are trying to accomplish in Flagstaff and he said ‘Wow! That sounds perfect,’” Winkler said.
When Wolyn said he might want to make the move, Winkler was thrilled.
“We started to make it happen,” he said.
“He is an exciting, passionate physician that brings to Flagstaff and northern Arizona a broad spectrum of experience and expertise who comes with a commitment to do something good for our community,” he said.
Wolyn has also had training and certification in Echocardiography, Nuclear Cardiology, General Cardiology, Interventional Cardiology Procedures and Peripheral Vascular Interventions and Testing. After 12 years of medical education, Wolyn became the chief of cardiology at Michigan Medical Physician Corporation, the largest physician-owned medical group in Michigan with more than 140 doctors. While there, he served as Division Chief and Medical Director or Cardiology Imaging from 2002 to 2011. He was also involved in numerous committees including financial, quality, recruitment and real estate.
For now, the Wolyn family is settling into their new surroundings.
They are currently renting a house, smaller than the one they left.
“At least we can get both cars in the garage,” he said with a chuckle.
He said they want to live in the area for a while before they decide where to build or buy.
Noting that Wolyn’s wife Anna will be opening a practice soon, Winkler said: “Flagstaff got a double win on that one.”