CHARLOTTE – Novant Health is pleased to welcome Breast Surgeon Kristina Shaffer and Mammographer Marysell Moreno.
“I wanted to be a doctor since I was little,” says Doctor Shaffer. “It’s the only thing I ever remember wanting to be – apart from briefly a veterinarian when I was six years old.” While Shaffer’s dreams of being a veterinarian were cut short when she realized she was allergic to pets, but her dream of being able to help others through medicine lives on.
Shaffer completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Notre Dame, where she studied biological sciences and French. Although she hadn’t yet formed a concrete career path, Shaffer’s undergraduate research happened to be breast-cancer related. When she attended Indiana University for medical school, Shaffer found she enjoyed her surgery rotations most.
“I realized those are the patients I like taking care of,” says Shaffer, “and I just found that breast surgery, in particular, was the most engaging. Their surgical plan is unique to their particular cancer, and now women have so many more options for their surgery, and they can have better cosmetic outcomes.”
Shaffer completed her general surgery residency at William Beaumont Hospital (now Beaumont Health) and followed up her residency with a breast surgery/oncology fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic. “Breast cancer patients are just the most wonderful to work with!” says Shaffer of her chosen specialty. “The treatment plans are very personalized to them, and you get to develop a really strong relationship with your patients through that. They’re great listeners; they really want to work with you.”
A variety of factors brought Shaffer to Charlotte, where she practices at Presbyterian Cancer Center in addition to Novant Health Mint Hill Medical Center. Shaffer was looking at jobs in Michigan and Charlotte when the Novant opening came up. The impressive and friendly group she would work with at Novant and the new cancer institute drew her here. The location is also convenient for her fiancee, who works frequently with NASCAR as the head of Chevy’s motorsports division.
“So far, I think the people here are really sweet,” says Shaffer. “Everybody’s been very helpful and supportive. And the weather is definitely nicer than Detroit! There are a lot of outdoor activities here, and I’m looking forward to trying those out.”
When Shaffer isn’t working, she enjoys exploring local parks, finding new restaurants, and traveling. Although COVID-19 hasn’t allowed for much travel and exploration, Shaffer is currently enjoying getting to know the restaurants and parks in her area.
After ten years as a stay-at-home mom, Mammographer Marysell Moreno returned to school to study radiology at Wright College. “I knew I needed to be a caretaker,” says the mom of three. “I knew I needed to work in the medical field. I was actually going into it for ultrasonography, and they didn’t have the program there anymore, so I switched it up and ended up doing an x-ray, and after the x-ray, I decided that I wanted to get a little bit more up close and personal with my patients, so I decided to switch over to mammography.”
Moreno moved to Charlotte just three months ago from Chicago. On the hunt for a warmer, quieter place to live, Moreno visited Charlotte on the advice of her cousin and fell in love. “We were looking to go somewhere South where it was a little warmer, a little bit calmer,” says Moreno. “We couldn’t have made a better decision! I love the weather, the hospitality – the people are so friendly and warm.”
Moreno is equally thrilled with her job at Novant. “I love the people that I work with,” she says. “I love that I get on an elevator, and everyone says hello. The doctors that I work with are so great; everyone has been so helpful. It’s just a warm place to work.” When Moreno isn’t at the hospital, she loves to be active with her family riding bikes, hiking, and working out.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month may have ended, but Novant encourages all women to not put off routine care like an annual mammogram. “Delays in cancer care worsen outcomes,” says Shaffer. “Get your mammogram safely!”