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From college sweethearts to health care partners

By The Health News Team | February 13, 2023
Drs. Trace and Leticia Polanco

Drs. Trace and Leticia Polanco.

Doctors who share a medical practice often strive to care for each other while also caring for their patients. It makes for a supportive workplace and can lead to a healthy work-life balance.

But the two physicians at South Bay Primary Medical Group in Chula Vista, Dr. Leticia Polanco and Dr. Trace Polanco, both board-certified family medicine doctors with Sharp Community Medical Group, have a special sort of partnership. The Drs. Polanco are partners in life and medicine.

The couple met almost 22 years ago while students at Boston University School of Medicine. They later became residents with the Scripps Family Medicine Residency Program. They worked apart for a short period of time, but the Polancos’ goal was always to build a practice together. That goal became a reality when they founded South Bay Primary Medical Group in 2016.

A true partnership — wherever they are

“We have been classmates and colleagues since the beginning of our careers, and have always worked together,” Dr. Leticia Polanco says. “It has been a blessing to work alongside my husband for many reasons. We are two very different providers; however, we complement each other.”

It is this complementary relationship that makes their office work so well, according to Dr. Leticia Polanco. The key, she says, is to highlight each other’s best qualities in the office.

While the two doctors share some patients, they recognize the importance of patient confidentiality. “We are very mindful to respect the privacy of our patients,” Dr. Leticia Polanco says. “There are some things that we don’t share, and we are both understanding of that.”

What’s best about sharing their life and work, she says, is that they understand the inherent pressure, time commitments and stressors that come with being a physician. “I don’t have to explain it to Trace,” says Dr. Leticia Polanco. “He understands and is able to give me support when I need it. And I feel like I do the same for him.”

Never a dull moment — especially at home

Along with sharing a medical practice, the Drs. Polancos also share four teenage daughters, which means their home life is bustling. They strive to “take off the white coats” and be parents when they are at home.

“It’s a priority to have a balanced household for the benefit of the entire family,” Dr. Leticia Polanco says. “We enjoy activities with friends, we love to travel and we love to laugh. We also try to give of our time and resources to our community and we are teaching our daughters to do the same.”

When asked if the couple had advice for other dynamic medical partners who are also spouses, Dr. Leticia Polanco recommends always prioritizing the marriage. The practice will thrive if the marriage is thriving, she says.

“When hardship comes, you seek comfort in each other,” Dr. Leticia Polanco says. “When I’m having a bad day, I just want my husband — I want him to tell me everything is going to be OK. I need him. And when he is having a bad day, I want to be there for him.”

“It might sound cheesy,” she says. “But it’s the truth.”

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