Dr. Linda Ciu

Doctorate: University of Tirana
Residency: Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center & UMASS Memorial Medical Center

Pediatrician

Growing up in Albania, Dr. Linda Ciu’s parents always had a lot of respect for physicians. “My parents weren’t doctors but they always revered physicians and saw medicine as an important profession. I think that influenced me to become a doctor,” she explains. “Now I enjoy helping others using my medical skills and my daughter is also a physician.”

Dr. Ciu spent many years as a pediatrician before becoming a full-time urgent care physician. “I enjoyed helping families with their different needs. Over time, you can become very close. Working with families is a unique part of medicine because parents trust you with the most precious thing they have – their children.”

Although Dr. Ciu spent much of her career as a pediatrician, she enjoys the fast pace of working at ReadyMED. “Urgent care is a unique way to practice because you have to make important decisions about plans of treatment or accessing the gravity of the situation in a short amount of time,” she explains. “When you walk in the door to the exam room you never know what you will see.”

Dr. Ciu really strives to bring the warmth and caring that she fostered in primary care to her work at ReadyMED. “I want to make people as comfortable as possible when they visit. I like the fact that in urgent care you can help people immediately and put them at ease.”

In her spare time, Dr. Ciu enjoys working in the yard, being with friends, and traveling. She also enjoys exercising to stay in shape, including aerobics.

Kristen Direnzo, NP

Kristen Direnzo, NP

Master of Science: MCPHS University
Bachelor of Science: University of Massachusetts Boston

Nurse Practitioner

Kristen worked as a registered nurse for nine years prior to becoming a nurse practitioner. Although she thoroughly enjoyed her years in nursing, she wanted to continue her education to expand her knowledge base and broaden her role as a caregiver. “One of my favorite things as a nurse practitioner is being able to facilitate a greater understanding among my patients of the care they receive,” she explains. “This not only helps enhance compliance with medical regimens but also helps overcome their own personal barriers to better care.” Kristen always takes the time to listen carefully to her patient’s needs. “This really allows me to understand what obstacles they may have adhering to prescribed treatment plans and allows me to work with them to make sure they get the day-to-day care they need to improve their quality of life.” When she is not busy with patients Kristen enjoys staying as active as possible and working out. She also loves being outdoors, traveling, and spending time with her husband and son. She especially enjoys visiting the New England coast.

Dr. Karen Ekwueme

Internship & Residency: Cook County Hospital
Doctorate: University of Illinois at Chicago

Physician

Although she originally started her career practicing in primary care, Dr. Karen Ekwueme is very happy to be seeing patients at ReadyMED. “One of the reasons I like urgent care is that it gives me a chance to interface with people who don’t always go to see their primary care physician,” she explains. “However, this gives me an opportunity to plant a seed in their mind about taking better care of their health and seeing their primary care provider more.”

Dr. Ekwueme is a big believer in partnering with her patients to ensure they receive care that’s right for them. “I think it’s important to understand what patients really want from their visit as opposed to just identifying a problem and telling them all about it. For instance, someone may come into the clinic because they have hypertension. Listening to them you may learn that the real reason they have high blood pressure is because they are having relationship problems and it’s causing stress. The more you know about people the better you are able to treat them.”

One of the things that Dr. Ekwueme enjoys the most about her job is connecting with patients. “I enjoy hearing stories from patients, and giving them a place that they can feel at ease with someone to confide in.” Dr. Ekwueme has long been interested in patient-centered care. She completed a fellowship in Integrative Medicine and is in the process of getting certification from the Institute for Functional Medicine. “Integrative medicine is an approach to care that revolves around the patient and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect a person’s health,” she explains. “Functional medicine takes a whole body approach to care and incorporates lifestyle choices, disease prevention, as well as patient-centered treatment.”

When she is not busy helping patients, Dr. Ekwueme enjoys Chicago-style stepping, a traditional African-American ballroom style partner-dance. In addition, in the winter she likes to snowshoe and in the warmer months she likes to hike, kayak and horseback ride. Dr. Ekwueme also enjoys cooking, growing herbs and traveling.