Convenient Care couple thrives at work, at home

Dr. Emily Fontaine and Dr. Gonzalo Ruiz share an office. And a bed.

After years of moving around the United States, the married Convenient Care doctors landed happily at Carle, where their schedules allow what many crave and find elusive: work-life balance.

Healthy in mind and body, Dr. Ruiz snags an almond from his wife’s afternoon snack, a symbol of the give and take that allows them to alternate focusing on their young children and their patients.

“We’re rarely here at the same time, but it works for us,” Dr. Fontaine said.

They didn’t picture being here at all.

After spending time in Urbana-Champaign years ago, Dr. Ruiz figured he’d seen the last of the small community in the middle of the plains.

“I never thought I’d be back here,” he said, listing career-wise why he is.

  • Effective model of care
  • High-quality colleagues
  • Support from specialists

Dr. Tracy Grotrian knows patients benefit from her colleagues’ choice to be here.

“Dr. Fontaine has a wonderful calming, reassuring genuine nature. She goes the “extra mile” with every patient, treating them like a family member. She has excellent medical training and skills,” Dr. Grotrian said, turning her focus to the other half of the team.

“Dr. Ruiz is a fantastic colleague and team member. If he can help out a patient, friend or colleague, he will absolutely do it. He gives his patients 100 percent and provides top-of-the-line care.”

Feeling comfortable in both the local community and the Carle community plays a big role.

“When you think about what you like in life and in a job, no one gets 100 percent of what they’re looking for,” Dr. Ruiz said. “But we have 90 to 95 percent of what we want here.

“All we’re missing are some mountains and an ocean.”

That small percentage aside, the couple touts what works for their life and their family.

“We can go ice skating in the middle of the summer at the university,” Dr. Ruiz said, recalling more rugged days. “Plus, here I can go for a run without having to carry rocks to throw at the dogs like I had to in Maine.”

When the couple is working, Dr. Ruiz revels in his children spending time with friends from a variety of other places—Vietnam, Russia, Greece, Brazil and Argentina, to name a few.

The list of places Dr. Ruiz lived and worked is long, too: Seattle and San Francisco, Miami and New York City included.

Originally from New England, Dr. Fontaine admits she had concerns about moving to the Midwest.

“I had no idea what to expect,” she said. “This area is the perfect size for us. It gives us balance.

“And when I’m off work, I’m actually off work.”

That’s important because she doesn’t want to miss 3-year-old Lucia playing dress-up, whether today it’s as a princess or as Super Man.

Plus, if 5-year-old Gustavo sees himself as an astronaut someday, his parents are around to understand why and help him achieve.

“The flexibility is the draw of Convenient Care for us,” Dr. Ruiz said. “Some days I work 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., but we know that ahead of time.”

Dr. Fontaine added, “There is significant flexibility in the scheduling so, if I choose, I can work fewer days so that I can spend more time at home with my children.”

Flexibility and stability. At work and at home. The perfect balance.

If you or someone you know is looking for the next step their Convenient Care career, please share this story and visit Carleconnect.com for Medical Professionals