Dr. Kelley Vandergrift and Dr. Stephen Vanni: Newlyweds Passionate about Health and Community
Years ago, while they were both growing up in Bucks County, Dr. Kelley Vandergrift and Dr. Stephen Vanni had a lot in common, they just didn’t know it yet. In high school, they lived within a mile of each other and even had mutual friends, but they did not meet until years later. “We attended different schools, and after high school, Steve went to Penn State main for pre-med, and I went to Rider in Lawrenceville,” Kelley explains.
Kelley received her bachelor’s degree from Rider University in NJ, majoring in Biochemistry with a minor in Spanish. Stephen obtained his bachelor’s at Penn State University in State College, PA with a major in Pre-Medical Sciences. “We both were accepted into medical school, and that’s where our paths finally collided,” says Kelley. Both Stephen and Kelley attended PCOM (Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine) for medical school where they earned their degree of D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine).
“Many of our classes were organized alphabetically,” says Stephen. “With the last names ‘Vanni’ and ‘Vandergrift’ we were smack dab next to each other all the time,” laughs Kelley. “Since we were always next to each other, we became good friends at school.” They were both focused on their studies. “We considered each other friends and study partners, and even began to commute to class together every day,” says Kelley. “I’m not sure why it took so long for us to see each other differently—maybe because the first two years of medical school are so stressful. But it changed pretty quickly!”
The couple’s love story began as their first two years at PCOM came to a close. “After the first two years of med school, students take a 9-hour long exam, the first of our medical board exams,” says Stephen. “The exam is known to make or break your future as a doctor.” Kelley also recalls it clearly, “I was cooped up in my room for a month straight after classes ended, studying day and night for that exam.” Without classes to go to, Kelley and Stephen had not seen each other in a month. “This was the longest we’d gone without seeing each other in two years,” Kelley remembers.
“Once that exam was over, I felt an enormous sense of relief and freedom,” says Kelley. “But I noticed an odd feeling I hadn’t felt before, I actually missed Steve!” Kelley tells us she asked him to join her so they could celebrate with some friends. “After not seeing each other for a month, when we did see each other, suddenly I didn’t look at him as just a study partner anymore,” says Kelley. “I think we both felt a change in our dynamic. Our first kiss was that night, and we’ve been together ever since!”
After graduation, Stephen completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Lankenau Medical Center, and Kelley performed her Family Medicine residency at Abington Hospital. Once their three years of residency was complete, it was time for the couple to look for permanent jobs. “We both knew we wanted to see patients in an office, and we wanted to work together,” says Kelley. “We also really wanted to come back to Bucks County to practice and create a home and life here where we grew up.”
As good fortune would have it, at the same time, Capital Health was beginning an expansion into Pennsylvania and looking to grow in Bucks County. “They were already beginning plans for Capital’s Newtown office location,” says Kelley, “and they offered us both a position — the rest is history!” Stephen tells us, “We have been working together at Capital Health Primary Care Newtown for nearly 3 years now. It is our hope that we bring a sense of family and community to the practice, and to our patients.”
When they aren’t hard at work at Capital Health, the couple enjoys spending time with their two Pomeranian fur-babies, Dutchess (13) and Bella (1½). “They keep us very busy,” says Kelley. “They each have their own personalities, yet both like lots of attention and follow us around everywhere we go!” In 2018, Stephen and Kelley tied the knot at one of their favorite places on earth. “Disney World in Orlando has always been a very special place for us!” says Kelley. “It was our first trip together, and it was so special to us that we chose to get married there a few years later! We go back for an annual trip each year.”
Stephen and Kelley enjoy DIY projects, which they’ve had a chance to do in their LMT home purchased towards the end of 2019. “We always wanted to return to this area, and shortly after starting our permanent career with Capital Health, we bought a home in Yardley and couldn’t be happier.” In their spare time, they also enjoy movies and traveling. “Steve is also an avid fan of the 76ers and the Eagles,” says Kelley.
The doctors enjoy an active lifestyle and being close to a town with so much to offer. “We absolutely love living in Yardley,” Kelley says. “Being able to walk or cycle into town is something we always wanted.” Stephen explains, “We love the canal path for cycling, walking, or running, and being so close to that is amazing.” They also appreciate their community. “Our neighbors are so friendly,” Kelley tells us. “We hope to have more community events and be able to entertain once it is safer to get together!”
As the couple looks to the future, they tell us that the community and their work are both very important to them. “We are so happy to be part of this community and look forward to the year ahead,” says Kelley. When asked if they had a special message for their neighbors, they told us, “We wish everyone health and happiness, and would like to say what an honor it is to serve as primary care doctors in this wonderful community.”
To connect with Dr. Kelley Vandergrift of Dr, Stephen Vanni, contact the Capital Health Newtown Campus to arrange an appointment. Call 215-504-1761 or visit www.capitalhealth.org/primarycarenewtown.