Dr. Erica De Clemente drawn to return home to Cape Breton roots
With her mother hailing from Cape Breton and many relatives living close by, Dr. Erica De Clemente has strong family ties to Cape Breton. She regularly traveled between her home in New York to Cape Breton since childhood, spending many summers at her family’s summer home in Middle Cape.
It was these childhood experiences that drew Dr. De Clemente to return to Cape Breton to practice after starting her career in the United States.
She has been practicing as a family physician at Victoria County Memorial Hospital in Baddeck since arriving in October 2021. Dr. De Clemente treats patients in her office and provides support to the hospital’s emergency department and inpatient unit.
Born and raised 25 minutes outside of Manhattan, New York, Dr. De Clemente completed her undergraduate degree at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey. She then attended medical school at the University of Medicine and Health Sciences located in Saint Kitts, an island in the West Indies.
Dr. De Clemente lived in the Caribbean for two years while completing her courses before traveling across the United States for her clinical rotations. She then completed her family medicine residency at Hackensack Meridian Ocean Medical Center in Brick, NJ.
One of the things she enjoys most about relocating to rural Cape Breton is spending time in nature, she says.
“I love the outdoors and I live in the perfect area for that. There are lots of great hiking trails,” said Dr. De Clemente. “I’ve taken lessons in fly fishing and sailing. Last winter, I started curling and I plan to again this winter. There are also a lot of social activities in Baddeck that I attend.”
In addition to enjoying the lifestyle that Cape Breton offers, Dr. De Clemente appreciates the gratitude she receives from her patients.
“There's such a shortage of primary care providers here, which is very different than where I came from. People here are very appreciative of my services,” said Dr. De Clemente.
Although she says it was a long process with some hurdles to obtain her medical license in Canada, Dr. De Clemente said it was well worth the wait.
“I absolutely love practicing here and I feel like I am working with family. At home there was a lot of competition at the hospital”, said Dr. De Clemente. “It's not like that here. Everybody works together and supports each other. It's a great community.”