Young, married health care professionals choose rural medicine

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Drs. Erin and Joel Greenya are pleased to be getting to know their patients in Prairie du Chien, as a pharmacist at Hartig Drug and D.O. at Mayo Clinic, respectively. (Photo by Correne Martin)

By Correne Martin


Attracting a younger generation of health care providers to rural medicine has proven to be difficult for local health care facilities.

In the case of one young married team of medical professionals though, two of Prairie du Chien’s newest are ecstatic to practice in a community where they will have the time and ability to work with their patients on meeting personal goals.

Joel and Erin Greenya, both 29, have established themselves in Prairie du Chien: Joel as a new Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) at Mayo Clinic and Erin as a pharmacist at Hartig Drug. Erin has been at Hartig for five years. Joel finished his residency about two months ago and officially began seeing patients at Mayo July 19. In fact, he’s leading the way in telehealth appointments for those patients who might be interested.

“We’re passionate about providing a service to patients we are really invested in,” Joel said. “In an urban environment, that tends not to be the case.”

“I’m enjoying knowing my patients. Everybody is so welcoming and friendly here. It really feels like a community,” Erin added. 

The couple comes to Prairie du Chien from DeForest (Joel) and Greendale (Erin). They met in college.

“We lived in the same dorm our freshman year,” Erin said.

After their undergrad studies, she went on to achieve her PharmD, or Doctor of Pharmacy, at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Joel attended medical school at Midwestern University in Chicago and then completed his internship and residency through the Mayo Clinic Family Medicine Residency Program. He was the chief resident in his residency. 

“A lot of times, people starting out in their medical careers don’t know what they want to do. In the cities, you can kind of move around a lot,” Joel shared. “I like the pace that everything has here. Directly because of that, it’s also reflected in people’s pleasant attitudes and personalities here.”

Lucky for Prairie du Chien, that’s not what the Greenyas wanted for themselves. They’re delighted and appreciative of the opportunity to work together in southwest Wisconsin and, soon, start their family here. They also love the beauty of the region.

With COVID-19 being a large part of their young careers since early 2020, Joel sees his role as a doctor as a key to educating and bringing awareness to the safety of vaccination. Erin said Hartig Drug has been a lot busier since the onset of the pandemic. 

“People are trying to stay out of the clinics. They’re calling and asking a lot of questions,” she said. “There seems to be less face-to-face contact and more on the phone.”

As their comfort levels increase regarding everything Covid, the Greenyas are happy to pass their insights onto their patients. 

“We want to really work with people and figure out what’s best for them,” Joel stated. “It’s important to us to be able to tell our patients what the healthiest choice is.”

When they do have free time, Joel enjoys cooking, watching the Food Network and drinking coffee. Erin has a fondness for photography and projects around their home. They also love spending time with family and friends, and now convincing them to come to Prairie du Chien. 

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