This week we spoke with Dr. Anthony Morelli ’03, a physician specializing in internal medicine, affiliated with Barnabas Health Medical Group and Monmouth Medical Center.
College Years
After graduating from CBA in 2003, Morelli headed to Villanova University where his interest in medicine began to grow.
In facing the challenge of the daunting academic workload a medical education brings, Morelli found confidence in what he had learned at the Academy. “I felt I was very prepared for college and medical school because of the discipline and planning that CBA forced you to learn and apply to academics and studying,” he says.
Morelli graduated from Villanova in 2007 with a degree in biology. He went on to medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, graduating in 2011, and then to a 36-month residency in internal medicine at New York Methodist Hospital, Brooklyn, NY, with three months of subspecialty training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
Professional Pursuits
After completing his formal training in 2014, Morelli came back to New Jersey to build his medical career. “My job now is basically three separate jobs in one,” says Morelli. Affiliated with the Barnabas Health Medical Group, he is part of a group practice in Middletown where he sees patients as their primary care physician; he is on staff at Monmouth Medical Center as an internal medicine hospitalist, and he is attending physician at a local nursing home.
His work at Monmouth also involves mentoring the hospital’s resident physicians. “Every Friday, I do morning report with them. We do cases, and discuss treatment plans,” says Morelli. In February, Morelli will be transitioning to full-time hospital medicine at Monmouth Medical Center, “I think that working in all different aspects of my specialty allowed me to realize what I’d like to focus on full-time.”
Thinking about how he would advise current students who may be interested in medicine, Morelli encourages an open approach to learning, which served him well during his own academic experience. “I would definitely advise future graduates to start out as broad as possible and to gain as much experience as they can,” says Morelli. “This way you can get a feel for your likes and dislikes and see what you want to hone in on and pursue further.”
Goals for the Future
“I see myself transitioning to a more administrative role in the healthcare system,” says Morelli. “I’ve learned that there are a lot of areas that need drastic improvement — both in patient care and in quality of work for the physicians.”
“I’ve considered going back to school and getting my MBA,” he adds, “because even after 10 years of formal medical education, the system does not focus on the business and financial aspects of our profession at all. You’re not learning how to manage an office, and that’s part of your day-to-day work.”
In being one of the youngest alumni doctors, Morelli knows the challenges that come with quickly rising high in his industry. “Some people are trained to be leaders,” says Morelli. “At a very young age, CBA prepared me. Surrounding yourself with all these positive and driven people creates an atmosphere of very positive peer pressure that promotes learning and achieving. I kept that nucleus of friends around me, and they’ve all become very successful in whatever they chose to do.”
What He Misses Most about the Academy
Among Morelli’s fondest memories of CBA were his years on the baseball team. “I played on the baseball team for 4 years, varsity for two,” says Morelli. “We used to go down for spring training as a team to Port St. Lucie, Florida. A lot of my best friends to this day are guys who played on that team. Ten years later, we still see each other regularly.”
He urges incoming and current students to challenge themselves athletically. “Try out for something you’re passionate for,” he says. “If you don’t make it, it’s not the end of the world. You’re going to have disappointments in life. If you’re coming into the school with an interest in any athletic team, you don’t need to worry about not making the team. You might surprise yourself.”
Looking back on those who helped steer him towards success, Morelli calls to mind what he learned from Mr. Jack Brennan, the guidance counselor who was a strong presence at the Academy until his retirement in 2011. “I met him when I was a freshman in 1999,” says Morelli. “He’s provided me with guidance through high school, college, medical school, residency, and up to this day. He has been the embodiment of all the best CBA has to offer to its students. I couldn’t thank him enough for everything he’s done for me over the years.”
How CBA Prepared Him
Morelli’s years of pre-medical and medical education were not easy, he says, but he confronted his greatest academic challenges during his time at 850 Newman Springs Road. “I think that in comparison to my college and medical school experience, CBA was probably one of the toughest academic curriculums I went through because of what was expected of you, he says. “I learned how to organize myself and be disciplined very early on, and I think that’s why I was able to succeed at higher level education.”
Morelli recalls the impression made on him by the academic environment that the Academy fosters. “Academically, and even socially, the bonding that you undergo at an all-male high school is different than at public schools,” he explains. “I went to public schools that were co-ed my whole life until high school and the atmosphere was different. The focus of the students was different, and the priorities were different.”
“Your goal in high school should be to reach the highest academic level so you are competitive when you go to college,” he says. “CBA doesn’t let you lose that focus. You are going to put your best foot forward. You are going to be competing in a good way against your classmates, to see who can achieve the best grades.”
Offering advice to the students of today, Morelli emphasizes the importance of networking and being able to bring a fresh perspective to the table. “You should never stop learning,” he says. “On a daily basis you should be picking up a postpaper, or journal article, or book relating to whatever you’re interested in.”
Most important, Morelli insists, is to maintain one’s motivation. “If you surround yourself with motivated, driven people, it will help you achieve great things and you’re not going to settle for anything less than that.”
Keep In Touch
Dr. Morelli would be glad to hear from alumni and current students interested in pursuing medicine, and recommends alumni seek out their fellow alumni in whatever field interests them. “I would be willing to help any CBA alum get his foot in the door,” says Morelli. “In my school group of friends, there are successful professionals in every field. Lawyers, doctors, and financial professionals. There are so many opportunities for graduates based on the alumni network alone.”