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Four Generations Treating Patients Like Family

As a little girl, Erin Landis had many aspirations for what she wanted to be when she grew up. While dreams of being a ballerina or paleontologist ran through her mind, taking care of people always ran in her family. Her mother is a nurse, her father is a psychologist and her uncle is Dr. Eric Landis, who practices internal medicine at Tryon Medical Partners.

“Medicine was always part of the background growing up,” says Erin Landis Hodges, now a medical doctor herself practicing dermatology at Tryon Medical Partners. “I never realized how many medical professionals were in our family until middle school.”

The Landis/Hodges dedication to the field of medicine goes back several generations. Dr. Ed Landis, Jr., (Erin’s grandfather) remembers accompanying his father to the hospital to visit patients. As a neurologist and psychiatrist, Dr. Edward E. Landis, Sr., pioneered one of the first machines to read brain waves. The very first patient in the state of Kentucky to experience brain wave tracing was none other than young Ed Landis, Jr.

“All I knew was medicine,” says Dr. Ed Landis, now retired for 22 years. “I never had any doubts about what I was going to do.”

When Dr. Ed was practicing medicine, physicians were responsible for many aspects of practice management, and charting was done by hand. Working at the largest multispecialty clinic in the southeast, Dr. Ed had a large roster of acutely ill patients. In addition to his patient load, he covered night calls for other specialties, and quickly burned out. When his son, Eric, became interested in medicine in high school, Dr. Ed encouraged him to choose another path.

“To this day, that is one of my biggest regrets,” says Dr. Ed. “It was my exhaustion speaking.”

Following Dr. Ed’s advice, Eric became a public policy major. He worked as a Navy contractor for several years, and taught English at a private school in Japan. He eventually found his way back to medical school and completed his residency in Charlotte. Dr. Eric says his early work experience shaped the way he practices medicine, and feels it has made him a better physician. 

“It’s important to understand things from a patient’s perspective so you know what might affect choices they have to make,” says Dr. Eric. He continues to reflect on his public policy experience, which shaped his contributions to the founding principles of Tryon Medical Partners. “If you can keep that in mind, you’re better able to help patients navigate imperfect systems.” 

When Dr. Ed retired, Dr. Eric inherited some of his father’s patients. There are patients that the Landis family has seen for four generations. Dr. Eric says that makes him feel good, but it also provides him with an extraordinary perspective on a family’s medical history that can lead to better outcomes. Dr. Erin couldn’t agree more with her uncle.

“It’s the most humbling thing when you form a great relationship with a patient, and then they send their child or friend to you,” says Dr. Erin. “You get this picture of their family and social network, and are able to communicate on a different level.”

While Dr. Erin will not be the first Landis to work at Tryon Medical Partners, she is the first dermatologist in the family. She loves that the field is unique and offers variety. On any given day, Dr. Erin will treat conditions of the skin, hair and nails, performing exams, procedures and surgeries. She is the sixth member of Tryon Medical’s all-female physician dermatology team.

Dr. Erin is excited to work, and perhaps share patients, with her uncle, but she says every team partner at Tryon Medical has been wonderful. She is excited to work in a multispecialty practice that puts the patient first, a philosophy she has learned from the best.

“For us, medicine is not just a J-O-B,” says Dr. Ed Landis. “Patients are more than a number or slot in the schedule. They’re family.”

Four Landis physicians at Erin Landis’ white coat ceremony in medical school (2010). Left to right: Dr. Ed Landis, Jr., Dr. Erin L. Hodges, Dr. Eric Landis and Erin’s father, Dr. Rhett Landis.