One of the greatest aspects of Rutgers University–Camden is that it allows students the freedom to pursue all of their interests, regardless of how varied they may be. Khayriyyah Chandler, a 2003 graduate from the Camden College of Arts and Sciences, did just that. As a student, she majored in both general science and theater, was involved in activities such as establishing and performing with the Dance Team and serving as a Resident Advisor in the dorms, and upon her graduation, enrolled at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Osteopathic Medicine (UMDNJ-SOM), where she earned her doctor of osteopathic medicine in 2007. Khayriyyah’s latest achievement is opening up her own practice, Chandler Wellness Care (CWC). Clearly, to say she’s a well-rounded, accomplished alumna is an understatement.
Growing up across the Delaware River in Philadelphia, Khayriyyah’s love of theater started at an early age. Starting at the age of eight, she joined the Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia, and continued with the organization until she was in the eleventh grade. Naturally shy, performing helped boost her confidence. In addition to her love of theater, Khayriyyah was interested in biology and knew she wanted to be a doctor, a role that she likens to being on stage, especially when interacting with patients. Rutgers–Camden allowed her to pursue both interests.
Only sixteen when she enrolled at Rutgers–Camden, Khayriyyah grew up in a family where education was treasured. She enrolled in a pre-kindergarten program at a young age, and says she never noticed a difference in age between herself and her classmates – except, however, when her father told her fellow dorm residents to take care of her because she was only sixteen!
Khayriyyah thrived at Rutgers–Camden, excelling academically and in her extracurricular activities. A member of the Honors College, she fondly remembers Dr. Allen Woll, the former Director of the Honors College and the current Associate Dean for Program Development and Special Projects, and Dolores Pfeuffer-Scherer, former Senior Program Coordinator for the Honors College. “I put my trust in them,” she says, “and I felt truly cared for.” Long after she was admitted to Rutgers-Camden, Khayriyyah also continued her relationship with the Office of Admissions staff, in particular Dr. Debbie Bowles, the former Director of Admissions. “The support they gave me was great. It’s so important to develop these kind of relationships.” One of Khayriyyah’s happiest memories of being a student at Rutgers–Camden is when she first met her fellow student Brandon Chandler, who would one day become her husband. Brandon is another proud Rutgers-Camden alumnus, and currently serves as Director of Housing and Residence Life for our campus.
While at Rutgers–Camden, and for many years after, Khayriyyah worked as an Information Systems Coordinator at Horizon House, Inc., a social service and behavioral health facility. Khayriyyah credits this job with “helping me develop into the person I am now,” and teaching her about the administrative and billing side of healthcare.
Khayriyyah’s determination to go to medical school paid off, and she was accepted into UMDNJ-SOM. Initially she considered becoming a pediatrician, but through her volunteer work at Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania, she knew she enjoyed working with teenagers and young adults. Khayriyyah was also interested in preventative care and the idea of treating the whole person, as opposed to just the symptom, so she eventually began to consider general medicine, and was convinced that this was the field for her during her third rotation at UMDNJ-SOM.
After graduating from UMDNJ-SOM in 2007, she joined the Crozer Keystone Family Medicine Residency Program, located in Springfield, Pennsylvania. In 2010, she graduated from the program, and stayed on with Crozer as an attending physician. She credits the program with helping her grow as a doctor, but the long commute from her New Jersey home and the fact that she had two young children convinced her to start a new position, closer to home, with the Virtua Health System.
It was when she was talking with her own doctor, who also serves as her mentor, Dr. Adam Gilliss, that Khayriyyah was first inspired to start her own practice. Years of research and deliberation followed, and in November of 2014, Khayriyyah formally opened the doors to her own medical practice, Chandler Wellness Care. Located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, it’s a small medical practice, where she is the sole doctor, working with a medical assistant and a business partner. CWC also embraces technology, giving patients access to their doctor 24/7, through phone, email, and even Skype. Khayriyyah plans for her business to stay small, so that she may invest in each patient’s health, giving them the opportunity to make same-day or next-day appointments, meeting with them for 30 – 60 minutes at a time, offering nutrition management tips, and using a blend of holistic and traditional medical approaches. She is particularly interested in treating obesity – especially childhood obesity, diabetes, and post-partum pain. Above all, her focus is individualized care, for all of her patients.
Khayriyyah has included Rutgers-Camden in her success, recruiting interns to work for CWC with the help of the Career Center and James Marino, the recently retired director. Calling the campus a “small gem” that offers “a really unique experience,” Khayriyyah credits Rutgers-Camden for providing her with the “greatest gift” of meeting her husband, and for giving her the springboard into life as a successful doctor and businesswoman.
About Khayriyyah Chandler
Hometown: Haddonfield, NJ
Majors: General Science and Theater Arts
Camden College of Arts and Sciences Graduation Date: 2003
Written By Julie Roncinske