Professor continues family medical legacy through research, mentorship

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Mercer School of Medicine campus in Savannah
Mercer School of Medicine campus in Savannah

Dr. Anthony Kondracki was born in the Alabama hospital where his mother was doing her family medicine residency. As he grew up, he witnessed the time, attention and care she provided to her patients, which inspired him to pursue a medical career as well. 

As a Mercer School of Medicine-Savannah faculty member today, Dr. Kondracki takes a special interest in teaching and mentoring future doctors and conducting research that focuses on maternal and child health. 

Dr. Kondracki’s parents, Dr. Elizabeth Kondracka and the late Alex Kondracki, were born in Warsaw, Poland, and moved to the United States in the mid-1970s so they could “live in a free and democratic country and to fulfill the ‘American dream,’” he said. His mother, who had already earned her medical degree in Warsaw, completed her first year of family medicine residency in Lubbock, Texas, and final two years in Anniston, Alabama, where Dr. Tony Kondracki was born. 

“My patients became my adopted family, and I loved taking care of them by making myself available as the necessity arose,” Dr. Kondracka said. “My son often accompanied me during my weekend hospital rounds at the ICU, newborn nursery and in the nursing facilities, to discover what I did where I was every day when he missed me.”

Dr. Anthony Kondracki
Dr. Anthony Kondracki

Dr. Kondracka, now 77, operated a successful private practice in Central Florida for many years. When looking for a new home for her medical equipment following her recent retirement, Mercer School of Medicine was the natural choice. 

“Donating my medical office equipment to Mercer School of Medicine, an institution involved in training future family physicians, evokes gratitude and brings me great satisfaction of having a personal connection with physicians like myself, who chose to dedicate their life to unselfish concern for others,” Dr. Kondracka said.

The School of Medicine is grateful for this donation, said Dean Jean Sumner, M.D.

“We are also inspired by the story of Dr. Kondracki’s family and their legacy of service. We are honored to have Dr. Kondracki on our faculty,” she said.

Dr. Kondracka passed down a variety of supplies, including lab coats, blood pressure cuffs, a wall-mounted blood pressure monitor, a Wood’s lamp for examining the scalp, stethoscopes, needle holders, glucometers, otoscopes and ophthalmoscope chargers. 

“My mother loved family medicine and her patients,” Dr. Kondracki said. “As a physician, she took the time to listen to her patients and to care for them and their whole family, from newborns to the elderly. This inspired and touched me personally. It inspired me to pursue a career in medicine.”

When it came to his education, Dr. Kondracki opted to return to his ancestral roots. He earned his medical degree at the prestigious Jagiellonian University College of Medicine, which offers medical programs for English speakers, in Krakow, Poland.

“Living there made me feel like a part of that history and, at the same time, I was close to my family. I could get into a train and travel to Warsaw in only two hours and see my grandmother,” Dr. Kondracki said. “I also met many interesting classmates from different corners of the world. The international medical education gave me a taste of how medicine in Europe is really different from that of the USA. I had a chance to see a lot of interesting cases, and I also got a taste of rural medicine.”

Feeling drawn more to a research-based career, Dr. Kondracki returned to the United States and earned a Master of Public Health at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and a Ph.D. at University of Maryland School of Public Health. He also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in epidemiology and biostatistics at Florida International University College of Public Health and Social Work.

Joining the faculty at Mercer School of Medicine-Savannah in 2021 allowed Dr. Kondracki to combine his interests and passions. 

“I was interested in an academic position in teaching and mentoring students. At the same time, I’m interested in research as well. The position I’m in has both,” he said.

In the Department of Community Medicine, Dr. Kondracki teaches courses in behavior science theory, public health practice and interdisciplinary research methods. He also conducts research with a focus on maternal and child health at the individual and community level, often looking at exposures during pregnancy and adverse pregnancy outcomes. This kind of data can be used to inform practitioners and help patients make healthier choices, he said. 

“I enjoy analyzing large national and state data sets and employing advanced epidemiological methods of investigation,” Dr. Kondracki said. “My long-term research goals are to explore urban/rural health disparities in health and health care and factors contributing to high maternal morbidity in the state of Georgia.”

He received a Provost Seed Grant for this research related to Georgia maternal mortality factors and hopes to finish the study by this summer. 

 

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Andrea Honaker
Andrea Honaker is a digital content specialist at Mercer. She writes feature stories for The Den and creates and maintains content for primary University web pages. She also plans and executes campaigns for the primary official Mercer University social media accounts.