In Good Company

Celeste Reese-Willis, M.D., ’02, releases book on vitality

Vital Signs » Spring 2020

Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Dr. Celeste Reese-Willis moved back to the state after completing her Doctor of Medicine degree at Wright State University. She was not a fan of Ohio’s cold winters. She also wanted to be closer to where she grew up.

For her undergraduate studies in biology, Reese-Willis attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She first heard about Wright State University through one of her aunts, who had a wonderful experience at Wright State. Reese-Willis applied on her aunt’s recommendation and found that the medical school was the perfect fit.

“I had a wonderful experience there,” Reese-Willis said. “I remember Dr. Alonzo Patterson and Dr. Mark Clasen. Clasen was my mentor when I was there, and he played a very large role in my going into family medicine as well as the style of practice that I have with medicine.”

For much of the past 15 years, Reese-Willis has specialized in the practice of urgent care medicine. She has treated patients with all kinds of ailments, from the common cold to cardiac or lung issues. On some days, Reese-Willis has seen more than 80 patients. They are from all walks of life.

After working with so many patients over the years, she feels uniquely qualified to branch out into telemedicine. It’s an area of medicine that is on the cutting edge, allowing her and other health care providers to see patients from anywhere and make faster care possible.

“Telemedicine is on the horizon and becoming a leading trailblazer in health care. I definitely wanted to be at the start of that as a telemedicine doctor,” Reese-Willis said. “Telemedicine is the latest innovative technique to allow us to deliver health care to those people who live in remote areas or who don’t have the access to health care that everyone else does because of the limitations of transportation or insurance.”

Reese-Willis enjoys educating others on the best ways to take care of their own health needs. Her passions include enhancing the lives of others through education. She’s found that many people don’t have all the information they need to make the best decisions for themselves.

For example, while she was still in her first year of medical school, Dr. Reese-Willis was able to use the knowledge she had gained to help her mother avoid a heart attack. It also inspired Reese-Willis to focus more on her own health.

“My mom was telling me what her symptoms were. I was still learning medicine back then and it sounded like she was having heart problems. I sent her to her physician,” Reese-Willis said. “It turned out my mom did have a blockage. They would not let her leave the hospital after her stress test. She was rushed to surgery because she had four vessels that were blocked.”

The experience motivated Reese-Willis to take better care of her own health. She realized that she would not have known without the gift of medical knowledge she received from Wright State. It became clear that it is difficult for lay people to manage their own health because they do not have the knowledge they need to be more effective stewards.

It’s one of the main reasons that she has written a book on vitality. The book came out in March 2020, and has insights that readers can use to more positively manage their choices in eating and exercising as they get older.

“It’s a book that will assist a patient to help them remain a young, vital person as they age. It will help you know the things that you need to do to help take care of your health,” Reese-Willis said. “It explains how to understand your family history of illness and what you can be doing in terms of preventive measures. It covers simple things like exercising and drinking more water, but it puts it in layperson terms as to how those things are beneficial. Like drinking water helps clear out toxins and improve kidney function.”

Dr. Reese-Willis has worked as a media consultant in the past for an urgent care corporation. The opportunity allowed her to communicate with many people across the state of Alabama and provide tips on improving health. She appeared on local television and answered questions from viewers. The experience helped her to learn how much she enjoys talking to others about medicine.

She also lays out the benefits of healthy choices to an audience that views her weekly live streams on Facebook. It’s a great way of staying connected with the community and being a role model for good health. Her viewers interact with her and Dr. Reese-Willis enjoys being available to them.

“I lay out the information and then they have to make a choice. I want to motivate my patients to make the right choice because I like them to make educated decisions. If they are not going to drink enough water, then they need to understand what they are compromising when they do that,” Reese-Willis said. “I can make suggestions as to what they need to do, but in the end it’s up to the patient to carry out the recommendation. The decision is with the patient about their health care.”

Dr. Reese-Willis is branching out into concierge medicine. In that relationship, she would have private patients who retain her services. Currently, she is only seeing patients via telemedicine in Alabama, but she plans to expand those efforts to other states as she gains medical licensure elsewhere.

One day, Dr. Reese-Willis may also develop health care products that can help to decrease the spread of illness. She has started a second book, which covers women’s health, fertility, and pregnancy.


—Daniel Kelly

Last edited on 04/24/2020.