Every day as he headed to the office, Dr. Glenn Chapman drove by the two-story building on State Road A1A, just a stone’s throw from his home in the county pocket across the street.
Then, not long ago, Chapman noticed one of the offices in the former bank building was available for rent.
It didn’t take long for him decide to take a big leap forward and open his own practice — Surfside Non-Surgical Orthopedics Sports Medicine and Pain — right then and there.
“I knew if I passed it up, I would regret it every day on my way to work,” he said.
For Chapman, 45, the opportunity to have an office he could practically roll right out of bed into was only part of the allure of the new location. Having the office close to home makes it easier for him to spend more time with his wife and two children, 6 and 3.
There was also the visibility on A1A, making him the only doctor for miles on the coastal roadway.
The fact that he could be the neighborhood doctor, the one everyone in the area knows, was yet another benefit.
Then, of course, there is the proximity to the ocean.
An avid surfer, whose personalized license tag is N2WAVES, Chapman is thrilled his office is close enough to the beach for him to check out the surf at any time.
“The fact that I can get up and surf until 8:30, shower and be at work by 9, that’s the Promised Land,” he says.
He jokes that if the waves are just right, visitors to the office might just see a sign on the front door saying: “Closed for Religious Reasons: Six Foot and Glassy.”
A longtime Florida resident, Chapman moved to the area in 2006 after his residency. A year later met his wife, Marie, who lived across the street.
“My dad lived here and I came back to visit,” Chapman said. “I realized what a gem this little sliver of land is and I decided to stay.”
It was his father, a medical doctor, who several years earlier tried to talk Chapman out of becoming a physician because he saw the way the health care system in America was changing.
“He wanted to save me the hassles,” Chapman said.
The path away from medicine led Chapman to study architecture and later anthropology. After graduation, he did anthropology fieldwork in South America and ran an underwater archeology project in the states.
But at 28, after reading Dr. Andrew Weil’s book Spontaneous Healing, Chapman decided to change careers and a year later was in medical school.
“Being a doctor is what I’m meant to do,” he says.
A doctor of osteopathy, Chapman is board certified in neuromuscular medicine, sports medicine and pain medicine. He also teaches at three medical schools, including Nova Southeastern University.
While his practice is specialized, Chapman is still somewhat of the local doctor to his neighbors in the county pocket just south of Briny Breezes.
“I’ve sewed up neighborhood kids on my kitchen table,” he said.
— Rich Pollack
Q. Where did you grow up and go to school? How do you think that has influenced you?
A. I grew up in Titusville in central Florida and went to school at University of Florida and University of Central Florida. I’m still trying to figure out how they influenced me.
Q. What professional accomplishments are you most proud of?
A. Of course my osteopathic medical degree. I believe in the tenets of treating the body as a whole and I love the idea of using human hands to heal humans.
Q. Why did you decide to locate your business on A1A?
A. The easiest answer is because it is across the street from my house so I can walk to work. The lack of doctors in the area and great visibility are an asset. But, also being the doctor who lives local and literally serves his community appealed to me. The fact that I can check the surf every day on the way to work did not escape me.
Q. What advice do you have for a young person selecting a career today?
A. Find out what kind of work you want to do or what lifestyle you want to lead and then get training for that. A random degree rarely gets you anywhere today, and every dream job becomes work at some point, so think practically.
Q. How did you choose to make your home in the county pocket?
A. My dad lived here and while visiting I realized what a gem the pocket and surrounding areas out here on the island were.
Q. What is your favorite part about living in the pocket?
A. The pedestrian nature of the pocket so you can see your neighbors out and about.
Q. What music do you listen to when you need inspiration? When you want to relax?
A. The approach to music in Jerry Garcia’s guitar work I find inspiring, but when I really want to relax I will listen to Ray Lamontagne or Jack Johnson.
Q. Have you had mentors in your life? Individuals who have inspired your life decisions?
A. I know it’s easy to say one’s father, but he was truly my greatest mentor and inspiration. His approach to medicine, people and life in general still inspires me today, even years after his passing.
Q. If your life story were made into a movie, who would you want to play you?
A. Matthew McConaughey — successful but laid back with an easygoing smile. Damn good-looking and six-pack abs, too.
Q. Who/what makes you laugh?
A. The silly mistakes my kids make while being obvious rookies to the world and the English language in general, and jokes. I love a new joke and I am known to always have a new one to share. Just ask.