Dr. Michael Dash stands beside a model skeleton at his Internal Medicine Associates practice in Lawrence. (Photo by Karissa Hearn.)

By Karissa Hearn

Dr. Michael Dash of Internal Medicine Associates in Lawrenceville has been serving Mercer County for nearly 30 years.

After attending medical school at Oregon Health and Science University School Of Medicine in Portland, Dash completed his residency at the former UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, now Rutgers University in New Brunswick.

It was then that he chose to focus on internal medicine.

Dash has been practicing internal medicine for 29 years in Mercer County, and has been at his current location since 2002.

“This is where all my patients were, so I started a practice,” he said.

Prior to opening up his own office in 1999, Dash was part of a large medical group with offices throughout Mercer County. He worked with the group for 12 years, before the firm closed down in the late 1990s.

Dash said he had always known what he wanted to do in the medical field.

“I can’t ever remember wanting to be anything other that what I am,” Dash said.

Internal medicine is primary internal care for adults, ages 16 and up.

“I wanted to be expert enough to do a good job,” Dash said.

Dash has three times the amount of expertise in internal medicine than a family practitioner, because family practitioners must study several areas of medicine, while Dash focused all of his areas of study on internal medicine.

About five years ago, Dash partnered with Dr. Tanner Tridico and today the two run a small practice with 3,500 patients. Each day, Dash sees about 25 patients and treats a variety of illnesses.

Betty Zita, office manager at Internal Medicine Associates has been working with Dash since 1986.

Dash really enjoys his work.

“You get to see people for years, often times three generations of families,” he said, “I don’t think I’d ever fully want to retire.”

Dash was raised as a child of a Coast Guard officer. He spent his whole adolescence traveling the country and felt he had no real place to call home. He attended seven schools before graduating high school and lived in a variety of coastal areas across the U.S., including New Orleans, Washington D.C. and Cape May.

Finally, in 1982, he settled in New Jersey to complete his residency, where his wife and her family lived.

Dash said the medical industry is taking some hard hits during the bad economic times. Many similar internists are becoming “concierge -ish or boutique” offices that require patients to pay a membership-type fee to be one of the few hundred patients that a doctor will work with. Prior to this, these offices had been treating thousands of patients. In turn, he said, many patients are being turned away from the doctor that have grown accustomed to. He dislikes this idea and has no plans to convert to a boutique office.

Internal Medicine Associates is located at 123 Franklin Corner Road in Lawrence Township and is open from Monday to Friday. For more information, call (609) 895-6800.