Get to know our advocates: Spotlight on Stephen Young, MD


Welcome to the Umbra Member Q&A series, where we bring you insights from our community of healthcare experts and enthusiasts. In this post, we are thrilled to introduce you to Stephen Young, MD — a physician with 35 years of interdisciplinary medical practice. Get ready for a glimpse into Stephen’s professional background and learn why he is such an impressive patient advocate.

Getting to Know Stephen Young, MD: A Healing Healthcare Navigator 

Stephen Young, MD, has 35 years of experience in interdisciplinary medical practice, including in critical care, internal medicine, geriatrics, and palliative care. During his career as a physician, Stephen worked in ICUs, hospital wards, emergency departments, skilled nursing facilities, inpatient hospices, and private homes. 

Q: What’s one of your most proud or gratifying professional accomplishments?

Stephen: 2019 inaugural recipient of the Faculty Teaching Award from University of North Carolina School of Medicine’s Hospice and Palliative Medicine fellowship program.

Stephen channels his medical expertise into patient advocacy, helping those grappling with vulnerability and bewilderment within the labyrinth of the U.S. healthcare system.

Q: What drew you to patient advocacy?

Stephen: Drawing from my medical background to lend a hand to clients and their families who feel vulnerable and perhaps, bewildered as they struggle to navigate healthcare systems.

Why swap the stethoscope for advocacy? Stephen recognizes that many people don’t have the insider knowledge needed to navigate the rollercoaster of their medical journeys. Stephen finds fulfillment in offering support during difficult times to help people navigate medical complexities. 

Q: Are there patient groups or conditions that you are especially passionate about?

Stephen: [I] am particularly passionate about providing advocacy support with the goal of clients (and their families) receiving the best possible care when they are grappling with the following: 1) uncertainty as to diagnoses, confusion over test results and hesitancy regarding treatment options 2) debility due to a serious illness or injury and recovery remains elusive and 3) finding access to high-quality mental health and addiction treatment.

Stephen’s advocacy focus encompasses a spectrum of challenges, from diagnostic uncertainty to mental health support, showcasing a commitment to comprehensive and compassionate care.

Q: What’s one thing you wish more patients knew about healthcare or patient advocacy?

Stephen: The advocate is here to provide 100% allegiance to you (and your family) with the goal of providing support and ensuring that you receive optimal care. They are in your corner to accompany you and are well-poised to collaborate with your doctors so that all are on the same page.

Stephen emphasizes his unwavering commitment as an advocate, standing side by side with patients and families to ensure a harmonious and optimal care experience.

Q: Share a fun fact about you that we wouldn’t know based on your bio/resume alone.

Stephen: I have been mistaken for the guitarist Eric Clapton

Maybe we should call Stephen the rockstar of healthcare advocacy! 

Q: Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you?

Stephen: Originally, from western North Carolina, I attended Davidson College and Wake Forest University School of Medicine. I lived previously in Boston and Atlanta as well as upstate South Carolina and the North Carolina coast yet my wife and I now live in Chapel Hill, N.C. She teaches in an elementary school, and we have two adult children (living elsewhere on the east coast) as well as two dogs (here at home). I enjoy reading contemporary fiction, watching movies, hiking, biking and swimming. 

Well-traveled and well-rounded, Stephen opens the door to his personal journey, inviting us into a narrative that spans different landscapes and experiences and is enriched by family and diverse hobbies.

How Stephen can help YOU:

Stephen specializes in medical advocacy and navigation. He can help you: 

  • Get an accurate diagnosis
  • Understand a new diagnosis
  • Make sense of your condition and your options 
  • Make informed decisions about your testing and treatment options
  • Collaborate with you and your doctors so everyone is on the same page
  • Make sure your wishes and priorities are reflected in your care plan

Do you need a patient advocate? Learn more about how patient advocates help. And learn more about Stephen Young and book time with him here.

Want to meet more advocates? You can read about Megan Stewart, Michael Voss, and Nancy Keller. And stay tuned for more inspiring profiles from our community of patient advocates.