MICHAEL J. PERRY, MD
Family Medicine Provider & Medical Director,
JenCare Senior Medical Center (Virginia Beach); Lt. Cmdr, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Dr. Michael Perry has landed helicopters on ships bobbing in the ocean, done aerial surveillance near Iraq and Iran, rescued hunters from an uninhabited island on the Chesapeake Bay when ice trapped their boat, and medically evacuated injured personnel off the coast of Pakistan.
As a physician, Dr. Perry draws from those experiences every day.
“Paying attention to detail, moving with a purpose, working with a team – all are critical in medicine too,” he says. “If you don’t do all of those things on a helicopter, you’re going to crash. In both settings, you have responsibility for other lives.”
During his 25 years on active duty in the Navy, Dr. Perry deployed overseas five times, first as a helicopter pilot and later as a flight surgeon. He served on military posts in Virginia, Florida, Maryland, California and Japan before retiring in 2013.
Since 2017, Dr. Perry has worked as a Primary Care Physician at JenCare Senior Medical Center in Virginia Beach. He became the center’s Medical Director in February 2020.
Dr. Perry comes from a family of servicemen, including his grandfather, father and three uncles. His dad joined the Marines as soon as he turned 18. As for the Navy, Dr. Perry dreamed of enlisting as soon as he watched the 1986 movie “Top Gun.”
Immediately after finishing a degree in electrical engineering at the State University of New York at Buffalo, Dr. Perry joined the Navy in 1988 and graduated from Aviation Officer Candidate School the following year. He flew helicopters equipped for anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare and later transitioned to aircraft designed for search and rescue missions.
In 1998, Dr. Perry earned a Master of Science in Management from the Florida Institute of Technology and began to revisit becoming a doctor, an idea which initially struck while he healed from wrist and elbow injuries as a high school gymnast and baseball player.
Dr. Perry completed his MD at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in 2003. After interning in General Surgery at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP), he served as a flight surgeon and staff physician in California and Japan before returning to NMCP for a residency in General Surgery.
During his last five years on active duty, Dr. Perry was Senior Flight Surgeon at Branch Health Clinic Oceana/USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in Virginia Beach. He provided acute and urgent care for 1,400 personnel in a clinical setting and nearly 5,000 service members aboard the carrier.
On three deployments in four years, all in support of military operations in southern Afghanistan, Dr. Perry’s duties included medivac flights. Some occurred at night and/or involved traumatic injuries. “It’s exciting, but you have to stay cool and focused,” he relates.
As a civilian, Dr. Perry did a Family Medicine Residency with VCU-Riverside Family Medicine and worked as an independent physician and for MedExpress Urgent Care, Bayview Physicians Group and VCU-Riverside Family Medicine before joining JenCare.
His mission today: provide personalized care to keep his senior patients “healthy, happy and at home.”
“They have my cell phone number, and they call or text me all the time,” he notes. “I’ve developed really unique and close relationships with them. I tell them, ‘If you need to see one of us, just walk into the office. We’ll fit you in.’”
Outside work, Dr. Perry enjoys going to the beach, mountain biking, ballroom dancing and, most of all, spending time with his daughter, son-in-law, stepson and two grandchildren. He also loves sharing his stories from the service.
“I’m proud of what we did on all our missions,” he says. “It was an incredible adventure.”