For Dr. Lucia, 6th grade science class was a turning point.
“Mr. Mathis was my first non-nun teacher,” he recalls of his Alabama-based, Catholic school upbringing. “He taught us to study the human body and consider how amazing it truly is. He was so passionate, and he coupled a study of science with the idea that you have to have empathy for the human condition to be a good scientist.”
Science was his first love. He became singularly focused on getting into medical school, graduating valedictorian from a high school class of 350.
He then attended the prestigious Springhill College, a Jesuit college that is one of the oldest colleges in the south, and completed medical school training at The University of Alabama School of Medicine.
“It was an excellent, challenging and fulfilling education,” he says.
After a residency in Internal Medicine at Ohio State University and Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio came a fellowship in Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC.
His background gave him broad spectrum training covering a wide variety of topics and modalities — from pulmonary to sleep, critical care to internal medicine, primary care to academics and beyond.
He joined the University of Nevada School of Medicine faculty in 2000, and during his tenure he won multiple teaching awards, established the first formal sleep lab at the local VA medical center and was directly involved in development of the Internal Medicine Residency Program and Family Practice Resident ICU rotations.
Dr. Lucia now uses fellowship training and board certification in both pulmonary critical care and sleep medicine for his private practice, a combination that allows him to take the very best practices and research in the field and implement them daily for his own patients.
“We offer personalized care that would typically be more characteristic of a small town setting, yet we use world-class research and practices that are more characteristic of UCSF or UC Davis. “
And in fact, his ties to both UCSF and Davis provide critical support for his practice.
“Sam Louey, the chairman of pulmonology at UC Davis, calls this office the Mayo Clinic of Sparks,” he laughs. “He has truly been a clinical mentor throughout my time in this practice.”
Dr. Lucia opened Sierra Pulmonary & Sleep Institute in Sparks in 2002, recognizing an unfilled need for outpatient pulmonary, allergy and sleep medicine care in the local community. In 2006, he moved the practice to a new, custom-designed, state-of-the-art facility with a four-bed AASM-accredited sleep center.
“I read clinical literature on a daily basis,” Dr. Lucia explains. “I attend national meetings and teach the local residency program at the University of Nevada School of Medicine. I also give more than 100 talks per year — training, teaching and presenting at conferences — so I have to stay on top of research, developments and innovations in my field. This is truly my passion.”
Dr. Lucia is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Pulmonary Disease and Sleep Medicine. In 2000 he earned certification by the American Board of Sleep Medicine and became a fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.