by LIZ ONUFER | photos by Carol Sonstein

Navy Life and Beyond

faces_speziale1Medical doctor, mom, military veteran – these are just a few roles Alissa Speziale has balanced for more than a decade. She is also a runner, a reader, a sailor, and a resident of Scripps Ranch since 2009.

“We loved the homes, the space, the reputation of the schools, and the strong sense of community,” Alissa shared. Today, the family – including husband Chris and daughters Sophia, 9, and Nora, 7 – enjoy playing soccer, bike riding, practicing Tae Kwan Do, and participating in Girl Scouts.

Since 2012, Alissa has been working as an adult gastroenterologist at Sharp Rees-Stealy . “I have a special interest in Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis but enjoy all aspects of the field,” she said. During medical school at The John Hopkins University, she joined the Navy and, in 2002, was stationed at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego.

“I was thrilled to be stationed in San Diego as an internist seeing patients and training residents,” Alissa acknowledged. “In 2004, I was stationed with Shock Trauma Platoon 4 with 3/7 Marine Infantry Battalion in Al Q’aim Iraq. During that six month deployment, I served as the doctor for the Battalion Aid Station overseeing the detainment facility and health of the 2,600 Marines and sailors. We were responsible for triage and stabilizing of casualties of war.”

Alissa acknowledged the challenges and rewards of military service. “Continuity at the Naval Hospital is difficult,” she shared. “You meet a patient, diagnose them, and start a treatment program, but don’t always get to follow them long term.” She also shared that “facing the injuries and loss of war never becomes easy.” But her connections with service members and the close relationships she developed over the years are incredibly rewarding.


Most recently, Alissa was awarded Veteran of the Year by the 77th Assembly District. “I truly accepted it on behalf of all the amazing veterans I have worked with and in our community,” she said. Today, she serves as a Navy Reservist.

These days, Alissa’s goals are focused on her family and community. “Getting my daughters to school on time every day is my first goal,” she admitted. “As they get more mature, I want to commit to family centered activities such as mission trips,” Alissa said. “I hope to retire from the Navy, as well. And Sharp Rees-Stealy has been a great family that I hope to grow old with.”

Name: Alissa Gail Speziale
Profession: Gastroenterologist, M.D.
Community: Scripps Ranch since 2009
Hobbies & Interests: Sunrise Sisters Running club (group of about 12 professional women meet between 4:30 and 5:15 a.m. at the lake, Jerabek for running); used to enjoy sailing but focus has become more on my daughters and their activities – soccer with Scripps Ranch league and Albion, piano at Greene Music, Tae Kwon Do at Kick Force; supporting the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation
Favorite Local Spots: Miramar Lake – running with my husband and bringing my daughters in tow on their bikes. Canyon Springs Church – youth programs, and the youth in them are phenomenal! Lappert’s Ice Cream (my husband’s favorite). Starbucks because Stephanie the barista puts a smile on everyone’s face, and makes a fast breakfast for my girls!