• Docs Who Rock

    Our 2009 Guide To Some Of The City’s Top Pediatricians and Pediatric Specialists

    By New York Family

    All parents hope their kids are healthy enough never to need more than an annual checkup, but when they’re not, it’s great to know that our city is home to some of the world’s finest doctors. New York Family worked with consumer health research firm Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. to present our fourth annual list of Manhattan’s top-ranked pediatricians and pediatric specialists. We also spoke with eight of these doctors, who represent a range of pediatric specialties and medical centers. They shared with us the joys and challenges of their profession, as well as their thoughts on where their fields are headed. We found their insight especially meaningful now, given the many debates surrounding the future of our nation’s healthcare system. What follows is a celebration of all the work they do to keep our city kids healthy and strong.

    DR. BONITA FRANKLIN, GENERAL PEDIATRICIAN AND PEDIATRIC ENDOCRINOLOGIST 

    How did you decide to go into medicine?

    The story for me really started with my love for science. I was one of those kids who was fascinated by the natural world—I loved collecting rocks, looking at stars and figuring out what’s behind all the natural beauty of the universe. I was always attracted to the idea of using science to help people.

    What drew you to pediatrics? Pediatrics is fascinating because it’s
    medicine for the time in life when people are changing the most rapidly.
    I find it fascinating to see how the mind develops, how the physical
    capabilities develop, and all of the changes that happen. It’s a time
    when people can change for the better and a time when there’s a lot of
    joy.

    You have a private practice in pediatrics, but you also
    specialize in pediatric endocrinology, correct?

    I have a private practice
    office in Tribeca where I see pediatric patients from birth to age 21.
    Then I have a position at NYU in the division of pediatric
    endocrinology.

    What is a typical day like for you?

    If the weather is good, a
    typical day will start out with a bike ride up the East River bike path,
    from where I live to the hospital. I take care of business over there,
    which involves teaching, attending in the clinic, lecturing, then
    usually around lunch time I go down to the office and have an afternoon
    of patient care.

    What is the most gratifying part of your
    job?

    Bittersweet
    though it is, I enjoy doing that pre-college appointment—when a child
    that I’ve known for years is going off to a new exciting time in their
    life. I feel very gratified when I know that over the years I have built
    a relationship with a child who is now a young adult, and they’re going
    off and they’re going to do well.

    What is next for you in terms of
    the work that you’re doing?

    Every day I have discussions with parents in my office
    about vaccination. The prevention of diseases has been one of the most
    successful public health achievements in the last 50 years, so I am
    going to continue to advocate strongly for vaccinations, and help allay
    the unfounded fears that people bring to this topic.
    —Krista Keyes

    DR. HOWARD
    GINSBURG,
    PEDIATRIC SURGEON

    Tell
    us a little bit about your path to becoming a surgeon.

    I was an undergraduate at
    Brown and went to medical school at the University of Cincinnati. That
    was followed by my surgical residency at NYU, two years of a pediatric
    surgery fellowship at Columbia-Presbyterian, and another fellowship at
    Massachusetts General Hospital. Then I returned to NYU. At that time,
    there was no established pediatric surgical unit, so we built one— and
    that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.

    What are the
    pros and cons of working as a pediatric surgeon?

    The clinical processes that
    you see are unbelievably interesting—children born without their
    esophagus attached, or with their intestines outside their body. But the
    gratifying part is that you can fix these things, you can take these
    babies that are three, four, five pounds to the operating room and then
    watch them grow up and be invited to their confirmations and bar
    mitzvahs and their weddings and be part of their families. The cons are
    the failures. Probably one of the worst experiences in my whole career
    was when I was working on a child who had leukemia, who was about the
    same age as my older son—about 3 at the time. He eventually died and I
    sat by

    his bedside all night.
    At that time, I said to myself, “Can I do this?”

    What is a typical day like for you?

    I get up at 4:35
    every morning and I’m usually in the office by 5:45. I take care of all
    the administrative work I need to do and then I usually make rounds with
    the residents at around 7. Then we’re off to the OR at 7:30 and we work
    in the operating room until we’re finished, which is sometimes not
    until 7 at night. There’s one day a week I see patients and don’t go
    into the operating room. There’s one day a week where I spend my day at
    Bellevue and do all the pediatric surgery at Bellevue as well. And then
    of course there are emergencies. Another challenge is that there aren’t a
    lot of pediatric surgeons. There have been many years where I’ve been
    the only pediatric surgeon here, and I’m on call every night, 365 days a
    year.

    What challenges ahead do you see for medicine?

    The training of future
    doctors is so different than it used to be. The hours that the residents
    are allowed to do in the hospitals now are limited by laws; they are
    allowed to be in the hospital a maximum of 80 hours a week. That’s a
    challenge to be able to adequately train those residents in surgery,
    because surgical residents learn by being in the operating room and
    actually scrubbing in on cases, and if their hours in the hospital are
    limited, they don’t get that experience they used to get. So the
    challenge is to be able to provide enough training so that we can create
    talented surgeons for the future. I also think the cost of medicine is
    an immense challenge. The amount of paperwork and red tape that we have
    to go through to take care of patients is staggering. It takes an
    enormous amount of time and manpower that could be better used taking
    care of patients. —Robina Josephine Khalid

    DR. DARRYL DE VIVO, PEDIATRIC NEUROLOGIST

    What inspired you to become a doctor?

    Probably it was my
    experience as a child with our family practitioner, who was a very
    remarkable person. He would look after our needs and then he might sit
    and have a cup of coffee with my parents. He was part of the family.
    That’s something we’ve lost these days.

    How did you choose pediatric
    neurology as your specialty?

    I was a pre-medical student but I didn’t understand
    much about being a doctor, until my youngest brother was struck down by a
    complication of infectious mononucleosis and developed paralysis below
    his chest. He was 15. I would come down every weekend from Amherst
    College to be with him in the hospital. My brother had the benefit of
    being cared for by Dr. Phillip Dodge, who was building a pediatric
    neurology service at Massachusetts General Hospital. I guess Dr. Dodge
    took a liking to me, probably because my brother said I was a nice guy
    [laughs]. So in my summers, after my brother recovered, I worked for Dr.
    Dodge.

    Are there any career highlights that stand
    out in your mind?

    At Washington University we had an epidemic of Reye’s
    Syndrome, a life-threatening disease that would occur [alongside] a
    viral infection. Here’s a healthy child who gets the flu, and a week
    later that child might be dead. Can you imagine how devastating that is
    to a parent? Roughly 90 percent of children who developed Reye’s
    Syndrome would die. We worked very hard and turned that figure entirely
    around. Instead of 90 percent dying, we saved 90 percent.
    Only later did people realize that what was causing this condition was
    aspirin.

    So
    when you’re not curing diseases, what’s a typical day like?

    [Laughs] Well, I see
    patients. We see children with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, behavioral
    disturbances from ADHD to autism. Occasionally, we see a child with a
    brain tumor or meningitis or [traumatic] brain injury. We’re very
    involved in trying to find a cure for spinal muscular atrophy. I think
    that can happen, hopefully, within the next several years.

    Do you have children? If
    so, what effect have they had on your career?

    I have three [grown]
    daughters. I probably learned most of my pediatrics at home. It’s an
    abstraction when you’re a pediatrician without children. When you have
    your own, you start seeing it from the parents’ point of view.

    What challenges do you see ahead for your field?

    We should be focusing on
    [prevention]. Our society has largely failed to pay attention to social
    factors that contribute to disease. I think this whole debate about
    healthcare is very threatening. I’m aware that more needs to be done.
    The United States offers the best healthcare in the world, but it isn’t
    available to every [person]. We don’t want to throw out the baby with
    the bathwater; we want to maintain the best care in the world while
    increasing its availability. That’s going to take serious thinking by
    informed people.

    —Lisa
    Rogal

    DR.
    DONNA MOREAU, 
    PEDIATRIC
    AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRIST

    How do you
    approach the practice of psychiatry?

    My approach is always to
    look at the whole person and look at a person’s environment and social
    circumstances.

    I
    understand the importance of medication, but I’m not quick to jump to
    medications. I like to get a complete understanding of the person. It’s
    more of an inside-oriented, exploratory therapy using some cognitive
    behavioral and interpersonal psychotherapy techniques.

    What’s your area of expertise?

    Anxiety and depression,
    including bipolar disorder. But I’ve worked with lots of patients with
    eating disorders and other types of anxiety disorders.

    What do
    you like about practicing in this city?

    I like kids from this area. Kids from the city tend
    to be exciting. They’re fairly sophisticated and streetwise, and I enjoy
    that.

    Are there
    specific issues that adolescents are more likely to face living in the
    city? Yes. Unfortunately, drug use is widespread, but I think that it’s
    more prevalent in New York and other large cities. Kids are starting
    sexual relationships at much younger ages than they used to. The city
    offers so much in terms of culture and exposure to things, but what
    comes with that is exposure to things at an age where it’s hard to
    handle that.

    What has been a career highlight for you?

    There was one young boy
    that I worked with for several years, who was a super-bright kid, but
    was eccentric and isolated. I knew that he was smarter than most of the
    kids around him and he saw the world in a way that kids his age
    wouldn’t. That isolated him from friendships, and he was retreating into
    a fantasy world because of that. I got into that world with him and helped him see what he was getting out of it and gave him a
    sense that as he got older, he would be able to find that in work and in
    relationships. To see him really understand that and move to a place
    where he started having friendships was really exciting for me.

    Would
    you say that children are being overmedicated today?

    Yes. I see some adolescents
    on three, four, or five medications. Number one, I think they’ve been
    misdiagnosed—I don’t think they really are bipolar. And number two,
    they’re taking medications that are serious, that have significant side
    effects, and that are just masking things, not treating anything. This
    is not to say that there’s no place for medication, but I think that the
    diagnosis of bipolar disorder is grossly overused, and one of the
    primary treatments of bipolar disorder is medication, so I think that
    there are kids who are being overmedicated, and it’s tragic.

    Do you
    see any challenges for your field ahead?

    I think that psychiatry has always been
    considered a stepchild of medicine, and that somehow psychiatry wasn’t
    real medicine.

    In
    an effort to change that opinion, I think psychiatry has gone too far
    into a medical model and has lost a lot of what I think is special about
    psychiatry, which is looking at a whole person and understanding a
    person’s psychology and their emotion. Many psychiatrists are moving
    towards treatment options that are basically pharmacological, which I
    think is a mistake.
    —Megan Maxson

    DR. MORTON BORG, PEDIATRIC CARDIOLOGIST

    What
    drew you to medicine, and what do you like about working with children?

    In high school, science
    always interested me, and I worked at camps with children. Upon entering
    college, I decided to follow medicine, and by senior year wanted to
    specialize in pediatrics. With kids you can make them laugh and change a
    cry into a smile. Also, adult cardiology is almost routine—adults
    undergo heart attacks and irregularities of the heartbeat, but when
    you’re dealing with kids there is a wide range of abnormalities that can
    occur, and you have to sit and figure it out.

    What is a typical day like for you?

    My mornings begin with
    going around the pediatric areas to see if there are any questions or
    problems. Next, I visit our newborn intensive unit, because even the
    mildest types of problems can cause significant difficulties with
    premature babies, especially if they’re on respirators. Then, I head
    over to our outpatient facility where I spend about seven hours seeing
    patients. The types of issues and diagnoses vary in the course of the
    day.

    What is the most challenging part of your
    job?

    Trying
    to convey the information to the parents in a non-threatening way while
    remaining informative, and comforting the family. Not every parent is
    going to take the information the same way; some break down right away
    because they can’t believe that their child is sick. The challenging
    part is saying the right words to the parents to get them through the
    initial shock and placing the child on the proper therapy.

    What
    career highlight are you most proud of?

    At Beth Israel we used to have a residency training
    program and one of my career highlights has been receiving the
    outstanding teacher award from the residents several times.

    Right now there’s a lot of talk about health
    care reform—if there was one thing you could change about the country’s
    health care system, what would it be?

    The child health care and
    the insurance coverage of child health care is actually pretty good,
    because if the families cannot afford the treatments, they can get the
    Medicaid or other insurances for their kids. I’ve not had any children
    who were unable to get coverage. At Beth Israel we place kids into our
    teaching care program where they receive free care.
    —Theodora Guliadis

    DR. NANCY A.
    KERNAN, 
    PEDIATRIC ONCOLOGIST

    Tell us about your path to becoming a doctor.

    For
    college, I went to Wheaton in Norton, MA, and I intended to be a math
    teacher for 10- to 12-year-olds. I always loved working with kids. At
    Wheaton, I took a mandatory biology course and fell in love. I saw
    medicine as a chance to combine my loves of children and teaching and my
    newfound love of bio and physiology. I went to med school at Cornell in
    New York, and during my clinical rotation, I developed an interest in
    hematology and oncology. I was in Washington, D.C., from 1978-1981
    working at Children’s Hospital, but I came back to New York to do my
    residency in general pediatrics, and I was offered a fellowship program
    at Sloan-Kettering in 1981.

    You’ve worked in
    hematology/oncology since the 1980s. What has it been like to see cancer
    treatment develop over the years?

    In 1981, stem cell and
    bonemarrow transplantation was in its infancy. There was a small team at
    Sloan- Kettering that was exploring the role of bone-marrow
    transplantation in the treatment of childhood leukemia and immune
    disorders. I became involved with starting a national marrow donor
    program, which has become international, to find bone-marrow donors for
    patients who don’t have donors in their family. I have been extremely
    lucky to have been in this specialty in the 1980s and ‘90s and into
    2000, because our success with treating children with pediatric cancers
    and specifically pediatric leukemias has been enormous.

    When I started, about 20
    percent of kids with leukemia survived, and now about 80 percent survive
    and do well. It’s been extraordinarily rewarding. The downside is we’re
    not successful with everyone. The upside is that when we win, it’s a
    home-run.

    How do you see the field of medicine
    changing?

    The
    next generation of medical students are demanding a more balanced life.
    Medicine is a wonderful career but one has to pay attention to doing it
    in a more balanced way. I think it’s possible.

    Do you have kids? If so, how have they impacted your career as a
    pediatrician?

    My daughter Kate is 12. She just started sixth grade at the
    Convent of the Sacred Heart, the same school my sisters and I went to.
    When you see people who have such challenges on a regular basis, it
    makes you treasure your child’s health and well-being a touch more. I
    can also appreciate how difficult it is for the parents I work with to
    get children to do what they want them to do, like change their
    dressings and take their medicine.
    —Elizabeth Zelma

    DR. SARLA INAMDAR, GENERAL PEDIATRICIAN 

    What drew you to medicine? Did you always want to be a doctor?

    I’ve always wanted to be a
    professional, and growing up in India there were two professions that
    were friendly to women: medicine and law. Even though there were
    limited opportunities for higher education for women, I was drawn to
    medicine as early as elementary school. In fact, in my family, I stuck
    my neck out saying I wanted to study further, and I got my way.

    Tell us
    about your path to becoming a doctor.

    I studied in India, in what is now Mumbai. After
    graduation I came to the U.S. and did two years at New York Medical
    College’s residency program and the affiliated hospital’s training
    program. In ‘72, I joined the faculty at New York Medical College and
    have been with them since.

    Tell me about your
    specialty. How did you choose it?

    I developed an interest in
    pediatric rheumatological disorders, which means I deal with the
    management of children with chronic illnesses. When I first came here,
    pediatric rheumatology was a very young field. I saw the need for it
    because these children were being lost in the shuffle—they needed
    someone to anchor their care and carry them year-to-year. Many of my
    kids have now gone to college. They have married or settled down, and I
    am still in touch with them.

    What is your favorite
    part of your job?

    Besides taking care of patients, I really enjoy
    teaching. In this current era of technology, I am really trying to focus
    the students on the patient’s story. Listen to the parents. Listen to
    the patient and do a thorough assessment. Don’t get sidetracked by the
    tests and the laboratories.

    What career highlights are you most
    proud of?

    I’ve been
    chief of pediatric education for several years at New York Medical
    College. I have been program director for the residency training and
    have received several federal grants for training residents in primary
    care pediatrics. I have also been working with the Department of Health
    over the past two decades on trying to get the immunization levels up,
    and we are also promoting healthy eating habits for children right from
    the newborn stage. We try to focus the energies of the department in
    areas that affect our community.

    What do you like to do when you’re
    not working?


    Interacting with my two grandkids is my current hobby. I am trying to
    encourage my granddaughter to be a scientist, but she wants to be a rock
    star.

    What do
    you love about working with children? The trust and hope that they bring
    with them. They inspire a sense of confidence. I feel like I have to do
    my best for them. They are so vulnerable—it would be a shame not to
    give them my best.
    —Jean Halloran-Monaco

    DR. STEPHEN ARPADI, GENERAL PEDIATRICIAN 

    When did you begin working with children with HIV and AIDS?

    I came to New York in
    1982. One of the things that was unfolding in northern Manhattan was the
    AIDS epidemic, which sort of erupted. I saw kids in my practice with
    HIV/AIDS, and realized that these children needed specialized care.

    What
    was different about the care you offered children with HIV/AIDS?

    The prior model was: the
    mom had HIV, so she’d see one doctor, and the child would see me, an
    infectious disease doctor, or immunologist.

    But when they had crises the doctors weren’t
    going to be available on the day-to-day basis. What they needed was a
    medical home, and someone to help them navigate through the different
    doctors. So we created a center for comprehensive care at St. Luke’s
    Hospital for children and families with HIV or AIDS.

    What were some of the challenges you faced?

    There really wasn’t much we
    could do to treat HIV in the initial years. It was a hopeless disease
    in that you knew it would end in death. My patients needed support
    managing through the end of their days.

    What’s most rewarding about
    your work now?


    People don’t die from HIV. Now we are able to treat people with HIV
    successfully, and either restore their good health or sustain their good
    health and get them well into adulthood and beyond. Now it’s not about
    supporting people as they’re dying, but supporting people as they’re
    living with HIV and making life decisions.

    When was the turning point
    in finding effective treatment for HIV and AIDS?

    1996. We started using a
    combination of drugs—people were calling these combinations
    “cocktails”—that could suppress the virus and restore people to good
    health, especially children. The other part of the story is, starting in
    1994, we developed the ability to reduce the transmission of HIV from
    mother to baby by conducting pre-natal testing, and offering these women
    treatment with HIV medication for six weeks.

    Now we’ve come really close
    to eliminating the transmission of HIV from mother to baby in the
    United States. It’s a rare event in the U.S., less than 2 percent.

    That must have drastically affected your own patient population.

    Most of my patients now
    are adolescents or young adults; my youngest patients are 9 or 10. Some
    patients have gone on to be parents. Some are going off to college—we’re
    having conversations about where to keep medication in the dorm room,
    and how to handle disclosure. So, as this has diminished in the U.S.,
    there’s been increasing awareness of the inequity of having effective
    treatments here, and the fact that in the parts of the world where 90
    percent of HIV/AIDS cases are occurring, those treatments are not
    available.

    How have you been involved in addressing that
    inequity?

    I have
    been providing technical support to health care providers in sub-Saharan
    Africa, in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. I work with people weekly
    through phone calls and email, and I am physically in the countries
    every three months or so for two to three weeks at a time. I am not
    directly providing the care, but rather moving information to my
    counterparts so that they can do the treatment.

    —Marisa Suescun

    Docs Who Rock

    Our 2009 Guide To Some Of The City’s Top Pediatricians and Pediatric Specialists

    By New York Family

    All parents hope their kids are healthy enough never to need more than an annual checkup, but when they’re not, it’s great to know that our city is home to some of the world’s finest doctors. New York Family worked with consumer health research firm Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. to present our fourth annual list of Manhattan’s top-ranked pediatricians and pediatric specialists. We also spoke with eight of these doctors, who represent a range of pediatric specialties and medical centers. They shared with us the joys and challenges of their profession, as well as their thoughts on where their fields are headed. We found their insight especially meaningful now, given the many debates surrounding the future of our nation’s healthcare system. What follows is a celebration of all the work they do to keep our city kids healthy and strong.

    DR. BONITA FRANKLIN, GENERAL PEDIATRICIAN AND PEDIATRIC ENDOCRINOLOGIST 

    How did you decide to go into medicine?

    The story for me really started with my love for science. I was one of those kids who was fascinated by the natural world—I loved collecting rocks, looking at stars and figuring out what’s behind all the natural beauty of the universe. I was always attracted to the idea of using science to help people.

    What drew you to pediatrics? Pediatrics is fascinating because it’s
    medicine for the time in life when people are changing the most rapidly.
    I find it fascinating to see how the mind develops, how the physical
    capabilities develop, and all of the changes that happen. It’s a time
    when people can change for the better and a time when there’s a lot of
    joy.

    You have a private practice in pediatrics, but you also
    specialize in pediatric endocrinology, correct?

    I have a private practice
    office in Tribeca where I see pediatric patients from birth to age 21.
    Then I have a position at NYU in the division of pediatric
    endocrinology.

    What is a typical day like for you?

    If the weather is good, a
    typical day will start out with a bike ride up the East River bike path,
    from where I live to the hospital. I take care of business over there,
    which involves teaching, attending in the clinic, lecturing, then
    usually around lunch time I go down to the office and have an afternoon
    of patient care.

    What is the most gratifying part of your
    job?

    Bittersweet
    though it is, I enjoy doing that pre-college appointment—when a child
    that I’ve known for years is going off to a new exciting time in their
    life. I feel very gratified when I know that over the years I have built
    a relationship with a child who is now a young adult, and they’re going
    off and they’re going to do well.

    What is next for you in terms of
    the work that you’re doing?

    Every day I have discussions with parents in my office
    about vaccination. The prevention of diseases has been one of the most
    successful public health achievements in the last 50 years, so I am
    going to continue to advocate strongly for vaccinations, and help allay
    the unfounded fears that people bring to this topic.
    —Krista Keyes

    DR. HOWARD
    GINSBURG,
    PEDIATRIC SURGEON

    Tell
    us a little bit about your path to becoming a surgeon.

    I was an undergraduate at
    Brown and went to medical school at the University of Cincinnati. That
    was followed by my surgical residency at NYU, two years of a pediatric
    surgery fellowship at Columbia-Presbyterian, and another fellowship at
    Massachusetts General Hospital. Then I returned to NYU. At that time,
    there was no established pediatric surgical unit, so we built one— and
    that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.

    What are the
    pros and cons of working as a pediatric surgeon?

    The clinical processes that
    you see are unbelievably interesting—children born without their
    esophagus attached, or with their intestines outside their body. But the
    gratifying part is that you can fix these things, you can take these
    babies that are three, four, five pounds to the operating room and then
    watch them grow up and be invited to their confirmations and bar
    mitzvahs and their weddings and be part of their families. The cons are
    the failures. Probably one of the worst experiences in my whole career
    was when I was working on a child who had leukemia, who was about the
    same age as my older son—about 3 at the time. He eventually died and I
    sat by

    his bedside all night.
    At that time, I said to myself, “Can I do this?”

    What is a typical day like for you?

    I get up at 4:35
    every morning and I’m usually in the office by 5:45. I take care of all
    the administrative work I need to do and then I usually make rounds with
    the residents at around 7. Then we’re off to the OR at 7:30 and we work
    in the operating room until we’re finished, which is sometimes not
    until 7 at night. There’s one day a week I see patients and don’t go
    into the operating room. There’s one day a week where I spend my day at
    Bellevue and do all the pediatric surgery at Bellevue as well. And then
    of course there are emergencies. Another challenge is that there aren’t a
    lot of pediatric surgeons. There have been many years where I’ve been
    the only pediatric surgeon here, and I’m on call every night, 365 days a
    year.

    What challenges ahead do you see for medicine?

    The training of future
    doctors is so different than it used to be. The hours that the residents
    are allowed to do in the hospitals now are limited by laws; they are
    allowed to be in the hospital a maximum of 80 hours a week. That’s a
    challenge to be able to adequately train those residents in surgery,
    because surgical residents learn by being in the operating room and
    actually scrubbing in on cases, and if their hours in the hospital are
    limited, they don’t get that experience they used to get. So the
    challenge is to be able to provide enough training so that we can create
    talented surgeons for the future. I also think the cost of medicine is
    an immense challenge. The amount of paperwork and red tape that we have
    to go through to take care of patients is staggering. It takes an
    enormous amount of time and manpower that could be better used taking
    care of patients. —Robina Josephine Khalid

    DR. DARRYL DE VIVO, PEDIATRIC NEUROLOGIST

    What inspired you to become a doctor?

    Probably it was my
    experience as a child with our family practitioner, who was a very
    remarkable person. He would look after our needs and then he might sit
    and have a cup of coffee with my parents. He was part of the family.
    That’s something we’ve lost these days.

    How did you choose pediatric
    neurology as your specialty?

    I was a pre-medical student but I didn’t understand
    much about being a doctor, until my youngest brother was struck down by a
    complication of infectious mononucleosis and developed paralysis below
    his chest. He was 15. I would come down every weekend from Amherst
    College to be with him in the hospital. My brother had the benefit of
    being cared for by Dr. Phillip Dodge, who was building a pediatric
    neurology service at Massachusetts General Hospital. I guess Dr. Dodge
    took a liking to me, probably because my brother said I was a nice guy
    [laughs]. So in my summers, after my brother recovered, I worked for Dr.
    Dodge.

    Are there any career highlights that stand
    out in your mind?

    At Washington University we had an epidemic of Reye’s
    Syndrome, a life-threatening disease that would occur [alongside] a
    viral infection. Here’s a healthy child who gets the flu, and a week
    later that child might be dead. Can you imagine how devastating that is
    to a parent? Roughly 90 percent of children who developed Reye’s
    Syndrome would die. We worked very hard and turned that figure entirely
    around. Instead of 90 percent dying, we saved 90 percent.
    Only later did people realize that what was causing this condition was
    aspirin.

    So
    when you’re not curing diseases, what’s a typical day like?

    [Laughs] Well, I see
    patients. We see children with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, behavioral
    disturbances from ADHD to autism. Occasionally, we see a child with a
    brain tumor or meningitis or [traumatic] brain injury. We’re very
    involved in trying to find a cure for spinal muscular atrophy. I think
    that can happen, hopefully, within the next several years.

    Do you have children? If
    so, what effect have they had on your career?

    I have three [grown]
    daughters. I probably learned most of my pediatrics at home. It’s an
    abstraction when you’re a pediatrician without children. When you have
    your own, you start seeing it from the parents’ point of view.

    What challenges do you see ahead for your field?

    We should be focusing on
    [prevention]. Our society has largely failed to pay attention to social
    factors that contribute to disease. I think this whole debate about
    healthcare is very threatening. I’m aware that more needs to be done.
    The United States offers the best healthcare in the world, but it isn’t
    available to every [person]. We don’t want to throw out the baby with
    the bathwater; we want to maintain the best care in the world while
    increasing its availability. That’s going to take serious thinking by
    informed people.

    —Lisa
    Rogal

    DR.
    DONNA MOREAU, 
    PEDIATRIC
    AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRIST

    How do you
    approach the practice of psychiatry?

    My approach is always to
    look at the whole person and look at a person’s environment and social
    circumstances.

    I
    understand the importance of medication, but I’m not quick to jump to
    medications. I like to get a complete understanding of the person. It’s
    more of an inside-oriented, exploratory therapy using some cognitive
    behavioral and interpersonal psychotherapy techniques.

    What’s your area of expertise?

    Anxiety and depression,
    including bipolar disorder. But I’ve worked with lots of patients with
    eating disorders and other types of anxiety disorders.

    What do
    you like about practicing in this city?

    I like kids from this area. Kids from the city tend
    to be exciting. They’re fairly sophisticated and streetwise, and I enjoy
    that.

    Are there
    specific issues that adolescents are more likely to face living in the
    city? Yes. Unfortunately, drug use is widespread, but I think that it’s
    more prevalent in New York and other large cities. Kids are starting
    sexual relationships at much younger ages than they used to. The city
    offers so much in terms of culture and exposure to things, but what
    comes with that is exposure to things at an age where it’s hard to
    handle that.

    What has been a career highlight for you?

    There was one young boy
    that I worked with for several years, who was a super-bright kid, but
    was eccentric and isolated. I knew that he was smarter than most of the
    kids around him and he saw the world in a way that kids his age
    wouldn’t. That isolated him from friendships, and he was retreating into
    a fantasy world because of that. I got into that world with him and helped him see what he was getting out of it and gave him a
    sense that as he got older, he would be able to find that in work and in
    relationships. To see him really understand that and move to a place
    where he started having friendships was really exciting for me.

    Would
    you say that children are being overmedicated today?

    Yes. I see some adolescents
    on three, four, or five medications. Number one, I think they’ve been
    misdiagnosed—I don’t think they really are bipolar. And number two,
    they’re taking medications that are serious, that have significant side
    effects, and that are just masking things, not treating anything. This
    is not to say that there’s no place for medication, but I think that the
    diagnosis of bipolar disorder is grossly overused, and one of the
    primary treatments of bipolar disorder is medication, so I think that
    there are kids who are being overmedicated, and it’s tragic.

    Do you
    see any challenges for your field ahead?

    I think that psychiatry has always been
    considered a stepchild of medicine, and that somehow psychiatry wasn’t
    real medicine.

    In
    an effort to change that opinion, I think psychiatry has gone too far
    into a medical model and has lost a lot of what I think is special about
    psychiatry, which is looking at a whole person and understanding a
    person’s psychology and their emotion. Many psychiatrists are moving
    towards treatment options that are basically pharmacological, which I
    think is a mistake.
    —Megan Maxson

    DR. MORTON BORG, PEDIATRIC CARDIOLOGIST

    What
    drew you to medicine, and what do you like about working with children?

    In high school, science
    always interested me, and I worked at camps with children. Upon entering
    college, I decided to follow medicine, and by senior year wanted to
    specialize in pediatrics. With kids you can make them laugh and change a
    cry into a smile. Also, adult cardiology is almost routine—adults
    undergo heart attacks and irregularities of the heartbeat, but when
    you’re dealing with kids there is a wide range of abnormalities that can
    occur, and you have to sit and figure it out.

    What is a typical day like for you?

    My mornings begin with
    going around the pediatric areas to see if there are any questions or
    problems. Next, I visit our newborn intensive unit, because even the
    mildest types of problems can cause significant difficulties with
    premature babies, especially if they’re on respirators. Then, I head
    over to our outpatient facility where I spend about seven hours seeing
    patients. The types of issues and diagnoses vary in the course of the
    day.

    What is the most challenging part of your
    job?

    Trying
    to convey the information to the parents in a non-threatening way while
    remaining informative, and comforting the family. Not every parent is
    going to take the information the same way; some break down right away
    because they can’t believe that their child is sick. The challenging
    part is saying the right words to the parents to get them through the
    initial shock and placing the child on the proper therapy.

    What
    career highlight are you most proud of?

    At Beth Israel we used to have a residency training
    program and one of my career highlights has been receiving the
    outstanding teacher award from the residents several times.

    Right now there’s a lot of talk about health
    care reform—if there was one thing you could change about the country’s
    health care system, what would it be?

    The child health care and
    the insurance coverage of child health care is actually pretty good,
    because if the families cannot afford the treatments, they can get the
    Medicaid or other insurances for their kids. I’ve not had any children
    who were unable to get coverage. At Beth Israel we place kids into our
    teaching care program where they receive free care.
    —Theodora Guliadis

    DR. NANCY A.
    KERNAN, 
    PEDIATRIC ONCOLOGIST

    Tell us about your path to becoming a doctor.

    For
    college, I went to Wheaton in Norton, MA, and I intended to be a math
    teacher for 10- to 12-year-olds. I always loved working with kids. At
    Wheaton, I took a mandatory biology course and fell in love. I saw
    medicine as a chance to combine my loves of children and teaching and my
    newfound love of bio and physiology. I went to med school at Cornell in
    New York, and during my clinical rotation, I developed an interest in
    hematology and oncology. I was in Washington, D.C., from 1978-1981
    working at Children’s Hospital, but I came back to New York to do my
    residency in general pediatrics, and I was offered a fellowship program
    at Sloan-Kettering in 1981.

    You’ve worked in
    hematology/oncology since the 1980s. What has it been like to see cancer
    treatment develop over the years?

    In 1981, stem cell and
    bonemarrow transplantation was in its infancy. There was a small team at
    Sloan- Kettering that was exploring the role of bone-marrow
    transplantation in the treatment of childhood leukemia and immune
    disorders. I became involved with starting a national marrow donor
    program, which has become international, to find bone-marrow donors for
    patients who don’t have donors in their family. I have been extremely
    lucky to have been in this specialty in the 1980s and ‘90s and into
    2000, because our success with treating children with pediatric cancers
    and specifically pediatric leukemias has been enormous.

    When I started, about 20
    percent of kids with leukemia survived, and now about 80 percent survive
    and do well. It’s been extraordinarily rewarding. The downside is we’re
    not successful with everyone. The upside is that when we win, it’s a
    home-run.

    How do you see the field of medicine
    changing?

    The
    next generation of medical students are demanding a more balanced life.
    Medicine is a wonderful career but one has to pay attention to doing it
    in a more balanced way. I think it’s possible.

    Do you have kids? If so, how have they impacted your career as a
    pediatrician?

    My daughter Kate is 12. She just started sixth grade at the
    Convent of the Sacred Heart, the same school my sisters and I went to.
    When you see people who have such challenges on a regular basis, it
    makes you treasure your child’s health and well-being a touch more. I
    can also appreciate how difficult it is for the parents I work with to
    get children to do what they want them to do, like change their
    dressings and take their medicine.
    —Elizabeth Zelma

    DR. SARLA INAMDAR, GENERAL PEDIATRICIAN 

    What drew you to medicine? Did you always want to be a doctor?

    I’ve always wanted to be a
    professional, and growing up in India there were two professions that
    were friendly to women: medicine and law. Even though there were
    limited opportunities for higher education for women, I was drawn to
    medicine as early as elementary school. In fact, in my family, I stuck
    my neck out saying I wanted to study further, and I got my way.

    Tell us
    about your path to becoming a doctor.

    I studied in India, in what is now Mumbai. After
    graduation I came to the U.S. and did two years at New York Medical
    College’s residency program and the affiliated hospital’s training
    program. In ‘72, I joined the faculty at New York Medical College and
    have been with them since.

    Tell me about your
    specialty. How did you choose it?

    I developed an interest in
    pediatric rheumatological disorders, which means I deal with the
    management of children with chronic illnesses. When I first came here,
    pediatric rheumatology was a very young field. I saw the need for it
    because these children were being lost in the shuffle—they needed
    someone to anchor their care and carry them year-to-year. Many of my
    kids have now gone to college. They have married or settled down, and I
    am still in touch with them.

    What is your favorite
    part of your job?

    Besides taking care of patients, I really enjoy
    teaching. In this current era of technology, I am really trying to focus
    the students on the patient’s story. Listen to the parents. Listen to
    the patient and do a thorough assessment. Don’t get sidetracked by the
    tests and the laboratories.

    What career highlights are you most
    proud of?

    I’ve been
    chief of pediatric education for several years at New York Medical
    College. I have been program director for the residency training and
    have received several federal grants for training residents in primary
    care pediatrics. I have also been working with the Department of Health
    over the past two decades on trying to get the immunization levels up,
    and we are also promoting healthy eating habits for children right from
    the newborn stage. We try to focus the energies of the department in
    areas that affect our community.

    What do you like to do when you’re
    not working?


    Interacting with my two grandkids is my current hobby. I am trying to
    encourage my granddaughter to be a scientist, but she wants to be a rock
    star.

    What do
    you love about working with children? The trust and hope that they bring
    with them. They inspire a sense of confidence. I feel like I have to do
    my best for them. They are so vulnerable—it would be a shame not to
    give them my best.
    —Jean Halloran-Monaco

    DR. STEPHEN ARPADI, GENERAL PEDIATRICIAN 

    When did you begin working with children with HIV and AIDS?

    I came to New York in
    1982. One of the things that was unfolding in northern Manhattan was the
    AIDS epidemic, which sort of erupted. I saw kids in my practice with
    HIV/AIDS, and realized that these children needed specialized care.

    What
    was different about the care you offered children with HIV/AIDS?

    The prior model was: the
    mom had HIV, so she’d see one doctor, and the child would see me, an
    infectious disease doctor, or immunologist.

    But when they had crises the doctors weren’t
    going to be available on the day-to-day basis. What they needed was a
    medical home, and someone to help them navigate through the different
    doctors. So we created a center for comprehensive care at St. Luke’s
    Hospital for children and families with HIV or AIDS.

    What were some of the challenges you faced?

    There really wasn’t much we
    could do to treat HIV in the initial years. It was a hopeless disease
    in that you knew it would end in death. My patients needed support
    managing through the end of their days.

    What’s most rewarding about
    your work now?


    People don’t die from HIV. Now we are able to treat people with HIV
    successfully, and either restore their good health or sustain their good
    health and get them well into adulthood and beyond. Now it’s not about
    supporting people as they’re dying, but supporting people as they’re
    living with HIV and making life decisions.

    When was the turning point
    in finding effective treatment for HIV and AIDS?

    1996. We started using a
    combination of drugs—people were calling these combinations
    “cocktails”—that could suppress the virus and restore people to good
    health, especially children. The other part of the story is, starting in
    1994, we developed the ability to reduce the transmission of HIV from
    mother to baby by conducting pre-natal testing, and offering these women
    treatment with HIV medication for six weeks.

    Now we’ve come really close
    to eliminating the transmission of HIV from mother to baby in the
    United States. It’s a rare event in the U.S., less than 2 percent.

    That must have drastically affected your own patient population.

    Most of my patients now
    are adolescents or young adults; my youngest patients are 9 or 10. Some
    patients have gone on to be parents. Some are going off to college—we’re
    having conversations about where to keep medication in the dorm room,
    and how to handle disclosure. So, as this has diminished in the U.S.,
    there’s been increasing awareness of the inequity of having effective
    treatments here, and the fact that in the parts of the world where 90
    percent of HIV/AIDS cases are occurring, those treatments are not
    available.

    How have you been involved in addressing that
    inequity?

    I have
    been providing technical support to health care providers in sub-Saharan
    Africa, in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. I work with people weekly
    through phone calls and email, and I am physically in the countries
    every three months or so for two to three weeks at a time. I am not
    directly providing the care, but rather moving information to my
    counterparts so that they can do the treatment.

    —Marisa Suescun

  • Calendar

    Little Makers: Chill Out With A Fizzy Drink At The New York Hall of Science

    Want to know the secrets behind citrus fruits? Come to the New York Hall of  Science on Friday, August 22nd... [more]

    Movie: “The Wizard of Oz” In Hudson River Park

    Come to Hudson River Park's Pier 46 on Friday, August 22nd, at 8:30pm to watch 1939's The Wizard of Oz as the sun... [more]

    Symbolic Selfies At The Children’s Museum of the Arts

    For the young artist in your life, come to the Children's Museum of the Arts on Friday, August 22nd between... [more]

    Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day At USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center

    Tennis fans and otherwise will have a blast at the Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day in Flushing Meadows, Corona Park! With... [more]

    Blues BBQ At Hudson River Park

    Combine your family’s love of Blues and BBQ! Hudson River Park’s Pier 84 is hosting this scrumptious festival with America’s... [more]

    Sprinkler Day At Asphalt Green

    Get some relief from the summer heat at Asphalt Green's Sprinkler Day on Saturday, August 23rd.  Starting at 10:30 a.m., your kids... [more]

    Brighton Jubilee Festival At Brighton Beach

    Come to the annual Brighton Jubilee Festival on Sunday, August 24th to experience multiple entertainment stages, shopping booths, kiddie rides,... [more]

    NYC Volkswagen Traffic Jam At Governors Island

    If your little ones can’t get enough of cars, take them to see this classic VW show! The NYC Volkswagen Traffic... [more]

    August Hip Tot Family Day In Greenwood Park

    Greenwood Park is hosting an end-of-summer party for its monthly Hip Tot Family Day. There will be live music, crafts,... [more]

    Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs at American Museum of Natural History

    Take a walk back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the earth. In AMNH's latest exhibit, Pterosaurs: Flight in the... [more]

    Blue Man Group

    This literally blue trio combines theater, art, and technology into a fascinatingly original performance that’s hard to describe. It’s recommended... [more]

    Mamma Mia! on Broadway

    “Mamma Mia!” centers on a bride-to-be searching for her dad so he can walk her down the aisle. Set to... [more]

    Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs at American Museum of Natural History

    Take a walk back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the earth. In AMNH's latest exhibit, Pterosaurs: Flight in the... [more]

    The Lion King on Broadway

    This Disney movie has been a Broadway hit since it opened in 1997. Between the elaborate costumes, colorful makeup, comedy,... [more]

    Mamma Mia! on Broadway

    “Mamma Mia!” centers on a bride-to-be searching for her dad so he can walk her down the aisle. Set to... [more]

    Make Your Own Personalized Action Figure At The Children’s Museum of the Arts

    Kids love action figures, but what if they could have one that looked just like them? Come to the Children's... [more]

    Summer on the Hudson: Pier I Picture Show

    Each summer the Pier I Picture Show selects a theme for its outdoor movie series, and this summer it’s Riverside... [more]

    Wicked on Broadway

    The prequel to The Wizard of Oz, this popular show focuses on the history of the Wicked Witch of the West. Highly... [more]

    Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs at American Museum of Natural History

    Take a walk back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the earth. In AMNH's latest exhibit, Pterosaurs: Flight in the... [more]

    Aladdin on Broadway

    This classic Disney film's Broadway musical adaptation has received rave reviews and numerous Tony nominations. Featuring additional new songs and... [more]

    Blue Man Group

    This literally blue trio combines theater, art, and technology into a fascinatingly original performance that’s hard to describe. It’s recommended... [more]

  • Sign up here for the

    New York Family

    newsletters

    Given email address is already subscribed, thank you!
    Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.
    Please provide a valid email address.
    Thank you, your sign-up request was successful! Please check your e-mail inbox.
    Please complete the CAPTCHA.
    Please fill in the required fields.
  • Latest Issue
  • New York Family Guides