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Meet the Hudson Valley’s Talented Top Doctors in 2020

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Photo by John Halpern

Allow us to present more than 500 of the region’s premier physicians. Plus, medical care in the pandemic era — and how it will affect you.

For a complete list of this year’s top doctors, click here.

Photo courtesy of Montefiore Nyack Hospital

Cardiovascular Disease

How will COVID-19 affect the future of medicine?

“COVID-19 has crystallized and made clear what has been known for a while regarding inequities in medical care to the underserved, uninsured, and people of color. For a multitude of reasons, including higher propensity of ‘essential work,’ higher density housing, reduced medical access, and high preponderance of underlying risk factors, these communities were hard hit by COVID-19. This has motivated more discussion and hopefully action to bridge these gaps in healthcare that will have lasting effect. … Hopefully for the future we will be prepared to react in non-politicized uniformity to disease states/pandemics with a better approach.”
— Duane Bryan, MD;
Advanced Cardiovascular Care, West Nyack; Montefiore Nyack Hospital

Photo by Turnquist Collective

What preventative care should patients be sure not to skip during the COVID-19 pandemic?

In the realm of Cardiology, chest discomfort is a very common complaint which is often minimized by the patients. Stress testing or other forms of cardiac imaging to rule out a cardiac cause of chest discomfort should never be delayed.
— H. Louis Clinton, MD; Twin County Cardiology

Photo courtesy of Crystal Run Healthcare

Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism

How does COVID-19 affect the population you treat and what precautions do you recommend?

“Diabetes is a risk factor for COVID-19, so it is important that patients strictly adhere to CDC guidelines… even more seriously than the general public. In addition, it is important to do all you can to better control your blood sugar. It may not be the fact that you have diabetes that puts you at an increased risk for COVID-19, but rather your day-to-day blood sugar. …The more hours of the day that your blood sugar is at goal, the less likely you appear to have a complication from COVID-19.”
— Scott T. Hines, MD; Crystal Run Healthcare; Garnet Health Medical Center

Photo courtesy of Montefiore Nyack Hospital

Gastroenterology

How do you think COVID-19 will affect the future of medicine and of your specialty?

 I think we will always have heightened awareness and keep some form of extra protective efforts for both patients and care providers.  Our specialty is very procedure oriented and therefore higher level of PPE and protocols will remain indefinitely.  This is important to reassure patients and encourage them to keep up with important health screening tests such as colonoscopy.
— Vipul H. Shah; Digestive Disease Associates of Rockland; Good Samaritan Hospital and Montefiore Nyack Hospital

Photo courtesy of Montefiore St. Luke’s Hospital Cornwall

Hand Surgery

What is one question you wish patients would ask?

“With all of the tools that doctors have at their disposal, many patients think that staying well or getting better is a passive process completely dependent on the actions of the healthcare team. The reality is that for almost every medical and surgical condition, patient cooperation and collaboration is key to a good outcome. In addition to being compliant with the medical instructions that the doctor provides, I wish that patients would ask, ‘What else can I do to facilitate my recovery?’”
Gina C. Del Savio, MD; Crystal Run Healthcare; Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall

Photo courtesy of NewYork-Presbyterian

Internal Medicine

How will COVID-19 affect the future of medicine?

“This question touches upon many aspects in the future of medicine. First of all, this will not be the last pandemic we will see. Scientists have warned us that this pandemic happening was only a matter of time. I think it is important that we fortify our public and population health infrastructure to more effectively coordinate a response on a national and global level. As we can see from the varying infectivity rates across the country and varying measures in place (quarantine vs. no-quarantine, requiring masks vs. masks as optional) there needs to be a unified approach for the safety of us all.”
— William J. Higgins, MD
; New York Presbyterian Medical Group; NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital

Photo courtesy of Montefiore Nyack Hospital

Nephrology

How does COVID-19 affect the population you treat, and what precautions do you recommend they take? 

As a nephrologist, my main focus is on protecting our dialysis population. Dialysis patients face a dual threat from the pandemic.  First, renal failure is one of the prime underlying conditions that make patients more susceptible to severe illness. And second, dialysis treatments require thrice weekly visits to the dialysis center, where the patients remain vulnerable to infection. We protect these patients in a variety of ways. Dialysis centers have very robust protection protocols in place that usually exceed CDC recommendations. During the height of the pandemic, our dialysis unit looked like a sea of blue plastic. Everyone, from patients to doctors to nurses wore not only face coverings, but full protective gear to stop the spread of infection. But just as the pandemic is accelerating change in other spheres of activity, it is also altering provision of dialysis. One could suppose that dialysis is one treatment that cannot be done remotely, but that is not true. Home dialysis has been a great option for some patients for several years and is now gaining a whole new level of interest. The best way I can protect my dialysis patients is to keep them home and this is now becoming a focus of our work.
Michal J. Tracz MD; Rockland Renal Associates; Good Samaritan Hospital and Montefiore Nyack Hospital

 

Photo courtesy of Bon Secours Community Hospital

Neurological Surgery

How will COVID-19 affect the future of your specialty?

“The move to virtual patient/doctor visits is extremely important for our field. Even before COVID-19, patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury that has rendered them quadriplegic or paraplegic, and patients with Lou Gherig’s disease required a great deal of assistance to come to our office. For some of them, a visit to the doctor’s office was a full day’s ordeal for them and their families. Now, we can see them virtually and spend 20-30 minutes going over their care. This decreases stress on the patient and their family, and allows us to have a more productive visit.”
— Mill Etienne, MD
; New York Presbyterian Medical Group; NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital

Photo by John Halpern

Obstetrics & Gynecology

How does COVID-19 affect the population you treat, and what precautions do you recommend they take?

“One significant change that COVID-19 has caused for pregnant women and their families is modifications to their support system. Things like baby showers and help after delivery all occur in different ways now. Additionally, hospital policies have changed how many support people or visitors can be present during labor and delivery. I think it’s important for women to stay connected to their support system, especially post-partum, when there is an increased risk of depression. Even if it’s support offered from a distance or virtually, it’s beneficial.”
— Nicole Ceradini, MD; CareMount Medical; Vassar Brothers Medical Center and MidHudson Regional Hospital

Photo by Turnquist Collective

Orthopaedic Surgery

What are your recommendations for trustworthy online health resources?

“Patients should not try to self-diagnose using online resources. If you have a known medical issue, check out Medscape. This website provides excellent overviews of most conditions. For orthopedic joint replacement guidance, I can highly recommend my own personal website, www.yourorthomd.com. For a podcast on virology (with major recent focus on COVID-19) check out TWiV: This Week in Virology. This seems to provide some of the most fact-based information with minimal hype.”
— Christopher T. Gorczynski, MD; Columbia Memorial Bone and Joint Center; Columbia Memorial Hospital

Photo courtesy of Montefiore Nyack Hospital

What has been the most exciting development for your specialty in recent years?

Robotic surgery has revolutionized our ability to perform surgery with predictable precision.
— Barry S. Kraushaar, MD; Northeast Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine

Photo courtesy of Montefiore Nyack Hospital

Pain Medicine

What has been the most exciting development for your specialty in recent years?

Pain management has new innovative procedures helping [alleviate] patients’ pain without use of opioids
— Neil P. Patel MD; Spine Options; Montefiore Nyack Hospital

Photo by Turnquist Collective

Pediatrics

What preventative care should patients be sure not to skip during the COVID-19 pandemic?

“Keeping immunizations up to date, particularly for those 2 years old and younger, is of utmost importance as we strive to keep everyone healthy and avoid outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. Mental health issues should not be overlooked as many are struggling in dealing with this pandemic.”
—Arnel B. Hechanova, MD; Columbia Memorial Pediatrics; Columbia Memorial Hospital

Photo courtesy of Crystal Run Healthcare

How will COVID-19 affect the future of your specialty?

“Although none of us wish that this pandemic had occurred, it did bring some positive change in medicine. Personally, I saw that during our peak of infection rates, families were reluctant to leave their homes and therefore were limited in their access to healthcare. Since, Crystal Run Healthcare started using telehealth [as a means to give care], I became aggressive with its use so that my patients could still have access to me. I found it to be an amazing tool to counsel some of my teenage patients with weight loss regimens, meeting weekly with tremendous success. Telehealth is definitely here to stay and will affect the way we practice medicine in the future.”
— Lin-Lin Y. Remenar, MD
; Crystal Run Healthcare; Garnet Health Medical Center

Photo courtesy of CareMount Medical

Plastic Surgery

What is one question you wish patients would ask?

“How can I be my best surgical candidate?” It is wonderful when a patient comes into the office with an idea of what they want and/or need surgically. …I love to meet with patients to hear what their goals are when seeking to undergo cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery.
Karoline S. Nowillo, MD; CareMount Medical; Vassar Brothers Medical Center and MidHudson Regional Hospital

Photo courtesy of Crystal Run Healthcare

Pulmonary Disease

How will COVID-19 affect the future of medicine and your specialty?

“I think it will affect changes in our society in a positive way.  We might even see cold and flu seasons be minimized with less time out of work[places] and school than in the past because of the incorporation of preventative measures we have been using to avoid getting COVID-19. Additionally, we may be able to continue to see patients remotely with telehealth as we have seen what positive impact on healthcare this tool has had because of this pandemic.”
—Geoffrey E. Hulse, MD
; Crystal Run Healthcare; Garnet Health Medical Center and Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital

Photo by Tom Labarbera

Sleep Medicine

What has been the most exciting development in medicine in recent years?

“To be honest, despite being one of the most challenging times in our professional life as healthcare workers, I am very proud of what our organization (Garnet Health Doctors) was able to do during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York. In a way, those times were maybe some of the most exciting times in the history of modern medicine, especially when it comes to the intensive care unit. The selflessness and self-sacrifice displayed by all of our providers, starting from administration down to all physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses, residents, lab and radiology technicians, respiratory therapists, and environmental service workers, was inspiring in so many ways. There are true heroes who live among us and work among us. I am so proud to have been one of them during this humbling experience.”
— Samer El Zarif, MD; Garnet Health Doctors; Garnet Health Medical Center

Photo courtesy of CareMount Medical

Surgery

What preventative care should patients be sure not to skip during the COVID-19 pandemic?

“Cardiovascular disease and cancer are the greatest threats to adult health. While some cancer screenings were delayed during the pandemic, it’s imperative for patients to schedule their annual screenings, such as mammograms and colonoscopies. These screenings are lifesaving, and it is the shared responsibility of doctors and patients to ensure annual screenings are scheduled.”
— Lyda E. Rojas Carroll, MD; CareMount Medical; Putnam Hospital Center

What are your recommendations for trustworthy online health resources?

The Internet is full of advice, some of it right, some of it wrong. If something sounds too amazing to be true it probably isn’t. People should rely on websites associated with reputable institutions and avoid information garnered through social media.
— Lee S. Fleischer, MD; Highland Surgical Associates; Montefiore Nyack Hospital

Photo courtesy of Montefiore Nyack Hospital

Vascular Surgery

How does COVID-19 affect the population you treat?

“The Hudson Valley was one of the first regions affected by the COVID-19 virus. We unfortunately learned that one of the manifestations of COVID-19 is the propensity for the patient to develop blood clots in their blood vessels. As vascular surgeons we had to deal with patients that presented with threatened limbs because of clots in their arteries. After we learned about the risks of abnormal clotting with COVID-19, we developed protocols for placing COVID-19 patients on blood thinner regimens.”
Michael L. Schwartz, MD; Rockland Thoracic & Vascular Associates; Good Samaritan Hospital and Montefiore Nyack Hospital

 


How Top Doctors Are Selected

Castle Connolly Top Doctors is a healthcare research company and the official source for Top Doctors for the past 25 years. Castle Connolly’s established nomination survey, research, screening, and selection process, under the direction of an MD, involves many hundreds of thousands of physicians as well as academic medical centers, specialty hospitals, and regional and community hospitals all across the nation.

The online nominations process — located at www.castleconnolly.com/nominations — is open to all licensed physicians in America who are able to nominate physicians in any medical specialty and in any part of the country, as well as indicate whether the nominated physicians is, in their opinion, among the best in their region in their medical specialty or among the best in the nation in their medical specialty. Once nominated, Castle Connolly’s physician-led team of researchers follows a rigorous screening process to select top doctors on both the national and regional levels.

Careful screening of doctors’ educational and professional experience is essential before final selection is made among those physicians most highly regarded by their peers. The result — we identify the top doctors in America and provide you, the consumer, with detailed information about their education, training, and special expertise in our paperback guides, national and regional magazine “Top Doctors” features, and online directories.

Doctors do not and cannot pay to be selected and profiled as Castle Connolly Top Doctors.

Physicians selected for inclusion in this magazine’s “Top Doctors” feature also appear online at www.castleconnolly.com, or in conjunction with other Castle Connolly Top Doctors databases online on other sites and/or in print.

Castle Connolly was acquired by Everyday Health Group (EHG), one of the world’s most prominent digital healthcare companies, in late 2018. EHG, a recognized leader in patient and provider education, attracts an engaged audience of more than 53 million health consumers and more than 780,000 U.S. practicing physicians and clinicians to its premier health and wellness websites. EHG combines social-listening data and analytics expertise to deliver highly personalized healthcare consumer content and effective patient engagement solutions. EHG’s vision is to drive better clinical and health outcomes through decision-making informed by highly relevant data and analytics. Healthcare professionals and consumers are empowered with trusted content and services through the Everyday Health Group’s flagship brands, including Everyday Health®, What to Expect®, MedPage Today®, Health eCareers®, PRIME® Education, and our exclusive partnership with MayoClinic.org® and The Mayo Clinic Diet.®  Everyday Health Group is a division of J2 Global Inc. (NASDAQ: JCOM), and is headquartered in New York City.