In what part of town do you live?
I live on the Upper East Side, I think it’s also called Bayside historic district. It’s just north of Edgewater. It’s only accessible by one street, Northeast 69th street, and there’s a little park at the end and it’s on the bay. It’s not gated and I love it. As a New Yorker, it’s a great combination of all different ages living together.
When did you move to town and what brought you here?
Five years ago, after I graduated from residency. I am passionate about the fact that everybody deserves good medical care. I like working in cities because you have a lot of diversity and and different income classes. The patients that I’m treating in the ER are from all over the world and have all different medical conditions. It’s interesting for me as a physician and it allows me to hopefully give great care. And Miami reminded me of New York, as a coastal city with a foothold in Latin America.
Wanting to see lots of different medical issues makes the ER a good fit. Is that why you chose to be an ER doctor?
Yes. It really suited my personality. You have to be bit of a generalist, but what makes me different from a family practice or an internal medicine doctor is that I also have to be the expert in everybody’s emergencies. I’m at the hospital at 2:00 AM, so the ophthalmologist or surgeon doesn’t have to get every call. My job is to know when something is an emergency and then get those people involved.
Outside of your studies and practice, what has affected the way you approach being an ER doctor?
What really comes to mind is that my father passed away from esophageal cancer in 2007. This was right before I got into medical school. I was the helpless family member. It gave me a deep sense of empathy for how scary it is to be in a hospital and not know what’s going on and be sick and probably having the worst day of your life. and thinking – ‘What advice would you give?’ I carry that with me.
Is there any advice you would give yourself back in 2007?
I would tell myself, things have a funny way of working out and all of the worrying you put into a situation isn’t going to necessarily change it. There’s a point of diminishing returns on anxiety. Most things are going to work out for the best one way or the other, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time.
Out of curiosity. What was your master’s before you went to medicine?
Exercise physiology. I think there’s a lot more modalities than just medicine and surgery. I think exercise is a medicine. I think food, like your delicious fruits are a medicine. And your turmeric is literally now being marketed as a medicine. You can buy turmeric pills or you can drink a shot of your tonic. How many people that you see swear by your turmeric?
(A+W) We hear great stories every weekend.
(LA) That makes me excited. A lot of patients can seek out other modalities of care.
You are right on the front line of COVID. What do you want us to know?
There’s a lot of information out there and I understand sometimes it can be difficult to parse. In the world of medicine, 97% of doctors are vaccinated. This tells you something. What I see on the ground every day is that the vaccines work. Our hospitals are full right now in Florida. We don’t have room for heart attacks, or for strokes, or if you cut your finger off because the whole hospital is full of COVID. 99% of those people have not gotten vaccinated. mRNA technology is outstanding.
What else is mRNA going to be good for?
This is an exciting topic. This is not my area of expertise, but I can really geek out on this if you want. It’s been researched for 30-40 years. One application is cancer. Cancer is not universal, everyone doesn’t have the same cancer. The idea was we take a sample of your tumor and tailor the mRNA to attack it directly. There have been hundreds of studies proving the safety of this technology for 30 years. That’s what convinced me that it was safe to get the vaccine in the first round.
How do you decompress from work?
It depends on how bad or how good the day was really. If it’s bad, I need to phone a friend or a colleague and talk over the details of the difficult thing that had happened that day. The rest of the time, exercise, maybe a glass of wine, spending time with loved ones, and cherishing the fact that we’re alive.
How do you decompress from a good day?
That’s very interesting. I really cherish moments when we have a good day or when there’s a good win or a good save. You hold on to that tightly and relive it and share it with your colleagues, because you want to be able to repeat it.
How did you discover LNB Grovestand?
As COVID began, my boyfriend and I started looking for sources of produce. You were tagged in a Slow Food email. We were on full-scale lockdown, and you guys were doing something we felt was safe and thought it would be a nice excuse to get out of the house.
What do you pick up when you come by the Grovestand?
Well, the smoothies are the gateway drug. I thought I was going to only try it once, because it was a novelty and I wanted to support a local grower. Now, I think I’ve tried every product you’ve had at some point. And, I’ve discovered an addiction to jackfruit. I took your recommendation and froze the bag and let pieces thaw for 5 minutes and it’s so great!
What other restaurants or businesses in Miami do you love going to?
Oh my God. I love this section. I’ve gone back and read past issues. For acupuncture and chiropractic work, NSEV Healing. healing. They also do Chinese herbs. Then, there’s Focused Movement Academy.
For food and drinks: Sylvester, the bar, is really fun. Wabi-Sabi by Shuji doesn’t really have a good sign, but they exist and they’re always busy. They do an omakase that’s good. If you really want to splurge, one final recommendation is called Hiden. It’s a hole in the wall in a taco stand. You type in a code, the door slides open and it only seats 10 people.
What is Miami’s best kept secret?
I just think Miami’s wonderful. Yes, there’s problems, but there’s these delightful pockets of joy and fun and surprise and whimsy and things that make living here enjoyable for me.
What for you is a worthy splurge?
The easy thing to splurge on is my mom who’s in her late seventies. Whenever she flies to me or other relatives, I fly her first class. You could do two interviews on my mom. She’s a force of nature who has changed the world in a lot of wonderful ways.
Is there a pitch about something you’re working on that you would like to share?
Remember that people are trying their best and sometimes it doesn’t look like much to you, but maybe that’s their best that day. I’d rather live in a world where people are trying to be a little more generous to each other. I hope that we can come back to a place where we’re a little less divided where people are able to engage with people who have different opinions, not to change their mind, but as an opportunity to learn and grow.
It might sound contradictory after my headlong spiel about the vaccine, but I respect people’s freedom to have a choice, whether I agree with it or not. I used to remind my trainees, ‘they’re a really nice person and they just forgot how to be that person.’ They might’ve forgotten when they were a child, but somewhere in there is a nice person. I’d rather live in a world with a little bit of kindness and goodness in it.