Dr. Cerrah Mendelsohn, Glenville Concierge Care
Where did you grow up and how did you get into medicine?
I am a native of San Francisco, California. The youngest of four children. Getting into medicine was not a direct route for me! Looking back, I was always drawn to science. Growing up in San Francisco, I was so fortunate to have incredible opportunities to visit and explore many of the top museums and aquariums; so many natural science opportunities were basically in my backyard. Our home was just a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean and Golden Gate Park. Daily walks through the park included gathering acorns or eucalyptus branches or filling up my bucket with seashells from Ocean Beach and getting frozen feet chasing the waves barefoot. Our family often went exploring the tidepools in Monterey Bay, to see the active seismograph along the San Andreas fault, or to walk amongst the giant Redwoods in Muir Valley.
In high school, I volunteered at the Steinhart Aquarium. Every weekend, I worked ‘behind the scenes’ with the marine biologists learning how to take care of the animals and their habitats – fish and reptiles. As I grew and matured, I began leading tours to the public, and earned the privilege of feeding the dolphins and would often don my scuba gear to scrub algae off the interior windows of the Roundabout shark tank.
As a high school Junior, I was accepted into the “Explainer” Program at the world-famous Exploratorium – a hands-on interactive Science Museum. As an “Explainer,” dressed in a bright orange jacket (reminiscent of the short white coat I would later wear as a medical student), I would facilitate the visitor’s hands-on experience exploring and interacting with the exhibits, answering their questions about the scientific themes behind the exhibits. It was interesting to help visitors see and discover the “science” in the everyday world around them.
Together, these experiences and conversations helped me to decide to pursue medicine, after a short detour with a corporate career in hospitality. Not only did these experiences eventually lead me to a career in science as a doctor, they also continue to influence the way I practice medicine. I prefer to engage my patients in the process of learning about their health and their body. I encourage questions so we can explore different ways to help them achieve their lifestyle goals.
Where did you study?
I attended college in Southern California at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I attended medical school at the University of California at Davis. I completed my residency in Manhattan at Weill Cornell Medicine and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Clinical rotations in medical school led me to choose a specialty in emergency medicine which allowed me to continue to practice medicine broadly and treat a diverse patient population.
Tell us about your family.
I met my husband, Scott during residency. Scott is a native New Yorker and works in the financial industry. We were married in 2006 and have been living in Larchmont since 2010 and we have two amazing children. Our daughter Ava is 15 and is on the spectrum or “neurodivergent.” She has autism spectrum disorder or ASD 1 – formerly called Aspergers as well as ADHD. Our son Noah is 12 and “neurotypical.” We also have two rescue dogs, Harlowe a golden/lab mix and our most recent addition was our pandemic puppy Finn – a 90lb Berne doodle.
Our family has been significantly affected by our daughter’s social challenges and learning differences which have been apparent since the age of two. She has had many years of therapies (speech, occupational therapy) and many rounds of educational and neuropsychological testing leading to her diagnosis.
Through her challenges, Ava has been determined to succeed and be her best self. Along the way, my husband and I have become advocates for children on the spectrum and with special needs and learning differences. It is surprising how many children and families are affected. Many children with ASD and learning differences are never diagnosed or are often misdiagnosed as they share common features with other diagnoses such as ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, OCD. Often, parents feel alone, or are ashamed that their child is not “perfect.” I hope that by being open about Ava’s journey and our struggles to best support her will help other parents and children. We try to learn as much as we can about what it is like to be “neurodivergent” and how the “neurodivergent” brain works and processes.
What brings you to Greenwich?
After training at two large Academic Medical Centers, I realized that I preferred to work in the community setting directly with my patients. I also wanted to work in a hospital that had up to date protocols, access to the latest equipment, procedures, and on-call specialists – allowing me to afford my patients the best quality care and access to lifesaving treatments in the moment. I joined Greenwich Hospital in 2007 and have worked as an Attending Physician in the Emergency Department for the past 16 years – taking care of the Greenwich community. I also worked closely with the specialists in the area.
In emergency medicine, I had to take a systems approach to a patient, working very quickly to determine which primary body system was involved in causing the emergent situation. I’m very good at seeing the whole picture and then quickly targeting the specific source of problems. The ability to step back and see the whole person before me, and to use my skills as an excellent diagnostician will serve my patients well. I’m thrilled to have more time with patients than I ever had in the emergency room, which will enhance my abilities as a Concierge practitioner to explore a patient’s health and well-being both holistically and specifically.
What does your day-to-day look like? Are you doing rounds at the hospital as well as treating your patients at Glenville?
Every day I begin by checking in on my patients that are in the hospital, reviewing their results and following up on their progress, working together with the inpatient hospitalists and at times will visit a patient in the hospital based on their needs. A typical day is filled with office visits, otherwise I am evaluating patients in the office; performing complete physical exams, pre-operative exams and house calls.