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Women in Aesthetics

Women in aesthetics: Doris Day, MD - The great communicator

Article-Women in aesthetics: Doris Day, MD - The great communicator

Women in aesthetics: Doris Day, MD - The great communicator
Doris Day, MD, is a well-known name in aesthetic circles, and not because she shares a name with the beloved late actress. Dr. Day, a New York City-based dermatologist, has become an aesthetic celebrity in her own right, skillfully using communication channels to spread the word about skin health and beauty.

Doris Day, MD, is a well-known name in aesthetic circles, and not because she shares a name with the beloved late actress. Dr. Day, a New York City-based dermatologist, has become an aesthetic celebrity in her own right, skillfully using communication channels to spread the word about skin health and beauty.

Dr. Day communicates daily with patients in her busy private practice. She reaches out to the general public as a medical advisory board member for the Dr. Oz Show and offers health information and advice bi-weekly on Doctor Radio. In fact, Dr. Day is no stranger to guest appearances as a beauty and health expert in the mainstream media, with appearances on Good Morning America, Live with Kelly and Ryan, The View, 20/20, CNN, the Today Show and many other popular programs.

She is a freelance medical journalist and- author of three consumer books. Moreover, journalists writing for major women’s magazines, including Vogue, Allure and Glamour, often turn to Dr. Day for quotes. She has networked with peers as a board member of the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery, she chairs several committees and teaches colleagues as a sought-after conference speaker and more.

“For me, it is all about communication. I was an English major in college, got a master’s in medical reporting then went to medical school. I like getting the scoop and reporting. I like hearing people’s stories and sharing the pearls of their stories,” Dr. Day says. “I’m passionate about educating the public and my peers by trying to simply be informative without having an agenda. It is sometimes a fine line to walk.”

Driven by passion and a role model

According to Dr. Day, being a doctor isn’t really a job, it is a calling and a lifestyle.

“It is part of your being. It is something that we accept, and I am grateful for it. It is both an art and a science. You have to hone both skills if you are going to stay current and relevant, and if you are going to make a difference in the lives of your patients,” Dr. Day says.

“My dad, until the day he died, continued to learn, teach and aspire to be better. That was inspiring to me. I get a high from learning and, after so many years of studying, I find that I’m able to learn faster and retain information better. When I can share what I know with somebody else, that makes me even happier.”

Dr. Day’s dad, Mansoor Day, MD, was an anesthesiologist who was really much more.

“I would joke that I was his youngest apprentice. I used to traipse around after him in the hospital when I was a kid, we’d go see patients together or I’d hang out at the nurses’ station while he made his rounds. When I was in high school, I helped my mom do his scheduling and billing,” she says.

Dr. Mansoor Day would talk with his daughter about being a doctor. Among his words of wisdom: “textbooks are somebody’s idea and what they knew, but it isn’t the only thing you need to know. One doesn’t treat patients by a textbook. Doctors have to know what’s in them, but also listen to the patient.” And patients, he’d say, “have to trust and have faith in the doctor.”

Dr. Day’s father was an out-of-the-box thinker. He’d hypnotize patients before giving them anesthesia if they were anxious about their surgery. Those patients, Dr. Day says, didn’t need antiemetic drugs and tended to do really well after surgery.

“In the end, they would select my dad before they selected a surgeon. He had such a way of communicating with and reaching his patients,” she says. “I got this beautiful voice message from my dad about a year before he passed saying, ‘I’m proud of you. Don’t go too fast, don’t go too slow, just keep keeping your name as good as it is now. Enjoy your life. I love you.’ I listen to that message often and love that I have that reminder to keep things real.”

No substitute for hard work

Dr. Day’s 20 years in practice have evolved in ways that she never expected.

“I had no idea what was really possible. My goal was always to be a great doctor and always strive to be whatever that was, which means you can never truly attain it. It is always a work in progress,” she says.

She honed her skills working three jobs. She was full-time in the dermatology clinic at NYU’s Bellevue Hospital, part-time at the NYU student health center and part-time building her private practice.

“I opened my private practice the day after I graduated from residency. I didn’t have very many patients since I was starting from scratch,” Dr. Day says. “I had a part-time secretary and if I saw five patients in a day, I was like ‘Yes!’”

Dr. Day built her patient base one referral at a time. She joined the University Physicians Network at NYU and seized the opportunity to do skin cancer screenings around the City at corporate events. When needed, she’d refer people to their own dermatologists. If they didn’t have one, Dr. Day would offer her card.

Patients from those events soon snow-balled, along with graduates from the Student Health Center who wanted to continue their care with Dr. Day.

Learning by doing; Then delegating

The next step was to build out a bigger office space in New York City, where space is at a premium. Luckily, Dr. Day didn’t like space-hogging paper charts. She was one of the early adopters of the electronic medical record (EMR).

“As EMRs got better, I got better with them. I initially set up my own intranet and trouble-shooted my own servers because there really weren’t any IT people that could help, so you had to do it yourself if you wanted it,” she says. “As I grew, the systems grew and now I have a good IT team helping me with managing my system.”

In practice

Dr. Day focuses on medical and aesthetic dermatology and has from the start. She says the two subspecialties work hand in hand. Appearance is an issue for most dermatology patients, whether they have acne or wrinkles, Dr. Day says.

“It is rewarding and helpful to be able to address all patients’ needs, from skincare to medications to aesthetics,” according to Dr. Day. “As doctors we want our patients not just to look better but to be better.”

Sound advice

Dr. Day says one of the things she did right was not separating work and life.

“For me, having a family was a priority. I got married while in med school. I’m married 30 years now and am happy to say I’m still happy. I had two kids, my first in med school and my second after my internship at Bellevue. I think it is really important for people to consider not putting their lives on hold to pursue their careers. You can have both, but you have to create the support systems,” she says.

Dr. Day says her goal is to live the life that she’d want to live over and over again the same way.

Next on her agenda is a dermatology show, early episodes of which are on YouTube. It is a roundtable-style show that Dr. Day and her top female dermatologist colleagues: Ruth Tedaldi, MD; Ava Shamban,MD; Jeanine Downey, MD; and Sabrina Fabi, MD, have created called The GIST. The show promises doctors’ behind-the-scenes opinions and advice, with no filters. Episodes cover hot topics like having too many cosmetic procedures to the point of looking fake and unrecognizable.

She is also working on a beauty travel show, exploring beauty across the world and what it means for people at home, products and treatments that work and the scams they should avoid. She is expecting to start production this year.

“I have more ideas for education, sharing stories and helping people understand that being a board certified physician has meaning and value – that training does matter. Education matters. Board certification matters and seeing a properly trained physician is essential to minimize risk and to optimize outcomes,” Dr. Day says.

Good to know: Fast facts about Dr. Doris Day

Q: What are your favorite songs?

Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven and Aerosmith’s Dream On

Q: What is your favorite treatment or procedure to perform, and why?

Still the neuromodulator because I think it is the most reliable, safest and most powerful rejuvenator that we have.

Q: What’s your favorite movie?

My Cousin Vinny

Q: What do you think is the greatest medical invention of all time?

Anesthesia (also the worst, when abused.)

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A vet. I love all animals.

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