Instead, during her adolescence, Dr. Siperstein focused on another passion: art. She even created a business selling her artwork during her senior year of high school. But, her love of math and science ultimately led her to Yale University School of Medicine where she pursued a career path that would allow her to conduct scientific research.
“I was working long hours in a lab with animals, and I felt like something was missing,” Dr. Siperstein shared. “I realized that in order to feel fulfilled, I would have to find a way to combine my passion for science with my passion for art. I also realized I wanted to work with people – to help them directly.”
These realizations led Dr. Siperstein to dermatology. “It gave me the chance to work with families and perform procedures. A few of my patients then begged me to treat them with cosmetic procedures; that is how I found my forever specialty.”
“I am so grateful I found my happy place in cosmetic dermatology,” she added. “Being able to sculpt my patients’ faces and offer them a more refreshed, youthful appearance is so rewarding. I cannot think of anything I would rather be doing.”
Building a Practice
After completing her dermatology residency at Rutgers University, Dr. Siperstein founded her practice as a solo practitioner with offices in Boca Raton and Boynton Beach, Fla. “I picked these locations because I have always wanted to live in a warm and sunny climate,” she said. “After all, who would not want to live in a vacation destination all year round?”
Of course, as a female business owner, Dr. Siperstein faced challenges. When she initially purchased land and built the offices that now house her practice, many patients asked if her father was a builder or if he was the doctor who founded the practice.
“It was as if they could not possibly imagine a young woman accomplishing these milestones herself,” Dr. Siperstein recalled. Professionals within the industry also treated her differently because she was a woman in a male-dominated field.
“A prominent company once advertised a ‘Center of Excellence’ in my area at a male colleague’s office,” she explained. “When I asked for information on how to apply so I could earn this designation for my practice, the company representative told me I was ‘too young and attractive to worry about things like that.’ Ironically, he thought he was paying me a compliment with his response.”
Although disappointing, these comments did not discourage her. Thanks to her tireless work, Dr. Siperstein’s practice has grown to include ten other board-certified dermatologists, four physician assistants, two nurse practitioners and four aestheticians, offering a variety of medical and cosmetic dermatological services.
Paying it Forward
Knowing how hard it can be as a woman in medicine, Dr. Siperstein recognizes the instrumental role she plays inspiring the next generation of female physicians. “One day, when walking through the hallway of one of my offices, I overheard a ten-year-old girl ask her mother if I had built my practice,” she shared. “Her mom said, ‘Yes, she did.’ The girl then said that she wants to be just like me when she grows up and own her own practice.
“I do not take my ability to mentor others for granted,” she added. “I feel a tremendous sense of obligation to pay it forward by mentoring young women with an interest in medicine or research.”
As doctor, business owner, wife and mother of two young children, Dr. Siperstein has her hands full. “It seems impossible to juggle it all at times,” she explained. “But, as they say, ‘it takes a village,’ and I have an army that supports me.”
How does she handle it? First, she accepts that striving for work-life balance is simply not always feasible for her. “Everyone talks about striving for a healthy worklife balance, but, when that is not achievable for me, I transition to more of a work-life integration,” she noted.
For example, when it comes to spending quality time with her children, Dr. Siperstein likes to schedule time in her calendar that is solely dedicated to her kids. “When I did not schedule time for them, I would often unintentionally overbook myself and agree to add on other commitments until there was not any time left for my children,” she explained. “I have also had my husband and kids travel with me to conferences, and then schedule downtime to enjoy the trip with them when I am not at the podium presenting my lectures.”
Dr. Siperstein has always had a strong passion for clinical research and is currently working on many studies concerning topics such as topical post-treatment masks to cool down the skin after procedures, safety with cannulas, neck treatments, atrophic and hypertrophic scar treatment, and much more.
As she looks to the future, Dr. Siperstein hopes to continue to be involved with clinical research. “We have so many questions that remain unanswered,” she said.
She also hopes to support education and training forums for the benefit of the next generation of aesthetic practitioners to increase the safety margins of the specialty, which she believes may be at risk due to the amount of untrained practitioners entering the aesthetic space. “A tremendous number of practitioners lack knowledge of anatomy and danger zones, and are all vying to perform procedures on unsuspecting patients,” Dr. Siperstein explained. “This will likely increase the incidence of side effects and possibly scare patients away from pursuing treatment.
To counteract this, she believes it is now more important than ever to share what she has learned through her education, training and 15 years of practice. “I have always believed in the vital role educational programs and initiatives play in guiding the next generation of aesthetic practitioners, and I will continue to volunteer my time, energy, experience, passion and knowledge to support such endeavors,” Dr. Siperstein added.