Our annual list of the Valley’s finest medical men and women — as chosen by their fellow M.D.s
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Wendy Parish, M.D.
The medical field has played a big role in Dr. Wendy Parish’s life ever since she was a little girl.
“My dad was a dermatologist — he’s retired now. When I was young, after work he would bring home interesting stories about his day,” she recalls. “It might be something relating to a mystery or problem-solving, like how he figured out what someone was allergic to that they were coming in contact with. As a child, that was what intrigued me about medicine – the mysteries and problem-solving.”
And even as a youngster growing up in Westchester County, she was drawn to math and science. “I remember when my mom read me the story of the scientist Edward Jenner and his development of the smallpox vaccine. I loved that story,” Dr. Parish recalls.
By the time she reached college, Dr. Parish was not only on track to become a physician, but was a serious language student, too. She created an independent major in Russian at Cornell University, while also following a premed program. “I’d taken Russian in high school and wanted to continue it without narrowing my studies down strictly to science and medicine,” Dr. Parish explains.
She even traveled to Russia as a student. “It was actually a great balance, taking Russian classes and premed at college. The Russian classes would have maybe 10 or 20 students in them, while it seemed like there were thousands in premed,” she recalls.
She went on to graduate from medical school at the SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, followed by an internal medicine internship at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, then a dermatology residency at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Dr. Parish specializes in dermatopathology, a subspecialty of dermatology and pathology in which skin diseases are studied at a microscopic level. “It’s a specialized area of medicine, in which you analyze skin specimens under a microscope in order to become expert in diagnosing them.” And with an estimated 1,500 or more different types of skin rashes and skin tumors, there’s plenty to study. Dr. Parish honed her skills even further with a fellowship in dermatopathology at the Medical University of South Carolina.
She’s now in solo practice in Kingston, and sees about 100 patients a week, treating everything from skin cancer and precancerous conditions, to rashes and acne, as well as removing warts, moles, and other growths.
“I like to be down-to-earth in my medical practice; to me it’s really important to talk with patients and bond with them,” she says.
During her free time, the single mom’s hobbies include gardening, Pilates, daily walking, and cross-country skiing. “I love to get outdoors and exercise as much as I can.”
She says of her medical practice: “People are grateful for all kinds of things. Some patients are immensely relieved when they get treated for skin cancer and it’s caught early, but the situation doesn’t have to be that dramatic. Sometimes it’s just having a facial mole removed that you were always self-conscious about, or treating a recurrent rash or acne that you’d put up with for a long time.
“One patient had a skin condition where she’d been sent to have nerve studies done and even went to a neurosurgeon. Nobody was exactly sure what it was. But when I examined her, within two seconds I could identify it, in this instance. That’s the payoff of the specialized training.”
Dr. Parish especially likes treating older patients. “To me, it’s very rewarding to give back to the elderly. Some of them aren’t always tended to socially, but when we start talking, they have such rich stories and life experiences to share. It’s a dear part of my practice.”
Next appointment: Dr. John Bosso, West Nyack