About Me: We’re extremely proud of our doctors. They’re professionals on the cutting edge of their field, working closely with ZocDoc to improve the healthcare system in our country. In this ongoing feature, we’ll speak with one of our fabulous doctors or dentists to help you get acquainted with what ZocDoc has to offer. Today we speak with Dr. Dana Jane Saltzman.
Hi, Dr. Saltzman. How did you get started in medicine? Well, I actually used to work in the music industry, doing everything – promotion, publicity, management, and so on. But then I had my daughter when I was 28, and I realized I didn’t want to grow older in that business! Around then I got a call from a friend who was in St. Vincent’s Hospital, dying of AIDS. I went to see him and it was sort of a ‘white light’ experience; I saw my calling.
So it was a big endeavor. I had to go back to school, study medicine, and I was a single parent – my daughter basically grew up on campus with me! At any rate, it was all worth it. I completed my residency at St. Vincent’s, and got to go back to the place where I had seen my dying friend, which was pretty special.
How long have you been practicing for? I began practicing in 1997 at the Roosevelt HIV/AIDS center. I went into medicine to be an HIV/AIDS doctor, so that’s what I did for several years. That’s also about the time the triple cocktail drugs came out, and patients started to do a lot better. Some years later, it was almost possible for an HIV-positive patient to have a normal lifespan.
And then you transitioned into preventive medicine? Right. I came to really enjoy keeping people healthy, focusing on diet and helping people deal with stress – people who are trying to make it and support a family, and so on. That’s why right now I like to keep very early and very late hours, and to make it as streamlined and convenient for my patients as I can. I try to really get to know my patients, because I feel like that’s key to healing – knowing your patients rather than just writing them a prescription.
You work with Physicians for Social Responsibility – can you talk about that? PSR is an organization that works on issues like nuclear proliferation, environmental issues, hospital waste, and things like that. I work with them because these issues affect everybody, rich and poor – we’re all exposed to toxins in the environment, and the health industry shouldn’t be producing pollution and contributing to this problem. We should dispose of our waste properly.
What has it been like working with ZocDoc? ZocDoc has been great. We were one of the very early practices to sign up, and we started getting patients right away. We’re here in midtown, on 49th street, and our patients tend to be very efficient, motivated people, and very busy, very young people. Your service is perfect for just that type of patient. And when I needed to work on my profile, or make other technical adjustments, ZocDoc was there for me – you’ve all been completely supportive.