Q&A with Dr. Vanessa Parisi of Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Group

By Taylor Smith

Describe your background and current specialty.

I am a graduate of the obstetrics and gynecology residency program at Saint Barnabas Medical Center (SBMC) in Livingston, New Jersey. While at SBMC, I served as administrative co-chief resident and am the incoming District III junior fellow chair of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, participating in community service, advocacy, and education of young physicians.

I was born and raised in New York prior to moving to New Jersey for residency. I am a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, so I have training in basic manipulation in addition to traditional medical practice. I am a graduate and former Global Health Academic Medicine Scholar from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine. While in medical school, I concomitantly earned my master’s degree in neuromusculoskeletal sciences from New York Institute of Technology and my master’s degree in public health from A.T. Still University’s School of Health Management.

I am active in my community, political action, and global health. I enjoy experiential learning and teaching, particularly through simulation. I enjoy delivering babies and operating, including minimally invasive procedures. I spend my free time volunteering, traveling, watching sports, and with my friends and family. I am very excited to join Mountainside Medical Group.

What types of gynecologic services does Mountainside Medical Group offer?

I perform well-woman gynecological care (i.e. annual exams, PAP smears, STI testing, contraception, and pre-conception counseling).

I see women of all ages, including pre-teens as young as 12 years old.

I also perform minor procedures in the office including but not limited to: IUD placement and removal, endometrial biopsies, sonohysterograms, ultrasound, colposcopy, cryosurgery, and basic incisions and drainage. In the operating room. I perform a plethora of pelvic surgical procedures, both minor, major, and minimally invasive.

Talk about some of the unique features of the Mountainside Medical Center Maternity Unit.

Our newly-renovated Maternity Unit offers amenities for new moms and dads that include hotel-quality rooms with sleeper chairs, flat screen TVs, wireless Internet, and spa-inspired baths. We offer special features like mobile telemetry, allowing expectant mothers to move around freely during early stages of labor. We also have a newly-installed labor tub for laboring mothers, which is used for warm water emersion therapy and pain management. We also have a top-notch lactation program for new mothers who choose to breastfeed, staffed by certified lactation consultants.

Our nursery includes a level II special care nursery, staffed 24/7 with board-certified neonatologists. Mountainside Medical Center’s Maternity Unit is also unique in that we are early adopters of the OB/GYN hospitalists model—on staff physicians and physician assistants that partner with the patient’s affiliated OB/GYNs or midwives. This approach is known to improve patient safety. These hospital-based OB/GYNs are available 24/7 and can provide emergency care, routine oversight, and assistance with affiliated OB/GYN or midwives deliveries, among other responsibilities.

Describe the importance of preventative gynecologic care for women of all ages. 

Prevention and patient-centered care should be the focus of all medical providers. First and foremost, education is the most important element. In my short time of practice, I have realized how little women know about their bodies and their personal health. Whether they are taking care of their families or are developing themselves professionally, some women put off key signs of illness which should not be ignored. I always try to educate my patients on the nature of their condition, rather than use medical jargon, treat them, and send them on their way. I try to engage my patients. I am open to questions and encourage the patients to advocate for themselves. I encourage women to practice safe sex and attend their well-woman exams and testing as directed. In this country, most of us have the luxury of access to so many life-saving and preventive resources, and we should take advantage of them. I’ve seen firsthand where women have suffered from a serious illness which could have been prevented had they just gone for their mammogram or their well-woman visit. I want to establish the doctor-patient relationship and have my patient’s entrust their wellbeing with me, while also taking responsibility and advocating for themselves. I think this will drastically improve quality of life, productivity, and overall health of our society’s women.