Profile: A New York state of mind
Melissa L. Martin, Medical Director, Jewish Home Lifecare Manhattan
As a child, Melissa L. Martin, M.D., MPH, was a singer who performed at Lincoln Center, a part of attending Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. The school is known as the basis for the setting of the movie “Fame.”
Today, the accomplished physician is the medical director at the Jewish Home Lifecare Manhattan.
But all of the accolades only touch the surface of what is closest to Martin's heart.
“If you ask me who I am, my identity is that I'm a New Yorker. I love New York. I couldn't live anywhere else,” she says.
The older of two girls, Martin grew up in Manhattan, the daughter of a physician whose mother ran the business side of his practice. Being accepted and then attending LaGuardia was “the best, a true New York experience.
“It enhanced my life. It made me a better person overall.”
While she loved singing, she decided to follow in her father's footsteps. At Yale she majored in psychology and ran a dementia program. After medical school, she completed a public health master's degree program.
“I believed it was important for physicians to be well-educated about other aspects of the healthcare system,” she says.
Martin is “innovative, enthusiastic and energetic,” says Gisele Wolf-Klein, M.D., professor of medicine at Hofstra University. She oversaw Martin's postgraduate geriatric program at Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation/Long Island Jewish Medical Center.
“Once in a while you are fortunate to have stars, and she's one of the stars,” Wolf-Klein says. “She's a very active thinker and is really looking at the whole picture.”
After working for a Medicaid managed care company, Martin was recruited back to clinical medicine by Mark Levy, M.D., the chief medical officer at the Jewish Home.
Working in a nursing home “fits my personality,” Martin says.
“I like teamwork, I love working with the nurses and social workers. I like the idea of taking care of the patient as a whole person,” she says. But she understands why it's not for everyone.
“It's exhausting but invigorating to work as hard as I do. It's a 24-hour job. Being new to this particular job there are a lot of things I want to do at the Jewish Home,” she says.
Martin is detail-oriented, and has been instrumental in streamlining processes around electronic medical records at the facility, says Vice President of Post Acute Services Marie Rosenthal.
“One of the things that has struck me is her ability to recruit talent. We've been able to hire new people into the medical staff,” Rosenthal says. “She's very forward-thinking.”
In her spare time, Martin, 41, says she loves going to the movies. Her husband, Mo Mansouri, has taught her to love traveling. They've been to Paris and Italy, and hope to go to London soon.
She says she's optimistic about geriatric medicine, which is still a “relatively young specialty.”
“There are so many exciting opportunities to make real, positive changes in a way that most specialties don't have,” she says.
It all sounds like a lot of right notes toward finding her own brand of fame.
Completes bachelor's degree in psychology at Yale University
Finishes medical degree at Cornell University
Becomes internal medicine resident at New York Hospital in Queens
Receives American Medical Directors Association's AMDA Foundation Futures Scholarship
Ends geriatric medicine postgraduate fellowship at Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation; begins master's program at Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
Starts as medical director at Margaret Tietz Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Jamaica,
New York (Beth Abraham Family Health Services)
Named medical director at the Jewish Home Lifecare Manhattan