Dear Doctor: Christina Demartino
The energetic and personable physician assistant who calls herself an “old soul”
To describe Christina Demartino as a multitasker would probably be an understatement. During our interview, she crunched numbers to provide a quote for a treatment, popped out to check on a patient, and had lunch delivered. But don’t mistake her for unfocused; through an accelerated program, she became a physician assistant at 21 and has spent her career developing strong patient relationships on a personal level. We loved getting to know her and know you will too!
“I’ve always loved and excelled in science and math. My father worked in business and my mother worked in medicine so I was exposed to both at a young age. I learned how to relate to people from my dad and his business background. My mom was always a go-getter, she encouraged me to shadow PAs when I was still in high school. I’m thankful that she pushed me to get all of this exposure early.
I went into an accelerated physicians’ program right after high school, so when I graduated, I was 21 and writing prescriptions. People always asked me how old I was. Was I intimidated? Not really! To me, it’s so much more about maturity than age. And I’m an old soul.
My fiancé says I’m 27 going on 65. It never bothered me being the youngest in the class or in the room.
I knew I wanted to go into private practice. I love being able to see patients on a regular basis and really get to know them. Chatting with them about their everyday lives helps me become a better and more empathetic practitioner. There are many instances where I’ve been able to figure out what’s triggering a patient’s rash or their acne just by talking to them about their habits and interests rather than just throwing a bunch of prescriptions at them. Every patient is different.
I love art and photography as well. In dermatology I’m able to use my artistic eye when it comes to cosmetic procedures and what looks best. I try to stay up to date with all of the new products and trends in the beauty industry as well, which is a personal interest of mine. I feel that it helps me relate to my patients, specifically women, when they ask my opinion on the products they use and the next big trend they’re reading or hearing about.
A Day in Her Life
I find that people follow the regimen I give them for the most part because I’m helping them with a condition that’s visible, and they can see their skin improve each day with treatment.
I used to have acne so I know it can feel like a disease. I get it when patients explain how much it affects their lives, and how after treatment they can leave the house without makeup, they don’t feel like they have to constantly wash their face and apply so many different products, and they’re not in pain.
In school, you learn about so many complicated and rare diagnoses and you are always looking for the most complex answer. What I’ve learned since then is that most times the right answer is actually the most straightforward one. Although what might feel straightforward to me can sometimes be huge for our patients when we’re solving big problems that they’ve seen multiple doctors for before coming here.
Sometimes, my days get crazy. I make sure that I don’t have patients double booked so that I can spend time in the exam room with them. I’m able to answer all of their questions and give them personal attention.
I love talking to people. My patients are such great people. You get to know them, they send their friends. Some of them are really funny. I love to see people come back and improve. Especially with acne, where I can make a significant improvement in their skin. With cosmetic procedures, it’s also gratifying when I can make someone feel more confident in their appearance.
I’m inspired by…people. Especially in New York City, there’s always something to be inspired by, from different styles to ways of communication. I couldn’t have a job where I wasn’t dealing with people all day!
Ideally, I wish my patients would…follow their regimens completely.
But realistically…it’s about honesty. It’s better for patients to let me know if they haven’t started something, nobody’s perfect!
Everyone could use a little more….love.
Everyone could use a little less…time on their phones.
I could talk for hours about…anything! I’m a talker! But specifically, I like to talk with people about what’s going on in their lives.
I look after my patients by…taking an interest in their everyday lives. I enjoy it as well and it’s something a lot of doctors don’t have time to do.
I feel looked after when…I’m with a good listener. Do you see a trend here?
App: Google Maps. I use it all the time! It’s my lifeline kind of. I save places I want to go, new restaurants. I probably use it most often of all my apps.
NYC neighborhood: I really like Flatiron, especially the beautiful architecture. There’s so much to do! For a quieter vibe, I love Gramercy as well.
Ideal day off: Sleep in (I need at least eight hours to function), make avocado toast and some coffee at home, head to a workout, then take a walk around the city or relax in Central Park, followed by dinner at a small local Mediterranean restaurant. There’s probably a little shopping sprinkled in there too!
You can find Christina at Mudgil Dermatology.
Know a great female doctor in NYC? We’d love to meet her, introduce us here!