Saturday, June 14, 2008


For years, the Best Doctors issue of New York magazine has cited the same six doctors as top celiac specialists in the area. But this year, there are only five doctors listed—and that poses what might be considered a "minor" problem.

Back in 2006, there was some discussion of the flaws of the Best Doctors listings. As I wrote then:
How reliable are the lists? At Slate, physician [Kent Sepkowitz] prescribes taking them with a grain of a salt. "To my expert eye," he writes, "every year the New York survey gets it about half right: Half of the selections are first-rate doctors, no doubt about it. Another 25 percent are people whom I don't know well (though I have my doubts), and 25 percent are certifiable duds--doctors who (hopefully) haven't seen a patient in years but have risen to the lofty realm of high society and semi-celebrityhood."

I haven't charted my own experience with the list, but that sounds about right. I think that, when searching for a physician in the medically populous metropolitan area, it's good to seek and consider the advice of doctors you already trust, support group members, and friends in addition to the Best Doctor/Top Doctor guides. It's not easy to sort through all of that, but the method might give you the best odds of getting optimal results.
So this year, when you search for the best doctors under the keyword celiac, you get five doctors—all of whom happen to be pediatric gastroenterologists:
Dr. Philip Kazlow
Pediatric Gastroenterologist
New York-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital (Manhattan), Valley Hospital (Ridgewood, NJ)

Dr. Joseph Levy

Pediatric Gastroenterologist
NYU Medical Center (Manhattan)

Dr. Keith Benkov
Pediatric Gastroenterologist
Mount Sinai Medical Center (Manhattan), Englewood Hospital & Medical Center (Englewood, NJ)

Dr. Leonard Newman

Pediatric Gastroenterologist
Westchester Medical Center (Valhalla, NY), Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center (Bronx)

Dr. Michael Pettei
Pediatric Gastroenterologist
Schneider Children's Hospital, North Shore University Hospital (Manhasset/New Hyde Park, NY)
Missing from the list is any non-pediatric gastroenterologist who specializes in celiac disease. This is odd because Dr. Peter Green—one of the country's leading celiac disease specialists and a longtime "Best Doctor" (and, yes, also one of my own doctors)—is still alive and well and heading the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University (CDCCU), where Dr. Kazlow practices and where Dr. Levy once practiced.

So if, like more and more people, you're seeking a non-pediatric celiac disease—or dermatitis herpetiformus (DH)—specialist in New York City, I don't think the 2008 Best Doctors list will be very useful to you. New York magazine and its partner on the article, Castle Connolly, have done readers a disservice by not listing a single specialist for adult celiac disease.

Take heart, though. Here at Gluten-Free NYC, I'd still suggest contacting the CDCCU. There is, at present, no comparable facility in the Big Apple (though I do note the recent opening of the Kogan Celiac Center in Livingston, New Jersey).

No comments: