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Nelly Maseda, MD, FAAP

Nelly Maseda, MD, FAAP

Director of Pediatrics
NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Morrisania

Healing Children and Teens in the South Bronx

At the age of 15, Dr. Nelly Maseda became the caretaker and interpreter for her stroke-struck grandmother, who never learned to read or write. Born and raised in Washington Heights by a single Dominican mother on public assistance, Dr. Maseda now works as Director of Pediatrics at NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Morrisania, a few blocks away from Aquinas High School where Sister Joan Davis of the Dominican Sisters of Sparkhill nudged her toward chemistry and science instead of her planned practical classes in bookkeeping and typing.

In her searingly personal memoir, “Strangers in the Night: Mentally Ill Mothers and Their Effects on Their Children,” Dr. Maseda detailed her mother’s mood swings – rage and depression – as well as her brothers’ decline into substance abuse, violence and crime. Somehow, she was able in all that chaos to graduate from Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in biology and her doctorate from Albert Einstein School of Medicine in the Bronx.

“As a result of her work, we have seen substantial improvements in our performance on quality metrics, including well-child checks, pediatric immunizations, access to contraception for adolescents and linkage to social services,” said Morrisania’s Medical Officer Dr. Jeremy O’Connor. “She is leading our care from pediatrics to adult medicine, integrating tablets into adolescent screening workflows and improving the linkage to care in pediatrics for newborn patients.”

For her part, Dr. Maseda said, “There is so much need in multiple domains – physical, psychological, social – that our sense of purpose gets fueled as we try to address these, knowing how much of a positive difference we make in their lives. Making patients feel welcomed and accepted is a form of great medical care; it’s a goal I strive for daily in my work.”

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