Dr. Sari J. Kaminsky has seen many changes in the healthcare environment and the field of obstetrics and gynecology during the 26 years she has served as Chief of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Metropolitan Hospital. Most notably, OB/GYN practice has improved with the implementation of evidence-based medicine, minimally invasive surgical techniques and diagnostic medical management in cases that were previously handled through surgery. As a result, the obstetrician/gynecologist has become a primary care provider, a specialist, and sometimes both.
Using evidence-based medicine results in better health outcomes for patients. “With evidence-based medicine, outcomes are based on controlled data, controlled trials, looking at what the outcomes are and whether they apply to the person we may be dealing with,” Dr. Kaminsky says.
Other recent changes include shifting populations in Metropolitan’s East Harlem community, implementation of managed care and changes in healthcare reimbursement. The maternal mortality rate due to HIV infection at Metropolitan has dropped dramatically since the 1990s. Throughout all of these changes, Dr. Kaminsky says, the commitment of Metropolitan’s OB/GYN department to the underserved and to providing excellent medical care and resident education has not changed.
“We are taking on the new challenges of working with community providers to identify services and linkages, which will attract new patients to Metropolitan Hospital,” she says.
Dr. Kaminsky has reached many milestones during her long tenure at Metropolitan. These include winning full accreditation for the department’s residency program and achieving a close academic relationship between Metropolitan and New York Medical College, which is the academic affiliate of the hospital. Dr. Kaminsky serves as Program Director, Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology and Vice Chairman of the Department at New York Medical College.
Dr. Kaminsky is also proud of the progress that has been made in the care of the obstetric patients at Metropolitan: a decrease in the maternal mortality rate, fewer Cesarean sections and an increase in the number of vaginal births after previous Cesarean sections. In addition, the hospital has been designated as a Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), which enables the department to treat patients with complicated obstetric and medical problems. The department also has its own ultrasound unit so maternal fetal specialists can better diagnose fetal abnormalities and obstetric complications.
What explains her longevity at Metropolitan? “For me, this is my ideal job,” she says. “I enjoy working with residents, attending physicians, midwives, nurses and staff who are smart, compassionate, and dedicated to excellence in patient care. I’m most proud of our residents and our excellent patient care — they go hand-in-hand, and of our leadership that builds consensus and looks at change as opportunity.” Metropolitan’s OB/GYN department includes 17 residents, 15 attending physicians and 9 midwives.
A native of Brooklyn, Dr. Kaminsky graduated from NYU. She received her M.D. from SUNY Downstate School of Medicine in Brooklyn and completed her residency in OB/GYN at SUNY Downstate and Kings County Hospital. She held clinical and administrative positions in Chicago, California and Albany before coming to Metropolitan in 1989. She enjoys gardening, antiquing and spending time with her family. Her husband, Dr. Eric C. Rackow, is a Professor of Medicine at NYU.