Tiffany Otto Knipe
How your clients refer to you:
Washington Market Pediatrics
161 Hudson Street, Suite 1C, NY, NY 10013, ph. (917) 388-2611
How many years have you been in business in NYC?
I have been practicing medicine in the New York Area since 2004, but in March 2015, I opened my own pediatric practice, Washington Market Pediatrics.
How did you get your start and what was your initial inspiration?
My initial interest in pediatrics dates all the way to when I was 4 years old – I told my parents I wanted to be a doctor and asked for a stethoscope for Christmas – rather than getting me a toy version, they bought me a real one. Being able to listen to the hearts of my pets, my siblings and myself, fed my curiosity and laid the path for me to pursue a field in health and medicine. As a teenager, I had a pediatrician who was extremely relatable, engaging and thoughtful in her approach - and she lived in my community with her family and young daughter – she became a role model to me as a parent and a pediatrician. As I pursued my medical career path, she continued to advise and mentor me – and now she has just recently joined me in my practice on a part-time basis. Talk about things come full circle!
What do you feel differentiates you from others in your field?
I have a very old-school approach to the practice of primary care – a throwback to the “country doctor,” but with all the modern technologies and conveniences of 2017 integrated into our medical care. I have a boutique practice with a limited number of families – and this allows me to take the time to get to know each patient and each family unit in a way that has become rare in the practice of modern medicine. It is a warm and personalized approach to patient care. I do my best to get to know families and their individual temperaments and values, then come up with a plan that suits their medical needs and individual personalities.
As a mother of two young boys, I understand that the last place any parent wants to be is at the doctor’s office. I put a lot of thought into the design of our office – and the result provides a comfortable, inviting, space to help put children and families at ease and make the "going-to-the-doctor" experience a positive one, regardless of the reason for their visit. I believe that each visit to our office provides an opportunity for families to learn about their child’s health and wellness, and for patients to learn about their own health and their bodies. We do our best to create an atmosphere where we can educate and support patients and parents in a way that is empowering for families.
What do you feel gives you longevity in this big city with so many options?
You’re right, it’s a big city and I know as a mother of two how easy it is for families to get lost in the machine of large medical practices. Families start out with one doctor and before they know it their child is being seen by a rotating cast of covering doctors and physician assistants.
At my practice, we take a personalized approach to medicine and offer a cozy, comfortable doctor-visit experience which greatly contrasts the direction some practices are taking. Families seem to really appreciate the extra time we put in to get to know the nuances of their particular family, for example, the name of the grandparent that occasionally attends office visits and what their child’s favorite subject is in school. We ask – and remember – when there are new stressors or changes in the family, as we recognize these things can impact their children’s health in nuanced ways. I believe that healthy and happy parents make for healthy and happy children – so we try to address wellness from many angles.
How do you positively impact your patients?
We try to demystify the “doctor experience” to enable children to be more aware of their own bodies and health; and for parents of younger children to be able to relax at each visit so they can soak in the information. If parents feel rushed, or unheard, they can lose focus on what actually matters at their visit. We want to empower families to take charge of their health and wellness.
We also try to positively impact our community as much as possible. We integrate our community into our practice in small, but meaningful ways – whether by serving cookies from a local bakery, inviting a local mom educator to speak at one of our parenting events, or by supporting our local parks and schools. I am raising my own children in the community I practice medicine in, and this drives me in many ways to create connections not just within our practice, but also within our unique NYC neighborhood.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I have bubbles and stickers and crayons in every room; occasionally glow rings and wind-up toys and snap bracelets; an old-school vending machine and coins to use it hidden in a small treasure chest. It’s fun coming to work! I love it when we have new families that tell me their children are “really scared of the doctor” – then we win them over – whether by letting them play with one of the kid’s doctor kits before getting their own exam, giving them the opportunity to listen to their own heart for the first time, giving them a real stethoscope to take home - or just by engaging the child in a patient and kind (and often silly) way. When those children leave our office smiling, we know that as a team – including my practice manager who greeted them at reception, my nurse who took their measurements and vitals – as a team we accomplished something very important.
How do you benefit mamas?
I am a mom in the community I serve - and in many ways, this makes me more relatable to parents. My patients have seen me with a child in mid-temper-tantrum in Whole Foods or juggling work/family when we have unexpected childcare issues and my kids are hanging out in my office. I think exposing myself as a “real” mom, managing many of the same issues as the families I care for, makes me more accessible to parents – and my advice more authentic.
I try to be candid with my families and make it clear that none of us are perfect parents, though we are all doing our best (and sometimes this can be a valuable lesson for our children!)
I also have a comprehensive approach to pediatric care, by embracing the concept that the health and happiness of the family unit is essential for the health and happiness of children. There are numbers of ways we support this approach, including having a psychologist on-site who specializes in post-partum transitions, hosting Washington Market Mom’s groups and hosting educational events on relevant parenting topics.
Pay it forward and name your top colleagues in the same field or related field:
This is a hard one to answer – simply because I have been influenced by so many people along the path of my medical training and practice of pediatrics. One of my earliest mentors was my own pediatrician during my adolescence, Dr. Susan Swezey. She inspired me to follow my dream to become a pediatrician and has advised me throughout my career. It is an honor to have her working with me now at WMP! During my residency at NYPH-Cornell my chairman, Dr. Gerald Loughlin, supported me in my decisions to pursue fellowship training and has continued to encourage me to make WMP a unique medical home for families. Duringmy fellowship training at Yale, my mentors helped to fine-tune my ability to think about complex medical issues, how to recognize my limitations, ask the right questions - and then most importantly, how to find the answers.
What is the best advice anyone's ever given you? Or what is your "mantra" / words to live by?
The Little Engine That Could, the children’s book by Watty Piper – has inspired me since I was a young child. “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…” has been a mantra for me through my personal, academic and professional challenges. Now I have the story hand-written across a huge wall in our office - a helpful daily reminder that determination, dedication, discipline, persistence and patience can take us far in life.
As moms, the day can escape us, what is your best time-saving trick?
Sometimes just rolling with it and recognizing it’s just not going to be all perfect.