A unique medical practice opens in Soho


By Jaclyn Marinese

Tribeca doctor mom to focus on teenagers

Dr. Glaser received a call for help. It was from a woman whose teenage daughter was requesting birth control pills. The mother feared that by giving her daughter the pills she was signaling that it was okay to have sex.

After speaking with Glaser she decided to get her child the pills.

This is typical of the conversations Glaser has everyday in a practice that requires relating well to parents and teens.

“My role is helping parents understand that having birth control doesn’t mean that their kids are going to have sex earlier. And helping kids understand that they don’t need to have sex to have a relationship. A lot can be done,” said Glaser.

And a lot is being done. In September, Dr. Amy Glaser opened Soho Adolescents, a private practice for adolescent patients located at 340 West Broadway. A general medical practice, she performs everything from routine examinations to treating asthma and obesity. She also treats a wide-range of other problems like attention-deficit disorder, adolescent depression, eating disorders, and sexuality concerns.

Soho Adolescents is the rare Manhattan practice focusing exclusively on the needs of teenagers, for whom a sense of adulthood and independence is critical.

“The thing about adolescents is that they’re looking for autonomy and confidentiality, and they need a lot of time,” said Glaser, the mother of two teenage boys herself. “So what works best is to have the adolescent hours separate from the pediatric hours.”

Glaser, who lives in Tribeca, opened her first practice in the West Village in 1983. She attended medical school at Mt. Sinai where she had a fellowship to study adolescent medicine. She did her internship at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.

In 1985 she started a general pediatrics practice in Park Slope, Brooklyn where she still practices part time, splitting her work hours with the new practice in Soho. She has practiced adolescent medicine at Elmhurst hospital, the Barnard College Health Center, El Puente, a community center in Williamsburg Brooklyn and The Door, a community center in downtown Manhattan.

Throughout her pediatric career there has always been a special place in her heart for teens, she said. The idea of a starting a adolescent practice was inspired by patients in her regular pediatric office who made comments like, “Well I don’t want to be seen with babies anymore. Can’t you have a time set just for teenagers?”

The Soho office, a hip and spacious sunlit space with beautiful hardwood floors and an extremely modern feel, is a place that would seem to appeal to teens. It is also equipped with reading material in the waiting room targeted to the needs and interests of adolescents.

Glaser said she always hoped to bring her work close to home.

“I’ve thought, ‘now that my kids are teenagers they have all their friends here, I’m part of the community, I know the schools, I know the nurses.’”

Friends see it as a perfect fit.

“In adolescence there are endless fears about what is going on, and she has a good sense about how to keep it light,” said Jackie Pine a mother of teenage boys and a friend of Glaser’s for over 10 years. She often consults Glaser on issues with her sons.

“It’s her sense of humor that balances things. It works both with kids and with parents. She can take serious things and put them in perspective without being alarming or dismissive.”

For Glaser, the most important thing is to establish trust by offering teenage patients a confidential relationship with the doctor.

“The only way they’re going to be able to develop a relationship [with Glaser] is if they have the independence,” she said.

But she notes that parents sometimes feel alienated because they are not included in the initial doctor/patient interview. But she tries to allay their concerns by assuring them that if there is anything seriously wrong, they will be told.

“We’re not keeping secrets and it’s not about excluding them. It’s about allowing the child a confidential relationship. It works. It totally works.”

And it’s that sense of trust that drives her work. Glaser said she often follows up with patients via cell phone because it adds to their sense of adulthood. She also corresponds with them through e-mail because she feels teens will sometimes say important things in an e-mail that they might not say in person. An example might be, ‘I forgot to mention something, I might be pregnant.’

“That hasn’t happened yet, but that’s going to happen,” said Glaser.

In addition to regular office hours she plans to run special support groups for teens covering several subjects: smoking cessation; sexuality needs; birth control and drug awareness. During the spring or summer she also plans to have a group on getting ready for college as well.

Currently her Soho hours are Tuesday through Friday, but she often adjusts her schedule upon request to meet patient needs.

Because she’s been in practice for twenty years she doesn’t have the financial insecurity that someone just starting out might have, she said. This puts Glaser in a unique position to focus on adolescents, put more time into their needs, and concentrate on a population that has been important to her throughout her life work.

Dr. Amy Glaser can be reached at: aglasermd@aol.com or 212-941-1520

Dr. Glaser to write column

Dr. Amy Glaser will be writing a new column for the Downtown Express to run every other week. Focusing on teenagers, some of the upcoming columns will talk about smoking, sleep deprivation and birth control. The column will begin next week