When I asked Dr. Susan Rech what brought her to Plattsburgh, she explained: “In the late 1980s, in the midst of completing my residence training in Philadelphia, I put my name on several bulletin boards (1980s job-search technology), and was called by a recruiter from CVPH Medical Center. Since I grew up in a small town in New Jersey, loved knowing my neighbors and enjoyed the forests, mountains, lakes, and rivers of the Adirondacks, I thought the North Country might be a good fit. Sure enough, from my first visit, I knew this would be a great place to live and work.”
Rech, whose specialty is gynecology (women’s medicine) and obstetrics (the care of women through all stages of pregnancy and childbirth,
including the delivery of babies), began her North Country medical
career in 1988 at Associates in Obstetrics & Gynecology, PC, a practice in downtown Plattsburgh established three decades earlier by Dr. David McDowell. Rech eventually married Dr. Marc Sarnow, a podiatrist who returned home after training in New York City and Boston and the two settled in personally and professionally.
Over the past three decades Rech’s practice has experienced retirements
and new practitioners, enhanced technology and medical approaches,
thousands of patients cared for, and a move—in 2004—to custom-built
offices at 25 DeGrandpre Way west of Plattsburgh.
Keeping up with current research, training on new techniques and tools, working with younger practitioners, and recharging herself with quality family time and a variety of hobbies and activities, Rech has retained her passion and vision. “I like practicing medicine,” she said. “I enjoy seeing patients, doing surgery, reading articles about medicine—all that is associated with the medical care of women.”
IT STARTED WITH BIOLOGY
Rech grew up in Chatham, New Jersey, a town of approximately 9,000 people. Always interested in science, especially biology, she decided to become a doctor while in high school. After graduating from Swarthmore College with a BS in Biology, she earned her medical degree from the
Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, and then completed her residency at Temple University Hospital. Her decision to concentrate on gynecology and obstetrics came during medical school. “What I realized about this medical concentration is that it allows me the opportunity to develop longterm relationships with patients through all the stages of their lives,” explained
Rech. “In addition, I was very interested in surgery. Choosing this specialty would allow me to do surgery in the hospital as well as perform ongoing patient care in an office setting.”
The evolution of technology in medicine has brought astounding changes that are especially true in surgery. An example is Rech’s training on the Da Vinci robot, a surgical system made by Intuitive Surgical —an American corporation that develops, manufactures and markets robotic products— designed to improve clinical outcomes for patients through an approach that is minimally invasive. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000, by 2012, Da Vinci robots were used in an estimated 200,000 surgeries, most commonly hysterectomies and prostate removals.
In the operating room Rech controls the Da Vinci robot from a console. “It’s cool,” she observed. “Everything is magnified and you can do complicated procedures more easily.” In keeping with minimally invasive approaches, Rech explained she does many other surgeries with the laparoscope. “ In that procedure, a fiber-optic instrument (a tiny camera) is inserted through the abdominal wall to view the organs or permit a surgical procedure. Gynecologists coming out of medical school are all now trained in laparoscopy. These less invasive surgical procedures mean patients have less pain and nausea and get up and moving sooner, which makes recovery quicker and easier.”
THE OFFICE: OFFERING COMPREHENSIVE MEDICAL CARE FOR WOMEN
Associates in Obstetrics & Gynecology, PC sees over 40 patients a day. The current staff of office manager, three nurses, receptionists, an ultrasound technician, a surgical scheduler, and certified billing specialist are dedicated to helping patients navigate an ever-changing labyrinth of insurance regulations. Hired in March 2019, the newest employee is physician’s assistant, MacKenzie Walker. “She’s a good addition,” said Rech.
“She’s young, energetic and brings new ideas, skills and knowledge.” The practice is actively recruiting new providers to manage patient demands.
In order to offer women convenient access to important health care services, Dr. Rech explained, the practice offers ultrasound and bone density checks on the premises.
With her recent decision (October 2019) to stop delivering babies, Rech is adjusting the focus of the practice away from obstetrics and toward comprehensive health care for women who are either not bearing children or are past that part of their reproductive lives. “I love delivering babies, and I still go to the hospital to visit patients who have had babies,” said Rech. “However, with three children at home, ages 17, 15, and 7, I have shifting my focus to gynecology to create a practice that can evolve and expand its services to offerings such as hormone replacement therapy, osteoporosis treatment, urinary care for menopausal women, and pre-pregnancy and fertility treatments for younger women.”
SUPPORTING WOMEN’S HEALTH CARE
Rech’s office is full of medical journals, family photos and proud mementos of the myriad of activities she does in her free time (including singing, boating, martial arts, biking, Tai Kwon Do, and skiing). To stay on top professionally, she continues to do research and seeks training in the latest medical practices and technology.
As our interview wound down, Rech took a moment to urge support for events that benefit women’s health. “Go Red for Women, which raises money and awareness about heart disease and the Boobie Sisters concerts, which focus on breast cancer, are wonderful ways to for the entire community to contribute to women’s health care. We all need to attend and support these events and campaigns.”
Susan Rech, MD
Associates in Obstetrics & Gynecology, PC
25 DeGrandpre Way
Plattsburgh, NY 12901