Monthly Archives: October 2016




GIVING.  There is nothing more fulfilling than giving to others and helping those in need.  Whether it be providing a meal to a person who is hungry, to spending time with an elder who feels isolated and lonely, to providing blankets and clothing to keep someone warm in the colder months – these are just a few of the ways we can show we care and want to share the love in our hearts with those around us.   For those of us who find it difficult to make time for volunteering, donations (both monetary or goods) can make an important impact in someone’s life.  After all, in this exceptionally ugly election race, we should all open our hearts and share a little more love, sensitivity and generosity.    It can be contagious!   Let’s all get involved and ask our friends to join us.  Make it a family outing and teach our children the importance of giving.  Here are a few ways we can volunteer and give back in NYC, both around the holidays and year-round.

NY Cares: Help mentor students, serve meals in soup kitchens, clean up parks, collect winter coats and help the homeless.  NY Cares offers one-time volunteer opportunities to weekly opportunities.  Volunteer as an individual, group or with your company.

City Meals on Wheels: If you have a car, you can get involved with this organization that helps feed 18k elderly folks in the NYC area.  This Thanksgiving they’re looking for people to go to a senior center in Bushwick, Brooklyn and deliver food.  Here is a link the volunteer form, where you can sign up to volunteer for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years programs.

NY Common Pantry: Choice Pantry volunteers help provide free grocery packages for families and hot meal volunteers help prepare and serve meals to guests at the NY Common Pantry location on 8 East 109th St. in Manhattan.  They also offer off-site opportunities like a Thanksgiving Food Drive, making sandwiches for the Brown Bag Program, and collecting new clothing and toys.

BARC Shelter:  Are you an animal lover?  Here’s a way you can help our furry friends.    Come take a dog for a walk, keep a cat company or bring in your old towels and blankets as a donation.

Gobble, Gobble, Give: This organization meets in Harlem to assemble takeout meals for 200+ families in low income housing and shelters.   You can help put meals together or drop off the food.  Donations of food, clothing, toiletries, toys and books are also welcome. Check out their Facebook page for more information:

God’s Love We Deliver:   Help bring food to those who are sick and unable to shop and cook for themselves.   Every Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve over 1k volunteers help in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens.;jsessionid=1394DCC88DACD66D864DB9F0427B108C

City Harvest:  Help fight hunger by distributing fresh food and collecting any excess food donations from farmers at the end of local farmer markets.   How about getting your company involved and work as a team to fight hunger?

Good+ Foundation:  Donate that baby gear and those diapers, coats and toys that your children have grown out of or organize your own children’s coat or holiday toy drive.

Room to Grow:  Dedicated to enriching the lives of babies born into poverty, Room to Grow assists low-income families by accepting donations of baby items, funds and volunteering.  Learn how to get involved here:

Interview with Dr. Danis Copenhaver



Interview with Dr. Danis Copenhaver


For those of you who have not heard the exciting news…South Slope Pediatrics has now added a fantastic new full time pediatrician to the growing team!  Let’s get to know Dr. Danis Copenhaver, a new mother herself!


SSP: Welcome to South Slope Pediatrics!  Where did you practice prior to joining SSP and what brought you here?

Thank you! I am so happy to be a part of the South Slope Pediatrics Family. For the past two years I have been practicing pediatrics in Brooklyn. After living and working here, and starting a family of my own, I knew I wanted to put down strong roots and South Slope Pediatrics was the practice to do that. Dr. Cao is an institution in Brooklyn–he is a skilled pediatrician with years of experience dedicated to family and community health; Dr. Wilson-Taylor actually taught me pediatrics at Weill Cornell in medical school, and I have always admired her intelligence and approach to medicine. And then I met Matteo and the rest of the team! I have never met a more competent and friendly group of people committed to going the extra mile for their patients. I knew that joining the practice and working alongside these amazing people would be the right fit for me.


SSP: Please tell us a little about yourself. Where you are from? Do you have a family of your own?

I am a Southern woman, who has found a home in Brooklyn. I was born and raised in a small town in South Texas, and moved to Conway, Arkansas when I was ten. I attended the University of Arkansas where I majored in Biochemistry, rowed crew, and met my future husband, Drew. After graduation, we spent a year living in Belize partnering the University of Arkansas with the nonprofit organization Peacework to create a service-learning study abroad opportunity for students at the University. After Belize, I moved to New York City to start my medical training at Weill Cornell Medical College, and completed my residency at the Children’s Hospital of New York – Columbia University. Drew and I were married in 2011 and we just welcomed our son, Elo, in 2016.


SSP: It must be invaluable to relate on a personal level to new moms and dads. Do you have any advice for new parents that you wish someone had shared with you?

So many of my patients would comment during my pregnancy about how being a pediatrician would affect being a new parent, but it was another pediatrician/father who told me, “Being a pediatrician won’t make you a better parent, but being a parent will make you a better pediatrician.” And I have totally found that to be true. I have such a deeper understanding and empathy for the struggles of new parents–this is really hard work! While I still consider myself to be a novice parent, my advice-though not novel-would be, take a deep breath, trust your instincts, and everything will be better after a nap.


SSP: Do you enjoy any special hobbies or activities during your “down time” (if there is a such thing with a newborn)?! Any special interests?

You are right about lack of “down time,” but thank goodness for a Kindle for middle of the night feeds! I love to read and have been able to do quite a bit of it during my maternity leave and now commute to and from work. I also love listening to podcasts. Any interesting information outside of medicine and parenting these days comes straight from a podcast.

Drew and I love traveling, cooking, and bike riding. I also enjoy camping and hiking and hope to take Elo on his first campout in the Spring.

SSP: What led you to decide that you wanted to study pediatric medicine?

Since I was four-years-old I have been drawing pictures of myself with a stethoscope, and that desire to be a doctor stayed with me throughout my education. I have also always taken care of children in some capacity. I watched my younger sister and cousins growing up, started babysitting in my neighborhood at 11 after getting Red Cross Certified, nannied in high school and college, and was the president of Camp Phoenix, a camp for pediatric burn survivors, in medical school. Kids bring me such joy! But I knew I wanted to practice pediatric medicine when I met the doctors, nurses and patients during my pediatrics rotation at Weill Cornell Medical School. I fell in love with the idea of taking care of not only the patient but the whole family. I was engaged with pediatric disease processes, unique and distinct from adult medicine, and I was awed by the dedication and care of the people who practiced pediatric medicine. Within a week on that rotation, I knew I had found the field of medicine I was going to dedicate myself to.


SSP: What do you find most fulfilling as a pediatrician? Can you please share any experiences you’ve had that has helped shape you as a person and as a doctor?

I find the continuity of care the most fulfilling part of my job–getting to know a patient from birth and following them through adulthood is incredibly rewarding. This sense of dedicating myself to a family likely stems from growing up in a small town with a general practitioner who took care of my whole family. From the everyday colds, to treating me for burns after an accident I had when I was 7, he was a constant in the care I received in my childhood. He even threw a big Halloween party every year that the town went to! Even though we live in a big, bustling city, I hope to bring some of that small-town medicine to my practice and my patients.