Interview with Dr. Erik Aurigemma
Have you been lucky enough to have met our new amazing doctor, Dr. Erik Aurigemma? Who is Dr. Aurigemma you ask? What is he most passionate about? How many pets does he have? Answers to all of these questions and more in this month’s interview. Please join us in welcoming him to our family (and yours) - and learn all about him here (and P.S. - he has 5 pets)!!!!!!
SSP: I understand you were born and raised here in New York! Can you tell us about your experience growing up here and how it shaped and led you to pursue pediatric medicine?
Sure, I grew up in Westchester County and grew up coming into NYC often either for sports, social events, or to visit my brother at NYU. I moved to Flatbush during medical school and relocated to Bay Ridge for residency where I still live now. While growing up, I was active in many sports and went on to coach swimming and rugby. I found excitement guiding children through the learning process of sports and fitness. Pediatric medicine seemed a natural extension where I could help guide them through the development of a healthy lifestyle in all areas.
SSP: Sports is something very near and dear to you, can you tell us more about that and more specifically your interest in sports medicine?
I played many sports growing up. I played soccer from age 4 through college. In high school I played soccer, ice hockey, and began playing rugby as a teenager. Rugby has been the sport I have been most involved in since college, playing for teams in Boston, England, and New York, most recently for Brooklyn Rugby Club (although now I've retired to a sideline medical support role). Being so involved in athletics and also pursuing a career in medicine made it only natural to try and combine the two passions. Athletes are some of the people most invested in their physical and mental wellbeing. I found that as a result, wonderful successes can be achieved when both patients and providers are dedicated to progress. Injury recovery, concussion management, and offseason training care are all small areas of sports medicine that can be used in pediatric practice to keep our student athletes safe and thriving.
SSP: What about pediatric medicine are you most passionate about?
Given my previous answer relating to my dedication to sports, it shouldn't be a surprise that the area of pediatric medicine I am most passionate about relates to physical health. Diet and nutrition counseling as well as exercise planning is an often underappreciated and borderline neglected area in medicine. With the increase in sedentary lifestyles in the youth population and decrease in activity in schools and afterschool programs, it is necessary to seek new strategies to help keep our children active and healthy. Helping my patients find passion in sport and lifelong interest in physical activity is always rewarding.
SSP: What do you find yourself doing when you don’t have your doctor hat on?
When I don't have my doctor hat on I can often be found at home. I live in Bay Ridge with my wife, Lindsey, our three dogs Lady, Riise, and Toto, and our cat Salvatore (And our fish, Fred!). My wife and I bought our house in 2019 and have made a hobby out of slowly completing home renovation projects. I might be painting, tiling a floor, or helping my wife restore a piece of furniture. We are making progress turning our house into a home, little by little. If I am not out for a run or bike ride, my sedentary time is spent playing video games. I play a variety of games but enjoy story-rich games the best.
SSP: What are your thoughts on what this upcoming year will look like for our children, now that the vaccine is available?
I think this year is bound to be a more hopeful one than last year. With the vaccine now available for the 5-11 age group, we are being given more freedom to see our friends and families, enjoy the holiday season together safely, and take stock of how blessed we are to be in good health. Every step forward in this process brings us a bit closer to carefree enjoyment of our activities once again.
SSP: As we head into winter and colder temperatures, what's your best advice about how we keep our kids active?
Keeping active throughout a New York City winter is always a challenge. As it gets colder outside, my best advice when doing those activities that require you to be outside is, "Bundle up!" A facemask, hat, and scarf keep bicycling/running/scooting around Brooklyn an option on most winter days. You can also investigate options for indoor activities. There are fitness centers here in Brooklyn (like Matchpoint) that offer indoor swimming pools, tennis courts, and basketball courts. There are also a ton of internet personalities happy to guide you through a workout with your yoga mat, stationary bike, or weights you have at home. Some of my favorite exercise days are those that require no equipment at all! Body weight fitness, boxing, and martial arts workouts can be found online that require only a screen and some free space. For those more inclined for in person classes, Brooklyn has many boxing gyms, crossfit locations, yoga studios, and martial arts venues that offer classes for children (and adults!)
SSP: Any other words you would like to share with our families?
I am very excited to be a part of the South Slope Pediatrics community. My fellow staff members have been extremely welcoming and helpful as I made the transition into the new practice. I am also so pleased to have been welcomed so heartily by parents and patients alike. I'm excited to come to work each day and can't wait to continue growing here at SSP.