ONS Physician Spotlight on Rheumatologist Dr. Melissa LaRussoFeatured Doctor
Get to know board-certified Rheumatologist Dr. Melissa LaRusso and learn what drives her personal approach in caring for patients. Dr. LaRusso specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of rheumatic diseases with a particular interest in the various types of inflammatory arthritis. She sees patients in the ONS offices in Greenwich and Stamford.
What is your practice philosophy?
I believe that all patients should be involved in decisions concerning their medical care. I endeavor to educate patients on their disease state and all treatment options to help guide them to the best decision for them. Autoimmune disease can sometimes be confusing and obscure, so it is important for patients to understand what is going on and how to get on the road to recovery.
What made you choose to become a rheumatologist?
I was drawn to rheumatology early in my medical training. During this time, biologics were becoming more widely used and the treatments for certain diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, were being transformed.
I also enjoy the relationship I get to have with my patients. Most of the diseases I treat are chronic, so it allows me to build a bond with my patients.
What trends in your specialty area do you see emerging?
Patients are more interested in lifestyle changes more than ever. They want to know what they can do help themselves. While many patients will still require medication to control their disease, a healthy lifestyle can help control symptoms and mitigate their disease course.
How do you stay current in your field?
There are plenty of ways to stay current in rheumatology. One of my new favorite ways is to listen to rheumatology specialty podcasts. It’s an easy way to get an overview of what is new and important. Besides that, I attend the annual National Rheumatology meeting and read journals.
Outside of work, what are your personal interests?
Our family is new to Greenwich, so we enjoy trying out new restaurants and visiting local shops. We have an 18-month-old son and two English Pointers who keep us busy all day long.