Spotlight on V. Peter DeMarco, MD
Weinberg Family Cerebral Palsy Center Provider Spotlight
V. Peter DeMarco, MD is a family medicine physician who sees patients through all phases of life. He has special interest in preventive medicine, mental well-being, musculoskeletal concerns, and care of chronic conditions. Dr. DeMarco collaborates with the WFCPC multidisciplinary team to support the primary care needs of people with cerebral palsy across the lifespan. He joins our multidisciplinary case conferences and also recently attended the annual American Academy for Cerebral Palsy & Developmental Medicine (AACPDM) conference to learn more and meet others who care for people living with cerebral palsy.
1) What got you interested in working with families living with Cerebral Palsy (CP)?
I didn't know we had such a strong CP support community until shortly after I started at Columbia Primary Care. By then our PCP team had connected with Dr. Jason Carmel to collaborate. My first experience with CP was on my pediatrics rotation in medical school. Each medical student was paired with a family to learn about the care team from the patient's point of view. My patient was a boy with CP and while working with him I saw what home tube feeding and frequent PT/OT/SLP (physical therapy/occupational therapy/speech-language pathology) appointments meant for him and his family. Without the chance to spend time outside of the clinic/hospital in my patient's home, it would have been difficult to understand how important the entire care team is for CP patients. Although I did not have much experience treating adults or children with CP outside of training, the WFCPC was so welcoming I was glad I was asked to participate!
2) Share with us how you are involved with the multidisciplinary team at the WFCPC.
I am a member of the PCP group collaborating with the CP Center. Working with the team I hope to learn more about the general and preventive needs of our CP patients from childhood to adulthood and how to better assist in their care. I also hope to help develop national care guidelines around preventive care geared specifically toward CP patients in the future.
3) What are some of the main concerns and needs of your CP patients?
I look forward to learning more about how to care for patients with CP, my patients so far have several concerns that they feel need to be addressed. One thing I hear often is that adult/adolescent patients with CP are looking for a primary care team that understands. Patients have often seen several different specialists and have varying needs, but general practitioners do not always have familiarity with how CP can affect patients and their families. Additionally, the transition from pediatric to adult care is something that my patients often are looking for help navigating.
4) What are your key takeaways from this AACPDM conference?
Apart from getting the chance to meet some of the team outside of virtual meetings, it was so great to see some of the larger CP community. The presenters cover so many disciplines and patient needs, but all of them go above and beyond to help their patients. Many of the CP community have personal experience with CP, and their passion for their work really shines through. One theme that I saw across several sessions I attended was the emphasis of shared decision making with patients and their caregivers. I find this to be an important part of my primary care practice now and appreciate how important shared decision making is in the approach of a patient's entire care team. I also was glad to see the team-based model that many different groups take to address the needs of their patients (especially across national borders). Many different groups have different resources, but all work to put together an integrated team to achieve a high level of care.
5) Your name is sometimes listed as Vincent (Peter) DeMarco, MD. Tell us the story behind that.
Great question! There are a few Vincents in my family, and to make things less confusing my parents had me go by my middle name-Peter. Later they asked if I wanted to switch back and be a Vincent, but by then I thought I was more of a Peter and have been ever since.
Learn more about Dr. DeMarco
Learn more about the Weinberg Family Cerebral Palsy Center's collaboration with Columbia Primary Care