''My father was a pharmacist, and he was a very strong influence on me and my love of the sciences,'' she recalls. ''When I was 14 years old, I decided I wanted to become a physician. My family supported me wholeheartedly.''
She attended CUNY Brooklyn College and says it “was a wonderful experience.”
For her medical education, she studied at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. During her time in school, though, she came across an obstacle in her personal life that shaped her career.
“When I was in my third year of medical school, my father was diagnosed with acute leukemia,” Kornmehl explains. “His pain and suffering inspired me to be a leader in the oncology arena instead of a follower.”
Kornmehl served one year of an internal medicine internship at Brookdale Hospital Center, followed by three years of residency in radiation oncology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.
From 1988 to 1991, she worked in academic radiation oncology. She then joined the private practice sector, in which she continues to practice today. She is currently a radiation oncologist at Passaic Beth Israel Regional Medical Center in New Jersey. She is the medical director of the radiation oncology department at her hospital as well.
Kornmehl attributes a lot of her success to her dad.
“My father’s illness heightened my sensitivity and compassion. It also taught me the importance of being thorough,” she admits. “When physicians treat human beings, they need to be perfectionists in order to help the patient attain the best possible outcome.”
Most recently, Kornmehl authored a book: The Best News about Radiation Therapy (M. Evans, 2004).
“There were no contemporary or comprehensive resources I could refer my patients to, despite a great need,” she says of her decision to write the book. “Hence, I felt the onus was on me to create that missing piece.”
As for advice to future healthcare professionals, Kornmehl says that working hard for patients is the most important thing to remember.
“Be thorough and meticulous. Give it no less than your all. After all, the patient is entrusting his or her life to you. Being a physician is a privilege. Along with the honor goes a tremendous responsibility to advocate and do everything humanly possible to make things right for the patient,” she says. “Also, be about the patient and not your ego; whenever you’re not sure what a patient’s best treatment course is, ask for help.”
The wife and mother of three says that she’s been lucky enough to have the support of her family through it all. “I love what I do and feel gratified at the end of each day… Knowing I did my best to help another person’s health is the most rewarding feeling.”
|Q. What do you do for fun?
A. I love Elvis! I went to Graceland last summer and look forward to returning. Also, I can’t get enough of Elvis, so I’m always collecting his music, reading books about him, and watching his movies and documentaries about him. The Elvis Sirius Radio station regales me when I’m driving and when I’m websurfing!
Q. What CD is in your CD player right now, or what was the last song you heard?
A. Neil Diamond — Tennessee Moon; the song I’m currently listening to is called “Like You.''
Q. What is the last magazine you read?
A. Women's Day.
Q. What is your favorite TV show?
A. Reruns of The Twilight Zone.
Q. Who is your role model?
A. My parents.
Q. Your favorite ice cream flavor?
A. Mint chip.