Danuta Stankiewicz decided to become a doctor when she was hospitalized at the age of 6. Instead of reeling from the introduction of an IV line into her arm, little Danuta instead was fascinated by her doctors’ and nurses’ skills and asked plenty of questions.
The desire to pursue a career in medicine never left her as she completed high school and college, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
"To be a good doctor you must communicate well with your patients, know how to speak publicly, and take into consideration the varied backgrounds and cultures of all the people you treat and work with," she says.
She enrolled at the University of St. Eustatius School of Medicine in the Caribbean’s Netherland Antilles in 2002. By her third year, during a clinical rotation in family medicine at Chicago’s Jackson Park Hospital, she chose to pursue family medicine after caring for three generations of a family.
"Family practice drew me in; providing continuity of care and learning about this family’s dynamics was a big factor in helping me to choose to specialize in family medicine," she says. "When you are a family practitioner you treat your patients as whole persons. You know them when they’re healthy as well as sick so you can treat their physical, emotional, and environmental needs."
Her clinical training in Chicago ran the gamut from caring for predominantly poor and retired people at Jackson Park Hospital to patients at Chicago Mount Sinai Hospital to trauma victims and critically ill children at Cook County Hospital.
"Some of my patients didn’t have much, but they were so thankful for what we medical students could do for them," she recalls.
After receiving her medical degree in 2008, Dr. Stankiewicz worked as a medical assistant and youth counselor in Chicago before starting her residency in 2009 at the Mountainside Hospital Family Practice Residency Program in Montclair, N.J., which at the time was affiliated with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. During her residency she worked as a school physician for Montclair State University and for the Montclair Health and Wellness Partnership. She was also chairwoman of the residency program’s Performance Improvement Committee, the Patient Education Committee, the Medical Records Committee, and the Practice Management Committee.
Dr. Stankiewicz completed her residency in July 2012 and is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians. She reads, writes, and speaks fluent Polish.
She joined Valley Medical Group's Dumont Center in September 2012. Although she cares for patients of all ages, she especially enjoys treating adolescents.
"All those hormones!" she laughs. "But I think my younger age helps me in sounding not too parental when I give them advice. When they have to make a decision that involves their bodies, I hope they hear my voice in their ears!"
Dr. Stankiewicz is also a certified smoking cessation counselor, which she says is helpful when advising patients to stop smoking because she can readily discuss all the treatment methods available to help patients quit.
Dr. Stankiewicz and her husband, Pawel Kumela, a flight instructor at Lincoln Park Airport, have a young daughter, Anna, who is her favorite subject for her photography hobby. She also enjoys reading. They currently reside in Garfield.
Valley Medical Group in Dumont provides the full spectrum of primary care, including urgent care for illnesses, non-life-threatening emergencies, and sports and minor injuries, including burns, cuts, fractures, and sprains; physical examinations and treatment for acute and chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, asthma, and hypertension; women’s health services, including gynecologic well care and Pap smears; and preventive care, including immunizations, cardiovascular risk assessments, smoking cessation assistance, and screenings for cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Specialty services include the Candela Gentle YAG™ laser system for safe and effective cosmetic treatments.
Many businesses, both large and small, contract with Valley Medical Group in Dumont for comprehensive occupational health services, including physical exams, injury care, drug screenings, and breath tests.
Testing provided on site includes influenza A and B testing, blood tests, urinalyses, pregnancy tests, electrocardiograms (EKGs), hemoccult tests, finger stick glucose tests, rapid strep tests, rapid influenza tests, and X-rays. Same-day appointments are available, and appointments for routine care may be requested online.
Valley Medical Group in Dumont is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information or to make an appointment, call 201-387-7055 or click on Request an Appointment.