Tag Archives: Dr. Nikki Gorman

“06880” Podcast: Dr. Nikki Gorman

For years, Dr. Nikki Gorman was known as a beloved local pediatrician.

Now she’s helping adults get and stay healthy too.

Dr. Gorman recently opened the Westport Medical and Wellness Center, behind the CVS parking lot. It’s a special place, integrating direct primary medicine with yoga, massage, acupuncture, meditation and other holistic types of care.

How and why did she pivot? What’s the difference between working with kids, and now their parents? How did she end up in the healthcare in the first place?

Those are some of the questions I asked recently, when we chatted in the Westport Library’s Trefz Forum. Click below for an intriguing look into Dr. Niiki Gorman’s world.

Nobody Here But Nikki And Maeve’s Chickens

Dr. Nikki Gorman is a well-known, much loved Westport pediatrician.

What may be less known is that she loves chickens.

And raises them.

Her hobby began with CT Rent-a-Hen. They deliver everything you need. You get them for 3 months, with an option to renew.

Nikki did.

This is not Duck.

Unfortunately, a predator got into the henhouse. They all perished — except for the fastest, wiliest chicken, named Duck.

It stayed close to the yard, but off her property — sometimes in trees. Nikki spent 2 weeks trying to catch it.

Finally, her neighbor Jennifer Greely offered her daughter’s help. Maeve arrived with chicken-catching gear (including a blanket), and a big smile.

Within a couple of hours, she had caught Duck. Jen offered to nurse it back to health, in her garage. Nikki happily agreed.

Several months later, Duck is still with Maeve. It is completely rehabbed, and integrated into her large group.

Nikki told Maeve that she’d be opening Westport Medical & Wellness Center, behind the CVS parking lot on Whitney Street. There was a yard, where Nikki wanted chickens. After all, they’re very calming, and produce wonderful eggs.

Maeve offered to handpick the right chickens. And, she said, she would order them herself — and grow them to where they could successfully live outside the pen.

Nikki visited often, and bonded with the chickens Maeve was raising.

It’s a great story. And, Nikki adds, at the end: Maeve is only 10 years old!

Maeve’s mother Jen adds some background.

Maeve was just 3 when she and her mom (and a chicken) did a “Caregiver and Me” class at Wakeman Town Farm. Jen was not ready for chickens, so instead she got Maeve a puppy.

Maeve was very young when she caught the chicken bug.

At 6, the youngster began raising chickens. Her passion grew, even when a raccoon killed many of her chicks. One was maimed so badly, it lost a wing. Maeve gave it round-the-clock pain meds and antibiotics, and cared for it until its death 3 1/2 years later.

At 7, she had her own booth at the Maker Faire.

“We call Maeve ‘the chicken whisperer,'” Jen says. “She really seems to understand their personalities, sounds, and the social dynamics of a flock.

“I asked her what it is about chickens that draws her to them. She said that people think they’re stupid, but they have a very strong social support structure, and each chicken is accepted into the flock for who they are.

Maeve relaxes, with her backyard flock.

“Maeve used Nikki’s chicken Duck as an example. She said when she was getting Duck strong enough to integrate into the flock, only one other hen came to peck Duck, as a way to put her in her place.

“But that quickly ended. The other chickens just ignored Duck — which rarely happens. Maeve said this is because the other chickens could tell that Duck had been traumatized by having to survive in the wild alone.

“Maeve said the other chickens recognized that Duck wasn’t a threat to the flock pecking order. She just needed to feel safe and be with others.”

Jen adds, “Honestly, isn’t that what all of us, chicken or human, need in this world?

Galia Gichon, Dr. Nikki Gorman and friend.

Pediatrician Adds Adult Practice — And More

Thousands of Westport families know “Dr. Nikki.” As a co-founder of Village Pediatrics she puts kids and parents at ease. Her quick informational videos made her an international TikTok and Instagram star.

Now she has a new venture. As “Dr. Gorman” — a more adult title — she’s opened the Westport Medical and Wellness Center. Two things separate it from most practices in the area: the “direct primary care” model, andhere integration of yoga, massage, acupuncture, meditation and other holistic types of care.

Dr. Gorman has always loved children. She was an 8-year-old babysitter in her native Palos Verdes, California; a Big Sister at the University of Pennsylvania, and after Duke med school and a residency at Stanford Children’s Hospital, she helped found a practice on New York’s West Side. She moved to Westport with her then-husband, a cardiologist, and spent several years with Dr. Jerry Lieberman in Weston.

Dr. Nikki Gorman

Fourteen years ago, she and Dr. Jenn Gruen founded Village Pediatrics. All along — in New York, Weston, and in Village’s offices on Kings Highway North and Riverside Avenue — Dr. Gorman enjoyed the business side of medicine. She’s helped eliminate paper, modernize offices and move into telemedicine.

Her dream was to own a medical building. At the same time, Dr. Gorman saw a need for adults in the area to access a new kind of care. Some did not have their own primary physician; some did not want to pay for the “concierge care” that doctors in the area have moved toward.

A realtor told her about a building on Whitney Street Extension, behind the CVS parking lot. A husband-and-wife naturopath team were selling it; they rented other rooms to therapists.

It was exactly what Dr. Gorman wanted. She could run the new practice, and offer rooms to a variety of wellness practitioners.

She could also offer direct primary care — a rarity in the area.

Her website describes it as “a membership-based care model in which patients pay primary car providers a flat, simple, periodic fee directly for unlimited access to primary and preventative services.”

There are no insurance deductibles or premiums. (Insurance is needed, however, for services like imaging and labs, medications, specialist care and hospitals. The practice does not participate in Medicare.)

Without the pressure from insurance companies to see high volumes of patients, practitioners can spend time on healthcare — and prevention. “We really get to know our patients,” she says.

Membership is $200 a month, or $2,000 for 12 months. All wellness services are charged separately.

The difference between direct primary care and concierge medicine, the website says, is that concierge practices may bill insurance while also charging a monthly or annual fee. Those patients are still responsible for co-payments and additional insurance costs.

In direct primary care, patients pay a set fee for all-inclusive services during sick and preventative exams. Medications, labs and in-office procedures are “substantially discounted.”

Dr. Gorman adds, “Direct primary care can be a wonderful option for businesses who want to give their employees an insurance option but can’t afford commercial carriers. Many employers end up not offering insurance at all. This is a way to make sure employees at least get their primary care needs met.”

Westport Medical and Wellness Center is approaching local businesses now, with the option.

As Dr. Gorman interviewed wellness practitioners — yoga instructors, a massage therapist, acupuncturist, meditation facilitator, holistic health coach, even a sexuality coach — she realized that all could work together, to provide complete health care. Anxiety, back pain, high blood pressure — many medical issues can be treated holistically, by a team of people.

She’s having a good time designing her new space — inside and out. She plans a chicken coop for the back yard, and a garden for outdoor yoga.

Dr. Gorman’s new office on Whitney Street Extension, behind the CVS parking lot.

Dr. Gorman will continue to be Dr. Nikki. She sees young patients three days a week. She won’t actually treat adults; in her new role, she’s overseeing the business side of the practice.

“This is fun,” she says. “I love the entrepreneurial side. And I love helping people.”

As Dr. Gorman adds adults to her focus, she notes how it all leads back to her longtime love of children.

“If parents are healthier and less stressed out, that helps kids too,” she says.

In other words: It takes a village to raise healthy youngsters.

And adults.

Roundup: Staples Girls Soccer, Holiday Shopping, Earth Animal …

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The Staples High School girls soccer team has done it again!

Madison Sansone’s goal in the 5th minute was the difference — along with stout defense from, among others, central defenders Samantha DeWitt and Gaby Gonzalez, plus keeper Camille Kolek — as the #4 Wreckers shut out #6 Wilton 1-0 last night at Fairfield Warde High School.

It’s the 2nd league title in a row for Staples. They won it in 2019. There was no championship game last year due to COVID, but the Wreckers won their 5-team division then too.

Congratulations to coaches Barry Beattie, Mackenzie Pretty, the rest of his staff, and of course this remarkable group of young women.

The state tournament begins next week for girls and boys soccer, and field hockey. Pairings will be announced today.

The Staples High School girls soccer team at the Push Against Cancer …

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Get your holiday shopping done early — like, today!

WestportMoms’ Holiday Boutique Bash runs today (Friday, November 5, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m) in the Westport Country Playhouse parking lot.

The 5th annual event features over 30 vendors. It’s free, open to all — and there will be a food truck with coffee and warm food right there.

In return, WestportMoms asks for contributions of coats for adults and children. They’ll be donated to Homes with Hope, for our neighbors in need.

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Long before the pandemic, Earth Animal was helping Westport’s four-legged creatures.

And those with only 2.

 The 14th annual Mitten Project is the Post Road store’s fall initiative to support the Connecticut Food Bank. Last year’s effort raised over $38,000. This year’s goal is even higher.

It runs now through December 31. For $5, people can buy “mittens” at Earth Animal, to sign and hang in the store windows.

There are also holiday items for sale. All proceeds go to the Mitten Project total.

And donation boxes will be placed at area stores during the holiday season.

Earth Animal does even more: They’ll match every penny donated. 

 For more information on how to donate, email merritt@earthanimal.com.

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Wakeman Town Farm serves Westporters of all ages.

Including the very youngest.

Its “Little Farmer: Mommy & Me” program — for infants through age 3 — offers an hour of quality time each week. Developmentally appropriate experiences foster social skills and independence.

“Creative Nature Sprouts” is for 3-to-5-year-olds. It’s largely outdoors, exploring the wonders of WTF’s farm and barns.

“Fantastic Farmhands” (kindergarten through 5th grade) offers care and education about animals, pollinators, compost and more, through hands-on activities. Youngsters also enjoy farm crafts and games.

The “Farm Apprentice Program” (grades 6-8) concentrates on organic farming and gardening.

Click here for more information.

Learning about life at Wakeman Town Farm.

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Following 1st Selectman Jim Marpe’s announcement yesterday that the indoor mask mandate is lifted for most locations, the Westport Library has followed suit.

Masks are no longer required in the building — except for people who are unvaccinated.

Masks continue to be required in the Children’s Library, and for indoor children’s programs for everyone over 24 months old.

One step closer to normal at the Westport Library. (Photo/Miggs Burroughs)

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Nikki Gorman is more than a beloved Village Pediatrics doctor.

She’s on the board of the Unite the World With Africa Foundation. Next Thursday (November 11, 5 to 9 p.m.), she’s opening her home for a cocktails and open house “Heal the World” awareness-raising event.

All are welcome. Click here for details, and to RSVP.

Speaking of pediatrics: Dr. Nikki’s practice is holding COVID vaccine clinics today and tomorrow. They’ll be inoculating as many newly eligible 5-to-11-year-olds as they can.

Slots are all filled. But it’s good news indeed, on the continuing fight against the pandemic.

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Last night’s freezing temperatures did not keep sunset lovers away from Old Mill Beach.

Photos like this never get old.

(Photo/Rick Benson)

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A few hours earlier — not far away, on Sherwood Mill Pond — Peter Swift snapped this blue heron, for our “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Peter Swift)

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And finally … happy 80th birthday to Art Garfunkel!

Dr. Nikki Gorman: Westport Pediatrician, International TikTok Star

There’s never a dull moment in pediatrics.

One moment, Dr. Nikki Gorman may advise a new mother why children should not play with magnets. The next, she may tell a teenager it’s okay to have a same-gender crush.

Of course, not everyone has a Dr. Nikki (as she likes to be called) — or access to a practice like Village Pediatrics on Riverside Avenue.

So Dr. Nikki is reaching out to a wider group of parents, children and teens. And she’s meeting them on their turf: TikTok and Instagram.

Growing up in Palos Verdes, California, Dr. Nikki loved performing. She also knew she wanted to work with kids. Pediatrics was a natural career. Acting fell by the wayside.

She and her then-husband, a cardiologist, came to Westport 19 years ago. She joined Dr. Jerry Lieberman’s Weston practice. As he wound down his practice, Dr. Gorman and her partner Dr. Jennifer Gruen established Village Pediatrics.

Dr. Nikki Gorman

She realized that the important information she was conveying reached only a tiny fraction of people who needed to hear it. For years she thought about writing a board book, with real but lighthearted messages on everything from sleep and feeding to sex and drugs.

“When you give birth, you don’t know what your baby will turn out to be,” Dr. Nikki notes.

“You may have a tough toddler. There may be middle school drama, illness and family strife. When you look at your beautiful newborn, you can’t predict any of that. But every parent will face challenges.”

Yet a board book might not be the way to reach a new generation of parents, Dr. Gorman recognized.

“Young parents in their 20s and 30s have ADD — and I don’t mean that in a negative way,” she says.

“They see flashes of things. Their brain is trained to move quickly from one thing to another.” Conveying her messages in quick video bursts on social media platforms would be key to getting her messages across.

They were also likely to be discovered and appreciated by people far beyond Dr. Nikki’s Westport office.

An important message from Dr. Nikki.

During a new mothers presentation for Malta House — the Norwalk non-profit serving homeless pregnant women and new mothers — she discussed the need for vitamin D supplements during nursing.

“Some mothers might not know that,” she says. “If they see it on TikTok, they’ll learn. And they’ll share it with their friends.”

Dr. Nikki was not a TikTok user. But Zibrille Pepito — her office scribe, who works remotely from the Philippines — is. She was happy to help.

She tutored her boss in how to set the camera, where and when to point — in other words, how to be a TikTok star.

@drnikki_

Reply to @octaseed 👍 #dancingdoctornikki #docnikki #villagepediatricswestportct #villagepediatrics #connecticut #pediatiktoktalk #fyp

♬ original sound – drnikki_ – TikTokDoc

TikTok videos can’t be longer than 90 seconds. Instagram videos must be at least a minute. Dr. Nikki aims for that sweet spot in between, so the same video can be posted to both platforms.

“People love them,” she says of her return to performing. “The audience is growing. We haven’t even sent them out to our practice yet.”

She tries to post one video a day. She films during downtime between patients — and can do several at a time.

Dr. Nikki has no problem finding topics. “I just think about what goes on during each visit. That’s the joy of pediatrics: You see people from 0 to 22 years old.’

Meanwhile, they and their parents see their pediatrician on their favorite social media sites.

Along with everyone else, anywhere on the planet.

You can follow Dr. Nikki on TikTok @drnikki_ and on Instagram: drnikkigorman.

@drnikki_

Get them vaccinated 👍 #dancingdoctornikki #docnikki #villagepediatricswestportct #villagepediatrics #connecticut #covidvaccine #vaccination #fyp

♬ original sound – TikTokDoc – TikTokDoc

Westport Women AWARE Of Malta House

Westporters pride ourselves on being aware. We’re aware of world events and local issues. We’re aware we need to reach out to others in need, whether far away or right in our own little bubble.

Some Westport women, though, are really AWARE.

That’s the acronym of a group started in New York, to support women’s causes. Each year they partner with a local non-profit, by volunteering, organizing an educational event and hosting a fundraiser.

AWARE — the acronym stands for Assisting Women with Action, Resources and Education — came to Fairfield  County in 2013 via transplants from the city. Amy Saperstein, a founding member in New York, was instrumental in opening a local chapter in her new home here.

AWARE CT has already aided the International Institute of Connecticut (human trafficking), Mercy Learning Center (education) and Female Soldiers: Forgotten Heroes (veterans).

AWARE members at a recent event.

This year’s partnership is particularly powerful.

Malta House is a Norwalk-based organization offering a nurturing home environment, support services and independent living skills to pregnant and new mothers. It’s low-key — and life-changing.

AWARE members are all in. Nicole Gerber — a mother of 2 young children, who last year became AWARE CT’s chief operating officer, then returned to school for a degree in non-profit fundraising — is also a professional caterer. She’ll teach healthy cooking techniques at Malta House next month.

Galia Gichon Clements — another mother of 2, with a background in finance — volunteers in the nursery, and teaches the young moms about money management.

Dr. Nikki Gorman is a mother of 3, and a pediatrician. She attended AWARE dinners at Malta House in the fall, and quickly took on several newborns as patients.

Other AWARE members host events, including small monthly dinners and larger panel discussions on topics like homelessness in Fairfield County (with representatives from Project Return and Homes With Hope).

AWARE members also serve monthly dinners at Malta House. They include get-to-know-each other activities, great dishes, and activities like decorating t-shirts for the residents’ children.

One of the AWARE activities was helping Malta House residents make dreamcatchers for their rooms.

It’s important for AWARE to be aware of what their partner organizations truly need. Malta’s program director Claudia Nixon says that many residents never experienced female friendships. So AWARE members model support for each other.

They also involve their own children, through a special AWARE KIDS program. Youngsters have organized bake and book sales, and made blankets for the Malta House moms.

Next up: a fundraiser.

Next Saturday (June 3, 6 p.m., Wells Hill Farm, Weston), there’s a “Party in the Pasture.” The sustainable farm is the home of AWARE member Michelle Fracasso.

A DJ is donating his time; local chefs are contributing food, and vendors are offering prizes.

Proceeds help women like Autumn Corley. Five months ago the 20-year-old and her ill mother were evicted from their Stamford apartment. She had never heard of Malta House. But it was a godsend.

Autumn Corley and Ameerah.

Autumn ticks off what she’s learned: “Self-respect. Budgeting — I’m saving money now! And how to be a better woman, for myself and my daughter.”

She appreciates Malta House’s many resources, like speakers on child development, cooking and gardening.

And, she says, “the AWARE ladies are awesome. They all have different backgrounds, but they all motivate me. They love talking with us. There’s never a dull moment.”

“Dr. Nikki” is her infant Ameerah’s pediatrician. But she’s more than just a doctor.

She made 5-week-old Ameerah a onesie, with her name on it. Earlier — before the baby was born — Gorman helped Autumn write a note for Ameerah to read when she’s older.

In September Autumn will go to school, to become a dental assistant. Until then, she’ll stay at Malta House — “breastfeeding, and saving money.”

(For tickets and more information on AWARE’s June 3 “Party in the Pasture” fundraiser, click here.)