Meet Dr. Susan Gonnella




This Side of Paradise


Meet Joe Black

Dr. Gonnella is Sherpaa’s Chief Physician. Prior to joining Sherpaa, she led corporate health at American Express for 15 years. She has 27 years of on-the-ground experience helping people receive proper care at the right time, every time. But those are just her credentials. Susan is a remarkably compassionate, dedicated, and creative doctor — exactly the kind of doctor to exemplify our mission at Sherpaa.

What’s your favorite thing about being a doctor?

I like the fact that I’m not rushed and I can take my time and educate my patients in a language they can understand. I can demystify their health and help them navigate the healthcare system. I can empower my patients and make them their own advocate. In many ways, primary care is broken. There was a time when you actually had a relationship with your doctor. The loss of the old fashioned relationship can actually harm patients. Doctors used to ask about family, investments, your friends. I feel like I have the opportunity to have this kind of relationship today enabled by how we all communicate nowadays. I just really enjoy having real relationships with my patients.

Being a physician is an incredible honor. Witnessing and helping people tap into their own internal ability to heal themselves is sacred and tremendously fulfilling.

What makes NYC special to you?

It’s the energy, the excitement, the possibilities. When you really want to feel charged, you can find that. When you want a retreat, you can find that too. For me, the retreats are the museums. You can just go there and get lost in your thoughts. You can feel soothed. And you can also get energized by these works of art. It’s honestly a privilege and a real thrill. Museums are traditional, but like Sherpaa, they’ve had to innovate to engage our modern society— their online presence, their shows, they’re now making a concerted effort to bring in exciting, contemporary things for the most advanced society in the world.

Besides being a doctor, how do you spend your time?

With my family. I travel a ton with my husband. I love physical activity. I love to cook but even more so, I love to bake. It’s a creative outlet for me. I love to try something new, the challenge of it, and then have something wonderful at the end of it. You have to be fearless to bake. In my family, there was a huge cooking tradition that I felt was part of both of my parents lives. I want to carry this forward and give that tradition to my kids. We appreciate good food, sitting around the table, and all the things you get from preparing food together as a family.

Tell us about your decision to become a doctor.

My father was a doctor. My whole home life was scheduled around it. He’d come home for dinner at 5 and then go back and see patients in the evening. I was often the answering service for him. I’d make rounds with him and go with him to the hospital and see his patients. Seeing his commitment to his patients and to us, his family, was inspiring. He was a very balanced man. He would scramble and work hard so he could spend time with us at the beach house on the shore every summer. When you see this type of commitment from such a young age, it made me feel like I wanted to make that kind of contribution to the world.


Dr. Susan Gonnella,

Sherpaa, NYC