Bio


Dr. Rachel Sussman grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania and Chicago, and completed college at Yale, a master's degree in psychology at Harvard, and her medical degree at Stanford. She worked and studied for several years in Belgium and China. As a former middle and high school science teacher, she has a strong interest in education and the importance of good communication with patients. She has particular interests in women's health, pediatrics, lactation, and nutrition for the whole family. Her interest in psychology also guided her towards a fellowship at Stanford and expertise in addiction and chemical dependency. Dr. Sussman enjoys biking everywhere she can with her three kids, going to the farmer's market on the weekends, reading, and yoga.

Clinical Focus


  • Family Medicine
  • Addiction Medicine
  • Prenatal care
  • Women's Health
  • Point-of-care ultrasound

Professional Education


  • Medical Education: Stanford University School of Medicine (2013) CA
  • Fellowship: Stanford University Addiction Medicine Fellowship (2017) CA
  • Residency: Stanford O'Connor Family Medicine Residency (2016) CA
  • Board Certification: American Board of Preventive Medicine, Addiction Medicine (2018)
  • Board Certification: American Board of Family Medicine, Family Medicine (2016)

All Publications


  • Complex clinical management of group A Streptococcal pelvic inflammatory disease after bilateral tubal ligation in a small community hospital. BMJ case reports Wolfenden, E., Mittal, M., Sussman, R. 2020; 13 (10)

    Abstract

    A 43-year-old woman with a history of bilateral tubal ligation and bilateral ovarian cysts presented to our hospital with progressively worsening right lower quadrant pain and abdominal distension. Her exam findings of vaginal discharge and cervical motion tenderness, in combination with her marked leucocytosis, were suggestive of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PCR for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae was negative, however, our patient's blood cultures grew group A Streptococcus This exceptionally severe presentation of PID, in combination with uncommon laboratory findings, led to complex multidisciplinary clinical decision making guided by extensive literature review. Here, we present a rare case of group A Streptococcus PID after bilateral tubal ligation, and highlight the role of a family medicine primary team in the medical and surgical management of a complex case at a community hospital.

    View details for DOI 10.1136/bcr-2020-236326

    View details for PubMedID 33109694

  • Qualitative Assessment of Clerkship Students' Perspectives of the Topics of Pain and Addiction in their Preclinical Curriculum. Academic psychiatry : the journal of the American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training and the Association for Academic Psychiatry Raber, I., Ball, A., Papac, J., Aggarwal, A., Sussman, R., Basaviah, P., Newmark, J., Lembke, A. 2018; 42 (5): 664-667

    Abstract

    A majority of physicians feel poorly trained in the treatment of chronic pain and addiction. As such, it is critical that medical students receive appropriate education in both pain management and addiction. The purpose of this study was to assess the pre-clinical curriculum in pain medicine and addiction from the perspective of students after they had completed their pre-clinical training and to assess what they perceived as the strengths and weaknesses of their training.The authors conducted focused interviews among clinical medical students who had completed at least 6 months of clerkships. The interviews targeted the students' retrospective opinions about the pre-clinical curriculum and their preparedness for clinical encounters with either pain or addiction-related issues during their rotations. Coders thematically analyzed the de-identified interview transcripts, with consensus reached through discussion and code modification.Themes that emerged through the focused interviews included: fragmented curricular structure (and insufficient time) for pain and addiction medicine, not enough specific treatment strategies for pain or addiction, especially for complex clinical scenarios, and lack of a trained work-force to provide guidance in the management of pain and addiction.This study demonstrated the feasibility of gathering student perspectives to inform changes to improve the pre-clinical curriculum in pain and addiction medicine. Students identified multiple areas for improvement at the pre-clerkship level, which have informed updates to the curriculum. More research is needed to determine if curricular changes based on student feedback lead to improved learning outcomes.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s40596-018-0927-1

    View details for PubMedID 29704194

  • Qualitative Assessment of Clerkship Students' Perspectives of the Topics of Pain and Addiction in their Preclinical Curriculum Academic Psychiatry Raber, I., Ball, A., Papac, J., Aggarwal, A., Sussman, R., Basaviah, P., Newmark, J., Lembke, A. 2018: 664–67

    Abstract

    A majority of physicians feel poorly trained in the treatment of chronic pain and addiction. As such, it is critical that medical students receive appropriate education in both pain management and addiction. The purpose of this study was to assess the pre-clinical curriculum in pain medicine and addiction from the perspective of students after they had completed their pre-clinical training and to assess what they perceived as the strengths and weaknesses of their training.The authors conducted focused interviews among clinical medical students who had completed at least 6 months of clerkships. The interviews targeted the students' retrospective opinions about the pre-clinical curriculum and their preparedness for clinical encounters with either pain or addiction-related issues during their rotations. Coders thematically analyzed the de-identified interview transcripts, with consensus reached through discussion and code modification.Themes that emerged through the focused interviews included: fragmented curricular structure (and insufficient time) for pain and addiction medicine, not enough specific treatment strategies for pain or addiction, especially for complex clinical scenarios, and lack of a trained work-force to provide guidance in the management of pain and addiction.This study demonstrated the feasibility of gathering student perspectives to inform changes to improve the pre-clinical curriculum in pain and addiction medicine. Students identified multiple areas for improvement at the pre-clerkship level, which have informed updates to the curriculum. More research is needed to determine if curricular changes based on student feedback lead to improved learning outcomes.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s40596-018-0927-1

  • Dermatology resident physician training and readiness to identify and manage elder mistreatment Chang, J., Danesh, M., Endo, J., Osterberg, L., Millsop, J., Aughenbaugh, W., Schillinger, E., Singh, B., Sussman, R., Chang, A. S. MOSBY-ELSEVIER. 2016: AB25
  • Spatial Context Learning Survives Interference From Working Memory Load JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY-HUMAN PERCEPTION AND PERFORMANCE Vickery, T. J., Sussman, R. S., Jiang, Y. V. 2010; 36 (6): 1358-1371

    Abstract

    The human visual system is constantly confronted with an overwhelming amount of information, only a subset of which can be processed in complete detail. Attention and implicit learning are two important mechanisms that optimize vision. This study addressed the relationship between these two mechanisms. Specifically we asked, Is implicit learning of spatial context affected by the amount of working memory load devoted to an irrelevant task? We tested observers in visual search tasks where search displays occasionally repeated. Observers became faster when searching repeated displays than unrepeated ones, showing contextual cuing. We found that the size of contextual cuing was unaffected by whether observers learned repeated displays under unitary attention or when their attention was divided using working memory manipulations. These results held when working memory was loaded by colors, dot patterns, individual dot locations, or multiple potential targets. We conclude that spatial context learning is robust to interference from manipulations that limit the availability of attention and working memory.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0020558

    View details for Web of Science ID 000285272500003

    View details for PubMedID 20853996

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2998575