Update |

Meet Our Advocates: Dr. Sacheen Nathan

What are your pronouns?


Where are you from?

Bronx, New York

What’s your specialty or area of expertise?

By training I am an ob/gyn who has done a fellowship in family planning.

What first inspired you to become a doctor?

Honestly, I became a doctor because I did well academically. I checked a box on a college application that got me accepted into an accelerated medical program. I remember discussing with my parents if I should attend the program, and my dad asked me if I thought I might want to be a doctor, and I said maybe. He said I should go through the program just in case. It was the best decision I ever made. I am a better person because I am a doctor. Being a physician has taught me empathy and compassion.  It is has become a very divisive world. My job, through travel and patient stories, has allowed me to see a different perspective. I am fortunate to have such opportunities in life.

What story about one of your patients most sticks with you?

Early in my career, I had a patient with cerebral palsy. She had an unintended pregnancy that she decided to terminate. I continued to be her physician through her reproductive life cycle. She taught me so much about the assumptions we make about others. Patients come to us with a whole history of obstacles and achievements. When I practiced in a state with many providers, I was able to work more with women with disabilities.  Since we often had to navigate unique gynecologic exams and childbirth scenarios, it taught me so much about thinking outside the box. There are so many ways we can change people’s lives when we are open to what they can teach us.

What current policy issue especially motivates you to be an advocate?

I don’t know if there is just one. I used to sit up in my safe blue state job and maybe hear about a law being passed. It would upset me, and I would say, “Oh well, that’s just (fill in the red state).”  Now at least once a year I am in a battle. I see firsthand the laws and the apathy of so many. We need to pay attention. Our voices can change the status quo.

Who is your social justice hero?

Billie Jean King. She fought for equality between women and men. She also helped take the elite sport of tennis and make it available to all. Athletes like her made Title IX possible and changed how we as women are respected and treated in this world. It is hard to make a public stand for social justice. She has been an advocate for both women’s and gay rights. I admire her very much.

What does receiving the George Tiller, MD, Award mean to you?

It gives me a voice. For so long, I wanted to make a difference, but I didn’t (and still don’t) want to be too vocal about how I feel. But I do have a story. My story has brought me to low-access states and doing what only a few will. I have learned from the clinics where I work, and they have learned from me.