Where are you from?
I’m originally from Springfield, New Jersey, and currently live in New York City.
What’s your specialty or area of expertise?
I am a board certified ob/gyn, and I specialize in family planning and adolescent contraception.
What first inspired you to become a doctor?
I always liked the idea of being a person that the community could come to when they needed help. I remember being a child sitting in my pediatrician’s office, and being inspired by the idea of how a doctor could have such a positive impact on a person’s life—making them feel better, and getting them back on their feet.
What story about one of your patients most sticks with you?
I remember one patient who traveled from North Carolina to New York City, who needed an abortion later in their pregnancy because of a severe lethal fetal anomaly. She and her husband were heartbroken, but they said they felt lost in North Carolina. They couldn’t find anyone who would talk to them about how to get an abortion, or even give them a referral number. The pain of this situation was bad enough, but the lack of support was horrifying. I will never forget them both in the recovery room thanking me for being their doctor and for making one of the worst situations in their lives much less painful. Two years later, I got a letter with a birth announcement of their son, and a small card saying thank you.
I was so grateful to know that they considered me a part of their lives and that my involvement at such a difficult time was part of the overall picture of making their lives better. It confirmed to me that health care is a relationship between a patient and a doctor—not a politician or a political agenda.
What current policy issue especially motivates you to be an advocate?
There are so many, but I find the whole idea behind targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws repulsive, like requiring waiting periods, parental consent, and requiring providers to have hospital admitting privileges. These laws don’t make abortion safer, these laws just make it harder to access. [Ed. note: In fact, a new non-partisan, rigorous scientific report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine affirms that abortion is safe and effective in all forms, and the same report found that the biggest threat to quality abortion care is the litany of medically unnecessary regulations that raise costs and delay procedures.] Any law not based on science and patient safety but 100% based on a political agenda sickens me.
Who is your social justice hero?
I don’t think I have just one. But I’m inspired by people who are willing to lay everything on the line, no matter the consequences. People who really understand what justice, decency, and dignity are all about. They are years ahead of everyone else on key social issues, and believe in the power and importance of a democracy. According to Michael Moore, “Democracy is not a spectator sport, it’s a participatory event. If we don’t participate in it, it ceases to be a democracy.” Here are a few I have tremendous respect and admiration for not being spectators:
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Billie Jean King