Where are you from?
Originally White Plains, NY – but I grew up all over the South, spending most of my life in Charlotte, NC, and now Spartanburg, SC.
What’s your specialty or area of expertise?
What first inspired you to become a doctor?
On a superficial level, I appreciate how interesting and intricate medicine can be – it is a natural choice for a science-oriented problem-solver like myself. Medicine is always changing, and there is always more to learn, so it fits my need for information and life-long learning. However, the choice of what field of medicine is one I find interesting about physicians, because it speaks to the the origins of what makes them tick. For me, realizing how the reproductive choices a woman has, or is able to make, affects the trajectory of her life made OB/GYN very compelling to me. All throughout my life, I have seen women struggle with reproductive decision-making and access to care. Partnering with women to provide care to them during these milestone events in their lives such as menarche, coitarche, child-bearing, and menopause continues to be immensely professionally rewarding. The advocacy to ensure comprehensive reproductive care remains one of my strongest pursuits.
What story about one of your patients most sticks with you?
Early on in my career, I took care of a 17-year-old with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) who did not know how she became infected. Over the course of her hospitalization, and subsequent surgery and recovery, I had the opportunity to learn from her, and her parents, about the obstacles that prevented her from getting comprehensive sexual education that could have prevented her PID, or at least allowed her to recognize it sooner. I was able to provide her with medical care, but also advocate for her with her parents, about the importance of communication and information regarding sexual and reproductive health. She was a challenging medical case, but she also provided me with lasting insight about how to reach out to patients and understand the education and resources they need.
What current policy issue especially motivates you to be an advocate?
Equity in medical care, specifically contraceptive access and maternal mortality.
Who is your social justice hero?
How can we pick just one? There are so many who inspire us, and who compel us to move forward. Here are a few of mine:
Diana Sierra, founder of BeGirl.org, the maker of reusable menstrual panties. While volunteering overseas, she learned that lack of access to sanitary products prevents millions of girls to complete an education. Be Girl intervenes at this leverage point to break the poverty trap, by offering an adaptable and versatile high performance sanitary pad that empowers women to close the gender gap and take control of their health and quality of life.
Dr. Bob Hatcher, lead author for Contraceptive Technology, with 30+ years of advocacy, teaching, and writing to widely increase contraceptive knowledge and family planning advocates. His expertise has gone beyond patient care, as he has made it his life’s work to increase reproductive freedoms for all people on many levels, but especially through education. Contraceptive Technology, and all the sequels it has produced, has been an ongoing source of education for clinicians and patient care for decades.