Update |

Meet Our Advocates: Dr. Gabriela Aguilar (she/her/hers)

Where do you call home?
Kalamazoo, MI

What’s your specialty or area of expertise?
Obstetrics & Gynecology with sub-specialist training in Complex Family Planning.

What first inspired you to become a doctor?
My mother is a nurse, so as a kid I spent a lot of time following her around the hospital and it quickly became my second home. I was always in awe of the nurses and physicians caring for sick patients. As I grew up, I realized that medicine would perfectly coalesce my love of science, passion for justice, curiosity, and mission to serve. Service and justice are principles that have always been a big part of my life—first as part of the Catholic social teaching that I received throughout my childhood and later as a physician committed to achieving equality through reproductive autonomy.

What advice do you have for medical students and residents wanting to incorporate advocacy into their day-to-day?
My advice is to never think of any act of advocacy as “too small” or “too big.” Advocacy is not one-size-fits-all, and what you are able to commit to will fluctuate throughout your training. Anything AND everything that you do is important! Even that annoying prior authorization.

What current policy issue especially motivates you to be an advocate?
I am most passionate about TRAP (targeted restrictions on abortion providers) laws that disproportionately impact poor people of color. These laws are a farce and do nothing to keep patients safe. They are harmful, have no scientific or evidence-based standing, and contribute to dangerous reproductive health inequities.

How have the events of the past year shaped how you view being a physician advocate?
This year has highlighted the importance of being an active and vocal advocate—at all times! For far too long, we have been witness to the danger of silence and I am grateful that the world has had an opportunity to see how privilege and complacency can be harmful.

What is bringing you joy these days? 
The slowness of time. One of the blessings of the pandemic has been more time to connect with my loved ones, reflect on my own purpose and growth, enjoy things that I would otherwise “not have time” to do, and be open to more stillness in my life. The pandemic has definitely shown me that nothing is, in fact, in our control.

Our Meet Our Advocates series showcases the talents and passion of one of our doctors and finds out, in their own words, what inspires them to be physician advocates. Gabriela Aguilar, MD, MPH is a current Fellow in our Leadership Training Academy class of 2021. Dr. Aguilar practices obstetrics and gynecology in Connecticut.

Read more interviews from the Meet Our Advocates series.