What brought you to your field of expertise?
Field: Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility

Why: I have a passion for helping women achieve success in having children.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen for all and we have many questions as to why.  Given that I see the challenges women go through first-hand, this area enables me to use my scientific and medical expertise to combine reproductive health care with basic-translational research that will ultimately help women achieve their goals.

What do you find most satisfying about the work that you do?
As a clinician who is an infertility specialist, I take care of women in need who are struggling with an inability to achieve a pregnancy and I am on the pulse of the active clinical issues that we need to study in the lab.  At NJMS, I have the resources to ask difficult questions that seek to address the causes of infertility and poor pregnancy outcomes.  I also enjoy mentoring the next generation of clinicians and scientists.

Do you have a woman role model?  Who?  Why?
Who:
Virginia Papaioannou, PhD
Professor of Genetics and Development
She was one of my postdoctoral research mentors

Why:
Accomplished female basic-translational scientist
Never seemed to have a “bad day”
Always had time to meet with her students and mentees

What would you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
Running the Marine Corps Marathon in 1997

What would you consider to be your greatest challenge?
Carving out “me time”- but I am working on that

What are a few resources you would recommend to other women in the field of medicine and science?
Write every day- it is a necessary part of the job.
Always put family first- this balance helps to achieve all your personal goals.

What strategies would you recommend to other women in science/medicine for improving their work – life balance?

Take a break from all responsibilities from time to time.
There is no correct work-life balance that works for everyone.
It takes time to find the work-life balance that is best for your overall well-being and productivity.
Develop time management both at work and at home.

What advice would you give a woman going into a medical or scientific leadership role for the first time?
Set both short-term and long-term goals
Seek out mentors who you can connect with regularly to get advice that comes from experience
Having more than one mentor or advisor is essential
Develop good listening skills
Value every person and opinion

What do you do to continue to grow and develop in your field?
Collaborating with physicians and scientists outside of my field. The answers to the most challenging clinical problems need a team.  I am blessed to be surrounded by great clinical collaborators and scientists at NJMS and this allows me to work on questions that are new to my experience. 

What strength or characteristic do you have that contributes most to your professional success?

Perseverance
I have never been discouraged by hard work.
I learn more from my mistakes than my successes.
I am open to collaborations.