I founded Modern Gynecology & Reproductive Health or MORE, to provide a unique, comprehensive, holistic approach to healthcare, focusing on Gynecology, Hormone Management and Transgender Care. As a physician, what I have always enjoyed most is solving problems and developing relationships. Most physicians go into medicine for the intellectual challenge and with the desire to help people. “Helping people” is a somewhat nebulous, lofty goal, but it is what I thought about as a kid, as a college student contemplating becoming a doctor. What I did not really understand then, is that medicine is really about relationships and what is the most rewarding part of being a doctor is having the privilege of becoming a part of other people’s journeys.
My background has been diverse and my educational history is impeccable. I was raised in Northern California, in Santa Rosa, the daughter of a Biology professor and a homemaker. My mother is Malawian, from southeastern Africa and my father is from Wyoming. My parents made an unusual biracial couple who were very comfortable in their diversity. They were always supportive of both my educational and extracurricular goals. I participated in athletics as well as choir and theater. I continued in these academic and athletic activities at Williams College in Massachusetts where I majored in Biology and participated in rigorous neurobiology research. At Williams, I also studied Art History, African History and other areas in the humanities. I learned to hone my writing and communication skills, which are talents that have proven to be equally as important as scientific skills, and I competed in athletics which taught me a tremendous amount about teamwork. After Williams, I attended Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, which has an excellent reputation and stellar history in medical education. At Hopkins, I learned the scientific side of medicine, but I also again recognized the value of collaboration and communication, which are skills that I have carried forward into my practice. After medical school, I completed residency in Memphis through the University of Tennessee College of Medicine Obstetrics & Gynecology Residency program. Residency offered an incredible breadth and depth of learning and made me very comfortable with the medical community in Memphis.
Throughout my life, I also developed deep friendships with a diverse group of people and still maintain those relationships. All of these experiences taught me the value of hard work and taught me to strive for excellence. I also learned the true value of teamwork and collaboration. My friendships and relationships with colleagues have remained extremely important and inform the way that I now practice medicine.
MORE opened in September, 2019. Our goal has remained to provide thoughtful, professional and compassionate healthcare in a warm welcoming setting. We value our relationships with our patients and our community. MORE focuses on Gynecologic Care, Hormone Management, Aesthetic Care and Transgender Care. All of these areas are vitally important, but the Transgender Care piece is truly crucial for our community. Transgender Care has not been a focus of general medical education until recently and there is a dearth of options for patients when it comes to seeking care.
I estimate that 20-30% of my transgender patients come from outside of the Memphis Metro area. We see patients from Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and from other parts of Tennessee.
Here are some sobering statistics about Transgender Healthcare
- As much as 0.5% of the population identifies as transgender/non-binary. In Memphis, that would be as many as 30,000 people, in the Memphis Metro area, as many as 60,000 people (these statistics are admittedly hard to confirm, but suffice it to say, there are MANY more transgender individuals than is generally understood)
- 30% of transgender individuals delay health care because of fear of discrimination, rejection and abuse from the healthcare community (this is probably an underestimate).
- 50% of transgender individuals identify having had to teach their health care provider about transgender care (also an underestimate).
- Many transgender individuals have resorted to purchasing supplements or unregulated medication online in an effort to get care.
- The transgender community has a large proportion of uninsured and under insured individuals who have difficulty finding and affording care.
Access to Transgender Care in the Memphis area and surrounding region
- Other than two local non-profit clinics that provide some Transgender Services to a limited population, the closest clinics that actively promote trans care are:
- Vanderbilt – 3 hours away in Nashville
- Univ. Arkansas – 3 hours away in Little Rock
- Univ. Alabama – 3.5 hours away in Birmingham
- Clinic in Hattiesburg MS – 4-5 hours away
I am a devoted Memphis transplant after 25+ years. I am deeply committed to this community and I see a very acute need for care in the transgender community that is not being fully met by other physicians or healthcare providers. As a biracial woman, I have always been a little bit “on the outside”. That has never really been a problem for me, but as I have gotten older, I realize that my experiences have given me some insight into being an outsider. I also am the mother of a transgender teen, and that perspective has helped me immeasurably in my practice. There are many problematic issues that face Memphis, but we are at our best when our community needs support. The transgender community truly needs our support. As a physician, I believe in meeting every patient “where they live”, in fact, that is what makes medicine fun and interesting. As we move forward, our goal is to continue to expand our reach in all of our services with on ongoing focus on Transgender Care. With community support, we hope to ultimately add a non-profit arm to the practice which will boraden our ability to provide this vitally important healthcare.
Opening my own practice has been an incredible, difficult experience. Doing this during a global pandemic has challenged me in ways that I can’t fully explain. Recently, a patient asked me if I regretted starting this and my answer was a resounding “no”. I have learned so much about myself and have met so many wonderful people who have helped me immeasurably. Expanding into Transgender Care has been so fulfilling. I got into medicine to “help people”. That phrase can sound trite, but finding ways to provide life changing care has been amazing. I am humbled and grateful that my patients trust me and support me and I am very thankful that I have a large support network! We can make this practice in Memphis a model for multiple types of medical care!
MORE needs help and support from the community and friends across the country to be able to continue to provide excellent, quality care to all patients. Part of the MORE philosophy is to adopt a holistic, comprehensive and compassionate approach to healthcare in a warm, inviting setting. Friends of MORE, have launched a GoFundMe Campaign to help with acute financial needs & continue to grow the practice. We welcome your support in any way that you can help.
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