Personal Statement

As I swipe my badge and the doors of the Intermediate Care Nursery 3 open, I can hear the babies crying, and I know exactly what my work will be for the day. Over the past nine years, as Asscociate Professor of Pediatrics, my practice covered the entire scope of General Pediatrics, but I developed my niche in the care of neonates with pre-natal drug exposure. I recognized the large unmet need in caring for this extremely at-risk, and growing, patient population. A neonate suffering from symptoms of opiate withdrawal is a challenging patient to care for. An innocent baby suffering and crying due to the substance use of her mother evokes strong feelings in those providing her care. The mother is often struggling with profound guilt, the issues and co-morbidities associated with substance use disorders, and from the usual emotional upheaval new mothers experience. It is into this fraught dynamic with a fragile and vulnerable patient and a parent who is very marginalized and judged in the community, both of them part of a nation-wide, multi-faceted public health issue, that I step in as the leader of the care team for this baby. While the medical care of this infant is my focus, my leadership in providing compassionate care is the most important work I do for the health of the baby.

As I enter my mid-career stage, the next steps are clear to me. I am excited about the community education and scholarship works that are already underway. I also plan to continue my role as a leader in advancing the compassionate care of this vulnerable and marginalized population. I model this care as the care-team leader, I explicitly teach this care in presentations and I advocate for this care in scholarly works.