Jessian Munoz, MD, PhD, MPH
Institution: University of Texas Health San Antonio (San Antonio, TX)
Medical School: Rutgers- New Jersey Medical School (Newark, NJ)
Residency: Cleveland Clinic Foundation (Cleveland, OH)
Fellowship Training Institution: University of Texas Health San Antonio (San Antonio, TX)
Tell us about someone who had an influence on you as a child. My mother was a nurse who began her career at the age of 20, then raised three children as she continued her education through a masters and subsequently a doctoral program. Witnessing her sacrifices and compromises, so that we would have a better life, showed me that there are no limitations to what you can achieve if you have the mindset and ambition.
What was your first job and how did it prepare you for your current position? My first job was as a biology tutor within the Student Affairs department at the University of Puerto Rico. I learned a passion for teaching others but also noted how one's learning takes a new approach when you have to teach the subject.
Was there a mentor(s) and/or a patient who inspired you? Dr. Tommaso Falcone once told me "you must have 3 mentors in life: the career mentor, the champion and the co-pilot". Dr. Alireza Shamshirsaz is my career mentor, the person whose knowledge and skill I strive to achieve. Dr. Patrick Ramsey is my true champion mentor, a person who I know is always on my side and will always support me. Dr. Odessa Hamidi is my co-pilot; as co-fellows across the country, we are there to support and help each other grow as MFMs. All three of these mentors are equally important, from who I am today to who I aspire to be in the future.
How did the diversity (or lack of diversity) in your medical education shape your training? I was fortunate to attend one of the most diverse medical schools in the country. At Rutgers-New Jersey Medical school I learned the impact I can have on the community I serve by understanding the culture and speaking the native language. Now that I am currently in south central Texas, this sense of culture and identity continues to grow in my relationship with patients and as I advocate for their health.
What role has SMFM played in your career? I have been a part of SMFM since medical school. SMFM has guided my education, allowed me to share my research, network across the country, and be a part of amazing committees. Through SMFM, the fellows have formed our own network, and through this connection we know we are never alone by supporting each other and learning together. In addition, the SMFM Foundation sponsored my desire to learn more about fetal interventions through the 2020 Garite Mini-Sabbatical grant.
If you had to live one day in your life over and over (think Groundhog Day 1993 Movie), which would you pick? April 27, 2013. This was the day earned the title- doctor. As a MD/PhD student, this date marks my successful PhD thesis defense. It was a huge milestone in my research career where I was able to share years of work under the mentorship of Dr. Pranela Rameshwar. My family was extremely proud and I joined a community of physician-scientists.
I’m excited to wake up every day and practice Maternal-Fetal Medicine because... no two days are the same and everything cannot be found in textbooks. Every day I have the privilege to take care of patients during one of the most exciting and vulnerable times in their lives. Each patient, their family, and her baby are unique and always keep me learning just as much as I educate them.
If I could solve one problem in MFM it would be… barriers in access to comprehensive care. All patients deserve to have the very best care within their reach; this provides optimal public health at large as well. There are many barriers, not all physical, which prohibit access for individuals across the span of their reproductive health and subsequent needs.
My MFM colleagues would be shocked to know... There are only half a dozen MD/PhD/MPH in OB/GYN. I decided to pursue an MPH after residency after working in patient advocacy and health policy through SMFM and ACOG.