Christina Han, MD
Los Angeles, California
Institution: UCLA School of Medicine
Title: Division Director and Fellowship Program Director
Medical School: UCLA
Residency: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Fellowship Training Institution: Yale
Tell us about someone who had an influence on you as child.
My 7th and 8th grade science teacher, who not only taught me to love science and to appreciate the beauty of a checklist, but also kindly informed me that the back of my hand may not be the most appropriate place for said checklists.
What was your first job and how did it prepare you for your current position?
My first paid job was in junior high as a Mandarin language tutor for a local family with small children. In the pre-internet era, I had to design my own curriculum for this family and to devise creative ways to engage the young inattentive minds. This is a skill that I have continued to nourish through the decades. Nothing brings me greater joy than seeing growth in a student or trainee.
Was there a mentor(s) inspired you?
Dr. Lawrence Platt for sparking my love of ultrasound, encouraging me continuously for the past two decades, creating room in his practice for me, providing endless growth opportunities, giving me the space when life took a turn, and for showing grace when my career changed directions.
Dr. Deborah Krakow for her vision, mentorship, leadership, and massive fund of knowledge. Thank you for being a role model to so many.
Dr. Joshua Copel for his guidance and for pushing his trainees to always be the best they can be.
How did the diversity (or lack of diversity) in your medical educators shape your training?
I have been fortunate to have trained under diverse faculty, worked alongside diverse physician colleagues, to have diverse trainees and to care for diverse patient populations. Having been a first-generation immigrant, I cherish any opportunity to open my arms to welcome all individuals in a room from all backgrounds.
How has your cultural background shaped you as an MFM?
I was born and raised in Taiwan, where I was raised with a distinct ethnolinguistic background that differs from others groups even within the small island nation. However, once I moved to the US, I became just “Asian-American,” mixed in with countless others whose cultures and languages are completely distinct from mine. This understanding of the unique and subtle differences that exist in each cultural, religious and family unit has taught me to never make assumptions with patient preferences. I counsel each patient using a blank slate that allows them to paint their own preferences for me.
Tell us about one of your most memorable patient encounters.
One of the greatest honors and burdens for an MFM is the privilege of being able to guide a patient through the darkest of times. We’re used to kind letters from patients with positive outcomes, but it is the gift and card from a patient who had the worst of outcomes that will forever remain with me.
Tell us about an MFM colleague who has been an important part of your MFM career.
Dr. Erika Werner is my MFM soulmate. She has been my sounding board, confidante, comic relief, travel/food buddy since day one of fellowship. Every MFM needs one or more “phone a friend(s)”, and she is that person for me.
What role has SMFM played in your career?
I was first given the opportunity to be a fellow representative on the communications committee during fellowship. SMFM has given me the opportunity to broaden my MFM network, to grow as a leader, and to make an impact in our community.
In your spare time:
If you had to live one day in your life over and over (think Groundhog Day 1993 Movie), which would you pick?
I would choose the day before my husband became ill. It was a beautiful sunny day without a cloud in the horizon, and my heart and soul were still intact.
SMFM Mad Libs:
I’m excited to wake up every day and practice Maternal Fetal Medicine because…
Our lives are like a box of chocolates – we never know what we’re gonna get.
If I could solve one problem in MFM it would be…
To ensure that all pregnant individuals have the right to make choices regarding their own bodies.
The best day I ever had as an MFM was…
Fellowship graduation, with the anticipation of all that is to come.
The hardest day I ever had as an MFM was…
Sitting by my husband’s bed in the ICU, finally fully comprehending how helpless our patients feel when faced with the unknown.
I might be the only MFM who…
Created the SMFM Facebook group and thus can never be removed from administrator status (despite no longer being an administrator).
My MFM colleagues would be shocked to know…
I do sometimes get mad.