Omar Young, MD, FACOG
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Institution: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC)
Medical School: Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (New York City, NY)
Residency: Yale-New Haven Hospital (New Haven, CT)
Fellowship Training Institution: University of Pittsburgh Magee-Women’s Hospital (Pittsburgh, PA)
How did the diversity (or lack of diversity) in your medical education shape your training? I was the only black male in my residency program for quite some time. To be a trainee in a predominantly white environment was definitely a struggle. One experience that I will never forget is being the OB nights intern and running to a room to respond to a decel. The patient, a middle-age white woman, upon seeing me for the first time, states, "Oh, I don't want you people touching me". When I relayed this experience to my chief and attendings, they apologized for the patient's behavior and then acceded to her request to not have any people of color in the operating room. From then on, I always said that I wanted to be involved in medical education so that I could create an equitable and inclusive environment that, unfortunately, I was not privileged to experience.
How has your cultural background shaped you as an MFM? I am the first person in my family to go to college and to obtain a graduate degree. When I am taking care of African-American pregnant people, more often than not my patients are at first shocked to see that I am the physician, but then are so happy to see that someone that looks like them is taking care of them, particularly if they have previously had negative experiences with American healthcare. With the current focus on decreased maternal mortality among African-American pregnant people through initiatives such the Momnibus Act of 2021, I take pride in the fact that I am able to make someone's experience with the healthcare system less daunting.
Tell us about an MFM colleague who has been an important part of your MFM career. I always knew that I wanted to incorporate medical education and adult learning theory into my practice of MFM; however, it was Dr. Kristiina Parviainen during my fellowship at Magee who showed me how that all could be done. She always gives 110% of herself to her patients and her trainees. Moreover, she is someone who is not afraid to express herself and/or stand up for what is right. I knew that I wanted to be just like her and I thank her for her mentorship.
If you had to live one day in your life over and over (think Groundhog Day 1993 Movie), which would you pick? Traveling down the Great Ocean Road in South Australia while learning how to play the didgeridoo.
I’m excited to wake up every day and practice Maternal-Fetal Medicine because… I know that I will be making a difference, hopefully positive, in the lives of my community on a daily basis while training the next generation of OB residents and MFM fellows to attain their best professional selves.
If I could solve one problem in MFM it would be… figuring out just how 17-hydroxyprogesterone caproate works to prevent recurrent spontaneous preterm birth... if it even does.
I might be the only MFM who… has been to the grounds of the Australian Open, Roland Garros (French Open) and Wimbledon; however, I have never been to the US Open.
My MFM colleagues would be shocked to know… that I do not like chocolate whatsoever. In (most) all forms. Sorry, not sorry.