Shannon Son, MD, MS
Medical School: University of Washington School of Medicine (Seattle, WA)
Residency: University of Colorado School of Medicine (Aurora, CO)
Fellowship Training Institution: University of Utah Health (Salt Lake City, UT)
Future Institution (August 2021): University of Colorado School of Medicine (Aurora, CO)
Tell us about someone who had an influence on you as child. My family moved from a small town in Alaska to “the big city” (Anchorage) so that my mom could pursue a career in nursing. I think back to the courage and stamina it took for her to go through nursing school while also working and caring for two school-aged kids. Despite how crazy busy both of my parents were, I still always felt that they were “present,” something that I strive to be better at with my own family.
What was your first job and how did it prepare you for your current position? My first job (although unofficial) was netting and fileting salmon at our local fishing hole while also selling homemade cookies to tourists. I think I was about 5 years old. I suppose you could argue that my knife skills contributed to my current practice or alternatively that my ability to sell cookies to tourists while having my hands covered in fish guts spoke to my ability to negotiate and advocate for my patients?
Was there a mentor(s) and/or a patient who inspired you? On my OB/GYN rotation in medical school I worked in rural Montana, where there was one OB/GYN in town (Dr. Margaret Dow). Despite the fact that she was essentially on call all of the time, she maintained an indescribable excitement and passion for her work (both as a physician and teacher). I still keep in contact with her and she continues to inspire me!
How has your cultural background shaped you as an MFM? I grew up in a small town in Alaska. At the time, accessing subspecialty medical care meant driving a couple of hundred miles (and in many cases, flying to Washington). The logistical, social, and financial challenges that we experienced help me relate to patients with similar access challenges with a focus on individualizing a plan that works for their family.
What role has SMFM played in your career? I joined SMFM early in residency and was fortunate to attend my first annual meeting as a 3rd year resident. I remember meeting so many people in the field and having conversations about clinical care and research that inspired me to pursue a career in MFM. Through the years I have been able to increase my involvement in SMFM, and I currently serve as an Associate Member Representative to the SMFM Board of Directors. I am lucky enough to interact with other SMFM members/leaders on a regular basis and work on projects that we hope will improve the membership experience for associate members (and beyond). Because of SMFM, I have been inspired in research, been able to work with many of my MFM heroes, and been able to work toward a common goal of taking incredible care of women.
I’m excited to wake up every day and practice Maternal Fetal Medicine because… each day is different, there is always something new to learn, and we get the opportunity to help people at the best (and sometimes worst) times of life.
If I could solve one problem in MFM it would be… the negative impacts that racism and social determinants of health have on medical care and health.
The hardest day I ever had as an MFM was… delivering a term fetal demise while I was pregnant. The sort of “survivor guilt” in situations like this is not something we talk about enough.
I might be the only MFM who… was a 9lb 14oz home birth!