Dear Doctor: Rashmi Kudesia
The infertility specialist making sex ed cool again
Dr. Rashmi Kudesia knows she’s probably not the type of doctor most people want to see. Even so, she has the ability to make you feel at home instantly. As a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist, she works with patients who are trying to conceive and practices out of offices in Brooklyn and Manhattan. She believes women should be getting pregnant at the right time, at the right weight, and in the right way. Read on to learn more about her approach to compassionate care.
A Day in Her Life
“Three times per week I’ll do ultrasounds in the morning, as well as treatments, and the rest of the day I’ll see new patients. The other days I do IVF procedures. I also make time for teaching at Mount Sinai where I work with residents and medical students, as well as clinical research. I want to build the literature on the subject of infertility.
I set up my schedule so that I have time to talk to patients and teach them. The initial consultation is one hour. It’s kind of a time for sex education. I make sure they understand the basics of biology and help people feel informed.
Many times people are nervous. They do a lot of Googling beforehand which can lead you into a black hole. You don’t always get the best advice from online forums where one person may be citing a very specific situation or remedy that worked for them. I help people feel empowered and less stressed through education.
This is my first job out of residency and my fellowship. I went to medical school in North Carolina, but I’ve been in New York ever since. I definitely feel like New Yorkers are a unique kind of patient. There are lots of pros: my patients are very well informed, they do their research, and they’re successful in many different fields. But there’s definitely a lot of anxiety here. I always tell my patients, tell me a little about the stresses you’re experiencing, and then am quick to assure them that anxiety is the most common medical history that my New York patients, and infertility patients in general face.
On Compassionate Care
I think these are the basic tenets of compassionate care:
- Recognizing and verbalizing that you understand how stressful this whole process is.
- Using education and in-depth counseling as forms of empowerment.
If you spend decades trying not to get pregnant and then you can’t, it’s an identity crisis. Because the burden of contraception is mostly on women, with these issues, it can be very upsetting.
I know that no one ever wants to come and see me. But I let them know that they have taken the hardest step already just by coming in.
I see some patients for a second opinion and it’s been a few years since their last appointment because the last doctor said something that made them shut down completely. Instead, I give patients the power to make their own decisions. I try to be supportive and let them take this journey on this own path. If they want to try something for a few months before doing IVF, let’s do that. There’s not just one option.
I have access to patient records all the time since everything is electronic. Many of my patients email me on the weekends and I can check in and spy on them from everywhere. It’s empowering for them that they can get in touch with me (though it can make vacations tough sometimes!)
So much of what we do is cutting edge medicine, it keeps us on our toes a little bit. Of course there have been so many medical advances in other fields, but I feel like the world of IVF has been truly revolutionized in the past two decades.
Medicine has shifted from this paternalistic, doctor-knows-all attitude who then dictates that down to the rest of the staff. Not anymore.
I have a team: a nurse, an IVF coordinator, a finance coordinator. It’s a real team!
With patients, it’s teamwork too. When they get pregnant, we’re thrilled. When I discharge a patient to her obstetrician, I always ask that they stay in touch, and send pictures. When we get photos, they get emailed around and the whole team “oohs” and “aahs” and we’re so happy for them!
In an ideal world, my patients would… simplify and destress their lives.
But realistically…I know everyone is go, go, go, so I’d say carve out some time that you can use for exercise and for self-care.
Everyone could use a little more…free, unstructured time.
Everyone could use a little less…email.
I could talk for hours about…the reproductive system. It’s true!
More women should know about….what their menstrual cycle really means and what they should do when that changes. Fertility counseling should be a part of sex education. Because we ignore fertility in our adolescent years, it can do us a disservice.
I feel looked after when…someone takes the time to really stop everything they’re doing and listen to me.
App: I’m sort of addicted to Facebook.
NYC neighborhood: Upper East Side. I’ve worked in four out of the five NYC boroughs, but I’ve actually always lived within the same fifteen block radius. It’s residential, it’s always expanding, and now we have the Q train! And I love the museums and the park.
Ideal day off: Workout class in the morning (might as well get it over with) followed by a decadent brunch. Then I’d pop into the museums (Museum of Natural History is my favorite) and wander around on a beautiful warm day.
Guilty pleasure: Red wine and TV binge watching, especially Grey’s Anatomy (which started airing the same year I started medical school!) and Scandal.
You can find Dr. Kudesia at RMA of New York.
Know a great female doctor in NYC? We’d love to meet her, introduce us here!