Why did you choose to become an OB/GYN?
In medical school I had decided to become a surgeon, however things changed when I did my OB rotation. As an OB/GYN, there’s as much surgery as I’d ever want to do on the surgical side of things, but there is nothing like delivering a baby. That is unique in all aspects of medicine. I love delivering babies.
What do you love about Valley Women’s Health?
I’ve been here for 24 years which means I’ve been with Valley before it was Valley. It was a group of 3 solo practitioners here and Valley was actually my idea from the on-set. The Provo group and ourselves were practicing almost identically and as medicine began to change, the larger practice you had, the more say you had in how you wanted to take care of your patients. It was always my vision to develop an umbrella that incorporated a lot of different groups. We wanted to create all the services so we could be a one stop shop for most women. We’re still in that mode and continue to bring on additional services. Right now we are adding behavioral health.
Our individual practitioners make Valley stand out above the rest. We’ve been very selective about who we’ve brought in under our umbrella. Every provider is committed to the patient before anything else. It doesn’t matter if it takes a little more time or is a little more financially disadvantageous to us—we are going to do what’s best for our patients. That’s what has given us the reputation that we have and something we are always striving to improve.
Do you remember your first or most memorable delivery?
I delivered a neighbor of ours when my family first moved back to Utah. He is now 24-years-old and I see him often. His family is close friends of my family and it’s fun to follow along. It’s interesting because I’m now starting deliver babies of girls I delivered. It’s the second generation!
What do you wish all women could know?
I wish all women knew the value of preventative care. With our busy lives, preventative care often takes a second road to the things that we do. Understanding that coming in for a 15 minute preventative visit can reduce many problems down the road is important. If the general population knew the vale of that, we would have a healthier and more productive society. It’s heartbreaking for us to see a patient with cervical cancer or breast cancer or colon cancer because they didn’t do a 15 minutes visit. We have made huge strides in preventing that.
During child-bearing years, you should be coming in each year for you annual exams with pap smears every 3 years. We also recommend taking a multivitamin with folic acid along with calcium. Mammograms begin at age 40 and are done every 2 years until age 50, and then it’s annual after that. Many women have heard the “horror stories” but I think it has come a long way. The majority of our patients say mammograms aren’t as uncomfortable as it used to be. We also prepare patients for their colonoscopy’s. Diet and exercise are also an important component, which we discuss in annual exams too.
How can you help patients through a loss?
Specifically with pregnancy loss, I always tell my patients there’s 3 things they need to know:
- It’s not their fault.
- It’s not their fault.
- It’s not their fault.
Human nature is that women ask, “What did I do? Did I exercise too much? Did I not exercise enough? Did I forget a vitamin? Did I get mad at my husband?” I always remind them in early miscarriage loss (the ones under 12 weeks) that over 50% of those because of genetic abnormalities. In other words, it’s the body’s way of saying that everything isn’t just right here.
If I can give my patients just a silver lining on a very dark cloud, I think that’s gone a long way. Patients break down because they’ve already been beating themselves about it. Being empathetic to what they are going through is the most important thing.
With infertility, it’s important to be there, make frequent calls and follow up on the things you’re doing to try to get them pregnant. I also want patients struggling with infertility to understand that we’re pretty successful once we start following a regimented plan to pregnancy.
Tell us about your family.
I grew up in Utah with Spanish being my first language. My dad was from Chile and my mom was from Tremonton, UT and worked at BYU as a Spanish professor. My wife is from southern California. I have 3 daughters who grew up understand that dad was a gynecologist which made for some funny discussions! I called my daughter when she was at BYU and her roommate walked by and wondered who was calling her because the caller ID said “Pap Smear”. I’m Pap Smear! It’s a pretty funny joke!
My oldest daughter is getting ready to graduate from P.A. school, my middle daughter is married and lives in Idaho and our youngest daughter is at UVU. We’ve loved living here in Utah. Going away to medical school and residency for 8 years meant leaving home and then coming back. This is where our family is so we wanted to move back so our daughters could grow up with their cousins. Every summer we spend time in Lake Powell. We all ski. We all surf.
What is your favorite treat?
Is there something your patients don’t know about you?
Since I’m from Utah, most people wouldn’t know that I love to surf! I’ve spend quite a bit of time in California and Costa Rica.
What are your hobbies or favorite things to do?
I like skiing, hiking and surfing.
Every summer, my wife and I do 8-10 slot canyons in Utah. We love slot canyons! We also love traveling and enjoy new experiences. We just got back from Thailand and Dubai, which was quite a unique experience. Australia is next on our list!
What is your favorite restaurant?