Be honest with your patients when you don’t know an answer, need more time to answer or even have made a mistake or fallen short. The honest approach is always appreciated over everything (and often the safest!).
I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Shoma Datta. Dr. Datta is a board-certified gynecologist with fellowship specialization in minimally invasive surgery. She has recently taken on the role of “doctorpreneur” and opened her own cosmetic GYN practice, DT Gynecology: Aesthetics & Rejuvenation, just outside of New York City where she specializes in vaginal rejuvenation and bioidentical hormone therapy. She describes her approach to women’s health as ‘tailoring aesthetic treatment to the individual while optimizing genital, urinary & sexual function.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path as a doctor or healer?
Medicine was a very natural choice for me from a young age having multiple generations of scientists and doctors in the family. I always gravitated towards women’s health so I chose OB GYN. In residency, I definitely enjoyed the more technical and “hands on” work of surgery. That led me to fellowship and eventually a career focusing on robotic surgery and office based procedures.
How have your personal challenges informed your career path?
I don’t know if I’d call them “challenges” per se, but I have constantly tried to “recenter” my work life in parallel to my long term goals & personal life. For instance I changed residency programs after 1st year because I was concerned about fellowship opportunities. I finished my residency at Johns Hopkins where I had a wonderful experience and it opened doors to fellowship.
After 5 years as part of a Manhattan hospital faculty where the priority was pregnancy care, I was looking for ways to further develop my GYN surgical practice. I took the leap and joined a private practice which focused on GYN surgery. My schedule and salary improved, and my knowledge and surgical skills absolutely flourished.
Most recently, after 10 (!) years in practice, it came time for me to make yet another shift. By this point I was very happy with how I’d developed my surgical abilities and treatments. Being newly pregnant, I knew I’d need to make a change to be able to fulfill my roles in the way I wanted as wife, stepmother, new mother and daughter to aging parents. Wanting more control of my time and type of work, I teamed up with my husband who has run his own rehab & fitness business for over 10 years. We launched DT Gynecology: Aesthetics & Rejuvenation. This is the culmination of my interests in utilizing new technology to optimize aesthetic and functional GYN results. We hope to offer a place where patients feel empowered through both great health and beauty.
Can you share five pieces of advice to other doctors/clinicians/healers to help their patients to thrive?
1. ASK for help when you need it! Caretakers often take care of themselves last. ASK for assistance whether that means consultation from a colleague regarding a tough case or a family member babysitting your kids so you can get some rest.
2. You do amazing work — you deserve to be monetarily compensated. Providers, you often feel uncomfortable talking “money” but you work hard and just like anyone in any other field you should be earning accordingly.
3. Be honest with your patients when you don’t know an answer, need more time to answer or even have made a mistake or fallen short. The honest approach is always appreciated over everything (and often the safest!).
4. Stay up to date within your field. This doesn’t mean you have to quote the New England Journal everyday but refusing to change practices since your days in training is not good medicine. Be open to new treatments, technologies and stay abreast of newly published data.
5. Especially to those who perform surgery and procedures — know your skill level and ability. When you are starting out or using a new technology choose the easier cases and advance accordingly. I’ve seen so many cases where surgeons are anxious to use a new “toy” and their 1st attempts are on very difficult cases — it backfires every time and gives the technology a bad name.
Social media and reality TV create a venue for people to share their personal stories. Do you think more transparency about your personal story can help or harm your field of work? Can you explain?
I think this has been both a blessing and a curse for medicine. On one hand, it is great for patients to have access to information. Unfortunately, that information can sometimes be misrepresented or only applicable to certain situations. For example, I had more than 1 patient tell me “Janet Jackson had her baby at 50” and make many important medical decisions (and spending) based on this. I don’t know the details of her pregnancy, but this is certainly not typical. On the other hand, a positive example is Angelina Jolie, bringing awareness to the topic of breast cancer gene screening and prophylactic mastectomy which I think is so important.
Recently, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see Jada Pinkett Smith discuss vaginal rejuvenation and doctors administering bioidentical hormone therapy on The Real Housewives of NJ! I think the transparency has positive potential, but those sharing their experiences in a public forum have the responsibility of doing so in a fair way. Readers should consider the source and do their due diligence. Providers should also be aware of what’s out there and be prepared to manage information.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant to your life?
Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can — there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.
I do have a story which I’m too mortified to reveal all details on, but I’ll give you the most important facts! Some years ago I met a woman who I was told by others was very successful and a financial powerhouse. We spoke and she came across kind and sweet. For some reason I automatically went to this place in my mind where I assumed she’d been “bankrolled” and did not come across to me as the “intellectual” I expected. What an idiot I was! Why did I underestimate her independent success? Would I have done that if she were male? I have since been following her career and she indeed continues to be a powerhouse. I potentially missed a great opportunity that night and I’ll never let myself forget my small mindedness. Though I come from a very traditional profession, I realize talent, success and intellect come in many forms. It’s been an important lesson for me and now I’m always looking to learn from everyone around me.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I had actually given this some thought when I opened my practice, entering the aesthetic space in a focused way. Especially in the days of reality shows and media, as you mentioned, people are constantly trying to emulate others and think they need to change their appearance. I used to say “be your best you” but that implies that’s not already happening. I realized it’s about being your favorite you. For those choosing to pursue aesthetic treatments to enhance themselves, that’s great when it’s coming from a position of knowledge and awareness. I say when you come to see me you are already beautiful, I hope to help you “Be.You.Tiful”
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Yes please! I’m really trying to build these accounts with organic readers and I really appreciate every follower!
My practice account: @dt_gyn_aesthetics
My “doc” account: @dr_shobiz
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Originally published at medium.com