Q&A with Dr. Sarah Kilpatrick
Dr. Sarah Kilpatrick, an expert in high-risk pregnancy and advocate of collaborative research, joins Cedars-Sinai.
Sarah J. Kilpatrick, MD, PhD, a nationally renowned expert in maternal-fetal medicine and women’s health, is the newly appointed chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai. Dr. Kilpatrick was recruited from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she was the head of OB/GYN and vice dean for the College of Medicine. She led major clinical, research, academic, and administrative initiatives, focusing on those that brought together different medical specialties with other health science disciplines.
Q: You have a very expansive approach and outlook on women’s health. What are the advantages of combining OB/GYN with other specialties in a multidisciplinary setting?
A: The biggest advantage is that people don’t think of their health as compartmentalized. Traditionally in medicine, we are all in our respective silos, but patients want a smooth transition of care throughout their lifetimes. Women start with a gynecologist, who’s then often their obstetrician. Before age 40, they don’t really seek much healthcare unless they’re pregnant or need contraception. As they get older, it’s nice if they can transition to other practices where the doctors already understand women’s health and how it differs from men’s. Essentially, it takes communication and integration with other departments, as well as a willingness to work together to best serve women patients and translate appropriate medical knowledge to them. The idea that there needs to be more focus on multidisciplinary teams is somewhat of a new concept in medicine in general. Cedars-Sinai is an ideal place for such a model.
Q: What challenges and opportunities have you identified in your first 30 days at Cedars-Sinai?
A: Cedars-Sinai is a big place filled with many intelligent, energetic people. The leadership is committed to retaining and attracting individuals who are interested in academic medicine and have an intellectual curiosity that ultimately brings the best care to patients. I think that’s very inspiring. Cedars-Sinai has one of the top maternity delivery services in Southern California. Because of its size, its insistence on excellence at the academic level, and its financial stability compared to many other state institutions right now, Cedars-Sinai is in a unique position to reach a tremendous number of patients. As new discoveries are made at Cedars-Sinai, as well as nationally and internationally, novel treatments can be funneled to patients more quickly. And the types of patients we take care of here are quite varied—they represent the entire socioeconomic and cultural spectrum—and that’s another very appealing aspect of this institution.