Our alumni are located in all corners of the world and in many different kinds of institutions. While our alumni have different subspecialities and work in different locales, they all have the same training base. We hope their perspective will help inspire you and provide a unique perspective on residency training.
Our current profile is Dr. Alisa Goldberg, who is the Division Director for Family Planning at BWH and the Program Director for the Complex Family Planning Fellowship at BWH. We hope you enjoy reading about why she chose obstetrics/gynecology at BWH/MGH.
Dr. Alisa Goldberg
Class of 1998
What made you decide to pursue OB/Gyn as a career?
I decided to pursue OB/GYN because I enjoyed surgery (but short surgeries) and obstetrics and I enjoyed working with young or young’ish patients and making meaningful interpersonal connections. I also had interests in education, public health and policy and was looking for a field that would enable me to integrate all these interests. When I did my core OBGYN rotation and then several OBGYN electives, I found my people and knew I was in the right place!!!
What made you choose BWH/MGH as your residency?
All the amazing people and wide array of opportunities!! I loved that the BWH/MGH program was well-rounded and strong in all the OBGYN subspecialties, since I really wasn’t sure what I would do after residency. Once I decided that I was going into OBGYN, I felt a moral obligation to incorporate abortion care into my practice. Family Planning didn’t exist as a subspecialty back then, but I prioritized ranking the handful of residency programs like BWH/MGH that offered routine abortion training in dedicated rotations.
What unique preparation did the BWH/MGH Ob/Gyn residency give you for your career?
First and foremost, I received outstanding and well-rounded clinical training in OBGYN and I felt well prepared to work as an OBGYN upon graduation. The mentorship I received for my resident research project inspired me to incorporate clinical research into my work. Through interactions with mentors, role models, and peers I learned a great deal about leadership. Perhaps most importantly, my family planning rotation was my first exposure to abortion care. It was the deep, heartfelt gratitude of my patients during this rotation that inspired me to pursue a fellowship in family planning.
How does your current position correspond to where you envisioned yourself as you finished residency?
When I finished residency there were only a handful of very informal family planning fellowship programs in the country and complex family planning did not exist as a subspecialty. I imagined that after fellowship I would join the faculty of an academic general OBGYN practice, and family planning would be my ‘niche’. Over the next few years, I was fortunate to have a front row seat as family planning grew and developed as a field. Eventually it became clear that my ‘niche’ might eventually become a subspecialty and something like my current position would be possible.
Do you have a favorite memory from residency?
One of my favorite memories is of our GYN team making after-work trips to FitCorp at the Prudential Center to do step aerobics classes together. We made matching baseball caps with uteruses on them that we wore to the classes.
What do you miss from residency?
The people and the camaraderie!!! I miss all the social events and carefree fun we had together.
If you could go back and give advice to your intern class, what advice would you give?
Learn as much as you can (be a sponge) but be sure to take care of yourself and have fun. If you’re not sure what you’d like to do after residency, use this time to explore what is important to you, what you enjoy and what a wide array of potential career trajectories look like. Think about what the field looks like now and imagine what it might look like 10 or 20 years from now. Build relationships with a collection of mentors. You can never have too many mentors!
What is the most rewarding part of your current job?
The most rewarding part of my current job is being able to have a positive impact on people’s life trajectories and help enable them to live their best lives. I get to do this through mentoring faculty and trainees as well as by providing abortion and contraception services to my patients. On the macro level, I have the great privilege of working in mission-driven spaces with like-minded people. I feel lucky to do such meaningful work not only in service of the individuals I care for, but as part of a larger movement.