Columbia welcomes Meera Garcia, MD as Chief of General Ob/Gyn at NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital
This month, the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center welcomed Meera Garcia, MD as Division Chief of General Ob/Gyn at NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital. Dr. Garcia is an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at CUIMC and also serves as Regional Director of Women’s Health Services NYP Hudson Valley Hospital. She practices general obstetrics and gynecology with clinical interests in pelvic floor disorders, minimally invasive surgery, and chronic recurrent vaginitis. She specializes in procedures used to treat pelvic floor disorders including Botox infiltration and nerve blocks, and in vaginal, complex open, hysteroscopic, and laparoscopic surgeries. She also cares for high-risk obstetric patients. During her years in clinical practice, she has been named Castle Connolly Top Doctor and Top Doctor by Modern Luxuries Magazine, and as a Clinical Instructor at Emory University School of Medicine, Dr. Garcia earned the Teacher of the Year Award in 2010.
Dr. Garcia has served many leadership roles throughout her career, and she is an experienced clinician, teacher, and leader in her field. She was on the Board of Directors of Atlanta Women’s Health Group and was managing partner of a private Ob/Gyn practice in Atlanta. And, as an attending physician at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, GA, she served as Chairman of Gynecology and was on the Obstetrics and Gynecology Executive Board prior to joining New York-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital.
We asked her a little bit about her path to NYP Hudson Valley/CUIMC.
How did you decide to pursue a career in medicine?
I have always wanted to be a doctor; I think it is my calling. As a child, I used to perform surgeries on my stuffed animals and give them shots. As I grew up, I enjoyed science and math and was fascinated by the biological sciences: understanding the human body and psyche is one of the last frontiers of humankind. Finally, as a physician, I revel in the security that I can help women anywhere, at any time, and in many ways.
How did you end up choosing to be an Ob/Gyn?
I wanted to take care of, empower, and advocate for women, and I wanted to be a surgeon while providing continuity of care; thus, being an OB/GYN was the perfect choice for me.
You worked as the managing partner of your own Ob/Gyn practice in Atlanta, GA. Can you tell us about that experience?
My private practice years were amazing as I learned about the business of medicine. In addition to staying up to date on the clinical advances and techniques, I became proficient in coding and billing, negotiations with vendors and insurance companies, revenue-cycle management, streamlining practice patterns, and long-term strategic planning. Not only did I have meaningful connections with my physician partners and staff, but also I enjoyed developing long-lasting relationships with patients and their families; when I left Atlanta, I was starting to provide gynecologic care to some of the young women I had delivered.
Why did you choose to come to NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley/Columbia University Irving Medical Center?
Change is good. Although we could have happily stayed in Atlanta, my husband and I felt that we were ready to challenge ourselves with a new adventure at an amazing institution, namely Columbia. Columbia and NYP are progressive institutions working on improving the medical landscape, and we are excited to have been recruited as part of this endeavor.
What particularly excites you right now in your field?
Now is the time to be a proponent of women’s rights and to champion causes such as increasing access to healthcare and decreasing maternal morbidity and mortality. On a clinical level, advances in minimally invasive gynecological surgery are setting the stage for improved outcomes from major procedures. Now is the best time to be a doctor.
If you weren’t a doctor, what would you be?
If I weren’t a doctor, I think that I would have gone to law school and worked as a human rights advocate. One can work to fight social injustice in many ways.
What do you do outside of work?
I enjoy traveling with my husband and two daughters, and we hike, snorkel, climb, and white-water raft together. I also enjoy reading in peace and quiet. In my community, I support social causes and volunteer for geo-political campaigns.